What to Bring With You on Vacation to Get the Best Photos

Luggage with camera, passports and woman's hat

Whether you’re headed to an exotic tropical island for some much needed – and much deserved! – R&R, or have plans for an adventurous staycation, you’re going to want to capture some great vacation photos. Here’s a look at a few items you should definitely pack along to help you get the best photos possible.


Nikon COOLPIX AW110 rugged digital camera

For real? Yes, for real. Although it seems like a no-brainer, many people are choosing to leave their cameras at home, opting to instead rely on their smartphone’s built-in camera. This is a mistake. Although cell phone cameras have come a long way over the past few years, they still lack the features a dedicated camera has that help in the creation of sharp, high-quality images; full exposure control and optical zoom, for example.

If a camera could talk, it’d likely say it hates going on vacation. No matter your destination, it’s going to include elements that are tough for a regular camera to endure: heat, sand, and water; dirt, mud, and rough terrain; or even freezing cold temperatures, biting wind, and wet snow. A super-rugged, point-and-shoot digital camera that can survive nearly anything thrown its way is the new Nikon COOLPIX AW110. The 16-megapixel camera comes in orange, blue, and, oh yes, even camouflage. The AW110 is waterproof, freezeproof, and shockproof  and has built-in Wi-Fi, full-featured GPS including an electronic compass, and even the ability to shoot videos in Full HD (1080p). This camera is begging you to take it on vacation.

External Hard Drive   

ioSafe Rugged Portable external hard drive                                     

Another extremely rugged device that you’ll want to take on vacation with you is the ioSafe Rugged Portable. The external hard drive is available in 500 GB or 1 TB capacities and is waterproof, freezeproof, shockproof, and crushproof. Once your vacation photos are transferred onto the Rugged Portable, they’re safe from anything, even the abuse of the tactless baggage handlers at the airport! What makes the ioSafe even better is its included data recovery service: if anything happens to your hard drive or the data on it – even if you accidently delete your own photos – the company will repair or replace the drive and get the data back for you, even if that means they need to hire a third-party forensic data recovery team. Forget your vacation, the ioSafe Rugged Portable could survive the zombie apocalypse.

Memory Cards

Eye-Fi Pro X2 memory card

You’ll be taking a lot of photos during your vacation, which means you should have a few memory cards on hand. Although you don’t want to store your images on these cards for any length of time, you’ll need enough memory to store all your photos until you can get back to your hotel room and transfer them to an external hard drive. Rather than purchasing one memory card with a massive amount of storage space, I recommend buying a few cards of smaller capacity. Why? To avoid the “all your eggs in one basket” problem. Put it this way, would you rather lose one expensive memory card with all your vacation photos on it, or one relatively cheap card and only some of your photos? The answer is obvious.

A company called Eye-Fi offers cards in 4 GB, 8 GB, and 16 GB capacities. What makes these memory cards stand out from the competition are their Wi-Fi capabilities which, in turn, offers what the company refers to as Endless Memory. You can set your Eye-Fi card to automatically transfer images to your computer, tablet, or smartphone and, once safely transferred, the images will automatically be deleted from the card, creating the “endless memory” without ever needing to remove the card from your camera. You also have the option to automatically share your photos to your favourite social networking or photo editing sites, like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, or Picasa. Super easy and incredibly convenient.


Joby GorillaPod Magnetic camera tripod

In order to capture really fantastic vacation photos, it’s important that your camera is as steady as possible when you press the shutter button – especially if you’re shooting in low-light conditions, are using your camera’s zoom, or are photographing objects close-up. Blurry photos that are caused by camera shake can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to fix with photo editing software. So, get the perfect shot the first time, steady your camera by using a tripod.

A company called Joby makes a line of incredible tripods called GorillaPods. Whether you’re shooting with your iPhone, a point-and-shoot, or a pro DSLR, there’s a perfect GorillaPod for your needs. What makes a GorillaPod unique and extremely awesome is its ability to support your camera on uneven surfaces. Joby even makes a GorillaPod with magnetic feet, making it possible to support your camera in even more crazy positions.

Camera Bag

Lowepro Passport Sling camera bag

You’re going to have a hard time taking great vacation photos if 1) you forget to pack your camera gear with you when you leave the hotel for the day, 2) your camera lens gets grubby from being packed around without a case, or 3) your camera is stolen. It’s important to have a camera case that 1) can accommodate your camera and personal belongings, making it easy to pack along 2) protects your gear, and 3) is discreet enough to deter would-be thieves. You don’t want a flashy camera bag that screams, “I’m carrying uber-expensive camera gear! Steal me!” The Lowepro Passport Sling meets all these needs making it the perfect bag to bring with you on vacation and, because it folds flat, it’s super easy to pack into your luggage. The Passport Sling is comfortable to wear and features a removable camera box, allowing you to use it as a full day bag. Versatility rules.

Don’t Forget to Pack …

There are a few other things you should make sure you pack along on your vacation in order to get the best photos possible:

  • Extra –fully charged – camera batteries
  • Battery charger
  • Plug adapter. If you’re travelling to a foreign country, you may need a plug adapter so you can charge your camera (and other devices) from the wall socket.
  • Camera cleaning kit
  • Polarizing filter (if you’re shooting with a DSLR)

Once you’re home from your vacation, make sure you do something with those amazing photos, like have them enlarged and printed on canvas or, for a more modern look, have metal prints made from your photos!

So, where are you taking your vacation? Leave a comment to share your excitement, and have a safe and fun trip!


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