Hello! Bonjour! Hola!
Today I want to share a few tips on keeping your things safe, following on from my latest Youtube Video on the topic. Because so many readers have been interested in photography tips and tricks, I thought this would be a great chance to focus specifically on protecting your photography gear when you travel and how to insure you won’t be left coughing up thousands of dollars when things go wrong. So here we go! How to protect your photography gear when travelling…
Tip #1: Get Travel Insurance and Check what is covered
The video I recently produced was in collaboration with Southern Cross Travel Insurance, in an effort to talk more about the things that go wrong when you travel (aka the things you don’t see on a picture-perfect instagram feed!!!) As I’ve been using SCTI for travel insurance for years, I know first hand that they’re a good insurer who make it very clear what is covered and what is not in your protection plan, so that make it easy to see how much $ worth of gear you are covered for.
On average Australians are taking $5,000 of tech gear overseas – including cameras, phones, laptops, etc. That’s a loooooot of money to lose if any of your items are stolen, damaged, or mysteriously disappear! I can’t tell you how many times travel insurance has saved me (flight cancellations, hospital stays, stolen goods), so I can’t recommend it enough!
Tip #2: Always pack your photography gear in your carry-on
One of the easiest ways to damage your photography gear is when you let it out of your sight and into the control of another – especially baggage handlers! Whilst I’m certainly not suggesting all baggage handlers are reckless when handling bags – there’s no denying that its unlikely they will handle your bags as diligently as you would! It is therefore best to keep your gear within your own control and pack it in your carry on for the plane – that way you know for sure it is handled with care.
Tip #3: If you have a lot of gear, buy a purpose-built Photographer’s bag
One of the best investments you can make is a purposefully built camera bag. Not only do they look cool (I have a Kelly Moore backpack (pictured) that is perfect for adventures), but they’re also built to last and more importantly, built to protect your photography gear. Inside my bag is a world of padding (shown in the display image for this post) that ensure it all keeps safe in transit.
Tip #4: Invest in a lens hood
A lens hood is not only a great photography tool (great for dealing with lighting situations), but is also a good way to protect your lens when you travel. If you drop your camera, your lens will be more protected as this is the first part of the camera that will become damaged.
Tip #5: Buy a GoPro for Adventure Photography
One of the best investments I made when I started travelling full time was a GoPro camera. These little pocket rockets are the perfect companion for adventuring as they allow you to capture your travels risk free (just be sure to invest in a waterproof cover!) They’re great for capturing sports activities like mountain bike riding, surfing, or even taking them underwater to show your underwater adventures — yep, I love mine!
Tip #6: Learn how to clean your lens properly
This tip might not be a huge consideration for most but believe me, it will help you take much better photos and prevent your camera from having issues! If you don’t know how to clean your lens properly yourself, be sure not to try – take it into your local camera store and pay a small fee to have it cleaned, along with your camera, for you.
Tip #7: Backup to Prevent Photo Loss!
One of the worst things to happen when travelling is to lose your photo memories and not be able to recover them. This can happen when things are stolen but is even more common by simply losing your camera or memory card on the road. To prevent it from happening to you, consider backing up to your laptop on-the-go or even just uploading the photos to social media or a blog as you go (then you can always recover them as they’re on the interwebs!)
Tip #8: Consider Downsizing
One of the best moves for me over my years of travelling has been to downsize my camera gear. I used to trek around with a heavy DSLR camera around my neck and for someone who is a self-confessed amateur at photography, I really didn’t need such a big device! So I switched to an Olympus PEN E-Pl7 for every day use and an Olympus OM-D EM5 Mark II for landscape photography or when I want to work harder for the shot (both are pictured below for size).