Getting prepared for a trip is a daunting task, especially when it comes to going overseas. As a creative media professional, I have some tech hardware requirements that will let me get the job done properly, and I needed to do it in an international location. I knew this was going to be like watching past the first season of Heroes; you know it will all go downhill from here.
The trip to Malaysia took me on Air Canada and Cathay Pacific. Each airline has different regulations when it comes to carry-on sizes and weights. I wanted to travel light and fast, which meant leaving some things out. I also wanted extra security for my gear, so I had to buy new bags.
The essential tech for creativity
My gaming ultra book was a must. It would give me all the power I needed for processing photos and video post production. I had lots of data stored on separate external hard drives, which can add to the weight. I also brought other accessories, such as a wireless mouse and a USB 3.0 hub that lets me connect more than one USB hard drive to one port. The hub keeps my sanity so that I can run automatic backups, work on video post-production, and chill out with my media library over Plex without continuously disconnecting and reconnecting separate drives. However, I couldn’t bring spare drives for capturing more video footage.
Communication is important for me to keep in touch with friends and family, at home and abroad. Without my smartphone, I’m unable to communicate with anybody, and while I could get by with a cheap, burnable phone in Malaysia, I’m familiar with my current phone and I also have access to work on the go and social media. I actually wrote this post on my phone while in the air from Vancouver to Hong Kong. Along with the smartphone, I needed my charger and power bank to keep my phone topped up.
Photography is doable with just a camera phone and Instagram, but nothing beats the versatility of a DSLR. I packed my Canon 60D with two lenses – a 28mm f/1.8 and 50mm f/1.8. Some other photography must-haves were a battery grip, spare battery, battery charger, two SD cards, anti-theft camera strap, and a remote. A tripod was too big, so I would have to buy one there. I also wanted to do some podcasting and audio production, so I brought my Zoom H4n, dynamic microphone, pop filter with gooseneck, and an XLR cable since they took up little space.
What to wear
Clothing was simple – dress shirt, one tie, one bow tie, and several pairs of socks and underwear. Buy the rest later as needed.
As it turned out, I didn’t even need the ties.
Secure your gear
Finally, I needed new bags for security. After much research, I went with a Pacsafe Camsafe V25 backpack for carrying my laptop and camera. I chose it because it was just the right size as a daypack, under-the-seat bag with padded compartments for camera gear. At least, that was the plan at first. I ended up prioritizing my hard drives and they ended up in the padded compartments, since it was ideal for protecting the drives from bumps. For carrying my camera gear on the go, I went with a Pacsafe Camsafe V6, which actually ended up as a very convenient daypack. A Samsonite 20″ spinner luggage took care of transporting everything else (including the fully-loaded V6). While there are weight restrictions for carry-on luggage, I went over the limit because I learned from experience that going to the checked baggage counter when there are no extra bags to check is pointless – if they can’t weigh it, they can’t check it. So long as I can lift my bag comfortably, I would be good to go, and that was certainly the case.
I chose Pacsafe because they have anti-theft features built in to their bags. Check them out, they’re a bit more expensive than standard bags, but they felt more effective when combined with common sense techniques.
Ready to go
This may all seem like a lot of stuff to transport, but I looked at it this way – if it didn’t fit in my backpack or carry-on luggage, I left it behind. I figured if I really needed it, I could buy it there. I ended up doing exactly just that.
Another thing I did keep in mind was the different electrical requirements. Malaysia runs on a 220V system, and fortunately, all of my electronics can automatically handle between 115V-240V. All I needed were travel plug adapters – I found a little computer shop in Bangsar Village called Chanz IT that sold travel power bars and plug adapters for super cheap.
Being a creative media professional is challenging when you have to consider international travel for your work. There’s always going to be one facet of your creativity that’s going to be sacrificed; in my case, it was filmmaking. However, I could focus on copywriting, photography, and blogging while here, which suits me just fine.