When it comes to camera equipment photographers can be extremely protective, and rightfully so! Traveling with camera gear to different destinations for photo-shoots is certainly adventurous, but photographers are at risk of damaging their equipment if not taking extra care when traveling. Not to mention, replacing and repairing equipment costs a pretty penny! Avoid the mishaps of damaged and broken equipment by reading these tips to ensure that your precious gear is always safe and protected.
Undoubtedly traveling by air is a bit more stressful for photographers because of the plentiful rules and regulations that need to be followed. There are baggage requirements (most airlines allow more or less 40 pounds carry-on luggage) that need to be met; obviously, you can always pay extra for more weight but it’s all about optimizing what you have. Find out what the weight specifications of the airline you’re flying with beforehand so that you have an indication of what you’re able to carry on with you.
Generally speaking, it’s always better to keep your prized possessions on you and within your sight. We all know that there is tons of luggage at airports and there’s no guarantee that checked in luggage is handled with care. The risks taken with checking luggage that consists of your camera and equipment is huge. One of three terrible possibilities could occur:
- Your luggage can get stole; which would cost a fortune to replace.
- Your equipment can be mishandled and damaged; resulting in getting the broken equipment repaired.
- The airline could lose your luggage and cause a major financial inconvenience
The best option when traveling with equipment is to keep it with you as hand luggage. Create some extra cushioning in your carry-on bag by using small clothing items, such as socks. This will ensure that your equipment is safe and secure in case your bag falls and hits the ground. If you’re out of space in your carry-on bag then opt to wear a jacket that has larger pockets, this way you’ll be able to keep smaller items on you as well.
If for some reason you’re unable to carry certain equipment in your hand luggage- perhaps due to space or weight restrictions, then invest in a hard case bag created especially for equipment. There are plenty of bags on the market for cameras and equipment. Shop around for a quality bag that is stable, has secure padding and divisions for your items.
Once you’ve got a bag sorted out it’s time to think of insurance. Many photographers fail to realize that insurance is one of the single most important things to purchase. Sure, insurance is quite expensive but it will give you some peace of mind and assurance, especially if something goes wrong. Imagine losing all your equipment and having to start all over- terrifying! Get a few quotes from different insurance companies until you’re satisfied with the premium. Besides, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Planning ahead of time will help greatly when it comes to packing your bags; remember not to overpack, take only what is needed. Make a list of items that include toiletries, clothes and camera gear and only take what is most necessary. It might be tempting to take as much equipment as possible but think about carrying everything around while you’re on the move.
Be extra careful when carrying camera batteries on board as they’re risky. The TSA has very strict rules to the amount of lithium allowed on flights because of the safety hazard. If battery terminals come in contact with metal it could cause a short circuit which can lead to a fire. Batteries should be separately stowed to avoid any mishaps. Limit the number of batteries you take and make sure you have your charger with you.
It’s always important to go over TSA rules and regulations before flying, so you don’t find yourself in a pickle. If you’re approached by a TSA agent who wants to go through your possessions be cooperative as they’re just doing their jobs. If you’re afraid that your items are being mishandled than offer to assist the agent. Visit the TSA website for updated rules and regulations before traveling.