Equipment for Travelers to start Audio or Video Podcasting

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tbex-chcagoI had the wonderful opportunity to attend and speak at the Travel Blog Exchange Conference in Chicago two weeks ago. Debbie Dubrow of & Kim Mance of did a wonderful job of arranging this event.

While there I spoke on a panel about Podcasting with:

  • Kim Mance
  • Chris Elliott of, National Geographic Traveler and MSNBC
  • Mark Peacock of Travel Commons (filling in at the last minute for Craig Martin of Indie Travel Podcast when we were unable to bring him in on a video conference)


The question that I have been asked more than any other since the conference is what equipment we had mentioned during the discussion.

If I want to get started with audio podcasting what should I buy?

  • You will need a microphone. Mark had suggested just going down to radio shack and picking up an external microphone
  • I recommend a headset microphone which allows you to move your head without having to worry about the sound dropping off in volume. I use a Plantronics DSP-400 USB Foldable Stereo Headset.
  • I recommended the H2 Zoom Portable Stereo Recorder (no computer needed) for field recording.
  • Both Mark and I have also used a series 700 or 800 iRiver for field recording but you would have to pick up one on eBay as they have been discontinued.

If I want to get started with adding video to my blog or video podcasting what should I buy?

  • We mentioned the Flip UltraHD for quick brain dead simple video – but it does not have a zoom or an external Mic
  • I use this Sony HDR-CX7 AVCHD 6.1MP – but it is a lot more expensive. It does not have a simple external Mic (it does have one that goes on the hotshoe), and it is interlaced rather than progressive video which is preferable. It does have a good zoom and is quit small.
  • Another small HD camera that is getting great reviews is the Canon VIXIA HF200 HD Flash Memory Camera

I should note that I shoot all HD video now (except underwater video which I shoot with a Sanyo Xacti VPC-E1 6MP Waterproof Digital Video Camera) even though I am not currently posting HD video. I do this because the cost of HD cameras has dropped and because HD is being rapidly adopted. I don’t see any point in buying a non-HD video camera at this time.

More about the conference

I should also note that my favorite session of the Travel Blog Exchange Conference was Working with Public Relations

  • Leanne Jakubowski – Social Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort
  • Kristin Unger – Chicago Tourism Office
  • Angela Berardino – Turner PR
  • Pam Mandel – Nerd’s Eye View
  • Jamie Pearson – Travel Savvy Mom

It was very clear to me that I have not been taking enough advantage of potential partnerships with PR. I say this even after I recently took a blogger trip to Cozumel.

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

3 Responses to “Equipment for Travelers to start Audio or Video Podcasting”

Donna Hull


I’ve been wanting to add a video component at My Itchy Travel Feet. After hearing your session at TBEX, it sounds doable. Thanks for all the great information and sharing your experience with us, Chris.



we definitely enjoyed the podcasting panel – thanks so much!



I’d second the technology choices you’ve made, Chris. (Even though I didn’t make the panel!) We use the Zoom H2 mic for all our audio recording and the Flip Mino HD now does 99% of our video work with a Pentax Optio W30 (new model is W60) doing our underwater filming and still photography.

The Zoom H2 is a great field mic as it runs from ubiquitous AA batteries and records to ubiquitous SD cards; and has faux surround sound. The Flip Mino is disadvantaged by its lack of external sound, although we sometimes manually sync sound during post-production.

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