Traveling with a digital camera

Preparing for air travel with a digital camera

Written by Gail Bjork

Pack a digital camera carefully and prepare for airport security on the day of departure, particularly if you hope to have a hand inspection of photo equipment.

Airplane wingWhen traveling by plane with a digital camera, or any camera for that matter, plan ahead. Pack equipment carefully and prepare for airport security on the day of departure.

A digital camera should be placed in a well-padded carry-on rather than a suitcase that will be checked in at the airport. It is less likely to get knocked around if you carry it.

Insuring camera equipment

Airports may assume no liability if camera equipment is stolen or damaged. If your equipment is expensive to replace, cover each item with insurance. Check if a standard homeowner or renter policy covers against theft and fire while away. Also ask if there is a deductible and if equipment is covered for accidental loss or damage.

Equipment used for non-commercial photography can often be covered by buying a “rider” or “floater” to a main policy. Each item needs to be listed in the schedule of covered items. Check what is excluded by the policy and what is not (theft, loss, damage, fire). ID your digital camera and other equipment and keep a list of serial numbers.

airport-security

Customs declaration of camera equipment

When traveling abroad, declare all camera equipment with customs officials at the airport before departing so you don’t have to prove ownership upon return. Consider bringing copies of receipts for cameras and other photo equipment.

Inspecting photo equipment

In the United States, Federal Aviation Administration rules allow for the hand inspection of photo equipment and film. According to their Code of Federal Regulations:

“if requested by passengers, their photographic equipment and film packages shall be inspected without exposure to an X-ray machine.”

If you use film and plan to have it hand inspected, consider carrying the film in clear canisters or remove it from its cartridge and place in a clear plastic bag. This will help expedite the screening process.

Not all airports have similar policies or even honor requests for hand inspections. Check with your airline or travel agent for accurate information. Also consider contacting airport security prior to departure to request a manual inspection of film.

Electric plug adapters

If you’re traveling out of the country and plan to use a digital camera battery charger, find out before departure if you need an electric plug adapter and/or converter.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.

1 Comment

  • I just want to add in important point, security does NOT like it when photographers take pictures of security checkpoints similar to the one above. Keep this in mind as they may confiscate your camera equipment (almost happened to a friend of mine) or delay you unnecessarily. 🙂