Purchasing travel gear on a budget

A lot of people who have discovered our hobby of collecting miles and points finally get to take their first vacation as a reward for participating in all of the promos, signing up for credit cards for the signup bonuses, and directing their spending to maximize the most points and miles on those cards.

While gathering the points and miles is certainly the major part of getting started – there is also a lot of travel gear that can help make the journey more enjoyable as well.

If I wanted to spend under $1300 all in, what would I purchase as a bargain hunter to still travel in comfort?

Travel bag
The Checkpoint Flyer is my absolute favorite travel bag with the compactness of the bag and how cool it looks. Going through most security is a breeze without having to take my laptop out. There are also plenty of pockets to store everything you would possible take with you.

Price: $220


Electronics – I’m a huge iPod geek and I need a ton of storage for all of my albums and podcasts. I have over 60 GB of music files so an iPod touch isn’t going to do it for me. I’m going to go for the classic iPod to handle all of this and stick with the factory earbuds to save a few bucks.

Price – $244 ordered through Macmall.com to save on sales tax.

Even though I’m an Apple guy since the Apple ][ – to save some money, I’m going to purchase a Dell laptop. I’ve used a Dell as my work laptop for a while and it works just fine. I like a big screen on my laptops for watching movies when the Video on Demand system videos aren’t interesting. For software, I’m going to purchase Microsoft Office Home 2013

Price – $640 ordered through Dell.com

I know most people prefer to find something small enough to carry on with them. However, I prefer just to check a big bag that I can stuff all of my stuff into. To save some more money, I perused the clearance section of the Samsonite online store, and found a 25 inch upright for $117.

To keep all of my stuff safe and in one place – I would buy the LL Bean Traveler Ticket Organizer. With a zipper all the way around and a wrist strap, it keeps all of your valuable documents safe. Inside there are multiple credit card slots along with several zipper pouches.

Price – $25.00

Lastly, to carry inside my suit case – a personal organizer to keep all my toiletries neat and zipped up. With the heavy duty hook, you can easily hang it up in any hotel bathroom where everything will be neatly organized.

Price $40

Total money spent: $1,246

I felt like I have all my bases covered with a laptop, bag, electronics, suitcase, and organizers.

How would you spend $1300?


  1. No disrespect on taste matters, but I think that laptop bag is a pretty big tourist sign and it’s not that cheap. The only thing it has going for it is that TSA checkpoint feature. It’s much easier to take a laptop out of a bag that to take laced shoes off and put back on.

    If you’re an apple user I’d look at a refurbished 13″ Macbook Pro. I’ve gone through Dells & Thinkpads & Fujitsus and the most durable and full feature has been the Macbook Pro unibody. Plus I wouldn’t travel with a laptop larger than 15″, I used 11″-13″ in the past. Of course if you need a larger than 13″ display that raises the Macbook’s price significantly.

    Regarding the iPod, if you’re really trying to save money use your cellphone as a music player and select some of your music. Not as convenient? Sure, but it saves money. If one was going to buy a new smartphone, the unlocked Google Nexus 4 is the right buy at $299/$349.

    For organizing inside your carry-on and suitcase I’d look at http://www.muji.us – the japanese company. They also have pretty good hard-side luggage. I travel with a Rimowa Limbo as checked luggage, however one time I needed a wheeled carry-on and I picked up the Muji one in Taiwan. It looks fine next to the Rimowa, not like some cheap carry-on.

    Laptop: $1019, Muji suitcase 72L $166 on special, organizer $23. That leaves about $100 for a simpler shoulder bag of sorts. Amazon has lots of nice budget ones, good brands from $50; $220 is splurging a bit.

    Of course the Nexus 4 doesn’t fit in the budget, but that’s nothing compared to how much people pay for wireless service anyway.

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