American EmpressI’m won’t downplay this. Traveling as a videographer/photographer is phenomenal! I’ve been lucky enough to visit places that are on millions of people’s bucket lists. I use my camera to make my memories last forever and to share them with you.

I won’t downplay this either. The logistics of traveling with all of my camera gear and video equipment can be complex, and sometimes it’s downright frustrating.

I’ve a learned a few tricks over the years, though. Following some of these tips, can make lugging all of your gear a bit easier.

  1. Your carry-on bag is essential. Pack all of your camera bodies and lenses in your carry-on. Nothing’s worse than pacing around the airport luggage carousel after everyone on your flight has left, holding out hope that the bag with your brand-new lens will finally appear.

  2. Check your non-essential gear. This means your tripods, sliders, monopods, and other basic items.  These are important tools, but they’re simply less valuable and less fragile than your camera and lenses.

  3. Consider shipping your equipment. If you can’t carry it on, or fit it in your checked luggage, consider shipping it ahead of time. If you ship your equipment through FedEx or UPS, definitely make sure you insure and track the package.  Plan ahead, and allow an extra day for the package to arrive. You never know when weather or other delays might wreck your plans.

  4. Use the right bags. Whether you’re packing a carry-on, or a packing specialty lighting equipment, the right case makes a difference. I use Pelican Products for my high-end gear, so that I can worry a lot less about my things being flung into luggage holds by less-than-careful baggage handlers.

  5. Renting your equipment.  Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to incur the cost, and extra effort involved in bringing your own gear with you. That’s when I rent what I need. I’ve used Lens Pro to Go for a few gigs. I love that they will ship the rented equipment to your destination, so it’s waiting for you when you arrive.

  6. Murphy’s Law. Prepare for the unexpected. Have a plan. Avoid having the flight attendant tell you that the overhead bins are full. Get to the gate early, and ask about your flight. If it’s very full, you might be able to upgrade and board earlier. Better yet, call the day before to assess the situation. Some airlines will let you upgrade your seat for a reasonable fee.

  7. Checklists rule. Create your list. Make sure you’ve packed everything, including batteries, chargers, adapters and other accessories. Double-check you list. Then triple-check it.

  8. Charge your batteries. Make sure you do this before you leave. Make sure that your chargers are compatible with the electrical systems at your destination. Invest in good adapters; avoid electrical shorts, and fires.

  9. Plan for long lines. Give yourself plenty of time to get through security. I’ve pushed multiple strollers with toddlers through a security line faster than when TSA decides to go through my bags. When you’re carrying camera gear, you’re much more likely to trip the X-ray machine.

With the right camera and video equipment, you have the freedom to capture an array of vibrant, creative, and even breathtaking images of your dream destination. Proper planning will make the journey a little less daunting.