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How To Travel With A Camera

If you’re jetting off on a trip, chances are you’ll want to bring your camera and take photos of all the exciting things you encounter. That means packing extra gear like lenses, maybe a laptop and any photo accessories you’ll need. With all of this equipment to consider, you may be wondering how to travel with a camera, what hand luggage you’re allowed and which camera bag is best to transport everything safely.

Fear not, we’ve got you covered with tips on airline luggage restrictions, which equipment you can bring on the plane and what to expect at the airport for a hassle-free travel experience.

How to travel with a camera tips and advice

How to Navigate Flying with Camera Equipment

There are some rules you need to know about before bringing camera equipment on a plane. Airports have strict security measures in place and all airlines have their own luggage requirements and associated carriage charges. Here are some considerations to be aware of before you travel:

A discret camera backpack for travel

  • Each airline has its own hand luggage size and weight restrictions which cannot be exceeded. You must confirm these with your airline before travelling to avoid any problems at check-in, or you may be required to place it in the hold.
  • Electronics and batteries are restricted and may need to be inspected at the security gate, which can cause delays and could result in disallowed items being confiscated.
  • Anything which could be considered a weapon is restricted, such as spiked tripod feet or sharp tools. Security have the right to refuse certain dangerous goods at their discretion, so it’s best to avoid this situation entirely.
  • Liquids are restricted to 100ml, which means no big bottles of cleaning fluid.
  • If you padlock any luggage, you’ll need to use relevant TSA approved locks to avoid damage to your bags if they are subject to a security check.

With all of these restrictions, it’s easy to wonder just how to travel with camera gear, and which are the best travel cameras and accessories to bring with you in the first place.

All the equipment you can fit in this Vanguard travel bag

Can I Take a Camera Tripod in Hand Luggage?

There’s every reason to bring a tripod on your travels to get better shots, however, if you have a large tripod, it will likely exceed most airline carry-on restrictions. That’s because big tripods exceed size restrictions, don’t fit under an airplane seat and cannot be safely stowed in overhead lockers, so you risk being charged to put it in the hold, where it can get damaged.

A travel-friendly, or mini tripod is a great solution for regular travellers. We’ve picked our favourite travel-friendly tripod kits and provided the essential specifications to ensure the one you choose fits your specific requirements, such as compacting down to fit into your camera bag.

Tripod storage built-in the camer bag

 

3 Legged Thing Brian 2.0 with Airhed Neo 2.0 Black

Benro MeFOTO RoadTrip Black

Peak Design Travel Tripod Aluminium

Joby GorillaPod 3K PRO Kit

Folded length

420 mm

385 mm (reverse folded)

391 mm

300 mm

Material

Carbon fibre

Carbon fibre

Aluminium

Aluminium

Spiked feet

Optional screw-in

Optional screw-in

Optional screw-in

NA

Total weight

1.68 kg

1.37 kg

1.56 kg

0.463 kg

Load capacity

14 kg

8 kg

9.1 kg

3 kg

Price at time of publishing

£269.10

£225.00

£329.00

£164.95

Benefits

Has a built-in monopod, brilliant design and removable feet so you can stow spikes in the hold.

Packed with features including conversion to a monopod, boom pole, selfie stick, high hat and tabletop tripod all-in-one!

Tabletop Mode, integrated phone mount for extra versatility and best load capacity for heavier gear.

Smallest and lightest in our picks, holds 3kg for a mirrorless camera and lens, and is modular for expandability.

Does a Camera Bag Count as a Carry-On?

Your camera bag counts as carry-on as long as it meets the size and weight restrictions of the airline you’ll be travelling with. If it’s too large or too heavy, it will need to be packed into your main luggage, but nobody wants to see their expensive camera and lenses heading off to the hold on a plane. All airlines list the most up-to-date luggage guidance on their website, with shorter flights typically allowing smaller bags than long-haul flights.

Many airlines will also allow you to bring a second ‘personal item’ in addition to a carry-on bag. This second item should be small enough to fit under the seat in front of you, however you should still check with your specific airline before departing.

Secure passport zipped pocket

Which Camera Accessories Can be Taken in Hand Luggage?

The good news is that photographers are allowed to bring most of their equipment in their hand luggage. Accessories which are not allowed include:

  • Large capacity batteries over 100 Wh
  • Aerosols
  • Any tools which can be considered a weapon, such as multi-tools with sharp edges
  • Liquids over 100 ml each (such as camera cleaning spray)
  • Materials that could spontaneously combust

This means you can bring virtually everything you need, such as spare memory cards, camera remotes and even binoculars. It is worth noting that lithium batteries for cameras must be in your hand luggage, as they are not allowed in the hold.

You can check the latest guidelines for hand luggage restrictions at UK airports and items that are allowed in baggage on the UK government website.

Travel-friendly zips with lock holes

The Best Camera Bags for Aircraft Travel

There are plenty of camera bag options for a range of travellers. So regardless of how often you fly, this list of the best camera bags for travel will help you pick the most suitable one for your needs.

  1. The Lowepro Tahoe BP150 is one of the most compact Lowepro backpacks available, meeting stringent size restrictions at just 27.5 x 21.7 x 40.3 cm. This bag has a well-padded main compartment big enough for a DSLR or mirrorless camera, a roomy front pocket for accessories and a protective 10-inch tablet pocket.
  2. If a shoulder bag is more your style, the Lowepro ProTactic MG 160 AW II is a great choice. Notable features include a larger 13-inch laptop compartment, an expandable modular system to add external pouches and cases, and it can be carried in three different ways, adding personalised comfort into the mix.
  3. Think Tank is synonymous with photography travel and offer a range of bags including the Airport Essentials Backpack, which meets most international and US carry-on requirements. The bag is robust, includes a cable lock and locking YKK zippers and a laptop compartment - and even has space for a longer telephoto camera lens.
  4. This Manfrotto Advanced Compact Backpack III is a popular backpack by Manfrotto, which measures just 26 x 17 x 44 cm to meet most carry-on restrictions. Having refined the design over three generations, you’ll get a tried and tested bag with excellent features for travel, including comfortable padding, multiple access points to your gear and a new M-Guard™ shock resistant divider system for extra peace of mind.
  5. Finally, we have the extremely versatile Peak Design Everyday Backpack. This also meets most airline size restrictions, while combining style with excellent functionality. There’s room for a 15-inch laptop, extra secure configurable FlexFold dividers and it comes with a lifetime guarantee, which is ideal for regular travellers.

Excellent packing with accessories in a wheeled bag

With a little planning, it’s easy to travel with a camera and most of the accessories you need in order to capture amazing shots of faraway places. It’s important to check individual airline carry-on size and weight restrictions before you head to the airport and remember to pack sensibly – leaving out anything which could be deemed a weapon or is restricted.

Discover your ideal camera bag from our extensive range to find the perfect one for your upcoming travels.

This guide is for informational purposes only and you should check the latest guidance with relevant Civil Aviation Authorities before you travel.

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By Park Cameras on 31/01/2022

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