With the recent security scares in the UK, airlines are starting to ban all carry on luggage.
So all our electronic items you would normally take with you for safety or security will need to undergo the rigors of the baggage handlers.
So how can you pack your camera and extra gear like lenses without them being damaged during the trip?
Wrap in Clothes
The main aim is to lessen the impact force on your camera if your bag is dropped, or bumped. By wrapping your camera in clothes or a towel and placing it in the middle of your suitcase, you can reduce a lot of that force. The problem with clothes is that they can unwrap which leaves your camera exposed.
If your camera is a large one (like an SLR), I would not recommend this option. But if you have a small point and shoot or compact camera, this method would be fine. I’ve often placed my compact camera inside two socks in the middle of my suitcase.
Most camera bags provide a certain amount of padding, and aren’t likely to break open. However, I would not recommend checking the camera bag on it’s own. For a start, it doesn’t offer all that much protection. The camera is very likely to be damaged if the bag is dropped from a few feet onto a corner. And if it looks like a camera bag, it’s much more likely to be snapped up by someone who doesn’t own it.
Placing your camera inside a camera bag inside your suitcase is a better option.
Hard Shell or Metal Camera Case
If you have an expensive camera, I recommend investing in a metal camera case. These are what pro’s use and they are designed to cushion most of the impact shock before it reaches your camera. The case does this by using a flexible outer plastic shell that can buckle, or lots of extra padding inside the case.
These camera cases have also undergone stress testing, which is more than you can say for the ‘wrapped in a towel’ option.
If you’re worried about your camera, check with your insurance company about travel insurance for your camera. A lot of airline insurance (or general travel insurance) won’t cover very expensive electronic items, so it’s worth getting additional cover.
Don’t take your good camera!
But the simplest option is to simply not take your good camera! If you have a cheaper camera, take that instead, take your old film camera if you have one, or even purchase a cheap camera at your destination.
The last thing you want when going on holidays is to open your suitcase and find a broken camera. I recommend you take some extra precautions when you next fly and save yourself some possible disappointment.
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