Digital Camera: Sony Alpha 6000

Real talk: the Sony a6000 is our most prized possession. As former owners of other great cameras (including Nikon and Cannon models), this entry-level Sony product has proved its worth tenfold as our primary travel camera. It's light. It's simple. It's stylish. And unless you're a travel photographer for National Geographic, it'll do everything you could possibly want in a camera - all at a very reasonable price point.

One of the best features is the camera's built-in wi-fi, which enables you to immediately upload shots to your phone even if you're in remote wilderness, the jungle, or just somewhere off-the-beaten-path. Sony's PlayMemories app works on both iPhone and Android. If you're obsessed with Instagram like us, it's a nice feature to have.

Pro tip: As a value buy, we'd recommend purchasing a package that includes the camera base AND two great lenses (a 16-50 mm lens for close-ups, and a 55-210 mm lens for landscapes and other distance shots). Click the "Learn More" button below to link directly to the best-priced package.

 

Video Camera: GoPro HERO5 Black

Before buying a GoPro action camera, you have to ask yourself two questions: 1) Do any competitors produce a similarly great product, and 2) If not, does GoPro have any superior cameras in its own product line? We think the answer here is "close but not quite" to both. 

A few years ago, Sony emerged on the action camera scene and made major strides as a competitor; however, based on our research and testing, we still think GoPro has the best camera on the market - and sells at a similar (albeit sometimes slightly higher) price point.

So why GoPro's Hero5 Black? Good question. GoPro does sell a slightly smaller line of cameras (including the GoPro Hero5 Session) for nearly $100 less. But despite some minor quality differences that lean in favor of the Hero5 Black, the major benefit is that for the extra dollars you're also getting a camera with a display on which you can watch your latest snowboarding or surfing clip during - or immediately after - filming. To us it's an essential element, and part of what makes the GoPro Hero5 Black the best action camera on the market.

 

Computer: Dell Chromebook (11-inch)

We're head-over-heels in love with our Chromebook, and it's the only laptop we travel with to-date. That said, while the price is unbeatable and the quality is admirable, it's not the kind of product we'd recommend for everyone.

You can read in detail about the Chromebook here, but in short, they're produced by a number of different companies (Dell, Acer, Lenovo, others) and tend to retail for only a few hundred dollars each. They're perfect for those who do a lot of web-based work and like the Google suite of products, such as Gmail, Docs, Sheets, etc. 

The computer has some limitations compared to traditional PCs, however, and one of the most glaring is that you can't easily use the Microsoft Office suite of products. A few extensions exist to work between the two platforms (Google and Microsoft) as needed, but Chromebook computers are really meant for people for whom a majority of their computer-related work takes place in a web browser, such as sending e-mails, building websites, and watching YouTube videos of sleeping cats (translation: everyone cool). Google Drive and Google Photos are great spots for cloud-based storage, so you won't miss having a laptop with lots of storage built in.

If you're a gamer or a graphic designer, a Chromebook should be a non-starter for you. However, for the vast majority of laptop users, a Chromebook is a viable option at a killer price point.

We prefer Dell's 11-inch Chromebook model to the others in the field. It's probably the best bang-for-your-buck out there today, and the combination of portability, speed, and battery life make it hard to beat.