Travel Blogger Sarah Kim Shares Her Best Packing Tips and Why She Travels for Food

Travel Blogger Sarah Kim

My name is Sarah Kim. I am a travel blogger. I am originally from New York City but now live in Amsterdam because living abroad in Europe has always been one of my dreams!

I’m a Pisces through and through as I love to dream, but unlike a Pisces, I’m quite business oriented. I am all about hard work and determination.

People might be surprised to know that I am a Certified Public Accountant in the State of NY. I became a CPA as a safety net. Since my parents died when I was a kid, I needed a secure career that I could always fall back on and to pay my school loans quickly. I got offered a full time job after my sophomore year of college so I was already secure with a job halfway through college. With this job, I was able to pay off my school loans in two years despite living in Manhattan, one of the world’s best expensive places.

Something some people might think is insane is that even though my parents died, now I cannot say I’d want to turn back time and wish for them to be alive. Because my life is perfect right now and I can’t dwell on what-ifs. I’m happy with how my life turned out despite everything I went through.

Travel Blogger Sarah Kim

How and why did you get into traveling?

I started traveling when I was 17. My friend and I went to Paris by ourselves for three weeks. It sparked my love travel. At the age of 18, I decided that I wanted to go to a new country every year, which meant that I needed money. So that’s why I went into accounting — to have money for traveling, get a secure job, have three meals a day (I didn’t have food often growing up), and pay off my loans quickly.

Once I realized accounting wasn’t for me, and my husband and I moved to Europe, I became a travel blogger. It is must cheaper to live in Amsterdam than it is in New York, which allowed me the freedom to start my own business.

Travel Blogger Sarah Kim

How do you prepare for your adventures and travels?

The only thing I really research before going someplace is what restaurants to eat at. I ask my friends and followers for suggestions then read travel blogs. I like that travel blogs have genuine experiences.

How do you finance your travels?

I pay for my own flights for the most part. Most of my hotel stays are sponsored now, but if I don’t want to connect my holiday with work, then I pay for it myself. I spend most of my money on eating while I’m out. I must eat at a Michelin restaurant every city I go to! Experiencing food around the world is my top traveling priority!

Travel Blogger Sarah Kim

Why is traveling important for you?

Traveling keeps me grounded and humble. It reminds me how small my world and how much there is to experience in the world. It reminds me how beautiful this world is too.

Also, traveling helped me see how big the world is. Until I was 17, my world was my town and my house — a dark place where I didn’t have parents. Once I started traveling, I realized there was much more in the world to experience than the deaths of my parents and that my opportunities were endless. It helped me heal and set new sights for myself. That small taste of traveling I got when I was 17 helped me live a life that I would never imagine as I reached for something big and exciting.

Travel Blogger Sarah Kim

How do you bring your things with you?

I only bring a carry-on and a backpack if the airline allows it. A lot of airlines only allow one carry-on so I usually bring that.

A four-wheel spinner is a must. It’s so much easier to get through the airport, streets, and the tiny airplane aisles. I also love my Lewis and Clark daypack. It’s waterproof and has great straps so I don’t mind putting it on the ground and don’t worry about it getting dirty. Also, it has great support and is good for the bag.

How do you organize things in your bags?

I keep all my photography and eletronics in my backpack. Then the clothes and the rest are in my carry-on. Since I only have a carry-on, it’s very important to make sure things are packed neatly so everything fits.

It depends on what country I’m going to and how rainy it is, but for my camera gear, having waterproof/water resistant bags is very important!

Travel Blogger Sarah Kim

How do your bags and gear hold up?

I chose a Sony A6000 camera because it is lightweight and compact. It fits into any purse or daypack and takes excellent quality photos. I chose it because I take a lot of photos in restaurants and it’s really great for quick, low-lighting photos. My food rarely gets cold before I’m done taking photos and dig in because having food at its proper temperature is important to me. I will not sacrifice taste for my photos!

If I had to start over, I’d love to buy a Canon 5D although it serves a completely different purpose. The 5D is heavier than the Sony and I got the Sony because of its weight. In general, my advice is to always splurge and get what I want, vs what I think I should get financially because in the future, when I make more money, I always look back and wish I got the more expensive item.

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

Nope. I generally only bring my Sony and a mini tripod. But now I will bring a full tripod and stabilizer for my iPhone.

Travel Blogger Sarah Kim

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

This is such an underrated item but I love a foldable backpack by Lewis and Clark. It folds up into a bag that size of your hands. There’s a few instances where it’s so handy. Of course while shopping, but the airlines are so strict now, you can only bring one bag.

However, after you get past the checkpoint, you can take out this Lewis and Clark foldable bag, open it, and put the things you need for the flight. During the winter time, it’s nice to have this bag, when you’re at a museum or restaurant, you can toss in your scarves, gloves, etc. and not lose anything. I wrote a whole post on why I love having this on me.

My other favorite gear would be my Sony A6000. I love it because it’s so light and compact. I’m looking forward to bringing out my portable tripod and iPhone stabilizer now.

What is your best advice for other travelers?

Make sure to put in time for exploring! A lot of people tend to pack in their itinerary with things to do all day but some of the best adventures are found from just getting lost and wandering around.

Travel Blogger Sarah Kim

What will the future bring?

This year, I’m going to Bologna, the gastronomic capital of Italy. Then I’m going to Toulouse, a culinary city in France, Helsinki for an influencer trip, Sintra for a girls’ trip, then Bruges with my sister, brother-in law, niece, and nephew.

I really would love to get a Canon 5D to make my photos better!

Visit Sarah Kim on her website and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

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