How To Safely Travel With Your Camera.
Many of us have small, relatively inexpensive digital cameras that can be easily dropped in a purse or a carry-on when we travel. However, if you have a passion for photography and love to capture the moments from your travels in a way that a basic digital camera just can’t handle, you need to be more cautious and more proactive when traveling with your professional camera. There is probably a lot of money in that camera and all of its accessories so it’s important to pack it well and guard it against theft.
Here are some easy to follow precautions you can take to ensure your camera isn’t stolen or help it get back to you if it is.
- Make a list of every piece of camera equipment in your bag along with the serial number, if it has one. This will help in getting it returned to you if it is stolen and ultimately recovered by the police.
- If there is enough room, write your name and phone number on each piece of equipment using a photo pen or ink marker. You can even have it engraved onto the equipment by a jeweler. A thief will quickly realize that it is hard to sell or pawn items that are clearly stolen.
- Definitely include your camera bag as part of your carry-on baggage. A small camera bag can easily become “lost luggage”.
- Don’t take any camera gear that you won’t be using. You will only attract the attention of would-be thieves if you carry more bags. This would also make it harder for you to keep track of everything when getting on and off airplanes, in rental cars, and at the hotel.
- Get yourself a bag that does not have a camera logo on it. This will make it less obvious that you are carrying expensive camera equipment.
- Keep your camera bag locked. A practiced pickpocket can get into an unlocked bag even when you are carrying it on your shoulder.
- Don’t let your camera or camera bag out of your sight and never leave them sitting on a table or a bench next to you where someone could easily snatch it and run.
- It’s always a good idea to insure expensive camera equipment, especially before traveling with it.
- While sightseeing you may leave the bag in your hotel room and only carry your camera. If you do this, you should always keep it out of sight. Don’t tempt thieves by carrying your camera openly around your neck or dangling from your hand.
Packing Camera and Gear
Here are some good pointers for packing your gear so it doesn’t get damaged or lost.
If you have so much camera gear that you have to check it in because of today’s luggage restrictions, pack it carefully to avoid breakage. You’ve probably seen the way baggage handlers toss your bags on and off those conveyor belts. When checking your gear, follow these steps:
- Wrap each piece of your equipment in bubble wrap.
- For expensive camera equipment, use an professional bag that is made specifically to protect your gear. You can use rolled up t-shirts to take up any extra space so that things are tightly packed.
- Confirm that all of your lens covers are in place.
There are also some important things you should know about exactly how to load the equipment in your bag.
- Once you reach your destination, you may want to remove the bubble wrap. After this, pack the gear you use most frequently at the top of the bag for easy access. This is also ensures that no excess weight is added on top of the camera.
- Never fill the bag too full.
- Pack the lenses vertically, standing on end, rather than laying them down horizontally.
- Put batteries and spare memory cards in Tupperware containers to keep them dry.
- If you use several different lenses, take the lens off the camera when it is not in use.
- Make sure the strap on your bag is not worn out and this it is hooked properly.
Other Ways to Protect Your Camera and Your Pictures
There are other precautions you can take to protect your camera and your photographs when traveling.
- If your camera is not waterproof and you don’t have a camera bag, keep it in a plastic bag to protect it from rain. If the weather is very cold, keep the camera close to your body.
- Carry more than one memory card so you can backup your pictures. You will also be able to take all the pictures you want by simply replacing a full card with a blank one.