This is a huge topic, and travel can encompass an endless array of unique challenges, but this blog post will try to cover many of the common denominators and things that each photographer should have when traveling, as well as a few more specific examples.
Please note that when you're traveling, you might have very specific requirements. Weight restriction is a common limitation, as is the ability for gear to fit in a carry-on, so keep those in mind as I go through some of these scenarios; which include, general traveling, sandy climates, hiking, and humid climates.
For all types of travel:
1. Extra memory cards
No matter how many you have, add a couple more. Seriously, memory is cheap, and it's worth it.
2. Extra battery and charger
And make sure your spare battery is fully charged before traveling.
3. Travel adapters, if necessary
4. Memory card cases
Pouches, wallets, or even the clear plastic SD card cases work great. I personally recommend the wallets, because it's easy to organize which memory cards have been used already.
5. Lens cleaning tissues
Very affordable for a 50-pack and takes up almost no room in your bag.
6. A rocket blower, if you have the space
7. Silica gel packets
Keep in your camera bag to protect against moisture.
8. Rain cover for your camera bag
Many camera bags, such as Think Tank bags, include a rain cover that covers the entire camera bag, kind of like a rain poncho for your bag.
9. A camera bag that doesn't scream "I contain camera gear, please steal me!"
I've been there, and have lost many rolls of film along with my camera in Europe. Lesson learned. I really like the Tenba BYOB system for traveling overseas. (Ask me for details and to explain why it's good at deterring thievery!)
10. Tags on your gear
Include either a phone number, your Twitter username, your Instagram account, or any other way for people to get in touch with you should they find your gear.
11) Lens cap leash, or strap lens clip
You don't want to lose lens caps on your trip, and you shouldn't have to carry spare lens caps. This solves both of those issues.
For Sandy Climates:
1. Polarizing filter
To cut out the reflection of the water and sand, giving your photos a cleaner, more detailed and contrasty look, with less 'washed out' highlights.
2. Weather-sealed lenses
Can't stress enough how damaging sand can be to your camera gear, so if you can use weather-sealed lenses, GREAT!
3. All-in-one lenses
Such as the Tamron 16-300mm. The reason is that when you change lenses, it is a prime opportunity for sneaky sand to get inside your camera and wreak havoc. An all-in-one lens means no changing of lenses on those days at the beach.
4. Rain jackets
These are NOT JUST FOR RAIN! Rain jackets are amazing for the beach, because they also protect your camera body from sand getting into the crevices. They are cheap and take up almost no room in your camera bag. It's worth it.
5. Lens hood(s)
1. A backpack
While I love my PeakDesign Everyday Messenger Bag, a backpack is definitely more suitable for climbing and hiking. No question.
2. A monopod
Doubles as a walking stick (awesome). A tripod if you want to do night sky photography.
3. Wide angle lens
To get those gorgeous landscape shots, I highly recommend a wide angle lens such as the Tamron 10-24mm (which comes with a SIX YEAR warranty!)
4. Rain jacket for your camera
5. ND filter
If you will be photographing waterfalls, a polarizing filter can be wonderful as well.
6. Shutter release.
Why not just use your phone as the trigger? Because it's better to use a shutter release than waste your smartphone's battery when hiking.
*A reminder to pack light in terms of camera gear, as each ounce will become very noticeable after you've been hiking for a while. Lighter lenses, such as the 50mm 1.8, or 35mm 1.8 are great for that reason.
For Humid Climates:
1. Rain covers
2. Extra silica gel packets
3. Fog wipes
4. Microfiber cloth to keep gear dry and clean
Items to carry ONLY if you can justify the added weight:
1) External flash
(Heavy, especially with batteries and spare batteries, and charger. Yes, it gives you some great lighting options, but at a cost of weight and bulk.)
2) Laptop or portable device to backup your photos during your trip
3) Spare camera and/or lenses
4) Travel tripod, or a VERY small solution, such as the GorillaPods
5) Battery grip (for additional power)
I could write an entire post just about bags to use when traveling. But just make sure you pack as light as possible and make sure your gear is properly stored and padded.
If you'd like, bring your gear and your bag to our Midlothian location, not only will we give you some tips, but we can help you PACK YOUR BAG, and show you how to optimize the packing of your gear!
-Brian Clary, Store Manager, Richmond Camera Midlothian