Traveling is wonderful, but it can be stressful if you’re flying with photography gear. You need to transport everything safely, plus avoid any potential misunderstandings at the airport because of the electronics you’re carrying. So, if your photography or video work takes you abroad often, Joe Edelman offers plenty of tips to make your life easier. In this video, he suggests the best bags and gear to carry, as well as packing tips to make your gear safe and make you carefree during a flight.
Joe admits that he has a “bag problem,” or in other words, a bag for every possible shooting situation. But, he suggests that backpacks are the way to go when you’re flying with gear. They give you free hands to tackle the check-in and other stuff at the airport. His three go-to backpacks are ThinkTank Urban Approach 15, ThinkTank Airport Commuter Backpack, and ThinkTank StreetWalker HardDrive V2.0. They all fit in the overhead bins, and the first two are smaller, so they also fit under the seat in front of you.
When you pack the gear, create a system. Make each piece of the gear have its place, and keep it there unless you’re actively using it. This keeps you organized and makes it harder to lose track of gear. Keep small accessories in pouches so it’s easier to move them from one bag to the other. Label the gear and the pouches (you can use different colors), so it’s easier to identify what’s what when you open the bag. And if I may add: make checklists to keep you organized. Checklists rock!
15 air travel tips
Other than suggesting gear and packing hacks, Joe shares 15 of his top tips for flying with gear.
- Book the flight with an airline credit card so you get some perks such as priority boarding (which means guaranteed overhead space) and checking one suitcase for free.
- Sign up for TSA Pre✔ to spare yourself going through thorough security check every time.
- Handling the TSA bag inspection: first of all, be nice and polite, don’t make a fuss if you need to undergo the additional security check. As Joe puts it, the TSA agents are just doing their job, and because they are – traveling by airplane remains the safest travel option that exists. Tell to the agents that the bag contains sensitive and expensive equipment and explain to them how to handle it.
- Don’t stack things in the bag. This will make it easier for the agents to see what’s inside, and less likely to flag it for hand inspection.
- Take the lenses off your cameras and pack them separately to reduce the risk of damage.
- The expensive stuff goes in the carry-on. It’s not easily replaceable and you don’t want it to get damaged or lost.
- Don’t bring more than you need. The airlines have weight limits on both the carry-on and the checked luggage, so pack wisely – both the gear and the clothes.
- Don’t forget seasonal clothing (especially if you travel to do the shoots outdoors).
- Wear comfortable shoes with good traction. And if I may add – don’t wear shoes such as Shelly’s rangers if you need to go through the airport security. I learned it the hard way.
- Use travel apps to have access to all your flights and accommodation at any time. This helps you stay organized, and Joe uses TripIt app for this purpose. Also, it’s good to keep airline and hotel apps on the phone, as well as Uber and Google Maps.
- Label and tag your bags – use bright colored tags to make it easier to spot your bags on the luggage carousel.
- Use TSA approved locks so the agents can access your luggage if it needs to undergo a hand-check.
- Get your gear insured.
- Pack spare Li-ion batteries in the carry-on, as this is required by TSA. On this link, you can find more about traveling with batteries and how to pack them properly.
- Backup your files at the end of each shooting day – copy them to your laptop, and then to a portable SSD drive and to the cloud. This way, if you need to format your card, you can do it and be sure that the images are safe.
I believe all you travelers will find these tips useful (I know I will). Are there any other tips you’d like to share?
[Traveling With Camera Gear – Whats In My Camera Bag? |Joe Edelman]