A Photographer’s Guide to Packing for Holiday Travel


Photographers packing for holiday travel often spend more time selecting photo gear than clothing and related personal items. Considering all the variables that go into packing the perfect photo bag or pack, this is quite understandable. One method that works for me is laying out on a table all the gear I’d like to bring, and whittling it down to a manageable amount based on what I expect to photograph. Ideally, I’ll have a home base to store whatever gear isn’t needed on a particular outing. Traveling light and comfortably cannot be overrated. For this reason, I’ll often pack a few smaller camera bags in a suitcase with my personal belongings. My camera bag or pack, of course, never leaves my sight unless it’s in an overhead airplane bin.  

Think Tank Photo Airport International V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag

For hassle-free airplane travel, choosing a bag or pack that conforms to airline requirements is the way to go—literally. One excellent choice is the Think Tank Photo Airport International V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag that holds two pro DSLRs, 4 lenses, 2 flashes, accessories, and an up to 15.4" laptop. This bag features a retractable handle, wheels, tripod straps, security cables, TSA locks, and a registerable ID plate. Complementing this bag, and suitable for stowing in your suitcase for day trips, is the Pacsafe Camsafe V8 Anti-Theft Camera Shoulder Bag. The V8 holds a DSLR, attached lens, extra lens, accessories, and an iPad. For security, the bag has eXomesh Slashguard fabric, smart zip security, RFIDsafe pocket to prevent ID theft, additional security features, and a built-in rain cover.

Pacsafe Camsafe V8 Anti-Theft Camera Shoulder Bag

For international travel, one should never leave home without the necessary travel adapters and transformers for the countries they’re visiting. A versatile kit, the Watson APK International Adapter Plug Kit, includes adapters for USA to Europe, Europe to USA, 2- and 3-prong USA to UK, USA to Australia/Argentina, and a storage pouch. Another choice is the Belkin Global Travel Kit that comes with a USB charger, US, UK, EU, AUS, Korea and China plugs, and a $2500 connected equipment warranty.

Belkin Global Travel Kit

On longer trips, or when you plan on shooting a lot, it’s important to stock up on memory cards. Be sure to get cards that have read and write speeds that are fast enough to keep pace with your gear. Your camera manual will have recommended memory card types and ratings. Guaranteed to provide peace of mind, the NEXTO DI ND2901 500GB HDD Portable Memory Card Backup Storage is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux and has a 1.44" LCD screen for viewing uploaded photos. This device offers a way to download your memory cards, backup images, and keep stored images in a separate location, such as a hotel safe.

NEXTO DI ND2901 500GB HDD Portable Memory Card Backup Storage

Since holiday time is for giving as well as receiving, why not give the gift of the precious photos you recorded on your trip to friends and family with the Lexar 256GB JumpDrive S57 USB 3.0 Flash Drive? These handy drives are so useful you may decide to get a second one for yourself. The drive is Windows and Mac compatible, features a maximum read speed of up to 150MB per second, and has a retractable cover for protection.

Lexar 256GB JumpDrive S57 USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Whether your batteries are on their last legs, or if you just want spares for occasions when recharging isn’t possible, it’s a good idea to peruse the B&H Camera Batteries & Chargers category. Here you’ll find batteries for your Fujifilm X-Series Cameras, a variety of Nikon D-Series Cameras, select Canon EOS Cameras, many Sony CyberShot models, and more—much more. While shopping for batteries, don’t forget to replenish the ubiquitous AAs, that one seemingly can never get enough of. An environmentally safe approach is the Watson 8-Bay Rapid Charger Kit with 8, 2300mAH, AA NiMH Rechargeable Batteries that features fast recharging times, a microprocessor to monitor charging and discharging, and a handsome storage case.

Watson 8-Bay Rapid Charger Kit

Speaking of storage cases—how about a protective case for your cell phone? Pelican has an excellent line of cases that are unbreakable, watertight, and airtight. These cases are made of strong, copolymer polycarbonate, and come in a variety of colors. Models with a range of capabilities are available for your Galaxy Note 7, iPhone, and many others.

Pelican 1020 Micro Case

Last, but not least, is a 60-pack of Zeiss Lens Wipes. These wipes are pre-moistened, individually packaged, non-abrasive and ammonia free. The last thing any traveling photographer wants is a dirty lens or filter. Zeiss wipes will also keep your eyeglasses spotless, as well. This guide to holiday travel is by no means all-inclusive or complete. It is, however, a good starting point for being prepared and well-organized for your next trip. Whatever you need for a happy holiday, B&H will more than likely have it. Please help B&H compile an even better guide next year by weighing in with comments and suggestions for holiday packing, in the Comments section, below.

Zeiss Lens Wipes


Airlines in China are now requiring Lith-Ion batteries to be in the battery compartment of the equipment, which we all do. What should be noted is that spare batteries must be placed in carry-on luggage in plastic bags such as a Zip-Lock bag, one battery per bag and the battery terminals coverd with electrical tape or other insulating material. Batteries not packed in this manner will be confiscated when going through Security. I assume that this regulation will spread to all airlines worldwide, if it hasn't done so already, as the the topic of flying with these batteries has become an issue at the forefront of aviation safety. Fires caused by these batteries are difficult to put out.

Tough, tough decisions when flying with photographic gear these days. Remember that ALL loose Li-ON batteries HAVE to accompany you into the cabin, plus unless you scatter durable photo and computing accessories in your luggage, space for gear and essentials is going to be tight. You want to bring all delicate items with you into the cabin, and you may not be able to bring your carry-on suitcase into the cabin due to either small aircraft or full flights. As a frequent business flyer, I think most baggage handlers do a great job, but based on the wear my roller-bag shows, it is bounced around a lot when you have to check it.