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10 Safety Tips For Photographers When Traveling

Here's a quick list of 10 tips to help you keep your camera safe while on holiday so you can enjoy yourself and not worry about your photography kit.

| Landscape and Travel
10 Safety Tips For Photographers When Traveling: Mexico

1. Make A Checklist

Before you leave for the airport make a list of all the equipment you're taking with you, writing down the serial and model numbers, too. It'll also help if you take photos of your equipment for your records.

2. Check Your Insurance

Make sure you have the right insurance just in case your equipment's stolen or damaged. If you're unsure if your equipment's covered, read your policy or ring your insurer.

3. Put Your Equipment In Your Hand-Luggage 

Camera gear is fragile so don't pack it in the case you plan on checking in at the airport. If you do, you run the risk of equipment getting damaged. Do remember to check the size and weight restrictions on luggage with the company you're travelling with as airlines tend to have different rules/restrictions when it comes to luggage you can carry-on.

4. Don't Take Trips On Your Own

If you're planning a few day trips don't go alone. That way, when you're framing up your shot, your 'buddy' can watch your camera bag and any other equipment you have.

5. What's Your Bag Look Like?

Don't use a bag that screams: "Look! I have a very expensive camera in here."

10 Safety Tips For Photographers When Traveling: Rome


6. Don't Put Your Bag Down

Even when you're taking a photo don't leave your bag on the floor and never leave it unattended. When you're in busy locations such as markets, carry the bag on your front as if it's on your back, there is the chance that someone could access it without you knowing. You may think you look a little silly but that's better than finding all of your gear's gone.

7. Carry Spare Memory Cards

Don't just take one memory card with you as if it's stolen or lost that's it. Always carry a spare in your bag and keep one locked away in your hotel room too, just in case.

8. Try To Fit In

Having confidence and looking like you know where you're going (even if you don't) will mean you're less likely to be bothered. Try to blend in rather than stand out as a tourist.

9. Put Your Equipment In A Net

You can buy safety nets which you place your equipment in and then you fasten the net to a solid object that's fastened down.

10. Use A Safe

Most rooms have safes that will fit memory cards, chargers, a smartphone or a small DSLR body in. If you have lots of kit or there's no safe in your room, ask at reception to see if they have them available at the desk. Just make sure you make a note of everything you hand over and take images so you have proof if anything goes missing. 

If you have any tips for photographers heading off on holiday, add them to the comments.

10 Safety Tips For Photographers When Traveling: Mexico

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Fotokromik Avatar
21 Jun 2015 9:14AM
Take more than one battery charger if practical. You don't want to waste your holiday searching for camera shops when your only charger breaks or is damaged.
discreetphoton Avatar
discreetphoton Plus
18 3.5k 20 United Kingdom
21 Jun 2016 7:54AM
When in big cities like New York:
Don't look up. Locals don't look up, only forwards or at the floor. Looking up singles you out, and most skyscrapers aren't recognisable from their ground floors anyway, due to stepped recession.
m.prycejones Avatar
22 Jun 2016 12:21PM
If you are taking a 'big name' brand camera, put a piece of 15mm black electrical tape over the name/logo. Change the strap with the brand on it, to a plain, black generic strap. Carry the camera with the neck strap round your neck & across your body, messenger bag style, so it can't be ripped away or snatched, sometimes by thieves on motorbikes/scooters. same with camera bag or consider a photo-vest.
I wish the big names like Nikon & Canon would produce an all black camera strap. They could have the name on it just in black so it doesn't shout "look at me I'm expensive!" instead of the garish red or yellow trim/name.
Stay safe, enjoy your photography!
NeiljohnUK Avatar
NeiljohnUK 12 2 United Kingdom
28 Jun 2017 8:16PM
Invest in Pacsafe plain black anti-slash camera straps, and rotate the 'lock' fully the wrong way against the 'hook' so fast fingers can't unlock it as I had attempted in Florence when in the normal 'locked' position.

Carry the absolute minimum of kit, having to keep changing nice fast primes is a dangerous distraction and makes you more obvious, a good quality zoom with a modern sensor will cover most situations, and less risk of a dirty sensor too, 18-200 on DX 28-300 on FX if buying new seem to be the best all rounders currently, with a wider angle lens for other situations if your really need to.
I'm us an old 28-200 D as I prefer it's more compact length when carrying, and a 14-24 in it's case, again with a Pacsafe strap worn messenger style, for wide angle, with a spare battery or two and memory cards in separate clothing pockets.

Keep a clear photocopy of your purchase receipts for the gear your using in your hand luggage, useful if customs want to be difficult, also if a false accusation of theft is made against you, remember on-line copies as a back-up may not be available to you depending on the local legal procedures, and leave the originals securely at home.

Be aware of your surroundings at all times, if you feel something is wrong/unsafe always trust your instincts, better to lose a shot that your gear/life.

Different cultures have different issues, respect is important, make friends not enemy's, loud mouthed bad attitudes are very bad news that leave a lasting impression for those that follow later, don't expect anyone/everyone to speak YOUR language. Buying a replacement eye-piece in Rome the Americans that had been there before left a bad impression about English speakers, thankfully when the shop owner asked if we were American and we said no we're English his attitude changed completely from defensive can't be arsed to as helpful and friendly as possible, no matter his lack of English and our poor halting but polite attempts at Italian.

Even cultures seemingly similar to your norm can be risky, for instance Pisa has a particular problem with a gang of 15-18 year old girls targeting older/infirm tourists, camera gear attracts them like flies round ****, the Police and security 'service' are considered by the locals to only be window dressing for reassurance of tourists worried about terrorism, which pretty much sums it up, poncing around and trying to look good is all they seem to do, when they can be bothered to leave their air conditioned office. The girls, 3-9 of them depending on how many they are going after follow you from the very public 'field of miracles' where 'snatch and run' is risky, but not unknown, onto the surrounding quieter streets, we were going on by train and they were quite happy to spray the stations CCTV camera's with paint to avoid being identified, thankfully we met a local Italian guide who ran them off. Previous groups reported the same gang were obvious by the lack of bags etc, now they've learn't it makes them stand out, tourists and locals usually have at least a hand/man bag, and now they carry them too, awareness of who's looking hard at you, and your gear, may be the only warning you get.
The same applies in London, where the 'moped' (650cc scooters) gangs will ride up pavements etc to snatch phones/gear/bags and think nothing of dragging you by your bag strap for some distance in the hope you'll let go, over kerbs and abraded on tarmac isn't good for your health, and don't expect the MET Police to do more than give you a crime number, if your lucky, they're not allowed to pursue them as it might spark a riot if the little darlings get hurt!

elizabethwmcglone Avatar
I recently had my camera stolen and would like to replace it. Can you recommend a good camera to replace it? I have always been interested in photography, and now I am a travel nurse and I would like to advance my photography skills and I need a new camera.

Best regards,
Elizabeth McGlone
Keith1010 Avatar
31 May 2020 7:56AM
Good advice on traveling , lots of things i did not consider ......

Thank you
philtaylorphoto Avatar
philtaylorphoto 22 334 2
21 Jun 2020 12:13PM
What is this overseas holiday thing? I'm confused...
22 Jun 2022 3:52PM
Dear Liz, If you have to ask strangers what camera to buy, you really have a problem. Do you need a better one than you lost? If so,
I always recommend a Nikon D750 as a very good to excellent 24Mp camera, or any 24MP Canon or Sony in the under $1800 range. It is mostly that Nikon is a great brand with many excellent used lenses and it is old and very low in price, at about $1,400. The kit lens should be a good deal depending on how/what you shoot. I always recommend buying a used lens or two. Always test and compare lenses first.
22 Jun 2022 3:56PM
Some people who get confused easily should stay home. They are the people who get robbed the most. I have never been robbed
of a Camera or any equipment, only once in my apt. Next best advice: Travel with 2-3 others, and buy insurance before you go
from a Co. near you.
Nigeyboy Avatar
Nigeyboy 15 1.1k United Kingdom
23 Jun 2022 4:08PM

Quote:Dear Liz, If you have to ask strangers what camera to buy, you really have a problem. Do you need a better one than you lost? If so,
I always recommend a Nikon D750 as a very good to excellent 24Mp camera, or any 24MP Canon or Sony in the under $1800 range. It is mostly that Nikon is a great brand with many excellent used lenses and it is old and very low in price, at about $1,400. The kit lens should be a good deal depending on how/what you shoot. I always recommend buying a used lens or two. Always test and compare lenses first.

Not everyone has a massive knowledge of cameras and lenses. This may be Liz's first dip into more advanced photography, and a surefire way to put someone off a hobby and what is a welcoming and friendly website is to tell them they have a problem.

@elizabethwmcglone - It might be best if you posted your query in This forum. Plenty of people to give you good advise there!
FredColon Avatar
FredColon 3 3 United Kingdom
21 Jun 2023 9:03AM
When in big cities like New York - Don't look up.

Whilst I agree that looking up in a place like New York may not be wise, I'm not so sure it's a good general rule.

Certainly in many towns and cities, the architecture (60s & 70s era not included!) is much more interesting on the upper floors.

The ground floors tend to be fairly bland shop fronts, dominated by the 'usual suspects' with their standardised 'this could be anywhere' corporate branding, but above there's a whole range of different styles and ages.

I have never bothered, but I do know someone who swears by the "looking official" approach as a way to discourage interference when taking photos of buildings etc. in a public place. A visible lanyard with a name badge on show seems (to him at least) to provide some "reason to be there" aura; if challenged a reply of "oh this? I didn't realise I was still wearing it!" could be used.
PRC Avatar
PRC 9 399 United Kingdom
26 Jun 2023 12:45AM
Is it worth putting an airtag or similar in your camera bag?

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