Travel Photography Products Roundup: Pack the Gear to Get the Shot

Travel Photography Packing List

It’s become easier to travel and capture photos without carrying tons of gear, especially thanks to smartphones. But if travel photography is your passion, more than just a hobby, we’ve created this exhaustive list of all the items you could pack. This includes your camera options, protective cases and all the accessories.

If you’ve got a piece of travel photography gear we didn’t mention, be sure to leave it in the comments below!

Cameras

There are dozens of types of cameras that are great for travel and it’s no longer limited to the fancy body cameras with multiple lenses. There are many types of cameras to choose from, including smartphones and basic point-and-shoots, but we’ve listed just a few here that we recommend.

DSLR

DSLR cameras were once the go-to for travel photographers for the ability to change the settings and lenses to capture the perfect shot. These cameras have their own set of pros and cons.

They come in all price ranges, and they are certainly an investment. You also should consider all the gear you’ll need to go with a DSLR and the added weight, but you can’t argue with the photo quality. Canon and Nikon are the two most popular brands and the most entry-level friendly.

travel photography products
Canon EOS Rebel T5 EF-S*

Mirrorless

The newest trend in lightweight cameras for travelers is mirrorless, also known as micro four-thirds. It has many of the desired qualities in a DSLR, namely ability to change lenses and shoot in RAW and with high image quality, while also being lightweight.

They’re also much smaller in size, saving you essential room in your bag.

Olympus is just one of the brands entering the market with mirrorless cameras. As of now, they’re fairly expensive due to the new technology, comparable with some top name DSLRs, but that may change as time goes on.

travel photography products
Olympus PEN E-PL1*

GoPro

Another option is sports cameras like GoPro. While the photo quality isn’t always the same as standard cameras (and you can’t zoom), it’s perfect for shooting active adventures.

Waterproof cases allow you to bring it when you’re doing activities like scuba diving, paragliding and rock climbing. You can purchase special mounts to go on your car, onto a selfie stick or onto a chest or helmet mount.

The GoPro shoots both video and photos, and newer versions have LED screens and remotes. The two button system is user friendly and it’s very lightweight.

travel photography products
GoPro Hero+* – Wifi enabled

Filters, Lenses and Accessories

If you’re traveling with a DSLR or even a mirrorless camera, you’ll want to have a few accessories at bare minimum. Other accessories are best for special situations that you’ll want to plan for in advance like capturing the Northern Lights.

Filters

A filter is great for keeping the light from being too harsh as well as protecting your lens from bumps and dings. I learned this firsthand when dropping my camera! It broke my $10 filter rather than my $100 lens. An Ultraviolet Multi Haze filter* is a good one to start with.

travel photography products
The Ultraviolet Multi Haze filter from Hoya.

Lenses

Most cameras that use interchangeable lenses come only with the body or with a basic starter lens, generally 18-55 millimeters. This lens works for most of your photos you’ll take when traveling, especially those landscapes and close ups.

But if you want more options, there are also macro, long range zoom and wide angle lenses. Unless you’re taking photos for your business or are prepared to carry all your lenses and accessories, I would recommend only bringing two. I bought a 75-300mm lens to capture the orangutans in Malaysian Borneo and a horse race in Kentucky, but I definitely don’t bring it on every trip.

travel photography products
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens*

Even if you’ve decided to primarily use your smartphone as your camera, you can still buy lenses for it to take a wider range of photographs. Most kits (like this one*) come with multiple lenses, such as fish eye, macro and wide angle, and a clip to attach them.

travel photography products

Straps and Holsters

Your camera will probably come with some sort of strap, but you can also purchase camera straps that are padded, theft proof or come in cute designs. PacSafe makes slashproof camera straps* and a chest harness that allows you to shoot without being at risk for theft.

If you’re traveling and shooting with multiple cameras, especially at a large event or festival, you can get a holster that gives you a place to put your one camera, either attached to your backpack or belt, while shooting with the other.

travel photography products
The Pacsafe Slashproof camera strap.

External Flashes

You might want to get an external flash to add to the one that comes with your camera for dark spaces. They range in price, starting around $30, and going up from there depending on brand and features. It slips into the hot shoe on your camera, no matter the brand.

travel photography products
The Neewer TT560 Flash Speedlite*

Adapters, Chargers and Memory Cards

Once you’ve decided what cameras and accessories you’re packing, you have to think about how to keep it all charged, especially in hotel rooms with limited outlets. You’ll need an adapter for each charger, but I recommend bringing a travel surge protector or power board, which allows you to plug in multiple items while only needing one adapter. And if you want to charge on the go, try a solar powered charger that absorbs energy without requiring an electrical outlet.

You also should bring more than one memory card so that you don’t have to delete photos before you’ve had time to upload them. This is also good in case one gets stolen or corrupted (plan for the worst!).

Cards like EyeFi* use WiFi to upload on the go, backing up from your memory card to cloud services. These are great for light packers since you could potentially leave your laptop and additional cables or card readers behind.

Tripods and Monopods

Stabilize your images and use the timer feature with tripods. They can range from basic, like those made by Gorillapod*, to top-notch, like those made by Manfrotto*. Gorillapods are flexible and can wrap around poles and other items while the Manfrotto tripods are high-quality metal but also super lightweight. And if you don’t want to commit to lugging around a tripod, a monopod offers the stability of a tripod while folding up as small as an umbrella.

travel photography products
Travel Tripods: Gorillapod and the Manfrotto

Camera Bags and Protection

Consider how you will pack your camera and photography gear for your trip, as this can be problematic when it comes to packing light. There are specifically made camera bags that have protective inserts and accessories like PacSafe and Lowepro. Some that can be used as backpacks as well as purses. Ona Bags* are fine leather purses that have camera protection inside.

travel photography products
Pacsafe Camsafe Venture V25*

You can also create your own camera bag through protective pockets like those made by Timbuk2 and Ona. And if you’re feeling especially crafty, make your own from foam padding and fabric.

Photography Software and Storage

You won’t be able to show off all those amazing travel shots if something happens to your camera before you get home. Storage and backing up is an important part of travel photography. Upload them to your laptop as you go and take advantage of cloud services or an outside source like an external hard drive, CDs or USB drives.

Do it regularly, at least every few days if you’re shooting often, so that your memory card doesn’t fill up.

When it comes to editing, you can either wait until you get home or do it as you go if you’re traveling with a laptop. There are dozens of photo software brands, all in different price ranges, so it depends on what your needs are. Photoshop and Lightroom are popular with professionals but iPhoto works fine for beginners. And even online services like PicMonkey will do the job on the go.

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Travel Photography Packing List

Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Andrea says

    This is always my biggest weight issue. I carry a Canon point & shoot, as well as a 70D with 18 -250mm lens…while I have 3 other lenses, this lens is the one that is multi-talented. I have an Epson photoviewer (80Gb) for photo backup, but I also have an ipad (which is multi use) for quick editting and upload to social media (though my 70D has wifi for connection to ipad and phone). Of course the extra cards, battery, charger and cable and cleaning pen & cloth is required – which is missing from your list above.

    • Brooke says

      Dedication, girl! I’ve never been able to get into photography enough to warrant the setup (I’ve tried!). Do you know how much your gear weighs by chance?

      • Andrea says

        Around 7kg with the GorillaPod tripod (which I put in my checked luggage). I’ve travelled with just a point & shoot before, but having spent the last 8 years taking photographs with a DSLR at work on a regular basis it feels a bit limiting to travel without one now.

        • Andrea says

          Update: Spent a month in Scotland last year and literally used my DSLR twice. My phone and point & shoot did the rest. Some of my fave shots were from my phone. Unless there’s a dedicated reason, like the Northern Lights, the DSLR is for work only, no travel.

  2. Corynn says

    GIMP is a **free** editing software similar to Photoshop that my high school used for newspaper and photography class, and now I use it myself with my photography abroad. It’s easy to look up how to do something online if you want a certain effect and don’t know how to do it, too.

  3. Jill DiMassimo says

    Heading to India on Saturday for ten days and really struggling with which camera to bring. I love my DSLR for the images and for the fact that I know it like the back of my hand, but I hate the weight. I just got myself a mirrorless camera for Christmas to get around the weight issue, but I am sprinting to learn it and am afraid I’ll get to India wishing I had my big girl camera. What to do!

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