Some of this is photography-specific and some are general travel tips. Some of it is pretty obvious, some of it perhaps less so. In no particular order:
- I always pack a small USB camera battery charger, power bank and a couple of spare camera batteries in my hand luggage. This way, heaven forbid that if the airline manages to mislay one’s hold baggage then at least I can charge my camera batteries even if I don’t have a change of clothes. You see my priority there!. 🙂
- Never underestimate the weather even in hot countries it can and does rain so I always pack rain covers for my camera bag, my camera and myself!. Remember also to drink plenty of water in hot countries, I’ve had heat exhaustion twice and, believe me, it really is no fun at all!. Yes, twice, I didn’t learn my lesson the first time, I’ve learned it now.
- Unless one’s travelling in style, chance would be a fine thing 🙂 , then expect the hotel room not to have enough power sockets to charge one’s gear. So I always travel with a small multi-voltage 5-port USB charger and cables which allows me to charge all my devices from one wall socket. It also means that it’s a lot quicker and less time-consuming to charge multiple devices simultaneously and the USB chargers are so much smaller and lighter to pack.
- Pack a small torch, I have a small, thin, pen torch which charges from USB. I’ve had more than one occasion to be thankful for having a torch with me.
- Remember not to pack batteries and power banks in one’s hold luggage as the airlines have strict regulations about this kind of thing, check with the airline to see the latest regulations regarding what’s allowed and not before packing.
- I’ve taken to packing a couple of extra lenses in my hold luggage so as to act as backup and also extend my options. One never knows when an unexpected opportunity might arise. For example I visited a Zoo when in Portugal, now, if I’d only have had a telephoto zoom lens with me I could have packed it for the day and left it at the hotel when I knew that I wouldn’t need it which was pretty much most of the time.
- Not photography-related but make sure that you pack an adequate supply of all and any prescription medications, a small first aid kit – sticky platers etc., passports and all travel documentation, boarding passes etc. and don’t forget to check to see what COVID certificates are required by the country you are visiting else you might have a very short stay!.
- Make sure that you have travel insurance, which covers the value of your equipment and belongings and covers you for medical treatment and medical emergencies as well as health cards like the GHIC card or equivalent. Start your travel insurance cover from the date that you book and not the date that you are travelling and make sure that you apply for any travel documentation in good time before travelling.
- I usually pack a tiny USB-rechargeable data logger, about the size of a pocket box of matches. When returning from one’s travels and looking through hundreds of images it’s so easy to forget where they were taken and even more so when doing this weeks or months later etc.. Set your camera time and date accurately before leaving and, on return, use a program such as Geosetter on the PC to match the GPS track/s data time stamps and add the geographic co-ordinates to the EXIF data of all of your images. I start a new GPS track every day when setting off on the day’s travels.
- Every day on return to the hotel I use a backup device to copy the content of the camera’s SDHC card onto a flash drive. I also find that it’s good practice to use a new card every day and store the used cards and flash drive/s in the room safe. This way, if the camera gets stolen or the memory card gets corrupted at least you haven’t lost all of your shots.
+1. Lastly, keep your wits about you when visiting popular tourist hot spots and tightly packed spaces like public transport etc. as these attract pickpockets and thieves like flies to you know what. 🙂 Stay safe and be conscious of those around you who might want to part you from your money and/or your belongings. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket or, to put it another way, don’t put all your money and cards in the same pocket/wallet/bag etc. and only take out with you what you think that you’ll need for the day, that’s what hotel room safes are for. 🙂 If I’m seated at a restaurant or bar etc. then I place one of my legs through the strap of my camera bag when it’s sitting on the ground under the table. There’s no 100% foolproof way of avoiding all possible risks but there definitely are ways of making oneself more vulnerable.
I don’t claim this to be an exhaustive list but simply some tips that have served me well over the years.