Here's a question for you: How do you create great content while traveling with just your carry-on? You've got no space for a high-performance laptop, mic, or DSLR - so what do you do?
The ultimate dilemma when traveling light is the "But what if..." style of thinking. You want specific "edge case" attire, accessories, or gadgets, but overall, they become a hindrance to traveling light.
So the trade-off in any given one-bag style traveling is to pick what you're going to use all the time. And if you're planning on making content while traveling, this means you're going to want to bring the gear to make that content.
- If you write, you're going to want your laptop.
- If you film, you're going to want your camera.
- If you record, you're going to want your mic.
And hell, you're probably going to need a combination of that gear for a lot of the creative work you have in mind. But the dilemma still stands that you want to travel light. So how do we make this work?
It's 2022 at the time of writing. Right now, you actually don't need any of the gear above to create great content. Do you know where I'm going with this?
The Ultimate Tool: Your Phone
I can hear your objections, right. Lack of quality, lack of storage, tiny keys, tiny screen - but hold on, is this still the case? As I said, we’re in the 2020s and beyond.
You can pick up a high-end iPhone, Samsung, or Pixel and be a creative powerhouse. In fact, I met half a dozen people at least that ran their whole business on their phone while traveling in 2019. And look, we’re going to go through:
And more, and I’m going to convince you why all you need is this, but before I do, if you’re totally opposed to this, understand this: I traveled carry-on only with a laptop and a handheld camera for a year, so that’s doable too.
Hell, I’ve got half a dozen comparisons and articles on this, all you need is something like the Osprey Farpoint 40 for a bag, and you’re good to go, but my next trip is going to be even lighter.
So if you want to go as light as possible, create content, and run a business while traveling with just your phone, keep reading; if you do think you need more, have a browse through some of the articles below.
Why Your Phone Is The Ultimate Tool For Light Travel
Let’s think of someone who needs to write, edit footage, record video, record sound, and publishes all of this on the go. What does that look like in terms of light travel?
Let’s get a shopping list going:
- Laptop ~14 inches Asus Zenbook | 1.15kg
- Camera | Canon G7X Mark 3 | 0.3kg
- Mic | Blue Snoball | 0.46kg
- Action Cam | Go Pro Hero | 0.12kg
So now we’ve added about ~2kgs on a 7kg carry-on limit and we’re not even talking about what you prefer. A lot of people want decent audio input and a mic that goes with it, so they bring a DSLR. Or they want better audio so they bring something more robust than a Blue Snowball.
And this is where we’re not even talking about space. Add a DSLR and mic setup, a bigger laptop for better editing, and boom. We've hit the point where we can'y travel light anymore.
Now don't get me wrong, it’s doable if you pick and choose, and indeed if you’re a coder, you need a laptop - or if you’re podcasting, maybe you really really really need a better mic - but in reality, you don't need any of that, and you have everything you need on a high-end phone.
Let’s take the latest iPhone.
Running a Content Business While Traveling Light? All you need is your iPhone.
The One iPhone Business.
Here’s what’s on my iPhone and how I run the show
First I’ll tell you about the software, and then we can get into some extra accessories to level this up.
- iPhone's Notes app - This is where I write all my copy, blogs, articles, content plans, schedules, and more.
- Standard Camera app - Don’t bother with the other 100 on the app store, you’ve got your wide-angle, zoom, portrait mode, in-camera-cuts, and more.
- Adobe Premiere Rush (Free) - Phenomenal design, fast, and premium-for-free mobile video editing, this is genuinely all you need for everything video while traveling.
- Adobe Lightroom for mobile (Free) - You could easily use the iPhone’s inbuilt editors but Lightroom has that extra bit of power and functionality to elevate your photo edits to the next level - straight on your phone.
- Instagram, Twitter, Medium, Quora, Pinterest, Facebook, Reddit, LinkedIn, Tik Tok, YouTube - Every one of these social apps has its purpose but in the middle of that Venn diagram, we’ve got Link Buildyou’veead Generation, and Customer/Audience Communication - you need the phone to make content, but also distribute it.
- Substack - Not on my iPhone perse but get an account anyway, you need to capture emails and this is the easiest way to do it for free and stay in touch with your audience.
- Buffer - Social media scheduling so you don’t have to do everything manually.
- Stripe - Collect payments with minimal fees - pair that with Zoom to chat to clients and Calendly to book time and you’ve got yourself a coaching/teaching business.
- WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal - Communicating with any clients or business partner you might hit’s
This is just scratching the surface. You can access all of this software, create content, distribute it, talk to clients, charge them, all on your phone.
To blog, you can use the standard Notepad app and copy whatever you write to the platform of choice. It’s as easy as that.
And you might be thinking, “it’s easier to write on a laptop” and hey, it is - but also, there’s been a clear trend in using our mobile devices to do more and more and it’s unsurprising that it’s the default that the majority of people access the internet.
With this much time on the internet, on your phone, typing comments, texts, chatting with friends, writing emails - you may as well write your blogs using the small screen too.
I’ve found it actually helps keep you concise, well-crafted, and all-around more digestible. And you can always test this by writing a few articles on your phone before you decide to take off traveling.
Filming & Video Editing
Whatever high-end phone you’re using I can guarantee it does 1080p at 60 frames at least and that’s all you need (more than what you need actually). An iPhone, Samsung, or Pixel each have their own pros and cons, but one thing’s for certain, they’re more than enough to tell your story.
Here’s the workflow:
- Film your content.
- Use Premiere Rush (Free) to edit on your phone.
- Upload your content to YouTube and link out.
And if you need some crisper audio, you can easily get a Rode Lavalier Mic (Amazon Link) to have that right on your collar. Our phones are small and powerful computers, and with smart decisions and workflows, actually really fucking easy to create and edit the content on. You're not producing insane VFX, you're likely just talking to a camera, filming amazing travel adventures - you really should be focusing on being engaging - not making everything pixel perfect.
Social Media & Photography
And look, you're right, these aren't two thousand dollar DSLRs for pro photography, I get it. But would you not agree that getting the shot and editing it is more important?
If we're traveling light, it opens up a whole world of quick-access photography. Access to footage where cameras aren’t allowed, hikes where they're impractical, in-the-moment shots where you just can't get a candid picture unless it's on your phone.
This is why phones are super convenient with getting the shot.
Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve met people running their whole solo enterprise while traveling, straight from their phone - you can be that guy or gal.
- Take the picture.
- Edit using Adobe Lightroom on your phone.
- Post it on Instagram.
And yes, you might be looking for waterproof cameras, or other cameras that can do things your phone might not be able to - but honestly it's far and few.
I used a Samsung Galaxy s10e back in the day in Thailand, during Songkran, the Thai New Year, where a giant country-wide water gun fight ensues for 3 days. II filmed with that water-resistant phone the whole time - undamaged. Sure you can't attach it to a surfboard but if that’s the core of your content, then GoPros are cheap-ish and small and that might be a non-negotiable.
This is again, just scratching the surface - you can do so much with just a phone. So the one takeaway here is that traveling light can mean compromise, sure, but a lot of the it's not that much compromise.
When you're backpacking around the world, having an amazing time, and running your content business straight from your phone, it’s hard not to fall in love with your newly found minimalistic lifestyle and freedom.
Try it at home for a week or two, I guarantee you'll be surprised.
Sah out ✌