We’ve done a lot of traveling, used a lot of websites, and tried a lot of different gear.
Some have been great, and others haven’t. To help you always get the best deal and to save you time, we’ve created a list of products and services that we highly recommend. We personally use every single thing on this list, and would never recommend anything that we didn’t think was the absolute best.

(* means it is an affiliate link. See disclosure at bottom of the page for more details).

Travel Gear

Tortuga Backpack*
This is the bag I’ve been using for the last 2 years.  It’s the optimal carryon size, opens like a suitcase (instead of being top loading) and even has a laptop sleeve.

Osprey FarPoint 70*
The only other backpack I’ve owned, I love my Osprey and the daypack it comes with.  My only complaint is that it is technically too big to be considered a carryon.  If you want carryon size and want an Osprey, check out the Porter 46.

PackTowl QuickDrying Towel*
An absolute must when traveling.  Super light and dries quickly.  I’ve used it for the last four years, and never take it out of my backpack (except to wash it).

World Nomads Travel Insurance*
The leader in travel insurance for good reason.  They have an easy to use online interface, great customer service, and prices that are as cheap or cheaper than anyone else.  Don’t leave home without World Nomads!

Allied Passport & Visa*
*EPoP readers get $5 off all any visa service.  Just write that Extra Pack of Peanuts on your request form!
Not having the right travel documents can easily derail a whole trip and cost you thousands of dollars.  I’ve always been super impressed with the speed and personal service from the guys from Allied Passport & Visa.  If you need a visa service, this is the place to go. Best of all, China 10 year visas are now available!

You can also learn everything you need to know about visas and passports on my podcast with the Allied Passport & Visa founders.


The Flight Deal
10 times a day, the guys at Flight Deal will post really good deals on paid plane tickets from different cities around the US to all types of cool destinations. I check this site everyday, and also follow them on twitter @TheFlightDeal since deals can go fast.

ITA Matrix
My first stop when I’m buying a plane ticket, this site will show you a calendar of all the fares for a whole month for a flight. You can’t book from here, but it’s perfect for getting a baseline on what you should pay.

Skyscanner is a great because it includes many of the budget airlines that Kayak doesn’t include. I always cross-reference what I find on Expedia and Kayak with Skyscanner before booking.

EPoP Guide to Budget Airlines
There are tons of budget airlines out there that never show up on the big flight search engines.  Use this step by step guide to find budget airlines and save tons of money on flights.

Flying to China? You can give up your luggage space and make some money back as a flight courier. It’s legit, check it out!

The only flight search to offer multi-day stopovers on any flight! It multiplies the adventures that can happen on a trip, by offering 2 destinations for the price of one.



This is my go to site for booking hotels. Their prices are almost always the same as everyone else’s, but they also offer a Buy 10 nights, Get 1 free deal which essentially gives you a 10% discount.


The best hotel site for Asia, I used this constantly when living in Japan and it almost always returned the best prices for that part of the world.


They won’t show you all the hotel options, just the more upscale ones, but if that’s what you’re looking for, Rocketmiles is the way to go. Why? Because their prices are on par with all other sites AND they give you between 1,000-5,000 frequent flyer miles per night for booking!


Priceline is unique that they allow you to bid for hotels.  If you are fine with not knowing exactly what hotel you’re staying at, you can score hotel rooms at up to 50% off the normal rate.


Trusted Housesitters*

Hands down, the best site in the world for finding good housesits. It’s the largest, has the easiest to use interface, and has some incredible housesits (like the one Heather and I did in Breckenridge).

*EPoP readers are offered a special discount, so click here to find out exactly how you can get 3 extra months, free.

Housesitting Academy

If you want to start housesitting but don’t know where to start, this is the place for you. Video lessons galore on everything from how to write an effective profile to how to make sure a housesit is right for you from Jodi and Nat, who are full-time housesitters.

Apartment Rentals

When looking for apartment rentals in Europe, GowithOh is the place to start. All their apartments have been vetted by the company itself, meaning not just anyone can post a place to rent, which leads to a higher level of quality. I’ve worked with them extensively in the past and never had a bad experience.

The major player in apartment rentals, you can find an AirBnB rental almost anywhere you are in the world. I’ve used AirBnB over 20 times in a bunch of countries and been satisfied. Just make sure to read the reviews that people leave to ensure you’re getting a good place.

*By using this link to sign up for AirBnB, you’ll get $25 off your first stay!*

I’ve found hostelbookers to be the cheapest hostel search engine out there. They have properties all over the globe, including some amazing hostels that are much more like boutique hotels than the antiquated vision of a dirty, smelly, dorm room (although they have that too, if you want it)!

Hosteling International
Hosteling International oversees all the hostels in it’s portfolio, meaning you can expect a certain standard when staying at an HI affiliated hostel. In return, they do have more rules than a typical hostel, such as no drinking inside the hostel.


Cheap Caribbean
If you’re looking for the best price on an all-inclusive vacation, Cheap Caribbean is the place to go. Heather and I used Cheap Caribbean to score a seven day, seven night stay at a 5 star resort in Mexico for $2,200 total, including airfare. I’ve never found anywhere cheaper!

Car Rentals
The site I always start with to get a good baseline on what car rentals should cost.  Then, I’ll cross-check it with…
Between and, I almost always find the cheapest prices with these two.  But always make sure to follow our step by step instructions, which can be found in…

EPoP Guide to Car Rentals
For more information on how I find the cheapest car rentals, check out my step by step guide.


Rail Europe*
If you’re going to take a bunch of trains in Europe, it’ll make sense to get a Eurail pass. It’ll save you money and give you more flexibility, and they have all types of options depending on what countries you’re traveling through and for how long.

Japan Rail Pass
Japan has some of the nicest trains in the world, and it’s the best way to see the country. Since single train tickets can be super expensive, buying a Japan Rail Pass makes a ton of sense. To put it in perspective, one roundtrip ticket from Tokyo’s Narita Airport to Kyoto would cost MORE than a 7 day rail pass.

If you want to find out train schedules and prices for single tickets in Japan, use Hyperdia, which was a lifesaver for Heather and I when we lived there.

Man In Seat 61
One of my favorite websites in the world, Man in Seat 61 is the place to go to find out anything you need to know about train travel. Mark explains everything so clearly, it’s impossible to leave his site without all your questions answered. Tell him Trav from EPoP sent ya!

You can also listen to all his best train tips and favorite train rides on our awesome podcast with him!

Travel Electronics

Macbook Air 13″
I used to have a Macbook Pro, but it just got too bulky for traveling.  The Air is the perfect blend of size and performance.

Canon EOS Rebel SL1
The smallest and lightest DSLR on the market, this camera is perfect for traveling.  Takes super high quality pictures (like the ones you see on this site) but is much smaller than most comparable cameras.

Audio Technica Pro88W-R35 Wireless Lavalier Microphone
For a year, I used to have to untangle the microphone cord every single time we wanted to take a video.  Heather finally talked me in to upgrading to the wireless lavalier mic, and it’s worth it’s weight in gold.

If you’re recording videos and need a wireless mic, this is the perfect option.  Cheap, lightweight, and good quality.

Online Business

If you’re thinking of starting a website, you’ll need to have a host.  I’ve tried others, and BlueHost has been my favorite.  There’s a reason it’s one of the most popular, and it’s because it’s cheaper and better than most of the other name brand hosts.

My email delivery service of choice.  If you’ve got a website, then you should definitely start an email list.  And if you are starting an email list, I’d recommend Aweber.  Prices start out very cheap (and go up as you get more subscribers) and Aweber allows you to completely customize every aspect of your emails.


I use Libsyn to host my podcasts.  I’ve never had an issue with Libsyn, and their customer service is great!

I also use SoundCloud to host my podcasts.  Why?  Because Soundcloud is great for embedding your podcast in social media channels like Facebook and Twitter so that people can listen right from there.

Podcast Equipment

I use the following equipment to record my podcast.  This setup works great for me because it’s portable and easy to take on the road but high end enough to sound really good:

Microphone:  Audio Technica ATR-2100– BY FAR the best microphone for the price on the market.  Allows you to use at as a USB mic and plug in to your computer or with an XLR cable in to a mixer or digital recorder. I can’t recommend this enough.

Digital Recorder: Tascam DR-40- My biggest splurge so far, this digital recorder is super light and it’s what I use to record with when I’m in the same room as guest (like Heather).

Call Recorder: ECamm Call Recorder- The program I use to record Skype interviews.  I’ve never had any issues in the year and a half I’ve used it.

Note:  Any item with a * is an affiliate link.  If you choose to purchase something from an affiliate link, whether it be a backpack, travel insurance, a plane ticket, or anything else, we’ll receive a small commission at no extra charge to you (and sometimes, you’ll even get a special discount).

I recommend all the companies listed, and proudly use them myself.  If you’re ready to buy a product or a service and you want to help support this site, using these links will do exactly that.  It’s a win-win-win.  

If you do choose to use our affiliate links, we greatly appreciate the support, and if you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

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