Travel Blogger and Photographer Mike Clegg Shares His Best Packing Ideas

Photographer Mike Clegg

My name is Mike Clegg and I am a travel blogger and photographer. I am originally from London, but over the last five years I’ve also lived in Toronto for 15 months and also Vienna for two years.

Currently, I am living between Vienna and London, but will be moving back to London full time later this year. My girlfriend works in Vienna but I find a lot of clients that want to work with me are based in London hence why I am always back and forth.

My favourite hobbies include snowboarding, hiking, weightlifting and I’m also a big Sci-Fi fan.

Most people would probably find me friendly, outgoing and enthusiastic with a try-anything attitude. An example would be when I was in Thailand recently and went down a mud slide into a pool full of mud! The people with me just watched from the side. 🙂

Photographer Mike Clegg

How and why did you get into traveling?

I’ve always been a big traveller since I could first start affording it, and have since spent a large amount of my income on seeing the world!

Since taking up Instagram, I have started travelling a lot more as I am often inspired to visit destinations by other photographers. In recent years, I have developed my photography skills and started my travel blog.

I actually love to share my experiences and knowledge from travelling with other people and find it really satisfying when I get comments on my Instagram or blog posts from people who I’ve helped or inspired. I’ve also made some good friends around the world from travelling and meeting them whilst on the road, so I also love the social benefits.

Photographer Mike Clegg

How do you finance your travels?

I fund most of my travels myself and do this by selling my travel photographs to hotels, tourism boards and also to agencies. This has helped me over the years, although it is becoming more and more competitive. I also make some money on my blog through advertising, although I do try and keep it to a minimum so as to not ruin the experience of my readers.

Sometimes I get invited on press trips with brands and tourism boards. These are generally never paid, but allows me to travel and visit new destinations. However, I must stress these are working trips and don’t feel like holidays. The itinerary on these trips are normally packed and I will have to deliver quite a lot in return, such as content/images and promotion. Such trips are far from relaxing, although I do enjoy them and it helps me produce content for my readers and audience on social.

Why is traveling important for you?

I love seeing the world and if I am home for too long I will start to feel restless. I also love seeing new places, trying new things and then sharing my experiences and trying to help others do the same.

Photographer Mike Clegg

How do you bring your things with you?

Whenever possible I will travel as light as possible. Such as a small cabin suitcase (made by Tripp and sold through Debenhams), which would contain enough clothes to get me by as well as my camera and tripod. On very short trips, I wouldn’t take my laptop, instead I will just create content and then process it all once I return.

On longer trips, or trips involving lots of activities such as snowboarding/hiking, etc., I would take a larger suitcase as I’d need lots more clothes and specialist items.

I do sometimes find it frustrating when I travel and the airline has such a low cabin luggage allowance and if they are really restrictive such as 7kg, I will choose a different airline whenever possible. I now always carry a portable luggage scale, as when I was moving to Canada my luggage was over the allowance and I had to throw stuff away to get within the allowance (it wasn’t a fun moment).

Photographer Mike Clegg

How do you organize things in your bags?

When packing I try and be somewhat organised but it does often get messy. I have since purchased some Hoperay Packing Cubes, which I am hoping will help. I also take a laundry bag as well and some bags for my shoes incase they get dirty or wet.

When travelling to a beach destination, I would take a Unigear Waterproof Dry Bag to try and protect my gear from water and sand. It seemed to work well as I was on a speed boat in Thailand recently and me and my bag got soaked but everything inside the bag was dry. These aren’t padded though so if you put cameras, etc. in there you would need to add some padding/clothes to try and protect them.

Photographer Mike Clegg

How do your bags and gear hold up?

Suitcases and bags generally always get a bit wrecked over time. I’ve found in some countries baggage handlers just throw your stuff around and I’ve had suitcases come out at arrivals and they’ve been damaged. I’ve had my latest suitcases for a couple of years now though. They look a bit scratched up but still do the job.

I am a fan of the Tripp brand and have three suitcases in different sizes, although I’ve always had my eye on Samsonite as a good brand to consider.

Photographer Mike Clegg

Any gear you wish you had brought with you from the beginning?

I wish I’d had packing cubes earlier and maybe the luggage scale before I departed for Canada so I didn’t have to throw stuff away.

What has been your best travel-related purchase below $100?

The electronic luggage scale is awesome as it’s small and so useful. Also, a luggage strap as recently my zip came apart on my luggage but the strap kept everything together and I didn’t loose anything.

In terms of items over $100 then it will be my trusty Canon 6D which has helped me capture images all over the world.

Photographer Mike Clegg

What kind of photos do you prefer to shoot?

Tough question, I love taking photographs but I wouldn’t say I’m keen on people photography.

When I travel I love taking sunrise, sunset images, night shots and also taking long exposures such as of waterfalls, from across water, etc. What I share on my feed on Instagram is a mix with lots of city, but I also try and share landscape/nature type images when they fit.

A couple of my favourite destinations include the Islands in Thailand such as Ko Phi Phi, cities such as Copenhagen and Prague, and lakes such as Bled in Slovenia.

Photographer Mike Clegg

What is your best advice for other travelers?

When travelling, it’s always important to do your research, and this is especially important for shorter trips, or if you are going to be travelling solo. I would recommend doing lots of research before you arrive so that once you arrive you can spend more time seeing the destination and experiencing what it has to offer.

Always take backup bank cards incase you loose one. This happened to me in Vietnam when I lost my wallet, but I had backups at the hotel. Without the backup it would have been extremely stressful and problematic.

Another very important thing to do is be aware of travel scams and always be street wise when you travel. A good read on some scams is this post by theplanetd.com.

I also recommend using Instagram for inspiration and following travel accounts such as mine and also hubs such as @travelanddestinations. When you constantly see stunning places to visit around the world, it will ignite that wanderlust in you!

Photographer Mike Clegg

What will the future bring?

Well my bucket list keeps growing and growing. More so since I started using Instagram and created my blog. A few things include photographing Antarctica, experiencing Peru, and getting lost in the streets of Marrakesh.

This year I will be heading to Slovenia, Canada and west Austria in the near future, but over the course of the year I will for sure have more trips.

Dream gear for me would be some more lenses for my camera such as Canon 100-400mm f/4.5 and Canon EF 16-35mm f / 2.8L.

Visit Mike Clegg on his website and follow him on Facebook Instagram, and Twitter

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