Here are the travel and blogging products I use and heartily recommend.
Google Flights – Google Flights is the first site I use when researching flights. It lets you input your departure airport and see how much flights will cost all over the world. Plus, it suggests different dates in order to get you the cheapest flight possible.
Skyscanner – Skyscanner is a flight search engine that finds the cheapest flights available – I like it because it includes many budget carrier that bigger sites miss. To date, I have found my cheapest international flights with Skyscanner.
Booking.com – I’ve recently grown to love booking.com because I find it has the cheapest overall rates with the largest inventory of accommodation worldwide.
Airbnb – I love Airbnb because it allows you to stay in non-touristy, residential areas and because it often offers better value than hotels.
New to Airbnb? Get $40 off your first stay here.
Hotels.com – I like Hotels.com because it gives you a free night if you book ten nights (the price of the free night is an average of your 10 other stays).
Agoda – Agoda is a hotel booking site that has more listing in Asia than any other site. When I’m traveling Asia, this is the site I use 99% of the time.
Osprey Meridian Wheeled Luggage 60L – I love my Osprey rolling backpack because it’s durable, easy to maneuver, and attractive. If you need to put it on your back, it does have backpack straps.
Patagonia Refugio Pack 28L – I’ve had this backpack since 2013 and it’s still going strong. I love it because it’s sturdy, spacious, and (mysteriously) never looks dirty. When I’m traveling, it houses all of my electronics and valuables.
Travelon Antitheft Crossbody Bag – I’ve used this bag around the world, from Uganda to India. It’s crazy secure; it has a locking main compartment, a slash-resistant shoulder strap, and RFID blocking card slots.
Check out my packing post to see a detailed list of everything I bring on my trips!
Camera + Gear
Fujifilm X-Pro 2 – After using a super heavy full frame-camera for years (Canon 5DS R) I finally switched to a mirrorless system — the Fujifilm X-Pro 2. I bought my X-Pro 2 used on Amazon and I couldn’t be happier – it’s super light, takes fantastic pictures, and has super fun film simulation modes. I’m also a huge fan of Fuji lenses.
Walkaround lens – Fujinon 23mm f/1.4 – My favorite Fuji lens. Tack-sharp, excellent depth of field, and functions well in low light due to the 1.4 F stop.
Wide-angle lens – Rokinon 12mm f/1.2 – My go-to wide-angle lens, which I like for interiors and the outdoors. I first rented the Fujinon 10-24mm f/4 for my wide-angle lens, but it was too bulky and didn’t do well in low light. I much prefer the Rokinon, which bonus – is $700 cheaper!
Tip – Before buying a new camera or lens, you can rent one first at Borrowlenses.com. It’s very affordable and makes renting camera gear super easy!
SanDisk Extreme 32GB Memory Card – This memory card is lightning fast and so big that you never have to delete pictures on the fly to make room for new ones.
Adobe Lightroom Subscription – Lightroom is a super robust photo editing program. If you want to improve your photo editing, I’d highly recommend buying it.
Hostgator – Hostgator is a great web host for beginners – it has great support, and offers a chat feature that allows you to quickly troubleshoot site problems with representatives. I used their web hosting for the first 5 years of blogging. That being said, my site started to get slow at around 25,000 monthly page views. I still think Hostgator is a great choice for beginner bloggers, but once you hit 25K page views, it’s time to switch hosts. See current pricing for Hostgator hosting here.
Siteground Hosting – In 2017, I switched my hosting from Hostgator to Siteground and my site speed dramatically increased. I had been frustrated for years with my website’s slow speed – turns out, the problem was my host! I now have Siteground’s GoGeek plan which costs $34.95/month. It’s recommended for sites that have up to 100,000 monthly page views. I highly recommend Siteground. See current pricing for Siteground hosting here.
Keysearch – Keysearch is a super powerful SEO and keyword research tool. It has helped me significantly increase my traffic — If you want to increase your traffic, I highly recommend it! Get 20% off your Keysearch subscription with the code KSDISC – click here to sign up.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing – The best affiliate course I’ve used; within three months of taking the course, my Amazon affiliate earnings went up by 270%. Needless to say, the course more than paid for itself! All in all, this was of the best investments in my blogging career. Michelle (the course founder) is an affiliate marketing genius. Click here to sign up.
Chase Sapphire Preferred This is my primary credit card. I love this card because it gives you double points on travel and food, my two biggest expenses.
Charles Schwab debit card – This is my favorite debit card. It allows you to take cash out of any ATM (international or domestic) with no transaction fee! Not only that, but it refunds the fees that other banks charge you.
Mint.com – Mint is a free web-based financial management system that monitors your bank accounts. Mint is perfect for travelers – it notifies you if you are unnecessarily paying any foreign transaction fees and alerts you if there is a sketchy drop in any of your bank accounts.
Pro tip – check thepointsguy.com before opening a new credit card to see which credit cards are offering big bonuses right now.
I always buy travel insurance before international trips. This is for two reasons; to pay for hospital care in case of injury or illness, and two, to protect my gear. I’ve used World Nomads Travel Insurance for years and highly recommend them. Get a quote here.
This post was not sponsored by any of these companies – I just really love their products. Also, this post contains affiliate links. If you click through on affiliate link, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for keeping Ashley Abroad afloat!