Whether you are simply going on a vacation and would rather document all the fun moments with your camera and not your smartphone, or you are just getting into the travel photography business and would like to know how traveling with a camera bag works, then you are asking the right question. This is because traveling by air could be a tad stressful and when you have to go with a camera bag, it becomes even worse. What’s more, security screening has become stricter. Hence, flying with a camera bag and other photography equipment is no longer as easy as it used to be. Your camera bag houses a whole lot of fragile equipment. From the camera itself to the lenses and more, things could get missing or broken. This means having your camera bag close to you throughout the flight is a no-brainer. So, yes, you are indeed asking the right question and most importantly, you are reading the right post. If you want to know how to avoid hassles that might arise from taking your camera bag on a plane, then you should read on.
Tips on having a Hassle-free Flight with your Camera Bag
To give a more precise answer to your question, yes, you can indeed take your camera bag on the plane. However, while you can do that, following the tips below would make the process a lot easier
Don’t pack more than you need
Let’s face it, we all tend to overpack. Not because we like to haul around heavy luggage but because we would never know if that extra clothing or toiletry would be needed and so, we just include it. When it comes to traveling with a camera bag, though, you have to ward off such act as the lighter you travel, the better. This is why you should go with just the items that you would be needing during that travel. For example, when it comes to lenses, you should pack only the versatile lenses instead of going with every lens that you own. Traveling light also implies that you are more likely to keep the few items safe than if you were going with all your gear.
Try not to stack items in the bag
Pack the contents of the camera bag in such a way that it is easy for the security agents to look through and assess it. The easier it is for them to identify the contents of your bag, the better it is. Stacking items in the bag would most likely predispose that bag to extra inspection. So, save yourself and the agent the extra stress and do packing right. Stay on the safe side by keeping things organized and less stuffy.
Go for a camera-friendly bag
If you were planning to customize just any bag and make it your camera bag, then you should ditch that plan. There are bags specially made for packing cameras and other photography equipment. There are separate compartments for the camera body, lenses, and other accessories. These compartments ensure that everything is packed tightly and you don’t have different fragile items bumping into each other. It would also cut off the risk of stacking items as described above.
Know that the bag has to be carry-on
You sure do not want your camera bag to be checked. Making it undergo checking is exposing it to a lot of risk factors for damages and theft. So, this further emphasizes the need to pack lightly. The bag should be light enough for you to be able to carry it onto the plane. Save your toiletries and other extras for the luggage that gets checked. The closer the camera bag is to you at all times, the better.
Remove the lens from the camera
To keep the lens safe, you have to remove it from the camera. You might have done the packing and all that the right way but you’d never know what’s going on inside the bag as it’s being moved about. Too much jostling and bumps could damage the delicate mounting threads that connect the lens to the camera. If this happens, the camera is as good as useless. So, it is not enough to have a camera-friendly bag, you’ve got to take off some parts of the camera too. It might be stressful but it sure worth it. After removing the lens, be sure to use the camera body cap to safeguard the sensor of the camera as well as its internal electronics.
Check what the size limit of the airline is before the flight
This tip would help you avoid having your camera bag being checked to a large extent. One of the reasons why luggage checking has become more common is because lots of people go overboard with their luggage thereby exceeding the acceptable cabin limit. If your bag is close to the limits or exceeds it, then you are putting your camera and other contents of the camera bag at the mercy of the security agents. Simply check what the size limit of the airline you’d be boarding is and then, pack accordingly.
Always keep your bag in sight
Keep your eyes on your money! From the security checkpoint to the overhead compartment on the plane, there are many points where your camera bag could get stolen or mistakenly picked up by another passenger. It is best to keep the bag where you can always see it. In most cases, the best place might not be the compartment directly above your seat. One on the other side of the plane might be your best bet so you want to go for that. Also, as you are being screened through the security checkpoint, make sure that you don’t get distracted and forget about the bag. For extra security, attach a tag to your bag.
Don’t forget the camera charger
Depending on how long you’d be traveling for, you would need either extra batteries or the camera’s charger. You should go for the camera charger, though, as rules limit the amount of lithium each person can take with them on a plane. Your camera battery sure has a lot of lithium in it and so, in most cases, you can’t travel with more than two batteries. Two batteries might not be sufficient for you so, a charger is what you would have to fall back on. Except, of course, you don’t mind getting more batteries when you get to your destination.
Get it insured
After everything has been said and done, life is unpredictable and anything could happen. You sure want to be prepared for any situation that might arise. What better way is there to do this than to get the constituents of your camera insured against damages and theft? Though it may be expensive, it is always worth the price. Keep in mind, though, that insurance does not cover whatever is on your memory card. So, you want to remove it and keep it on you at all times. You would feel more confident and have less cause to worry throughout your flight.
Though boarding a plane with your camera bag is possible, it is not without some risks. Stay on top of these risks by keeping the tips above in mind. Sticking to them would see to it that you and your camera bag have a pleasant and hassle-free flight.