We are super excited for my Mom! She’s getting ready to go on her first vacation outside of Canada! She’s been to Newfoundland a few times, by both car and plane, Montreal for her sisters getaways, and the rare trip across the border to the US for some shopping, but never anything like this. She’s in the midst of prepping for three weeks in Germany! She’s nervous about the plane ride (8ish hours) and not at all interested in the stop they need to make in New York but other than that she’s really looking forward to it.
So I figured it’s my daughterly duty to help her figure out what she needs to bring to make sure she can take the best vacation photos ever. Let’s start with the must haves:
Must Have Gear for Vacation Photos
- camera, in my Mom’s case we’re talking about a Canon A-Series point and shoot, but try to take something that’s compact, that you know how to use, and that has all the basic functionality you’ll need
- flash, that is, if unlike my Mom, you don’t have an onboard in flash
- two sets of rechargeable batteries for the camera, at the very minimum, and two sets of batteries for any other device you’re bringing (like a flash)
- battery charger for each type of battery you’re bringing
- a travel power adapter to switch between Canada’s shape of wall outlet and theirs, in my Mom’s case she’ll need one like this, it’s the recessed kind, Mom – you should double check if you need that style or the regular un-recessed type
- voltage adapter, double check all the electronics that you’re bringing, they should be marked with the voltage on them and many will work at a range of levels, Mom – you’ll need to switch from our 120 volts here in Canada to the 220 volts in Germany
- camera manual, just in case
- memory cards (take lots!) – try to figure out how many photos you think you might take in a day then multiply it by the number of days you’ll be there. 8 mp cameras set to high resolution jpgs make images that are about 2 mb in size, so if you think you might take 50 pictures a day for three weeks you’ll need 2100 mb worth of memory cards, which is 2.1 gigs, and personally I like to add an extra 20% so I don’t need to worry
- memory card case to keep your photographs safe, I like a hard case, just make sure you have something that will hold all your memory cards and is for the right type of card – SD, compact flash, etc
- lens pen or lens cleaning tissue
- the addresses for 2-3 camera shops in the area, just in case
- a small bag that everything will fit in, I love Lowepro’s Passport Sling, it fits everything I need for exploring plus a bottle of water, maps, a notebook, and a long sleeve shirt
Now because I’m nutters about backing everything up I’d also bring:
Back Up Gear for Vacation Photos
- camera cables, the usb cords to plug my camera into a computer
- memory card reader and the cable needed to plug it into a computer
- either an iPad to download the memory cards onto or a memory stick and the addresses for three nearby internet cafes so I could back up my memory cards every few days
Other Things to Note
- Make sure to review how to use the self timer on your camera, it’s sure to get a workout!
- Carry your camera kit onto the plane with you, if you can’t at the very least carry on your camera and memory cards. Definitely check with your airline, they usually allow a moderately sized camera bag on board.
- Download and format all your memory cards before you go.
- Never delete photos using the trash button on your camera, that’s just an accident waiting to happen.
Last but definitely not least, some frivolities, a mix of practical and fantasy depending on your budget and your space.
The Dream Team
- small, lightweight tripod
- super-stylish compact camera
- Hero camera with all the fixin’s, because how much fun would that be?
- Hyperdrive for super easy backup, or even better Chase Jarvis’ digital asset management case
- iPad compact flash card reader
- some sort of GPS device that will embed coordinates into the files
What camera equipment do you insist on bringing on vacation? Is there something I’ve missed? Is there something you dream of taking but can’t due to time/money/space? Or do you have tips for my Mom? Places she should see in Germany? Or advice for how to relax during take off and landing?