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A Guide to Camera Gear for Traveling

Whether going on a vacation for a few weeks or traveling long-term, packing a travel kit for camera gear can be challenging for photographers.

On the one hand, you want to have as much relevant camera gear as possible to account for whatever landscapes you encounter; on the other hand, packing light and minimal and sticking to the essentials is also necessary.

If you have a trip coming up soon and packing photography gear is giving you trouble, keep reading this article to learn about the essential camera gear you might need when traveling.

Camera Gear Tips

Photographing a butterfly (photo: Jamie Street)
Photographing a butterfly (photo: Jamie Street)

1. Lens

Deciding which lens to take with you can be tricky, as you can come across various scenarios while traveling, and different lenses have different advantages. We recommend going for zoom lenses over prime ones for travel photography. 

Zoom lenses give you a more flexible focal range without having to double up or take multiple lenses with you for different shot types.

However, if you want to cover all the different types of lenses you might need while keeping it light, consider purchasing the following three lenses:

  • A walk-around lens is a versatile option for portraits or shots of food, landscapes, and buildings
  • An ultra-wide or wide-angle lens for architecture, astrophotography, or landscapes
  • A telephoto lens for wildlife

If you're still confused, try getting advice from fellow photographers or signing up for photo workshops, as they can help you better understand this subject.

2. Small Speedlight

You'll need a light source to shoot portraits or do food photography. Consider packaging a flashgun/speedlight or an LED panel.

Choosing a flashgun with rechargeable batteries is helpful, as you'll get more flashes out of one charge without buying many AA batteries.

Speedlights can help lower unnecessarily high contrast in pictures without editing the images and tweaking the shadows, reducing their quality in the process.

3. Suitable Power Bank and Spare Batteries

Owning a high-capacity power bank is essential when traveling. Most mirrorless cameras have an in-camera charging feature, which means you can use a power bank to charge it. You'll also be able to charge any other gadgets like a laptop or phone.

Additionally, keeping spare batteries is also essential. Ensure that you charge them before you go so that you don't have to worry about them later, and also pack rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for your Speedlight.

A hiker stops to take photos in Tongariro, New Zealand (photo: Thomas Schweighofer)
Tongariro, New Zealand (photo: Thomas Schweighofer)

4. Reflector

Another item you need to keep in your backpack is a reflector with reversible colors. Reflectors can help mimic two light sources without investing in them separately. They usually come in four colors: gold, silver, gold/silver, white, and black, each with its use.

The silver surface is good for giving a cooler light, whereas the gold one gives a warmer glow. Similarly, the white surface is suitable for diffusing incoming light, whereas black helps absorb excess light.

5. Memory Cards

Always pack more memory cards than you think you will need. You never know how many pictures you will shoot, and if you cannot transfer photos from a full memory card to make space for more, you will have to miss shots.

Memory cards can also get damaged, corrupt, or lost, so having extra on hand can always be helpful.

There are various options to choose from, and the file output size of your camera, along with its continuous burst mode's speed, will determine which one you need.

6. Tripod

Though tripods are not always necessary for travel photography, they can help step up your landscape photography game.

If you ever want to shoot dreamy seascapes or do some astro and wildlife photography, having a tripod on hand for stabilizing the camera will be essential.

You don't need something expensive or fancy; sometimes, a tabletop tripod can work. It's also small, lightweight, and easy to carry.

7. Travel Backpack

Having a comfortable travel backpack is essential for having a good time. If you don't have one, you won't have an enjoyable time, no matter how light you pack or how much it weighs.

When buying a travel backpack, try to go to a shop rather than getting it online. Try it on, see how it adjusts, how comfortable or padded the straps are, if it has an airflow system to keep your back cool, and whether it has external pockets for a water bottle or tripod.

There are many options, so try to look at as many as possible and choose the best one for yourself.

Wrapping Up

Packing for trips is always confusing. You don't want to leave anything behind as everything seems essential; however, on the other hand, you also know that it's important to pack light and keep things minimal.

When packing camera gear, keeping essentials like rechargeable batteries, spare memory cards, reflectors, and speed lights, and having a travel tripod with you is important.

Try to limit yourself to one camera body and a couple of versatile lenses to save space and weight. Following these tips, you can ensure your photography gear stays safe and ready for action during your travels.


This story is brought to you in partnership with Action Photo Tours.

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