7 Must-Have Travel Tools For Creatives | Ep. #131

Pro Church Daily is the show where - in ten minutes or less - you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus, while navigating the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years.

June 13th, 2018

We travel a lot here at Pro Church Tools. Whether it’s capturing footage for Storytape, or speaking at conferences, there’s always a trip in the works. Over the past couple years we’ve learned a lot about travelling light and efficient. Brady talks through our travel essentials.

What’s In This Session?

Show Notes & Resources Mentioned

The Full Transcript

Alex Mills: Well, hey there and welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show where in 10 minutes or less, you’re gonna get a daily dose of tips and tactics that help your church share the message of Jesus while we try and navigate the biggest communication shift that we’ve seen in, one might say, the last 500 years. I’m your host, Alex Mills, joined as always by the boss man. It’s Brady Shearer. Today we’re talking about seven must-have travel tools for creatives.

Brady Shearer: We travel a pretty good amount here at Pro Church Tools for our story tape trips, capturing footage, speaking at conferences, and over the last couple of years, Alex and I, Brandon and I, Tristan and I, pretty much anyone and I, have done a ton of travel and I think that we’ve learned a lot when it comes to traveling light and traveling efficiently. We wanted to share in a more unusual episode of Pro Church Daily some of the tools that we have found most effective when it comes to making travel as fun, enjoyable, and easygoing as possible. A lot of the reason that people resist travel or don’t look forward to it is because it can be exhausting and it can be frustrating, especially when you’re not as familiar with it and it’s not second nature. We wanted to share some of the things that we’ve learned along the way.

Alex Mills: There’s not many things that are more frustrating to me than being uncomfortable or having the feeling of having too much stuff when I’m traveling and especially with the gear. If we’re traveling, like we were just recently in California for a conference, and we had just started shooting for the Pro Church vlog, I’m just trying to figure out how to have my carry-on and my gear bag, but also have the vlog camera and be filming and doing all this stuff. When you get to the point where it’s like, “I literally don’t have enough hands for this,” there are not many more things on this planet that frustrate me more than this. A lot of these tools that we’re going to talk about have been super helpful for reducing that and alleviating that frustration of feeling like, “I don’t know what to do with all this stuff.”

Brady Shearer: Also, shout out to the Pro Church vlog.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: New episodes every single weekend, ProChurchVlog.com. 

Tool number one, and this is probably the biggest one that we can share with you, the tool is the Lowepro Flipside bag. This is the camera and gear bag that we use. But the tool is means to an end, and that end is never checking bags. 

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: Now, when we travel with the drone, we have to check it. If we are not traveling with the drone, I have not checked a bag in years.

Alex Mills: No.

Brady Shearer: Because it makes travel so much more difficult. The likelihood of them losing your bag, waiting at the bag check, waiting for it to get sent, and then there’s a delay and it’s 30 minutes later. No, no. Straight to the whip, no stopping at the bag check. Get the car and go. What’s amazing with the Lowepro Flipside series of bags is that they’re pretty much bigger than the average carry-on, but because it’s on your back and people just assume that’s a personal item, what’s amazing is that this bag weighs 55 pounds.

Alex Mills: It is bigger than every single person’s carry-on and they’re like, “Sorry, sir, we’re gonna have to check that. You can get it at the gate.” I’m walking in with two backpacks, one on my front, one on my back, I’ve got 80 batteries and 100 pounds of gear and they’re like, “That’s two small purses.”

Brady Shearer: This looks fine.

Alex Mills: It’s amazing. The Lowepro Flipside bag is what we use. I’ll often travel with two of them. Recently we went on a trip to Hawaii and there were three of us on this trip. We didn’t have enough backpacks and so Brandon actually borrowed one from his roommate, Jesse, and the back that he brought was a Hexad Access Duffel. I thought this bag might even be better than the Lowepro one. It’s actually bigger. Again, you [inaudible 00:03:29] backpacks, they’re like, “Oh, yeah, it’s like a clutch. That’s fine.” But it had all these great compartments. It did a really good job at separating your personal items from your gear, and the one thing about the Lowepro, it is a backpack. Your gear and your personal items are all in there. It’s undies next to batteries. But with the Hexad Access Duffel, there was that separation. Two great bags.

Brady Shearer: I have not used that duffel bag, but I have used Lowepro bags for probably a decade now. I have tried a couple other brand bags but there is not a better bag from the ones that I’ve used than the Lowepro Flipside series bags. I love that the zipper is on the backside of the bag and not the front side. That’s where the name Flipside comes from. It’s just the best.

Alex Mills: It also always fools the people that stop your bags at the TSA and they’re like, “I can’t open this bag.” I’m like, “I don’t know if I can touch it to help you.”

Brady Shearer: Yeah, and then you’re like, “I’m gonna reach” and they’re like, “Don’t touch that, sir!” You’re like, “Okay, here we go. It’s all [inaudible 00:04:22].”

Alex Mills: I should have checked this bag.

Brady Shearer: Exactly. Okay, the third is a new tool that we’ve been using. It’s called the Skyroam. Alex, you can speak more about this ’cause you were the one that proposed the idea.

Alex Mills: Yeah, we’ve talked about this. I don’t know what episode we chatted about this tool before, but it’s basically a personal hotspot and we use this for traveling, especially with story tape when we’re in the middle of Iceland or Switzerland or Ireland or wherever.

Brady Shearer: In America, not Canada.

Alex Mills: Yeah, and we use it in California. Instead of having roaming packages on all of our phones, we just have this one singular hotspot and what’s great about the Skyroam is that you pay per day or you can buy a 30-day pass. It’s very affordable. It’s really high-speed. You can connect up to five devices and it’s worked seamlessly for us. The battery life is crazy.

Brady Shearer: The battery life is unreal.

Alex Mills: There’s no rental fee. I think you pay a one-time fee of $149.99 to buy the device and then from there it’s just pay as you go passes and it’s worked seamlessly for us.

Brady Shearer: A great tool. The other tool that is very important when it comes to our devices is our portable iPhone charger. Now, I don’t know the exact brand of this. We found it on Amazon, essentially, but it’s a little bit longer than a phone but a little bit skinnier. It takes about 14 days to charge. When it is fully charged, it will then never lose its charge.

Alex Mills: It never dies.

Brady Shearer: I think we’ve had to charge it once and we plugged it in and we’re like, “This thing takes forever.” Before you leave, make sure it’s fully charged because it takes forever. Once it is charged, it can power your phone so well and it charges faster, I find, than any wall outlet. This is great when you’re in the middle of nowhere droning an amazing beach and there isn’t an outlet and you’re not driving and you don’t want your car to lose its battery and then be abandoned and stuck in this beach in the middle of nowhere that is beautiful, but it is remote. This has been super helpful. Also on planes it’s great. Sometimes I get a seat and there’s no AC outlet or there’s USB only or I always get the seat that doesn’t have the outlets. It’s so annoying. Having this has been just a lifesaver.

Alex Mills: I was just gonna use that exact word. There have been a handful of situations on these story tape trips that this has literally been a lifesaver for us.

Brady Shearer: You need to find a way to get home and your phone is the map. 

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: If it’s dead you are not in a good place. Another tool, this is more specific to camera gear, is our lens cleaning kit whether it’s for the drone, whether it’s for our lenses that we’re putting on our handheld cameras. You’re outside, you’re filming in inclement weather, and your sensor gets a little bit hit or your lens, more likely, gets hit. We’re always cleaning and it’s small, it’s compact, and it’s not exactly exciting, but it’s a lifesaver again when you’re filming and then it starts to rain and there’s that little blotch on your lens and it’s ruining the footage and you need that cleaning kit.

Alex Mills: Right, and there’s a handful of different brands that create these all in one kits that come with the microfiber cloths, usually one of those air bursters which is really great for sensors.

Brady Shearer: Those are so helpful.

Alex Mills: You can buy them on B & H Photo or Amazon, whatever. One of the tools that is always in my personal bag is a lens pen. That’s the brand, it has two different tips for cleaning lenses. That’s in our kit, as well. 

Brady Shearer: The app that I find myself using the most while traveling is the Rizon app, R-I-Z-O-N is how that’s spelled. I think it’s $5.00 and it’s gonna tell you exactly where magic hour, twilight, is based on your exact coordinates and whether you’re filming or you just wanna catch a beautiful sunrise, maybe you just wanna do your devotions in a new place outdoors at the most beautiful time of the day. This app is so great for that finding the right time.

Alex Mills: Yeah, we do use it for filming a lot, but when my wife and I were in California on vacation, I used it for finding what time the sun was rising and setting every day, so rising we’d get up and go for a walk by the water and then using it to find out what time the sun is setting so you can go to the beach and bark at seals while the sun is setting. That’s what we’re using it for.

Brady Shearer: That’s a little too much personal information for Pro Church Daily, but I’ll let it go. Finally, this is the most important tool.

Alex Mills: It really is.

Brady Shearer: Aside from checking your bags. TSA pre, also CLEAR I think is another option in America. If you’re Canadian, Nexus. Going through customs, going through security check at the airport in the general line, there are few things that are as detrimental to your soul and your walk with the Lord-

Alex Mills: Your mental health.

Brady Shearer: -than that. We have Nexus, which is basically a trusted traveler program. As Canadians, we don’t have to go through the regular customs. They’re basically like, “Where are you going? Are you bringing anything in? Okay, go for it.” Costs $50. You go through a one-time interview with an actual security agent where they accused me of being a professional baseball player because they’re like, “Why are you going to America so much?” I’m like, “I’m on a mission to see all 30 MLB stadiums.” He was like, “Oh, you play baseball there, bud.” 

Alex Mills: “No, I just like to watch the games.”

Brady Shearer: “Sure, so you’re a professional?” Stop trying to catch me! I look nothing like a professional athlete.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: You get through that and then it’s easy sailing from there. In America, you can pay for TSA Pre, CLEAR is a new option, as well. Avoid the lines. It will give you the clarity and serenity that you need. 

Alex Mills: My favorite benefit of having Nexus is when you’re sitting on a plane and you’re flying in from an international destination and they’re handing out the customs clearance cards and the-

Brady Shearer: It’s such a baller move.

Alex Mills: The flight attendant walks by and she holds one out to you. You just get to look at her and be like, “No, no, I’m good. I don’t need that.” She’s like, “What wizardry is this?” You’re like, “I’m fine, trust me.” 

Brady Shearer: Final thing we wanna make note of is if you are doing video, photography, or anything like that, Compact Gear is the way that you’re able to travel and not check bags. There’s no way of getting around this with our drone. If you were traveling with a Spark or a Mavic, that’d be fine for you. Camera isn’t high enough quality for us. But when it comes to regular camera gear, we’ve never needed to check a bag. We’ve used the Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera. We’ve used the Manfrotto BeFree Tripod. We’ve used the Parrot Teleprompter. We’ve used the Westcott Flex Light, the Matthews RoadRags Kit. Everything I just said would give you a complete setup for lights, camera, stabilization, lens, teleprompter, and stands and it all fits within carry-ons.

Alex Mills: Yeah, those are all miniature solutions of full-size versions that we have here in the office.

Brady Shearer: Hopefully some of those tools are helpful for you. Let us know what your favorite travel gear is in the comments. That’ll do it for today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. We’ll see you next time.