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Traveling overseas is exciting and stressful all at the same time. My husband and I went to Europe for two weeks and while I couldn’t wait to get over there the stress of what photography gear to pack on top of all the other stuff was an added stress.
We decided we wanted to travel light. REALLY light! I’m talking only a backpack light. Let’s be clear, I’m not one of those people who can wear just one outfit or leave my hair dryer at home. So I had to pack smart, really smart. We purchased these backpacks which are approved by many European airlines as carry ons (hand bags). We didn’t want to have to check our gear and you better believe I was not checking my photography gear.
We flew to 3 different cities so we were on the budget European airlines which are much stricter than American airlines when it comes to what you can carry on. One even restricted you to only one carry-on. Period. That meant your purse or anything else.
Excuse the poor photo but I was standing on a bed in Paris with my iPhone. Just wanted to give you an idea of what my bag looked like inside.
–Travel hair dryer
-5 summer dresses
-Hair products and shampoo
-Girl’s Day Out Shutter bag (all camera stuff-I’ll get to that in a minute)
I told you I packed light.
Let’s get down to the gear.
1. SHUTTER|Bag – Girl’s Day Out
I needed a great camera bag, that didn’t look like a camera bag. You hear a lot of stories about people trying to snatch your stuff. I went with the smallest of my SHUTTER|bags, Girl’s Day Out. It worked perfectly. Here’s why I loved it:
– Several zipper pockets so if I was reaching in for my camera all my other stuff was not out for other’s to see.
– Private zipper in the back that holds your passports perfectly!
– Over the shoulder and across the body straps. I wore mine messenger style most of the time.
– Held everything I needed plus some.
– Bag is not heavy which is good because the stuff I put in it was.
– Two front pockets on front for easy access to smaller items.
2. D700 with my Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8
I decided right away I only wanted to take one lens. Yes, I know, isn’t that crazy? But I didn’t want to have to worry about the other lens and I knew I would be carrying all this heavy gear around so I wanted to make my life simple. I brought my Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 and it was exactly what I needed. Since I only have one camera body it was obvious I was being my D700.
I loved that this lens was able to capture the wide shots that I wanted, which were the majority of my shots as well as zoom in if I needed a closer shot. Seriously, this is one of my favorite lens and I didn’t wish I had brought another lens or felt like I was missing out with only one lens.
4. 2 memory cards
I typically shoot with a 4G CF card on RAW which will hold about 300 photos. I grabbed an 8G as well before I left. I didn’t want to delete the photos off my card until I had uploaded them onto my computer at home. I also did not bring a laptop so the photos needed to stay on my memory cards. I only took about 700 photos in 2 weeks in Europe. Figure out ahead of time if you think you are going to go crazy taking photos and how many memory cards you will need.
5. Camera strap
I have two camera straps that I adore but decided to purchase this one for the trip. Why? Because I heard so many stories of people trying to steal you things and then my parents mentioned this company that creates camera straps that are slash proof. Yup, apparently we need to be worried about someone taking a knife and cutting the camera strap in order to steal our gear. I told my parents I was more concerned with someone with a knife anywhere near me but decided to go ahead and purchase it anyway. The PacSafe camera strap was awesome. It is long with the screw that goes into the bottom of your camera so it sits comfortably on your hip. The strap is really padded which makes it very comfortable to carry all over the place. Definitely recommend it!
I LOVE my GoPro especially when it comes to traveling. I love to take video of our trips and put them to music. I knew I wanted to capture so much of Europe so we brought our tiny GoPro and used it often to capture the liveliness and beauty of the cities we visited. Just like my camera, I brought two memory cards (although, I only needed one) and two batteries.
One more thing I did before we left, I called my insurance company to triple check that the camera and lens I was taking was insured. I also asked a lot of questions as to what I should do if it is stolen in a foreign country and if my policy covers it in another country. Ask lots of questions! It gave me such peace of mind to know that my gear if stolen would easily be replaced when I returned home.
I will be doing several more tutorials on what I learned about travel photography over the next few weeks.
What advice would you give someone who is traveling with their photography gear?