Protecting Your Images and Gear While Traveling

It is summer and travel is definitely in most people’s plans. Perhaps it is a trip to the beach, the mountains, to a theme park, a family visit, or a long awaited trip overseas.

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

Regardless of your destination, with a little preparation and diligence you can protect your images and gear. Here are a few tips that we have garnered to help make your trip a successful one.

Before you leave:

  • Keep your gear simple. Unless you are going on a safari, take only the basic gear that you think you will need. I use my Canon 24-105mm lens almost exclusively for general travel. If I am going to a destination where I will want to use a telephoto lens, I will take my 70-200mm lens. When I went to Iceland last year I found that I used my 24-105 mm lens the majority of the time and was happy with the results.
Glacier, Iceland

Glacier, Iceland

  • Write down the serial number of your camera and other gear. Keep the list separate so that if you lose your camera, or gear, you will have it for your insurance claim. In fact if you have your camera stolen, you can go to to track your photos taken with your camera if they have been uploaded online.
  • Have plenty of storage. Take more memory cards than you think you will need. Although you may plan on using one or two for your trip, have a few extra as backups.

While traveling:

  • Don’t look like a photographer. Leave the camera bags at home with noticeable logos that might attract attention when you are traveling in large cities. I use a backpack when I bring my computer along with my camera gear. It makes for easy transport and I just look like another traveller. For my Camera Walking explorations, while traveling,  I use my Lowpro Sling. It folds down to fit easily in my suitcase, and doesn’t look like a normal camera bag, so it helps keep a lower profile.
Camera Bags

Camera Bags

  • Travel with a companion. Not only will the journey be more interesting, having a companion to help hold your gear and keep an eye out for things will help you enjoy your outing more.
  • Travel with confidence. If you look confident while you are out taking photos you can better engage with people who you want to photograph, and it can help keep others away.

Protect your images:

  • Backup at the end of the day. If you have your computer with you, get into the habit of backing up your photos daily. Do not use your camera to store your images. Ideally you should back up your photos to two devices, for example your computer and an external hard drive.
  • Use an online resource to backup. Backup options such as Flickr, SmugMug or Photo Shelter are great options to back up your photos.
Online Backup Options

Online Backup Options

  • Organize your files. Take the time to put your photos into folders that include the date, location, and perhaps the subject of the photo day, so that you can easily retrieve them when you are home.
  • Format your memory card. I am sure most of you know this, but when you want to erase your memory cards use the “format” function in your camera, not the “erase” function. A good friend of mine took his wife to Paris to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary and came back with over 1000 images that he could not download. He had not reformatted his card, as the data from his older images were still embedded. Fortunately he found someone who could help him retrieve his images. Whew!

With a minimum amount of effort and preparation you can take off on your summer vacation knowing that you will come back with great images to show friends and family. Share some of your tips with us by commenting below, posting on our Facebook page, or send us an email at . We would love hear from you!



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