Essential Travel Photography Gear for Your Next Trip: 10 Must-Have Items

Essential Travel Photography Gear for Your Next Trip: 10 Must-Have Items

If you want to take truly excellent pictures on your next vacation, you’re going to have to do better than relying on your smartphone. Equipping yourself with some essential travel photography gear will make taking and storing high-quality shots much easier, so if you’re serious about upping your photo-taking game, don’t leave home without a few of these key items. 

1. Rugged & Durable Hard Drives

There’s no point in taking photos if you don’t have a safe place to store them. A good hard drive will leave plenty of room in your camera, and if your camera is lost or stolen, you won’t lose your photographs. Pick up a sturdy hard drive that will hold up even after a week or two of getting tossed around in a suitcase and backpack. We suggest not “cheaping out” here. Ideally, you’ll only need to buy one of these and it will serve you for a long time–  so do some research and find a nice one that will last.

Durable hard drives are essential for travel photography trips.

2. Travel Plug Adapters

Your travel photography equipment will be of no use to you unless you can plug it all in and recharge when necessary. You can find inexpensive adapters on Amazon, and it’s probably worth it to get two or three so that you can charge multiple devices at once. Universal adapters work with almost every outlet type in existence, so whether you’re off to Europe, East Asia or Australia, your trusty universal charger should do the trick. 

3. Power Strips & Extenders

North America is big on outlets, but in other places around the world you may find you run out of power sources quickly, especially if you’re traveling with a lot of electronics. A simple power strip turns one outlet into five outlets, and it can make your creative photo endeavors a lot easier. Of course, the strip is useless without an adaptor, and you should also make sure you choose a power strip rated for up to 240v. Most North American outlets use 110v, but 240v is common in many countries worldwide– and a 110v strip will be fried if you plug it into the wrong socket. Don’t short-circuit and even potentially ruin your equipment: choosing the proper voltage allowance is essential! 

Choosing the right power strip with the correct voltage allowance is crucial when traveling abroad.

4. USB Chargers

Another solution for charging devices is to bring along a USB charger. These plug into an outlet and offer you multiple ports to charge USB devices. These days, most small electronics charge via USB, so an adaptor can really free up some much-needed outlet space. Even better? This lightweight little gadget is handy year-round, even when you’re not on the road. 

5. Cards & Card Readers

All the hard drives and outlets we listed earlier are useless without a way to get your photos off your camera and onto another device. A card reader and a handful of good-quality memory cards are non-negotiable travel gear. If your laptop has a built-in card reader, you can skip a step, although having a portable card reader can be handy if you want to transfer files on the go.

Read related: Our Top 8 Travel Gear Must-Haves 

 

6. Travel Tripods

A sturdy, compact carbon fiber tripod is a lightweight and useful travel solution for taking professional-quality pictures with a stabilizing tool. The weight savings on an ultralightweight tripod frees you up to carry more lenses and gear than you otherwise would, and the compact size reduces the amount of bulk you’ll have to contend with on your trip. You may even avoid those annoying overweight bag fees airlines charge these days– a real boon.

Read related: Top 15 Ways to Budget & Save Money on Your Next Trip 

 

You may also want to look into purchasing a tripod with bendable legs that can grip railings or adjust for uneven surfaces. These give you better flexibility, and they’re also pretty fun to play with on long train rides.

A good-quality travel tripod is an important investment for aspiring travel photographers.

7. Camera Rain Covers

This is yet another one of those items you don’t want to be without– lest you literally get caught in a deluge. A rain cover protects your gear from water damage and lets you take photos no matter where you are. Whether it’s mist from a waterfall or just plain bad weather you need to protect yourself and gear against, a rain cover is essential. It’s also a very lightweight addition to your kit that won’t take up a ton of room in your suitcase or pack.

8. Cleaning Gear

If you’re going to travel with your precious photo gear, you may as well make sure you can properly clean it while abroad. No one wants the nuisance of not being able to clear up a smudged lens. Dust is a big issue in rural and urban areas, sand at the beach is a nuisance that can also do some serious damage to your gear if you let it get into nooks and crannies– and nothing ruins a shot faster than a giant speck on your lens. A rocket blower and a brush should do just fine. You can also browse for complete camera and equipment cleaning gear and kits here

9. Non-Branded Camera Straps

Swapping out your branded camera straps for a generic ones makes you less of a target for thieves looking to steal big-name brands. Neoprene options work well for humid climates, and you can pick up a few options very inexpensively online. Even if you invest a bit more than you initially hoped, this is still much cheaper than buying a new camera if yours gets stolen!

Essential Travel Photography Gear for Your Next trip

10. Insurance For Your Gear

Don’t leave home without insuring your most expensive gear, especially if you’re a professional photographer whose livelihood depends on your tech and equipment. Even if you’re an amateur, you certainly don’t want to lose your hard-earned investment to damage or theft. An insurance policy for your cameras can be bought specially for your gear, or you can obtain a rider on your regular insurance policy for one specific item. Before you sign on the dotted line, read the small print carefully– and double-check that your policy really covers the full value of your complete kit so you’re covered in case of worst-case scenarios.

Travelshoot: International Photo Shoots Made Possible (and Fun!)

Travelshoot: International Photo Shoots Made Possible (and Fun!)

(PROMOTIONAL CONTENT)

Travel creates memories that you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life– and often, the most precious physical items you come home with are the photos you take on the trip. But taking photos of your travel party is often the last thing you want to do, and you end up with more photos of plants and cafes than of you and your loved ones.

Travelshoot is an international photo service that connects travelers with professional photographers in destinations around the world. We’re excited about this service, because it makes having a professional photoshoot in a foreign country easy and accessible. You don’t have to speak the language, nor rely on a company operating in the country: you just give Travelshoot your information and they take it from there. It represents a fantastic way to help remember all the colorful details from your trip. 

With Travelshoot, the stress of taking photos on your trip is removed-- so you can relax and just enjoy the process.

How it works:

 

1. Book your shoot

The process starts when you find your location and book your shoot. A simple booking form helps the service pair you with a local professional who can take the best photos for you and your family, and they use a five-step process to qualify photographers in their network. You can feel confident that your photos will look great, and the photographers give you an insider’s tour of the city during the shoot. You’ll come away with some beautiful new memories that you might not have experienced without a local showing you around.

2. Meet your photographer

Once your information is collected, you’ll be matched with a photographer and receive their information and sample photos so you can have a good sense of what you’re getting. Travelshoot sends you a detailed itinerary for your shoot with everything you need to know ahead of time.

3. Embark on your personalized shoot

On the day of your shoot, your photographer will meet you at a designated meet-up point, ready to guide you around their city and take natural, beautiful photos of your travel group. There’s no cheesy posing involved: just organic, fun-filled shots against beautiful local scenery.

Travelshoot operates in destinations around the world

 

4. Get your photos

Within 48 hours, you’ll get a sneak peak of your shoot, and within a week you’ll receive the whole album of your Travelshoot images in an online gallery for you to download.

Where can you book a shoot?

The short answer is that Travelshoot has a network of photographers across the globe. You can look up your specific destination, but they have the big tourist locations covered. Australia, Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa and the Middle East are all represented.

Occasion-specific travel shoots

Travelshoot is a great option for big events that you want to commemorate, such as weddings, elopements, proposals, honeymoons and other important occasions in your life. They have wedding and engagement packages that cater to small-scale events, and you can book your shoot quickly for a flat fee at a fair price. Of course, you don’t need a special occasion in mind to use the service! “Just-because” travel photos are a great option too.

Travelshoot's professional photographers work with you to create albums that will last a lifetime

Get $50 Off Your Travelshoot Package

At Loftus, our travel philosophy has always favored quality over quantity, and Travelshoot makes getting beautiful photos easy and fun, removing the hassle and giving you keepsake photos you’ll love. It’s a truly unique service, and we’re thrilled to say that Travelshoot has given us a discount code to use on their site. Simply use the code “LOFTUS50” at checkout to get $50 off the standard price.

Check Out These Other Resources

Passionate about taking your camera with you on trips to record unforgettable memories? Read our 8 travel photography tips from a professional. Prefer writing your impressions and thoughts down on paper? Find out which of these 7 travel journal styles best suit your personality— and get inspired to start writing.

8 Travel Photography Tips to Learn Now

8 Travel Photography Tips to Learn Now

Rebecca Northcott’s Top Advice

Rebecca Northcott

Rebecca Northcott

Guest Photographer

Rebecca originates from Yorkshire, England. She specializes in portraiture of families, individuals and couples. Since traveling to Canada 10 years ago she has become a lover of travel, sampling local delights and meeting new people from every walk of life.

GUEST POST by Rebecca Northcott, a professional photographer based in the UK. We asked her for her top tips, and she’s been generous enough to share them with you!

Traveling means one thing for your social media feed: lots and lots of pictures. Whether it’s boasting your latest tan at the pool or the cool features in your hotel room, there’s always the perfect excuse to take and share a snap. Photographs also lock in the memories that are made when traveling, no matter where you are going. Here are some helpful tips to hopefully make your clicking fingers snap happy.

1. Before you go, get prepared!

Just as you make sure all your luggage is cleared out and organized before you leave, and remove that old chewed up gum out of the front pocket that was from last year’s trip, you should always, always charge the batteries of your camera and if you can, carry spares.

A helpful tip for those of you who love the rapid fire option on your camera: be sure to take more than one memory card with you – you won’t forgive yourself if the card you used to capture your partner’s pool dive suddenly dies. You can get memory cards now for dirt cheap anywhere from 2-20 GB. Your safest bet is to take at least two with you

2. Off you snap!

You will want to capture all the details from your trip, be it on the way to the airport, the pit stops during the car trip, the pending rainstorm, or your kids “am I there yet” frown.

The most important thing is to snap those spur-of-the-moment instances. That pack of chips your kid is eating will change branding within the next ten years and you will look back and have a giggle how funny the font was.

I know this from my own family photos. These shots may seem random or boring to you, and I don’t encourage you to go about taking photos of every chip packet known to man, however if it’s something important to you or someone you care about, you may just want to take a photo of it. Remember, this moment won’t happen ever again.

 

3. I’m so excited! (Get the big attractions)

Are you going to a popular tourist spot? Make sure you get a photo with all the big attractions or statue or tower.

Whatever it is, take full advantage of it.

To help you photographically, please always follow this rule: Be sure the attraction in the photo isn’t behind your head; Always place the person to the side of it.

Trust that this will save you the grief of regretting that one shot.

 

4. Don’t be a party pooper

While you’re on vacation, don’t always be the one taking the photos: make sure you get in some as well!

We all know you take the best photos in your group, but hey, we need to see that you were there, too. Set your camera on auto and let someone else snap some of you (or there’s always a self timer). Run rabbit run!

Remember, you are there for a holiday, after all. Enjoy it!

5. The posing guide

Silly faces and gestures are funny– but only when it’s appropriate.

This can apply to serious posing toothere’s a time and a place for it. If you want to imitate a puffer fish at the aquarium, go for it, we will all giggle along with you, but doing the same face everywhere else gets a bit monotonous. You may just want a nice sunset photo that’s relaxed where you just look happy.

Change it up, get a variety of shots with and without you in it.

6. Get creative

Don’t be afraid to use props, hide behind parts of a building, or pop out from behind an object.

Taking pictures is all about getting creative and having fun. Spend a few minutes finding an interesting angle or perspectiveshoot upwards, downwards and any other position that will produce a unique photo.

Give your photo some depth. If you are struggling with low light or shooting when it’s dark, don’t forget to use your flash.

Also, try to make sure you are at least a few feet away. No one wants their eyes closed in a shot because you’re blinded by the camera’s flash.  

 

7. I’m tired and I wanna go home

We’ve all heard it and know it to be true- sometimes we need a vacation after the vacation.

Before you get home and upload your 500 odd photos to Facebook, go through your images and delete them on the go.

Unless you are a real camera geek and enjoy spending hours sifting through images, you will probably not have the time or energy to go through them when you get back. Another tip is simply to take less photos.

The less you have, the easier it is to go through them, even on a daily basis and delete the ones you don’t need. This is faster and saves you time in the long run.

8. The most important thing: keep your perspective

If these tips seem overwhelming and you just want to take a few snaps on Instagram, then this last tip is for you. Put down the camera. Yes, you heard right. Sometimes it’s best to just let your eyes and mind actually enjoy the view.

Seeing things with your own eyes rather than through a camera lens enables you to looks at things with more depth. If it’s hard for you to put the camera away when on vacation, think of it as a challenge for at least one day.

One day where you simply enjoy the view and not worry about snapping that perfect shot. It will revitalize you. The image you take with your own eyes will surely capture that memory forever, more so than any picture you have to search for and look back on.

Do something different with your time- share it with your loved ones or just sit and soak it all in. Take time for you.

Hopefully these tips have helped you. Vacations are to be enjoyed so take these suggestions with a pinch of salt. Do what works for you, and most of all, have a great holiday!