The Travelettes Guide to Traveling with a DSLR
Just like any other passionate photographer and part-time traveler I have asked myself this question several times: which camera to bring on my next trip? Should I go for the handy point-and-shoot camera that fits in my pocket or stick with my bulky and heavy DSLR which takes way better pictures. The ideal situation would we that you had both, but depending on your trip you might have to choose. While a small pocket-sized camera might be just perfect for a party-weekend in Berlin or Barcelona, a longer trip with a more intense program will provide enough material to want to capture with a DSLR.
However, traveling with a DSLR camera is not always easy – “bulky” and “heavy” kind of gives it away. You have to think about weight restrictions of your checked lugguage, the size of your daypack, all the different cables and chargers, which lenses to bring, safety and security – and don’t forget often you will feel more like a packed animal than a light-footed goddess. Of course the quality of your pictures is the best reward to make this sacrifice.
Over my last trips I improved my ways to travel with a DSLR and collected the following tips for travelling with a DLSR.
1. Pack wisely: if you put your camera into your packpack consider the following chart – pack the heavy items close to your back.
2. Get yourself a decent camera bag or backpack to safely stow away your camera and lenses, which also has plenty of smaller pockets for cables, memory sticks, chargers, cleaning items etc.
3. If you go to a rainy country or if you plan on doing activities like kayaking, canoeing, canyoning or any other water-related tour it pays off to invest in a waterproof-camera bag – for example a dry-bag like these from Ortlieb.
4. Be a devil in disguise.
4a. To counter the risk of theft cover up the logos with stickers. It appears as if you were not caring too much about your camera, which means it’s probably not too precious, hence it’s not worthy to steal.
4b. Also get a nice DIY strap – adds personality and pretties up your camera!
5. Don’t pull your camera out on public busses, especially if you are travelling on your own. Once people know you carry that thing around you may become a target.
6. However, don’t be too afraid. The more comfortable you seem the lesser the chance of something actually happening.
Adding to it
7. Bring at least two batteries – just in case.
8. Bring all the cleaning items you might need: paper tissues, lens cleaning fluid, a brush and a blower etc. You can’t be sure to get it in the country you’re traveling to.
9. If you’re not traveling with a laptop or netbook, consider to get a harddrive with a direct plug-in for a memory stick. That way you can save all your pictures and don’t have to worry about memory capacity too much.
Take your time
10. Last but not least, do not rush through taking pictures. Capturing the special moments of traveling is the goal on any photographer. Take your time, try different angels, play with the settings on your camera and find interesting people to take pictures of (tip: learn how to say “May I please take a photo of you?” in the language of the country you’re visiting) – in the end that’s why you brought your DSLR anyways!