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How to pack for a photo trip

How to pack for a photo trip
My main camera bag packed and ready to go.

By John Lechner

How to pack for a photo trip

As I finalise preparations to head to Bali for a week long shooting trip I took some time to take you through what is in my bags and why.

It's important to understand I will be carrying three bags but each has a separate purpose and role.

Those three bags are:

  1. Checked suitcase. This carries, my clothing, tripod, an empty daypack and my no fragile camera gear such as wet weather hoods, mini tripods, attachments and chargers.
  2. Carry-on camera bag. This time I am taking a backpack as I expect to do a bit of hiking to locations. But if I am travelling to a urban location I would take a roller bag. This carries all my fragile camera gear, bodies, lenses, laptop, hard drives, memory cards, filters and more.
  3. A small messenger bag. This is my bag that I use for stuff I actually want to use on the plane. So it includes my paperback, iPad, pillow, eye mask, earplugs, toothbrush & paste, basic medicine, snacks and water.

The reason I differentiate between my camera bag and my messenger bag is that the camera bag is large and bulky. Once it goes into the overhead locker it stays there. The little bag is small enough to stuff under my seat and access throughout the flight.

There's an obvious issue with the way I travel. That is my hand luggage exceeds the normal allowance for airlines. Most allow only 7kg of hand luggage. My two hand luggage bags for this trip are about 15kg, about the same if not more than my checked luggage.

There is only one way for me to get under the 7kg limit and that is to check camera gear. I'm not inclined to do that EVER but if I did I would need to invest a few hundred dollars in a Pelican case like the one below.

  
Even with a Pelican case I wouldn't be worry free. A few months back this video was doing the rounds on social media. It is a little worrying to say the least if you were to subject your gear to this sort of punishment before an important trip.
 
  
Needless to say, I carryon anything fragile, cameras, lenses, computers and hard drives. I have only ever been asked to weigh my bags twice. The first time I argued that I had over $20,000 of camera gear in the bag (I exaggerated).
 
The second time, coming home from NYC last year, I just said no. I didn't allow them to weigh my bag, I was already on the gangway, I was tired and not in the mood. They let me on with the bag.
 
So while I am not advocating that sort of behaviour, if you are sensible and only carry the fragile gear, speak nice to the ground and air crew you will be OK in 99% of cases.
 
In the video below I walk you through what is in my bags and why. I have also added a link below to my photography gear pack list. While this list is comprehensive and includes almost any possible gear I could take on a shoot it gives you a starting point to go from for your next trip.
 
  
If you would like my pack list (in Excel format), download it here.
  
I wish you well for your future travel photography and look forward to hearing about your travels. Have you joined our Better Travel Pics support group on Facebook yet? Join TODAY.
  
Have a great day and travel safe.
  
  
John
   
PS  
You can download your copy of the Better Travel Pics eBook today at bettertravelpics.com it contains my top 9 tips and tricks to improve your travel photos.

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1 comment

  • Have a great trip John.
    Looking forward to seeing your amazing talent that I’m sure you will deliver.
    Stay safe, travel safe.
    Bev☺

    • Beverly Walker