Monday, October 11, 2010

Planning a Photo Trip - Part 2

Now that you have planned your trip, in concept, and booked all your tickets, accommodations and transportation it’s time to think about photography.

Flying is a great way to travel and depending on your destination perhaps the only way. When heading out locally it’s fairly easy dumping everything into the car along with all the extra gear. When boarding a plane it can be difficult bringing all your required personal belongings along with all your camera gear. Specific destinations and/or specific airlines can make this task even more challenging.

The security concerns of 9/11 along with higher fuel prices and a down turn in the economy, many airlines now only allow a checked bag and one carry-on. Checking in extra bags or overweight baggage can be costly. Luckily here in Vancouver with most airlines you can still have two checked bags up to 50Lbs each and two carry on bags (or rather one bag and one personal item?) up to 22Lbs each.

Another concern is what do you do with all your gear? Do you check it in risking never seeing your precious cargo again? Or perhaps receiving your gear neatly organized into a 100+ piece puzzle of broken pieces? Neither of these circumstances will be covered by most, if not all, airlines or even you home insurance policy.

The answer here is obviously carry-on. Only then can you ensure that you’ll have your camera when you arrive at your destination and also have it in one piece.

Carry-on baggage policies have limitations and restrictions on what, and how much stuff can be carried. For the ‘what’ portion, check with your local Aviation or Transport Regulatory Bodies in your area but rarely are cameras and gear on the list. I have heard of tripods or monopods not being allowed as carry-on but so far all your other gear is good to go. But again, check the rules.

Where you will run into problems is with the ‘how much’. There are size and weight restrictions and as mentioned before, the numbers of carry-on bags allowed. Here is where the fun starts.

First you need to check your airline’s baggage rules and regulations on limits and restrictions, but you need to check with all the carriers you will be using during your entire trip. Some small airline in a third world country may only allow one carry-on and NO checked baggage at all! You wouldn’t want to show up with four bags total?

So, check weight and size restrictions on all the airlines you will deal with. Note that many airlines will allow a little leeway in size but rarely in weight. Some airlines will not allow for ANY differences so it can pay to follow the rules. Note also, that with some airlines may have one set of rules when you leave home but the may have different rules when returning from a different country. This may be the airlines ripping travelers off but in most cases, these are regulations imposed by the country where you will be returning from.

Now that we have our weight and size requirements, you need to find a camera case, or two, that meet these requirements, meets your personal style photography work and organizational styles and a case that can carry all your equipment. This is no simple task.

For more on Travel Bags check out by blog post titled: Traveling With Photography Gear

Now I did say “all your equipment” but I should clarify that to be “all the equipment you want to bring”. And that is another whole question. What should you bring? This in part you will need to answer based on your gear, the type of photography you do and your photographic style.

I’ll discuss what gear I bring along in my next blog.

© 2010 François Cléroux
(Version 1.01 - October 2010)
Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

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I value thoughtful comments and suggestions. If you like or dislike this post, please let me know. If you have any ideas or suggestion, comments or corrections (I do make mistakes) please also let me know. Thanks.

- Francois Cleroux