Where to Pack Camera Gear
According to the TSA, digital cameras can be transported in both carry-on luggage and checked luggage. However, because cameras are fragile items, we recommend you always pack them in your carry-on luggage. This is because suitcases which go in the hold often get damaged and thrown around in transit, and any fragile cameras inside may get damaged or shattered. You’ll still want to ensure that your camera is packed tightly in protective wrapping. If possible, make sure that your camera bag is small enough to not be asked to be checked luggage as this puts your equipment more at risk you may get charged extra to check a bag at the airport.
Tripod and Cleaning Kit
Due to restrictions on taking liquids in hand luggage, we recommend putting any cleaning products in your checked luggage. Tripods should also go in here as they are large but not delicate, so won't take up space in your hand luggage.
To be able to use your camera at your destination, you’ll be wanting to bring extra camera batteries with you. However, airlines, airports and countries all have specific rules about batteries, so ensure you check with the relevant authorities to check that you adhere to regulations to avoid your camera and its batteries being confiscated. For example the TSA limit lithium batteries, and some airports, such as those in India, may require you to remove the battery from your camera when travelling, whereas other airports may ask you to keep the battery in to prove that it is a working camera. Therefore, it is best to check the rules and regulations of the airport and country that you are travelling to.
Also, make sure you pack the camera batteries securely and separately so that they do not come into contact with each other and short circuit and become a fire hazard. Lithium batteries are prohibited in checked baggage, so must be transported safely in your carry-on bags.
Only take what is necessary. The weight of lenses can easily add up and you may see yourself going over your bag limit. Try to find a lens that does everything, so you don’t require different lenses for different types of shots. Detach your lens from your camera to avoid damage from stress on the equipment, and pack it separately. You can purchase additional baggage if you plan to take more equipment with you.
If you are flying with a camera attached to a drone, you may be subject to further rules. You can read more about flying with a drone here.
If you are flying with camera film, you may be aware that x-ray machines in security can damage the film. However, the TSA state that film under 800 ISO will not be damaged by the x-rays in airport security. However, as checked baggage goes through higher energy X-rays, it is recommended your film is transported in your hand luggage. Alternatively, if you are still worried about passing your film through the x-ray machine, some airports will allow you to skip this step and be hand-inspected instead.
Skip the inspection process
Okay, you can’t completely bypass security at the airport, but you can purchase a TSA Pre-check pass which allows you to fastback through it. If you are a frequent flier, you may benefit from this service, as the price pays off in the time you save. Read more about this service using the link above. In addition, you can purchase a Global Entry pass, which is more focused on customs when arriving at the airport, but also includes the TSA Precheck in the pass.