packing

Best of Tripfilms Twelve Travel Questions: Top Packing Essentials

Over the last two years, we’ve interviewed 50 of our talented filmmakers and filmmaker teams. Here is a collection of some of the best travel tips, crazy travel stories, and filmmaking philosophies from these expert travelers.

We asked 50 filmmakers:  What are three things you take on every trip?

We pack all the essentials of course, but we’re always sure to take our cameras, laptops and plenty of rubber bands. Never know when you’ll need one, you know. – Two for the Road

The first thing that I am always sure to have is my camera. For the past few years that would have been a Canon 5D and 7D, although I just bought a Sony FS700 so that will the first thing I pack from here on out. The second I always bring is my laptop. I believe that traveling is about disconnecting from the habits of home life, and so I try not to check email or Facebook, however the laptop is essential because I tend to capture a lot of photos and videos while traveling and like to have everything captured, saved, and archived. The third thing is to always have a book to read. I tend not to read novels, choosing rather to read Lonely Planet or National Geographic. I find those types of books inspiring while traveling and they are great to pull out of my backpack while taking time-lapse shots, sitting on a bus, or relaxing at a hostel. – James Alexander Adams

Our cameras (two Canon 5D Mark III), iPhones, rain gear. – Nomadic Frames

I always take my DSLR camera, an extra battery and an extra SD card (you can tell where my priorities lie). Everything else is optional, including clothes. – The Expeditioner

Canon SLR cameras, a 24-year-old mascot soft toy seal, and a very heavy backpack with all our equipment in it. – Eight Miles from Home

The three key ones (other than obviously passport, credit cards & tickets!) are (1) my St. Christopher necklace that my parents gave me when I was 13 and never ever leave the house without it. Ever. I am very superstitious about having it to protect my travels. (2) earplugs (I am obsessed with noise and use them every night—even at home) and (3) eye shades (as I can’t sleep unless it’s dark. As you can see, it’s mostly about sleep! – Gary Bembridge

Three is too many! Pretty much my camera—the rest doesn’t matter! – Etherium Sky Films

Besides our obvious film equipment, we always bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer (always a life saver), headphones, and a rainfly for inclement weather to protect our equipment. – Rural Movement

Besides the obvious like passports and money we always make sure to bring our iPods, computers and cameras. – Mindful Wanderlust

1. A large hooded sweatshirt. Basically a travel multi-tool. It’s a towel, it’s bottle padding, a pillow, a blanket, and an amorphous disguise for after hours walks. 2. Fizzing Vitamin C tablets for water. Take one a day for a few days after a long haul. I haven’t had a cold since. 3. A passport photocopy and extra photos. Also, digital versions saved into an Evernote document. – Mike Corey

My laptop, so I can work; my SteriPen, so I can drink tap water anywhere I go; and a guidebook, so I can read up on local history and hotspots. – Alex in Wanderland

My camera (of course), my e-book, and a travel guide. – Rubén Alonso

Pashmina, headlamp, water filter. – Kristen Sarah

My Canon 6D, my iPhone, and my Drobo Mini to back up all my photos and footage. – David Hoffmann

My Gopro, reading material and an appetite for adventure! – Joshua Johnson

I travel REALLY light, like one little backpack. But three items I always have are running shoes, video camera and electric shaver (not a fan of facial hair). – Ryan Van Duzer

Other than loads of cameras and video equipment… A multi plug and one travel adaptor, half the clothes that I think I will need (more space for cameras) and a healthy dose of “if life gives you lemons” attitude. – Travizeo

It’s tough to narrow it down because I usually bring a TON of stuff, but here’s what I would never go on any trip without: iPhone, Canon 5D Mark II, spare contacts (clear vision is everything). – John Piazza IV

My camera, my toothbrush, my iPod. – Eduardo Gato

I always take my iPhone, a hoody (in case it rains or it’s cold in the hotel), and a pair of flip-flops! – Gloria Powell

Camera gear, phone with a solid travel playlist, and a French Press with VT coffee beans. – Patrick J. McDaniel

My DSLR, my iPhone and a sleeping mask. – Cailin O’Neil

My camera, my moleskine, and the friendship of a local. – Josep Gutierrez

50mm 1.2, mini speaker, double USB Adapter, close third…sleeping pills for long haul flights. – Justin Weiler

Camera, book, hand sanitizer. – Sarah Zareen

Brian: I always bring a backup hard drive, a Sci-Fi or Fantasy book, and a hat. Tammy:  I usually bring a clothesline & Woolite. With kids we’re always having to do laundry. Also they sometimes need to go to bed earlier. So instead of running back and forth to a laundromat, we just do the laundry in the hotel room and relax and play a game or talk. The kids always need a hoodie and stuffed animals, Android tablets, and books. We also bring sports tape for minor cuts & blisters. We have found it’s much better and protects better than band aids. Okay, that’s more than three things… but hey! There are six of us. – Wesley Adventures

Toothbrush, extra underwear, brain. – Andrew Kamphey

My camera, my computer and pink lipstick! – Juliana Broste

A CAMERA[!!!], headphones, and good music. – Jesse and Kimberly Moore

I mean, some thing are obvious, like I always take my flip-flops, phone, charger…stuff like that. Some of the more unique things I take on every trip are: A legal pad (I write most things by hand at first), Extra pair of underwear (literally in case I get wet…even in the desert I’m still worried about getting wet and having to wear wet underwear), GoPro (I hate shooting with a GoPro. I really really hate it. I’m almost never satisfied with the image I get and it’s like 8x more work than an SLR, but even on trips when I leave my SLR, I pack the GoPro—just in case) – Bobby Christian

A neck-tie, two pairs of chopsticks and a bottle of Dutch Courage. – SPESUS

Camera, microphone, tripod. – Gina DeGirolamo

I never leave home without my Macbook Pro, Exofficio underwear and positive attitude. – Gareth Leonard

1. Hand sanitizer wipes, 2. Airborne, 3. Eye mask/Ear plugs. I used to get sick when I traveled. I couldn’t figure out why. I went to my doctor and she told me to wipe down the armrest and tray table and a take an airborne when I fly. I do this every time now when I fly and haven’t gotten sick since (knock on wood). – Monique Soltani

Swim trunks, massage balls, SMECTA. Swim trunks are a must. I love jacuzzis and if there’s a chance that there’s a jacuzzi somewhere, I don’t want to be standing there in my underwear wishing I had swim trunks. I try to stay in shape on the road so it’s nice to have a pair of these Gaiam massage balls to work out knots and tightness after a good run. SMECTA is a powder medication to treat gastrointestinal pain. I eat pretty much everything on the road and once in a while you have to pay your dues. Raw llama? Why not. If you’ve had some kind of gastrointestinal pain, you know it is absolutely unbearable. I’m not a doctor, so do not take this as medical advice, but this has saved me a few times and I always keep a few packets sealed away in my toiletry bag. – Kien Lam

OK, I’m not going to be all boring and list our camera and electronic gear. Instead I’m going to give you the staples for travel that we pack every time….Gold Bond, a lightweight down jacket, sarongs. – The Planet D

I must admit the first three things that come to mind are my crucial pieces of gear: Apple iPhone, Apple MacBook Air, and Sony Alpha 5100 camera and lenses. – Jason Leppert

Firstly you never know where you might end up or at what time of day so I always have my LED divers torch—or flashlight as its called stateside! Second, the essential clothing: good breathable hiking pants, lightweight sweater, and rain/wind-resistant jacket. And for me good lightweight walking boots. This helps in the tropics! Third, a map. I love maps so wherever I am going I make sure to have a map of that area. Always good to have some idea where you are! – Adam Baker

Besides the obvious that is our camera gear, we’re never without our headlamps, our quick dry towels and our USB game controller to play NES games on our laptop! – Because We Camp

My sneakers, sunscreen, camera. – Eszter Vajda

Sleeping mask, running shoes and a journal. – Carri Wilbanks

Bikini, camera and journal. – Travelista Teri

Camera, laptop, passport. – Mark Wiens

My ipod, insulin and other diabetic supplies and a notebook to write my diary. – Mick Hobday

Skateboard, Phone and Macbook. – Gustavo Matias

Photo/video gear, flip flops, and headphones. – Wander The Map

Half a dozen cameras, Gold Bond Talcum Powder and wrapped hard candy to gift to street food vendors who let us shoot their food. – Lost & Found Travel

Camera, computer and portable WiFi. And my wife, of course. – Armando Costantino

My Kindle Fire, my camera, and lots of Pepto-Bismol. – Nathalie Basha

Lipstick, of course!  We all love the shade “Sisterly Love” from our own line.  After that, a camera and a mind to dive into wherever we are. – Global Lipstick