Packing for Asia: Inside My Tech Bag

As my Asian backpacking adventure draws near, I’ve been worrying more and more about the eternal question: “What am I going to pack?” So I thought I’d break down my packing list for you into several sections, starting with my mobile office.

Tech bag

1. Laptop: Macbook Pro Though I debated heavily if I really needed to lug my precious Macbook across Asia, in the end I knew it would be detrimental to my career as a freelance writer and blogger not to have a computer at hand.

I will write a post soon about how to best protect your electronics, but let’s just say I’m going the full nine yards to keep my baby safe: Prey, Time Machine and travel insurance included.

2. Cameras:

True life: I’m a camera junkie. So on this trip I’m bringing a dSLR with two lenses as well as a point-and-shoot with a water-resistant case.

a. Canon EOS Rebel T2i with 18-55mm lens and 50mm lens.

While I also debated about bringing my dSLR, in the end I asked myself, “What’s the point of having a nice camera if I’m not going to use it to take pictures of my trips?” To protect my camera from scratches I bought a $3 screen protector, and I am also bringing along my two favorite lenses: the 50mm lens for close-ups and food shots, and the 18-55mm lens for landscapes.

b. Canon S90 with underwater case.

For this trip I’m bringing along my dad’s old camera as my point-and-shoot. I like the Canon S90 because it’s compact and has manual controls- and so far I’m quite happy with the pictures it takes.

As far as the underwater case goes, I was unwilling to cough up almost two-hundred dollars for the Canon underwater housing, so I opted for a $22 underwater case. Fingers crossed my camera survives!

3. iPod

My ancient iPod doesn’t have wifi or a touch-screen, but that’s just fine- I’m just using it for music. And plus, with a small screen it’s less likely to meet the same fate as my beloved iPod touch. (Ahem… the sidewalk.)

4. External Hard Drive and USB: 

For the first 22 years of my life I didn’t back up and it’s one of my biggest regrets. How many memories did I lose due to PCs crashing? (Answer: a lot.) So now I can’t imagine traveling long-term without my external hard drive and USB.

But why bring both if one device would be enough to back-up important photos and documents? Well when Adventurous Kate underwent a shipwreck in Indonesia and her backpack was underwater for hours, her USB full of photos survived! While I hopefully won’t be shipwrecked at any point in the near future, there’s no reason to be imprudent.

5. Kindle

Though THREE of my Kindles mysterious died while I was in France (okay, two kindles mysteriously died, one I dropped on tile) my love of the e-reader is still unwavering. I use my Kindle on a daily basis, and I especially love it for travel- it even has built-in, free 3G in case of an emergency.

6. Universal adapter

I tacked on a super-cheap universal adapter to my arsenal this year for obvious reasons.

Not pictured: charging cords for Kindle and iPod, Macbook Pro charger, USB, extra batteries for cameras, memory cards (Sandisk 4G, 16G and two 8Gs).

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About Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.

31 thoughts on “Packing for Asia: Inside My Tech Bag”

  1. I can’t believe you’re on your 3rd kindle. I’m still rocking edition #1 bought several years ago. I’m keen to get the paperwhite but not justifying it until this one has problems.

    • I know, I have the worst luck with kindles :(. And the Paperwhite does looks really cool and would be useful for reading on a night train or in a hostel. Let me know how you like it once you do get it!

  2. My husband is always made about how much camera gear I bring along on trips. I always end up bringing way to much, I just can’t help but feel like I’ll miss something if I don’t bring it ALL along! :) I think you might know the feeling. Good shooting on your adventure!

    • I certainly feel your pain, Darla! I just like to be versatile with a dSLR for everyday shooting as well as a point-and-shoot for activities and nightlife. Ah, the life of a blogger! :)

  3. Great packing list! I still have yet to physcially write down anything I need to pack for Spain. I am going to need to buy a new camera though. How do you like yours, and do you have any suggestions?

    • I love, love, love my new Canon T2i and would highly recommend it. To get the cheapest deal I would buy it used on Amazon and purchase a kit lens and 50mm lens in addition to the body- those are the lenses I use those most, but it’s all up to what you think you would use most! Happy shopping!

  4. This is great advice Ashley! I always struggle when packing tech stuff…I bring so much with me (laptop, fancy point and shoot, cheap point and shoot with underwater housing for diving, GoPro Hero 3, external HD, etc. etc.) and then I usually end up using my iPhone for almost everything. Debating adding a Kindle Fire to the mix but I think that might be overkill :)

  5. Great post! I love seeing what other people travel with. I also have a travel tripod which I adore, but it’s probably not as practical for light packing. What kindle case do you have?

  6. My Kindle became a HUGE future travel essential starting with my last trip when I had books and guides on my Kindle to reference all over Ireland – made for a fun source of extra info. It’s definitely a huge commitment to lug all that, but if you’re serious about recording the journey and keeping up your blog, it’s essential. So exciting!!

    • I’m definitely going to do that for my upcoming trip to Asia- buy the Lonely Planet Southeast Asia guide and just reference it on my Kindle as opposed to lugging around a huge book! Great tip :)

  7. You are amazing!! You really are preparing and thinking ahead!
    It sounds like you have thought of everything!



  8. I only recently invested in an external hard drive as well…I can’t believe it took me so long. Good luck on your adventures in Southeast Asia! When do you leave?

  9. What a lovely blog you have! I have lived in Paris as well (and London, Greece, Africa) and I am traveling the world as well. Love the fact youre going to Asia. I really miss that place. I am following you!

  10. Great post! I love reading what other people find important or necessary to bring. My tech bag for my Asia trip was really similar. I think the only thing you wouldn’t really need is the universal adapter. You can use American chargers in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and the Philippines. It’s just Malaysia/Singapore you would need an adapter for, and you can pick up a cheap single adapter in Malaysia for a few dollars. Just my two cents :)

    • Thanks so much for telling me that! I swear I haven’t been able to figure out what chargers I would need for mainland Asia. At this point I’m not even sure I’ll be going to Malaysia/Singapore so I might just buy an adapter when I get there!

  11. I love your style, Ashley!

    My Macbook Pro, iPod, and Canon Rebel will also be joining me on my upcoming travels. I love the Macbook, but in hindsight, I probably would’ve gotten the Air.

  12. Those are the two lenses I brought on my trip! They were really useful and I got great shots. Good call on bringing the waterproof case for the point and shoot- I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t have a waterproof camera with me in Asia.

    • Hopefully buying the cheap underwater case won’t bite me later… it’s honestly something I worry about! And I love your food shots so I’ve definitely made note to bring the 50mm for close-ups :)

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  14. Hey Ashley,

    Can I ask what you typically did for internet connection while abroad?

    Have you had any experience with mobile hotspots like ‘Net Zero,’ or with taking measure to protect your computer from viruses while using public wifi?

    • I actually didn’t do anything special- sometimes I used HotSpotShield as a VPN and I also use Prey in case my laptop’s stolen. I also have AppleCare which is great because it’s international, so if anything happens to it I can take it to an Apple store!

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