The great thing about photography is that it goes hand-in-hand with traveling.
Even if you aren't a globe-trotter, it's nice to pack up your camera, lens, tripod, and other accessories to document your travels.
Of course, traveling with your gear must be done with great care.
On the one hand, you have delicate (and expensive) stuff that you want to protect from damage.
On the other hand, you also don't want anyone to abscond with your gear.
Let's look at a few ways you can maximize safety the next time you travel with your camera.
Get a Better Way to Carry Your Camera
If you're traveling and carrying your camera with the factory-made camera strap, you're just inviting trouble.
Not only are these single straps uncomfortable, but they're also flimsy. With the camera brand emblazoned on them, they are also targets for would-be thieves...
Just one cut and your camera strap will be gone, along with your camera.
That's why a should strap system like the Holdfast MoneyMaker (shown above and below) is a great choice for protecting your gear.
For starters, it's handmade from leather, meaning it's strong, durable, and comfortable too.
Where your flimsy factory-made camera strap won't be able to stand up to would-be thieves, no one will be taking off with your camera when it's attached to a MoneyMaker.
Part of the beauty of this rig is that it has multiple safety nets to ensure your camera stays put.
That includes a screw that mounts to your camera's tripod hole, a split ring safety catch that attaches to the left side lug on your camera, and a sailboat clip through the camera's screw loop if you carry the camera on the MoneyMaker Slider.
In other words, not only will you be more comfortable carrying your gear, but you'll be able to rest easy knowing that your gear is safe with a HoldFast MoneyMaker!
Keep an Eye Out
If you're like me, when you're shooting, you close your non-shooting eye.
It's natural to do so because it helps you concentrate on how you're framing the shot. It also helps minimize distractions occurring outside the frame of the shot.
The problem with closing your non-shooting eye when you're taking travel photos is that you can't see would-be thieves coming your way.
Even if your camera is attached to your harness, as discussed above with the MoneyMaker, someone might still take off with your camera bag, purse, or backpack.
Now, this isn't to say that your gear is in danger of getting stolen no matter when or where you travel. Likewise, it isn't to say that when shooting at your local park that you're less likely to draw the attention of a thief.
The point is that by keeping your non-shooting eye open, you can at least be a little more aware of your surroundings. The more aware you are, the less likely your gear is to get stolen.
Don't Check Your Gear Bag
If you've flown recently (or at any point in the near past...), you understand the plight of air travelers.
It's not a fun experience, but a good way to make it worse is to check your camera gear.
Granted, if you have a ton of gear, you'll have to check your bag, but if you're a casual photographer with a camera, a couple of lenses, a tripod, and other essentials, pack your gear in a carry-on sized bag so you can keep an eye on it.
Not all baggage handlers rifle through bags looking for things to steal.
However, the only way to ensure your gear is safe is to take it onboard the plane with you in a padded bag like the Holdfast Sightseer shown above.
Keep It Clean
I don't know about you, but when I travel, my camera and lenses seem to attract more dust, dirt, and grime than usual.
But in the excitement of traveling, I often find myself forgetting to clean my gear (I know...I know) until I raise my camera to my eye and notice the tell-tale signs of dust and smudges.
Getting into the habit of cleaning your gear each night after the day's travels are over is obviously a good habit to get into.
On the one hand, clean gear lasts longer, so you're only doing yourself a favor by sprucing things up as you travel.
On the other hand, the cleaner your lenses and camera, the less work you have to do in post-processing to remove specks of dust and the like.
It's a win-win situation!
Find a Secure Place to Store Your Gear
No matter if you're staying at a five-star hotel or a hostel, you need a safe place to keep the gear you won't be using that day.
If you have a hard camera case, there's a good chance you can lock it with a padlock. Of course, there's nothing to stop someone from just taking the entire case.
You can use the mini safe in your hotel room too, though they are often extremely small and might not be able to accommodate a second camera body or more than a lens or two.
Perhaps the best option is to take your unneeded gear to the front desk and put it in the hotel's main safe.
When you do, be sure to photograph everything you're putting into the safe and note who helped you. When it comes to protecting your gear, you can never take too many precautions.
Write It All Down
Before you ever set foot out the door, take inventory of every piece of camera gear you have with you.
On your list, add any serial numbers too. That way if something does go missing and your gear turns up somewhere, you have the numbers to prove the gear is yours.
While you're at it, take a photo of all your gear too, and leave those images on your phone. If there's a dispute about whether or not missing gear belongs to you, you then have photographic evidence (and serial numbers) to make the case that it's yours.
Another good idea is to insure all your gear.
Just like you shouldn't travel without traveler's insurance, you shouldn't go on trips if you don't have your gear protected as well!
For more insights about insurance for your gear, check out the video below from Matt Granger: