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Travel Checklist For Your Camera

written by: •edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 5/27/2011

Traveling with your camera is a complicated affair, a balance between bringing too many fun accessories - and enough that you're still reasonably mobile, let alone all the little things you need to keep your camera in tip-top condition. This article provides a basic checklist of what you need.

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    What You Need To Bring

    Digital Camera. Don't forget the most important part of your digital photography toolkit! If you've got an especially fancy getup, bringing it with your while traveling may not be the most practical thing, not only because of the standard risk factors for damage, but also because of the size and value to potential thieves.

    If you've got the budget for it, even just a few hundred dollars, it might be worth it to purchase another digital camera for travel.

    Camera Bag. You need to stash your camera somewhere in between snaps—not to mention all those odd accessories you bring along. Your camera bag should be waterproof, or at the very least water resistant, and have some amount of padding in case of droppage.

    It might be a good idea to invest in a bag that's not technically a camera bag, such as a diaper bag or something else innocuous. This will attract less attention from those you might not want it from, such as those with quick fingers.

    Camera Strap. While this may seem like a no-brainer, it's important to have a camera strap that won't be breaking, no matter what you put it through—and that you actually use. Be it around the wrist, the neck or slung at the waist, you should have some way to keep your camera attached to you and that much further away from accidents.

    Don't like your current strap, or feel that it's not suited for travel? Why not make your own camera strap.

    Lens cloth. This is absolutely essential. In fact, you might just want to purchase a pack of them. You need something you can count on to clean your camera when all else fails, something that won't damage it further. Buying them in bulk off the Interwebs is cheaper, and can keep you fully stocked no matter how many mud wrestling events you attend.

    Cleaning Solution. While water can work in a pinch, cleaning solution is simply a better solution—no pun intended, of course. You can also make your own cleaning solution out of a mix of half isopropyl alcohol and half water. Make sure to keep the cleaning solution, in addition to its container, in a plastic bag in case of any leakage.

    Battery Charger. If you're not using one already, a battery charger is absolutely wonderful for traveling with. Batteries can be expensive to purchase while in tourist areas, and difficult to locate. Bringing a charger along ensures that you can always have the power you need to keep on shooting.

    Of course, if you're traveling to far off lands, your battery charger may not work in the outlets there, so make sure to get an outlet adapter if necessary.

    Extra battery(ies). Depending on how long you'll be in between charges, you may want to bring a few extra batteries along so that you don't miss that once-in-a-lifetime shot. However, many camera batteries are expensive, so just practicing good battery hygiene might be your best bet for extending the length of your shoots. Rechargables are preferable over non-rechargables, not only from an environmental and economic standpoint, but also just in the interest of convenience.

    Extra memory cards. Even if you bring a laptop with you while traveling to download your photos onto—which has its own issues associated with it—you should bring some extra memory cards along with you, especially if you plan on shooting at higher resolutions or are planning on being away from a laptop for extended periods of time. They're getting cheaper by the week, so it's not too difficult to get a hold of a few. Don't forget a good memory card case to keep them safe!

    Check out the next page for some more items you should probably bring you with while traveling, as well as a list of some information you should probably be aware of, such as your warranty.

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    More Of What You Need To Bring

    Plastic bags. All these odds and ends need to be stored somehow. Purchasing such bags that you can wrap your equipment in both individually and also en masse will ensure that your things stay absolutely waterproof.

    A large plastic bag also makes a handy tool for shooting in the rain, if you don't already have a rain hood. Simply cut out a hole in the front for the lens to protrude, maybe a rubber band to fasten it, and shoot away. While this won't protect from all rain, it will keep most of it off.

    Silicon Pellets. You know those little pellets that they put into electronic packaging? Those are silicon pellets that are used to absorb any excess moisture. Start hording these—they are incredibly useful for traveling with your digital photography equipment. Put a bag of the pellets into anything that will be storing your equipment to soak up any water, which can potentially damage your equipment.

    Filters. While some photographers cling to their filters more than others, there are some in particular which are a good idea to bring a long. A UV filter will protect your lens from those fierce tropical rays. A polarized filter will probably get the most workout of all your tools, from creating more intense skies to getting rid of those pesky reflections. Also consider bringing a graduated filter of some sort if you're planning on shooting some of those classic sunset shots. Filters are fairly small and easy to bring traveling, but don't bring the entire collection with you either. Pick out which ones you use the most and leave the more rarely touched ones, such as a fisheye lens.

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    What You Need To Know

    Warranty information. If worst comes to worse and your camera gets seriously damaged while abroad, it's a good idea to keep a copy of your warranty information and receipt with you at all times. Before this even, give it a good read-through. Does the warranty cover accidents that happen while travel, does it even cover accidents? Can you get camera care while in other countries? Knowing your resources before you begin will

    Camera Insurance. If your warranty doesn't quite do it all, it might be a good idea to get camera insurance of some sort. This can come in a variety of flavors, from lifelong insurance to one restricted only to your period of travel. This may be worth it for more valuable pieces of equipment. It might already be covered in your home insurance, so check that out before anything else.

    Camera shops. Just in case you end up losing or forgetting something, it's a good idea to have the local camera shops staked out in advance in the area in which you are traveling. This could cut down on some of the panic in case of a camera emergency.