My recommended travel merchandise
As an avid traveler aspiring to be a minimalist with a penchant for photography and all cruelty-free, sustainable products, here are my tried and tested travel products that I highly recommend. These include sustainable apparel to cruelty free beauty products, my entire photography gear to travel accessories that I swear by and everything else that I’ve found to be useful.
I have or continue to use these products personally and absolutely love them, which is why I am suggesting them to you, my dear readers. If a certain product is no longer available, I have provided its closest viable alternative based on customer reviews. For all pet friendly travel gear, visit my pet travel resources page.
This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on them may earn me a small commission at no extra cost to you for purchase of the product. Thank you!
A Canon DSLR Rebel T2i, an excellent beginners’ DSLR (I have linked to the Rebel T3 here since T2i has been discontinued) , Canon 50mm f1.8 prime lens and Sigma 17-50 mm lens for Canon DSLR were my only go to travel photography gear for years that served me pretty well. I have also used the sharp as tack Canon 24-70 mm f2.8 USM L lens which is super heavy but produces wickedly crystal clear photos.
However, once I got the Sony Mirrorless alpha a7RII along with the Zeiss 35mm lens, my life changed completely. Lightweight, compact and with a killer AF, the sharpness and crispness of images captured by the Zeiss lens remain unparalleled.
The a7RII is definitely on the higher side of mirrorless cameras, but here is a comprehensive list on mirrorless travel cameras for all budgets that I hope will be useful for those thinking of making the switch from bulky DSLRs.
A good camera is an investment piece that needs to be protected and maintained. Enter, sturdy yet stylish camera bags. I have a whole post on the best travel camera bags for women, with having personally used the Kelly Moore Luna vegan leather bag (I have provided link to another model on Amazon below), the Acme Made Montgomery camera backpack (made in San Francisco) and this exact Billingham camera bag.
I have a full time day job which requires some travel. I sometimes tag a vacation to my conference travels, but for those I simply cannot make do with a backpack alone. I need a laptop tote bag or something minimalistic, yet professional enough to transition from business meetings to afterwork exploring. Here are my recommended products for business travel. I personally have used the Longchamp Le Pliage Nylon tote for years; it is sturdy as hell and still going strong after 10 yrs!
It is no secret that fast fashion is killing our earth with millions of pieces of clothing ending up in landfill each year, thanks to a buying frenzy fueled by cheap prices and crazy sales. As part of my evolution towards becoming a more responsible traveler, here are some of my picks on items that are either from retailers that are fair-trade and sustainable or have items made from recycled materials. These are:
Mata Traders: This sustainable, fair-trade US based brand is good for the planet and I swear by their colorful cotton dresses (see how their dress looks on me in this Marseille post).
Besides Mata Traders, I am a fan of several other conscious fashion retailers that I have talked about in detail in this post and have also linked to apparel brands carried by Amazon below that are fair-trade and ethical. Click on the images below to shop!
Athleta: Although part of mainstream retail giant GAP, what I’ve been recently loving about Athleta is their recycled high waist pants made of 85% recycled plastic which keep the nasty plastic bottles out of the landfills and are oh-so sleek and moisture wicking, with style and comfort in the same pair that can take you from work to weekend soirees in elan! I personally own this exact skyline pant and recently purchased this Brooklyn ankle pant. Click on the images below to purchase them.
Apparel made of Recycled Fabric
Packing lists and guides
For those interested in what to pack for India (I am Indian, hence this obligatory post), I have written this entire guide on what to wear in India for first time women travelers. Amazon has tons of Indian apparel for women that you should definitely check out if you are planning to visit India.
For those wanting to add a dash of color to your wardrobe, ditch the regular US retailers and check out these kitschy, colorful, fair-trade Indian retailers who ship internationally in this post of mine. I have personally purchased from each one of them and continue to wear those at the “peril” of receiving many compliments.
This is my 10th year of living in San Francisco and all I can say is this: our city is like no other American city. We have this surreal thing called microclimates which will completely throw you off your dressing game if you are not prepared. Thankfully for you, I also have a guide on what to wear in San Francisco to blend in with the locals as well as a free, printable San Francisco packing list.
Footwear and accessories
I have a terrible time shopping for appropriate footwear since I am flat-footed and need an insane level of arch support. As a result, most normal shoes and heels are out of question for me. When I am not in my Nike sneakers, I almost exclusively wear shoes from Naturalizer which is the only brand that will not make me want to cry due to intense knee pain caused by incorrect footwear, thanks to their inner cushioning and support.
I have also linked several travel accessories that I use (such as my trusted Olivia Burton wristwatch that I live in) with highly rated alternatives for brands which I could not find on Amazon.
How many times have we cursed ourselves in the rain for forgetting to pack that umbrella? Or searched hopelessly in some airport in Europe trying to find some Aspirin that is not woefully overpriced? Or lamented over leaving our portable charger at home as we stare at our dead phone? To avoid all those future meltdowns, here are some other nifty travel essentials that you definitely need to remember to pack. Just click on the images to shop!
Travel luggage and handbags
I travel light and swear by my Timbuk2 backpack that are lightweight and yet have a ton of space, including that for my laptop. Using backpacks frees my hands and I really hate lugging around a roller bag since my petite frame finds it difficult to lift it up into overhead luggage bins. Plus, they are no good while taking the stairs at airports when the escalators are too crowded!
I have linked the exact backpack below for you to see. I am also a huge fan of the Canadian brand Matt & Nat which produces stylish, minimalist luxury grade vegan leather bags of all kinds (clutches to duffel bags) and own several of their cruelty free bags. Click on the image below to make your purchase (I have linked my exact backpack model, the Timbuk2 Tuck pack in this collection).
Travel beauty and skincare products
I stick to only a few skincare products which I have linked below and also talked about in my cruelty-free post. All these skincare brands are cruelty free (no animal testing involved and certified by Leaping Bunny and/or PETA) and I have been using them for years now. I love my Stella by Stella McCartney perfume since it is cruelty-free. You can shop my skincare products directly by clicking on the images below.
These products work for my very oily skin and might not be effective on you. Please use common sense, i.e. consult your dermatologist and take all necessary precautions (such as skin patch test) before trying any new skincare product.
I will be updating this list with newer items as and when I discover them and use them enough to recommend them. In the meantime, checkout my travel freebies page with free resources on all things San Francisco related and more.
Thanks for stopping by and safe travels!