Traveling and capturing breathtaking pictures to remember those special moments with your loved ones is something that everyone wants to do. It could be a family vacation, a nice trip with friends, a romantic weekend with your partner or alone time for yourself somewhere else: everyone wants good pictures from their trips.
Whether you are a professional and experienced photographer, with backup cameras, lenses, batteries and drones, or just an enthusiast who recently purchased a camera, is still learning about the photography world and wants to capture the best shots from the places you are visiting, traveling with your camera accessories will be necessary.
While you must ensure that all the camera accessories and equipment will be there when you need them, you also have to take precautions on how to properly carry them around and keep them safe without causing any damage.
You may be traveling to a remote place with only a bag in your back filled with the accessories — that will have to share space with the rest of your stuff — or staying in a good and comfortable hotel that will allow you to keep some of the equipment safe when you are not using them. But in both cases, the camera gear will need to be transported.
So, below you will find all the best and most useful tips and tricks for traveling with your camera accessories to ensure that you will capture the best shots from your trip and keep them forever.
Research About The Destination
The first step to guarantee a successful trip is to research well about the place you are going to travel. This way, you will discover which accessories will be needed so you can avoid carrying unnecessary gear.
Also, having a detailed travel guide before leaving will make your life easier. For example: if you already know that the destination has low light conditions you will then need a tripod. Or if the weather is rainy you will need rain cover, protections, or a water-sealed camera.
Do A Checklist
After researching about the destination and seeing which accessories will be needed, you can do a checklist before packing to ensure that no equipment will be left behind. There’s nothing worse for a photography lover and enthusiast than thinking that his favorite lens was safely packed, only to arrive at the destination and discover that he left them on the bed at home.
Go through the list twice and only check the items as you pack them. Keep the list next to the bags, so if you remember anything or think of something last minute, you can add before leaving.
Also, a tip that almost no one tells you to do is to write down on your phone all the serial numbers from every camera accessory you have. This way, if anything goes missing, you get robbed or any other unpredictable problem happens, you will save plenty of time on reporting and tracking them.
Make The Camera Accessories Accessible
An important thing to remember is that you will need all the accessories easy to get and ready to be used. Sometimes, things happen fast, which will also require agility from you. And you don’t want to miss the perfect shot just because the right lens was stuffed in the bottom of a heavy bag, right?
This item should be combined with the destination research: if you have the travel guide in hand and already know that the first location will need you to use the tripod, pack it in a place with easy access.
Choose A Good Photography Bag
Investing in a good photography bag can be a great thing before traveling. They usually have separate compartments with different sizes, which will make the access to everything easier, while being appropriate to keep the accessories safe.
To exemplify: batteries, chargers, and other small accessories need to be packed in small compartments so you don’t lose them in the middle of the other bigger gear. A normal bag will require a separate storage for them, which will reduce accessibility. Meanwhile, the photography bag has the compartments in all needed sizes.
But only purchase one after you have all the cameras and equipment you will need in hand and already decided which places to travel to avoid buying a bag bigger than necessary. No one wants to carry big and heavy bags around when traveling.
Now, the best tip for choosing a good photography bag: try to keep it as a carry on. If the travel involves airplanes you will want to have those delicate and expensive accessories with you all the time. This is the safest way to avoid damages.
Some airlines have rules about size and weight for carry on bags, so make sure to check them out before leaving for the airport.
Travel With The Accessories Separate
To pack the camera and the accessories they need to be completely apart. Taking off everything, and then putting it back on can be annoying and time consuming, but that comes with having great gear.
The lenses are designed to be a separate accessory and keeping them on will damage them and the camera itself.
You need to keep them completely apart, and that means no lens touching each other on the bag and the camera body safe alone in a tight space. Then, close very well all the cases, caps and straps.
That’s how you will maintain all the accessories safe and working for a very long time with no damages or scratches that can ruin the plans you had for the trip pictures.
Take Only The Necessary
After listing everything that you’ll need, ask yourself: can I make this list shorter and my bag lighter?
It’s easy to get too excited and pack everything, but most of the time less is more than enough. So, if you have a cable that fits in all the cameras, then there’s no need to take more than this one.
If the lenses are almost the same and you can make the picture work with some little editing or adjustments later, you also won’t need to carry all of them. A spare flash? Spare strap? Another battery? A spare of the already spare SD card? If you are not sure that those accessories will have any utility, do not take them with you.
Keep Your Camera Accessories Close
Number one rule of traveling: do not leave your personal belongings alone anywhere. And this applies even more to camera accessories, since they usually are expensive items. So, not even for a few minutes, hand your camera accessories or bag in the hands of a stranger.
If you need to take something from your bag, do it fast while taking a good look around, retrieve the accessories, close the bag, and put it back on immediately. This is even more important if you are taking pictures in a crowded space.
Always be aware and well alert of your surroundings! Camera accessories are an easy target, as everyone knows their big prices and utilities. If you do not feel safe or notice any suspect movement, do not open the photography bag to get any accessory. Only do this where you feel completely comfortable.
Silica Gel Packs To Avoid Damage
When you purchase cameras and accessories together with them in the package comes tiny silica gel packs — normally it also comes with the photography bag, so check it out — and they are there for a reason: avoid moisture.
Packing your camera accessories with a few of those little white packages can avoid moisture during the trip, especially if you are going to places with high altitudes or extreme weather conditions.
They are free, don’t weigh anything, and can be life savers. If they came with the original packages, it is because they are good.
Keep All The Camera Accessories Clean
Another thing that can be annoying to do, but it has to be done: clean everything everyday. No one wants to take bad photos just because the lens was dirty, or, even worse, damage the zoom because there was sand or small particles of dust in it.
One good lens and camera cleaner should be enough, but you must use it everyday. This is even more important if you are visiting a place with too much sand, dust or pollution. And when you are not using them, make sure they are covered.
And a good reminder is that completely clean accessories will last much longer and will take much better shots from the trip you carefully planned.
Traveling with camera accessories requires some good planning before leaving and paying attention while you are on the trip. But, following the tips and tricks above, you ensure that your equipment will be completely safe, will last for a very long time, while making it easy to capture those priceless moments that make travelling so awesome to begin with.