Business Travel

Traveling with gear for photographers and videographers

Traveling with photography or video gear can be a stressful and strenuous experience. Even for those of us who enjoy a leisurely stroll through the airport, navigating the various checkpoints, lines, and crowds with delicate and often expensive equipment can be a daunting task. With that said, there are ways to simplify the process and ensure that your gear arrives safely and efficiently.

It is important to evaluate what is mission-critical for your trip and make that your carry-on whenever possible. This may mean investing in a sturdy pelican case or camera backpack that fits comfortably under your seat. These carry-ons should contain all the equipment that is essential to the success of your project, as well as any fragile or expensive items that you cannot afford to lose or damage. By prioritizing these items and keeping them close to you, you can ensure that you can still execute your job even if your checked baggage gets lost or delayed.

For larger items such as drones, lighting equipment, and audio gear, it may not be possible to bring them on board with you. In this case, invest in a sturdy hard-case that can withstand the rigors of the baggage system. Be sure to label the case with several fragile stickers and inform the airline staff of the delicate nature of your belongings. It may also be worth researching each airline’s baggage policies and fees to ensure that you are not hit with any unexpected charges at check-in. Make sure to also research policies on traveling with hazardous items such as batteries. 

If you are traveling internationally, you will also need to research your destination country’s customs regulations. This may include obtaining a work permit or a Carnet, which is a document that allows you to temporarily import goods without paying import taxes. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in delays, fines, or even confiscation of your equipment, so it is important to do your due diligence beforehand. I learned this the hard way on my first time filming a destination wedding in Mexico. Having several Pelican cases in tow made me an easy target for customs to want to take a closer look. The agents went through each and every item tabulating the values for charging an import tax. I was fortunate that they didn’t charge me hundreds of dollars, but I definitely learned my lesson for future trips.

One of the best ways to avoid the hassle of lugging all that gear through the airport is to use a local rental house, rent from local crew, or use a rental service like LensRentals.com. They offer a wide range of equipment for rent and will ship it to you anywhere in the US. By renting larger items like tripods, lights, and extra cameras, you can avoid the hassle of checking them in and instead have them delivered to a FedEx store near your hotel to be held for pickup. When you’re done with them, simply box them up and drop them off on your way to the airport. This approach not only saves you time and energy but can also help you avoid potential baggage fees.

Traveling with photography or video gear can be a challenge, but with a bit of planning and foresight, it doesn’t have to be. By prioritizing your mission-critical equipment, investing in sturdy cases, and researching airline policies and customs regulations, you can ensure that your gear arrives safely and efficiently. And by using rental services like LensRentals.com, you can avoid the hassle of lugging everything through the airport and instead have it delivered directly to your destination. So the next time you hit the road for a shoot, remember to take a deep breath, plan ahead, and enjoy the journey.

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