Research Your Destination
Although its possible to get good photos from any holiday, to guarantee great results it’s important to choose the right place to go, and then to plan your trip carefully beforehand. After you have decided where to go, you need to figure out when to go there. This may of course be determined for you by holiday allocation at work, and depending on the time of year, this may rule out your first-choice destination. India is a great place for photography, for example, but you might not want to visit during the Monsoon.
The internet, libraries and bookshops can provide some excellent background information and insight into your trip, and if you venture onto websites like Flickr you can search for pictures from the regions you’ll be travelling to, or even find groups dedicated to the area where like-minded photographers are usually happy to part with advice based on their own experience.
Remember that the more information you can gather about your chosen destination the more productive your trip will be. When you actually arrive, you can continue your reseach by visiting a tourist information office and collecting brochures, maps and so forth.
Know Your Equipment
Many people wait until the last minute to buy new equipment for a trip and then don’t get the most out of it when they come to use it. Ensure you’ve had plenty of time to familiarise yourself with your equipment prior to your journey; the last thing you will want to do when travelling is to start reading manuals, just when a great photo opportunity is staring you in the face. One common accident with new equipment is deleting images unintentionally. While image recovery software is available, learning in advance how the camera works will save you both time and money.
Choose a Camera Bag
If you are buying a bag specifically for your journey, think about your needs. A backpack is a comfortable way to carry heavy gear but isn’t so good for quick access – you have to take it off to get to your equipment. If you’re mostly shooting landscapes using a tripod, this won’t be such a problem, but for people pictures and general reportage this may become annoying.
Shoulder bags offer better access but you’ll be carrying all the weight on one shoulder which can affect your balance and posture, and cause backache. Rucksack-style bags that can be swung round for access, such as the Lowepro Slingshot, are a new development and may provide a compromise.
Hand Luggage Only!
Whatever you choose, make sure you can carry it onto flights as hand luggage – NEVER check your camera gear in the hold. One solution may be a backpack or case for transportation, plus something smaller for walking around with once you get to your destination. A bum-bag style bag can be good for keeping lenses and accessories in while you keep the camera round your neck.