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Traveling with Photography Gear


Travelling with Photography Gear

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At some point you will want to travel with your camera. Whether it is for an anniversary trip with your partner, exploring another country or going on a simple camping trip, traveling with all of your gear can be a headache. Here are some tips I will be discussing in this post to make your trip a little easier.

  • Use a Good Camera Bag

  • Only Take What you Need

  • Protect your Gear

  • Backup your Photos

  • Power

  • Gear Insurance

  • Other Tips

Use a Good Camera Bag

A good camera bag is worth the money. Not only will it make carrying your gear easier and keep you more organized, but it will help protect everything as well. A popular option is the Peak Design Everyday Camera Bag.


My advice is to get a bag that will count as your carry-on luggage. This way you have the best chance of not having to check it. Be warned though, international carry-on standards are stricter than American ones.


I have the Shimoda Explorer v2 30L which you can read my review of here. The 30L version is sized to meet most carry-on standards and the 25L is sized specifically to meet international rules. You can even fit the 25L under the seat in front of you on some planes.


Only Take What you Need

If you are going to be hauling around your photography gear, your back will thank you by only carrying what you need. Depending on the trip, you might not need to bring every lens you own. Keeping in mind how you are planning to use your camera on your adventure will help you determine which gear to take and what to leave behind. Go ultralight by traveling with only one camera body and one lens. I do this when the occasion calls for it like while backpacking and I need to keep my weight as light as possible.


Protect your Gear

Cameras and gear can cost quite a bit of money so be sure to protect your investment and get the most enjoyment possible out of it.


The first thing you will need to consider is the elements, as with most equipment, rain and sand can be detrimental. A good camera bag will help with this. It’s also a good idea to use other protective gear when the situation calls for it. For example, I keep my memory cards in a Pelican SD Card Case for extra peace of mind. I also recommend using a strap of some kind when you are around bodies of water. I carry a Peak Design Wrist Strap for just this reason.


The other thing you need to protect your gear from is theft. This goes for pickpockets who will sneak things out of your bag when you aren’t looking, leaving your gear in a rental car where someone can smash the window and run off with it, or someone grabbing your bag when you set it down and disappearing into the crowd. Your best defense is to be aware of your surroundings and follow a few safety protocols.

  • Research what the most common scams are for the area you are going to.

  • Ditch the camera strap with Sony or Canon written all over it.

  • Have a back-panel opening backpack instead of a front panel.

  • Never leave your bag unattended.

  • If you sit your bag down, secure it with a locking cable or put your foot through the strap.

  • When on crowded public transportation, wear your bag across your chest.

Power Matters

If you are traveling with a modern camera you will need a way to keep it running. I travel with two extra batteries, a dual battery charger, and a portable power bank I can charge my camera with directly. I'll also make sure I have the necessary plug adapter for the country I am visiting. I picked up two plug adapters from Anker for a trip to Greece.


A couple of quick notes. First, per airline safety rules all lithium batteries have to go in your carry-on luggage. And second, check that the devices you will be bringing can run on both 120 volt and 240 volt electricity. If they don’t, you will need to get an inverter in addition to a plug adapter.


Backup your Photos

The importance of backing up your photos can’t be understated. I lost all of my photos from college due to a hard drive crash before I knew about backing up your data. And I hope none of you will ever have to experience the same thing.


My current backup strategy is to shoot on multiple SD cards that I keep with me at all times. At the end of each day I copy my photos to a SanDisk Extreme SSD I keep in my luggage or at my hotel. As a third backup, I will also upload a copy of my JPEGs to the cloud. One of the downfalls of this strategy is that I have to carry a laptop while traveling in order to make all this work.


One event I’m not protected from at this time is a card failure. Due to the fact that my camera only has one card slot, if I have an SD card fail I’m hosed. To that end I want my next camera to have dual card slots.


Insurance

If you are going to be traveling with hundreds if not thousands of dollars in photography gear you should really think about insuring it. A popular option is to become a member of The Professional Photographers of America or similar program in your country. As a member you receive up to $15,000 of gear insurance and they also allow amateurs to join.


Final Tips

  • Make a checklist for your gear so you don’t forget anything.

  • When in transit to your destination. Stick your tripod in your luggage.

  • Because of all that photography gear, be ready for secondary screening at the security checkpoint.

  • Sweep your room before checking out for chargers and other important items you might have left behind.

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