Packing up for a trip can be difficult even when you are not taking your photography equipment. However, if you are planning holidays and want to take some of your equipment it can become even more difficult. So let’s look at what you may need on your trip. I will try to divide items into must have, good to have and nice to have. Many items are very basic and you will wonder why I even mention them, but trust me they can be forgotten. The more obvious something is, the more likely we are to forget it. In order to ensure you pack all that is needed you can make a list and follow it when packing the gear.
The lists below are intended for general purpose trip, family holiday or sightseeing trip not a photographic expedition.
Must have items:
- camera body of your choice, ones with swivel back screen have an advantage as you do not have to crawl on the ground in mud, water or some other enticing place to take low angled shots
- zoom lens allowing you to take decent distance and close up pictures, e.g. 24-105mm lens
- charger for the battery and if you have spare, charged batteries; for overseas trips pack also an adapter for the power points
- rain protector for the camera and lens, they come in different sizes depending what lens you are using
- memory cards with a hard shell case for storage, if you use mini cards, they can be shared between your camera and phone
- tripod, a mini one such as GorillaPod works in a number of situations fairly well
- backpack or a bag and a lens case, good to invest in ones with rain protection
- lens cleaning solution and a cleaning cloth
- camera manual – Yes, you may need it
Good to have items:
- a set of filters – UV filter, circular polarizer and at least one ND filter, while some people swear against filters, I found them useful to keep sand and dust away from the lens while shooting in poor conditions
- second camera body, so you can attach your second lens to it as changing them while shooting pictures becomes tiresome and can lead to problems, especially in windy and dusty conditions
- second lens with a lens case, depending on your interests and destination – macro lens, wide angle or a powerful zoom lens
- actual tripod – good size, sturdy and lightweight. Yes, such things exist but you may need to spend some serious money if you want a top line tripod. Yet, it is one of the most important items you need in your bag
Nice to have items:
- remote release
- speedlight, can come handy in full sunshine when taking portraits or in dark interiors
- third lens for any special objects
- closeup filters, while not a substitution for a macro lens, can help you take close-up pictures without a need to change lenses, make sure they fit your largest diameter lens
When choosing lens for travel, you need to consider the weight of the lens as well as its optical quality. I have a Tamron lens 18-270mm, covers a perfect zoom range, takes good quality pictures in bright light, it is light, has a lock to prevent is extending when it is carried around. If I am forced to take a small photo bag and only one lens, due to luggage restrictions, it is a good choice, but a heavier lens with a low aperture f/2.8 or so can give you fabulous images at low light or inside buildings. The choice is really depending on where you going and what you like photographing.
When traveling on holidays, you may need to carry your gear with you, so weight is a big consideration, as is ability to quickly pull it out or put it away. Leaving your gear in cars or hotel rooms can end up with it being stolen, so having only what you can comfortably carry around a city or on a hiking trail is very important.
I have also created a travel checklist which you can download from the Resource page on my website.