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Traveling with your photo gear and a tripod

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San Pedro Garza GarcĂ­a, MX
38838 posts

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jrp Administrator JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources Charter Member
Mon 23-Jun-08 05:01 AM

After a period of fierce competition between airlines, pruning was the end result making many companies to go under and disappear forever.
Now soaring fuel costs make air travel more and more expensive, so planes need to be smaller to guarantee they are as full as possible to keep airlines efficient.
Add the maddening wake up call to security concerns and we have a set of new requirements.
To fight those constraints has proven to be childish and blind, ignoring the economic reasons and safety measures for the benefit of all.

These are the recommendations we can make, based on Nikonians frequent traveling with photographic gear:

  • Pack sensibly. Try to take your tripod inside your checked luggage. One medium sized bag (25-29") will accommodate your clothing and a Series 2, 3 or even 5 tripod with ball head or with ball head detached. A Victorinox Swiss Army 27" will hold a full week set of cloths and your largest tripod with ball head on. An economic solution remains the 29" Samsonite FLite & Oyster hard shell cartwheel still available under $100 in the USA

  • Otherwise get a good tripod bag (padded). Some people also add a cardboard tube to fit the tripod in and further protect it from bumps

  • Take your camera, lenses and accessories as a carry on. That means a bag that measures at most a total of 45" when adding exterior length + width + depth. Favor heavily padded bags, some people have very heavy carry-on's and may bump your camera bag either at taking off or at landing (or both) in the overhead bin when not full. (After almost 40 year of zero repairs, two of my best lenses needed to make the Nikon Service tour because of the above). Try to place your camera bag under the seat in front of you instead of up there and remember not to step on it.

  • If you must take your laptop with you, under today's requirements you can have a second bag for that. If you want a bag that can also take your laptop make sure it doesn't exceed the 45" requirement. But always consider taking with you a portable hard drive to download your photos instead of the laptop

  • If you must take more photo gear that will not fit into a 45" bag, get it inside a Pelican case and check it in. You can pack your backpack to move stuff into it when in the field

  • Yes, there are many anecdotes of people demanding their rights and/or getting around the requirements, but there is always the risk of loosing your flight or worst, specially if you are perceived as inpolite or hostile. So dress for success and smile all the time.

Have a great time :-)
JRP (Founder & Administrator. Mainly at the north-eastern Mexican desert) Gallery, Brief Love Story
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