Picture this: You’re about to go on the destination footage trip of a lifetime, but you can’t bring all of your favorite equipment with you—we’ve all been there. Which camera should I bring? Will I need this lens or that one? Next thing you know, you’re sitting on your luggage, using all your strength to fit the zipper around your folded up tripod. Traveling can be stressful—especially if you’re a videographer or photographer. Not only do you want to make sure you have the right gear, but you also want to make sure it stays safe.

Lucky for you, we gathered advice from a few of our top-selling contributors who are always on the road and in the air with their gear. VideoBlocks contributors Gavin Hellier and Daniel Hurst—and our founder, Joel Holland—share their travel tips and favorite gear for on-the-go videography and photography. Take the guess work out of your planning and see what these pros have up their sleeves.


Tip #1: Take What You Need

Before traveling anywhere there is one question you should ask yourself: What am I going to shoot? Whether it’s video, photo, aerial, or time lapse, the camera and lenses you bring should reflect your shooting needs. So before you hit the road, it’s important to know your subjects and the gear that’s best-suited to capture them.

Gavin Hellier shoots time lapses and video, so he brings a trio of Canon 5D Mark III’s to keep his options open on the photo side. “I usually work with three cameras.” Hellier says. “Two are set up to shoot time lapse and one to shoot stills.” For video, Hellier uses the Sony Alpha a7s II to capture the views in stunning 4K.
Check out this video from Gavin Hellier.
Daniel Hurst’s weapon of choice is the RED Weapon. This workhorse of a camera shoots cinematic 8K with a dynamic range as large as the Pacific. Weighing in at only 3.3 lbs, it doesn’t get much better than this. Purchasing the camera will burn a hole in your bank account, but renting it for bigger projects would be worth every penny.
Watch this video from Daniel Hurst.
In addition to well-suited gear, versatility is key when traveling. You need equipment that can do it all while maintaining a light footprint. A perfect versatile setup is the Canon 5D Mark IV paired with the Canon 24-105mm f/4 zoom lens. A favorite combo of Joel Holland, the 5D Mark IV takes amazing stills and packs 4K capabilities for video. The 24-105mm focal length is perfect for wide landscape shots and provides a good zoom length to get more reach. “If I had to travel with only one lens, this would be the one,” Holland notes.
Watch this video from Joel Holland.


Tip #2: Get a Quality Backpack

Your equipment is as precious as a baby, and it should be treated as such. A quality backpack will keep your cargo safe and make traveling a whole lot easier. Both Holland and Hellier use Lowepro backpacks. They’re comfortable, well-padded, and have plenty of storage for all of your gear. The Lowepro Photo Sport BP 300 AW II also has a built-in camelback for easy hydration.
Check out this video from Gavin Hellier.


Tip #3: Use the Light Around You

All three of our featured contributors use natural lighting for most of their shoots with the help of a reflector. “Depends on the situation,” Hurst says, “many times a pop-up diffuser/reflector is all I will need.” Again, pack what you need. It’s just not practical to carry studio lights that require power when you’re hiking in the mountains. And it’s impossible to light an entire landscape with a light that fits in your backpack. The solution: follow the pros. Both Hellier and Hurst use pop up reflectors to bounce or diffuse light with ease. Hellier uses handheld reflectors by Lastolite. For bouncing light on a budget, check out Neewer’s 5-in-1 reflector.
Check out this video from Daniel Hurst.
But what good are reflectors if you plan to shoot long exposures at night? This type of shooting requires another tool—an intervalometer. Holland uses an intervalometer to reduce any shake that comes from pressing the shutter button on the camera—resulting in clean and crisp long exposures.
Watch this video from Joel Holland.
If artificial lighting is a must, then LEDs are the way to go. Small and portable LED lights are hot right now, and you can find them just about anywhere at an affordable price. The Aputure H198 Amaran packs a punch for its size and is perfect for getting extra light while on-the-go.


Tip #4: Bring Extra Batteries and Memory

Traveling usually consists of over-shooting and long days away from plugs, so power and memory are of the utmost importance. Fortunately, batteries and storage have become extremely affordable. “There is nothing worse than missing the perfect shot because you didn’t spring for an extra battery or memory card.” Joel says.
Watch this video from Joel Holland.
While grabbing extra batteries is a must for traveling, this also means more things to charge. Hellier provides great insight into solving this problem: “Most of my work is based out of hotels, so I carry a bag of plugs, extension cables, etc, enabling me to charge multiple devices at the same time.”
Check out this video from Gavin Hellier.
Storage wise, a few terabytes of memory cards and extra hard drives will serve you well. That way, you can backup your content and clear the cards for your next adventure.


Tip #5: Carry-on the Goods

Like most valuables, you probably don’t want to check your bag filled with expensive lenses and cameras only for it to get tossed around on a conveyor belt. Hurst, Hellier, and Holland agree that you should carry on any fragile equipment. “Check ahead with the airlines and know the restrictions for checked and carry-on gear,” Hurst notes. You may have to make room for any batteries or electronics that are carry-on only.
Watch this video from Daniel Hurst.
Traveling can be stressful, especially when traveling with your life-savings in gear, but if you follow this advice from the pros, you’re sure to come back with an unforgettable experience and the shots to show for it.

Do you have any helpful tips or gear that you can’t travel without? Post in the comments below and share your expertise. And when you’re done, build up some wanderlust by browsing our library.


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