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Don't forget to bring extra memory cards  and batteries.  Read our article and be prepared to capture your vacation for posterity.


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Travel Advice - Bring extra memory cards and  batteries

Digital Camera needs

If you carry a stand-alone digital camera,  you need to consider whether your memory cards will be sufficient for the number of pictures that you might want to take while on vacation.  In addition, photography and viewing your pictures will  eat up the camera's electrical power, so consider the recommendations below:

  • See our article on digital cameras or the owner's manual for your camera to be sure you understand the amount of storage your digital images require for photos taken at the resolution (and size) that you prefer.  

Memory Cards and Image Storage

  • Bring multiple memory cards, the number should be based on their capacity and the number of images you think you will take while on vacation.
  • If you are serious about your photography, you may want to carry a portable computer equipped with a card reader so you can transfer your photos from the memory card to the hard disk of your computer and then  re-use the memory card for capturing new images.
    • Be sure to buy the correct memory card for your camera. 
    • In addition, if you are going to take movies, you will need a memory card that is rated for the capture of video. 
    • Read your camera guide to determine the requirements for your camera/
  • We advise bringing an external hard disk for your computer and using it as a secondary backup for your images.  Yes, this is a case of belts and suspenders, but how often will you take that trip of a lifetime?
  • You can transfer images from your PC using to online storage services like Dropbox, but uploading a large number of images can be prohibitively expensive, at least based on the Wi-Fi costs we have experienced at many hotels around the world.
    • In addition, most hotel data networks are very slow and you might not have enough time to upload your images before you move on, if, for example, you capture hundreds each day.


  • Be sure to buy a second rechargeable battery designed for use with  your digital camera and always take a matched battery charger on your  vacation. Charge your camera's batteries overnight so you are ready for the next day.
  • Professional photographers usually take several batteries with them while on assignment.
  • Proper battery management requires that you let the battery completely discharge at least once a month (use it until it no longer works, then recharge it.)
  • If your destination is international, and your camera is not designed to work with common international voltages, carry a power converter kit so that you can recharge the camera's battery.
    • If your camera's recharger is one that works internationally, you may need to buy an adapter plug that fits the power receptacles of the countries you plan to visit.  (See our article on power converters and power plugs and another on low voltage devices.)

Camera Concerns

 On a recent river tour from Budapest to Amsterdam, a good friend of ours took an expensive digital SLR (DLSR) camera to capture the wonders of river travel in Europe. Unfortunately, the camera's system board failed three-days into the trip due to exposure to rain.  The rest of the trip was memorialized  using a simple point an shoot camera, which was certainly better than no pictures at all. 

We advise all travelers to take at least two cameras, just in case one fails.  Point and shoots are small and quite reasonably priced.  Of course, you could always use your camera phone in a pinch, but we think you might get better results with a dedicated device.

But what to do about damp weather?  If you have a DLSR, you need to protect it from the rain.  You can buy camera raincoats as one form of protection. 

Unfortunately, a common cause of camera failure is moving the device between cold and warm environments which produces condensation on and in the camera.  One method of trying to avoid this is when returning to your room place the camera in a Ziploc bag and add a packet or two of silica gel (available from many electric supply companies).  The silica will help to absorb the water and may protect your camera, although there are no guarantees.

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