Taking vacation pictures is a challenge.
Why? Because with all the planning you do to create an amazing vacation, you hope that the vacation photos you take will help you relive the magic you had during your trip for years to come.
But, the problem with taking the best pictures imaginable while on vacation, can come at a cost.
What cost may you ask? Well, the cost of carrying camera equipment everywhere to take those perfect pictures, as well as the cost of expensive camera gear to get that amazing picture.
From the many years of me traveling and the countless number of crappy pictures I have taken along the way, I have finally figured out what is the best camera gear I need to pack to get the best travel photographs while on vacation.
Here is a list of the most essential camera accessories that any traveler should pack with them to get the best travel pictures ever.
Best Camera Gear Guide To Help Improve Vacation Pictures
**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.**
Smartphones are a great travel camera for pretty much everyone. The great thing about smartphones is that everyone pretty much has one already.
They are usually always with you and are great for when you want to carry light while exploring the city you are vacationing in.
Here is a list of great smartphones that are perfect replacements for the real thing.
With most travelers opting for smartphones for vacation pictures, the new iPhone 11 Pro has reinvented the way iPhones take photographs.
With the introduction of three camera modes: Ultra-Wide camera, Wide camera, and Telephoto camera mean you are essentially packing a professional-quality camera in your pocket that’s able to make the most incredible photographs.
The iPhone 11 Pro camera can effortlessly zoom from the Telephoto all the way out to the new Ultra-Wide camera for a powerful 4x optical zoom range, which means you can capture a huge depth of field.
If you are a Samsung Galaxy fan then this device what you have been waiting for. It’s basically a camera with smartphone capabilities.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra boosts a 108MP wide camera, 48MP telephoto lens, and 12MP ultra-wide angle lens.
Plus it offers a 100x zoom lens capacity and a depth vision camera that comes in handy for catching more light for enhanced portrait and night-shot images.
Samsung states that the 100x zoom is good enough to photograph stuff in space. Just make sure that if you try doing this, make sure you use a tripod!
Digital cameras have come along the way. The intimidation factor of owning a Mirrorless or DSLR camera is no longer there.
They are built to help the most beginner take that great vacation pictures, and also be there to assist the professional photographer to bring photos to the next level.
Also, let us not forget the good old point and shoot cameras. The point and shoot camera has improved immensely and can help any level of travel photographer take a great picture while on the go.
Here is a list of great digital cameras that are perfect for when you want to take great travel pictures and not have to worry about having a phone call interrupt the moment.
Step up from a smartphone or compact camera and see the difference.
With an optical viewfinder to see exactly what you’ll capture, 45-point all cross-type AF for accurate results, dual pixel CMOS AF with Phase detection and more, the EOS Rebel t7i is one of the most advanced EOS rebels yet. Color Filter System: RGB primary color filters.
Actual Amazon Review: “I’ve been taking professional-quality landscape photos for many years now, my 1st digital camera was a floppy disk Canon that could hold 4 “hi-quality” images, so since I’ve been a kid I’ve been brand loyal to Canon. I did a great deal of research when I was ready to replace my EOS Rebel T3 recently, and came across this camera (that at the time was about to be released).
I was trying to balance amazing quality with a relatively decent price, understanding that DSLRs are or expensive in the long run than point & shoot cameras since I’ve owned a few Canon DSLRs over the years. After extensive research, I finally decided to pre-order this camera and I couldn’t be happier.
I had lenses from my previous Canon DSLRs but I decided to pick up some of the newer generation Macro, 18-55mm and 55-200mm or 300mm (unsure off the top of my head on the last one). I’ve attached some photos I’ve taken since I received the EOS Rebel T7i, Canon set the bar high for their mid-level DSLRs and I absolutely love this camera!”
Perfect for travelers, the Panasonic LUMIX Digital Camera DMC-ZS100K brings the legendary optical performance of a 10X (25-250mm) LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens with amazingly stable O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) to a highly portable point-and-shoot travel camera.
With a powerful, 1-inch 20.1-megapixel MOS sensor, the LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT camera lens features a super bright F2.8-5.9 aperture range that is optically stabilized with Panasonic’s HYBRID O.I.S. technology to add striking depth of field dimension to your photographs even in low-light conditions.
The high-resolution power of 4K video technology captures up to 4X the resolution (3840 x 2160) of standard Full HD, enabling you to create printable photos with 4K PHOTO’s blistering 30 frames per second burst feature.
Post Focus and Focus Stacking provide for additional creative freedom by allowing you to change the depth of field or focus points after you take the picture.
The LUMIX ZS100 also features the hands-on manual feel of a lens-mounted control ring and thumbwheel, rear touch-enabled 3-inch LCD display and high resolution 1,166K-dot eye-level viewfinder that remains clear even in bright sunlight.
Convenient travel-ready technologies like USB charging and Wi-Fi connectivity to your mobile device make the LUMIX DMC-ZS100K a digital camera that everyone can enjoy.
If you are planning on packing along with you a smartphone or point and shoot cameras, then you won’t have to worry about one more extra piece of cargo to lug around while traveling.
But, if you are looking into capturing amazing travel photographs with a mirrorless camera or DSLR camera, then you will need a solid camera bag that will be able to hold extra lenses, camera batteries, and memory cards.
Here are two camera bags that are lightweight and can hold enough camera equipment to get the just done right.
The Camsafe V8 anti-theft camera shoulder bag is comfortable, durable, and lightweight, protecting most sizes of DSLR cameras (with a mounted lens and extra lens) against the elements.
Combined with innovative anti-theft features, this case works to help protect your gear and irreplaceable memories.
The bag’s fabric is embedded with eXomesh Slashguard, a lightweight flexible, stainless steel wire mesh that protects your gear from a quick slash-and-run theft.
Pacsafe keeps travelers one step ahead of the game by keeping their gear secure from opportunistic thieves with a wide range of stylish adventure backpacks, leisure bags, urban bags, women’s bags, and camera bags, as well as luggage and travel accessories.
The Protactic Bp 450 Aw Ii professional camera backpack expands upon the rugged versatility and armored protection Original protactic series is known for.
This high-performance second generation offers a more adaptive interior multiple access points modular exterior attachment capabilities and convertible utility belt.
Activzone back panel gives targeted comfort and support while all-weather aw cover protects gear from rain snow dust and sand.
Includes utility pouch water bottle holder tripod cup and two quick straps.
Great camera lenses can elevate what a camera can do for your vacation pictures. Regardless of the camera, you decided to travel with, besides a point and shoot camera that includes a possible lens itself; a great travel camera lens is important for the best travel pictures.
Below are some great lenses that you should get for whatever camera you decide to pack with you for your amazon journey. Keep in mind that these lenses mentioned blew, work with the cameras mentioned above.
While smartphone lenses included in the latest smartphones today are starting to compete with professional cameras with powerful lenses, but what if you don’t have the latest and great smartphone today?
If you are not ready to spend money on a Mirrorless or DSLR camera to take amazing vacation pictures, there are affordable options available to the traveler to improve his/her travel photography.
That’s why I suggest picking up a few compact smartphone lenses enough to fit in a shirt pocket and still be able to take incredible vacation shots during your travels.
The Moment Wide Lens is an everyday, go-to wide-angle lens for mobile photographers and filmmakers. It’s new glass and wide angle design allows your phone capture 2x more picture.
The most advanced lens we’ve ever made, the Wide Lens captures smartphone photos and videos that are beautiful, crisp, and straight with no fisheye distortion.
- Landscapes: Fit in the full grandeur of that jaw-dropping mountain scene.
- Travel: Get the whole scene while exploring new places.
- Architecture / Real Estate: Capture a wider view of interiors or the full height of a skyscraper.
- People: Take group photos with twice as many people. Never worry about your kids running out of the picture.
- Video: Add context to any scene while combating the cropping that happens on mobile videos.
The Moment 58mm Tele lens is sharp edge to edge, bringing you 2x closer to the subject on a single or dual lens phone. Used on a single lens phone it’s equivalent to a 58mm lens. Used on the Tele side of a dual lens phone it’s equivalent to a 115mm lens.
Amazon Review: “Easy to carry, easy to use, and makes for a good extension of my iPhone X camera’s capability. I own several cameras – digital and film – but the phone is always with me. I figured I should make the most of that situation with this set-up. While the optical zoom bump isn’t quite what I’d hoped (it’s optics/light/math, so I have no reason to expect more), the clarity and depth is very nice. I’m pleased with the purchase and will recommend.”
Mirrorless / DSLR Lenses
The great news about camera lenses is that you can use DSLR lenses on a Mirrorless camera provided the mount on the camera and the lens are the same, or you can get a mount adapter to suit.
Be careful about what you are getting. Some adapters only couple the lens to the camera mechanically to you have no auto aperture or autofocus.
Others electronically couple the lens to the camera to allow aperture control, or even aperture and focus.
Here are two lenses I suggest for either a Mirrorless camera or DSLR to capture amazing vacation pictures.
High performance and a compact design make the SEL-35F18 an ideal “second lens” that is easy to carry around when capturing the action.
It’s ideal for a wide variety of photos, including snapshots while strolling, night shots (thanks to the bright maximum aperture), and portraits with superb background/foreground blur.
Expand your lens options with the EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM and see the world in exquisite detail.
Designed for APS-C DSLR cameras, the built-in Macro Lite gives you the flexibility to use only half the light, the full-light, and more to help you achieve your desired effect.
Capturing detailed shots is fun and easy with small subjects and everyday photography.
Whether you’re taking your first dive into the intriguing world of macro photography or looking to expand your lens options, experience the power and creativity of the EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM.
Don't forget one of these!!!
Also, don’t forget to pick up a lens filter that has many features, one being that it’s a great protector for your expensive lens. Also, they can provide extra detail to your travel photographs that you never thought were possible.
You never want to run out of battery power while taking photographs during the day. Who wants to be costly charging throughout the day just to keep your travel camera operational.
I would suggest to pick up extra batteries from the brand yoof camera that you are traveling with, but it can be expensive if you have more than two extra camera batteries.
If would suggest third-party options which are great to keep the costs down, but over the long term of use, they tend to not work as well. But, they are cheaper. If you are looking for a cheap spare camera battery, I suggest the green extreme.
Sure many great cameras available out there have image stabilization, but they are not as good as a reliable tripod. Many think a tripod is the old-fashioned heavy unpack able devices that are a pain to carry around, but not anymore.
These tripods mentioned below are perfect for packing into a camera bag for any journey you decide to take, and a great tripod elevates your travel photographs to a whole new level.
Professional-grade machined aluminum flexible tripod for premium mirrorless cameras.
The latest design Gorilla Pod tripod with a ball head capable of holding 3kg of camera or accessories.The serious Gorilla Pod for premium mirrorless camera users.
This brand new design featuring CNC machined sockets and Arca Swiss compatible ball head sets a new standard for content creators using the latest hardware and techniques.
Grip It, wrap it and stand it supporting premium mirrorless cameras or other accessories up to 3kg (6.6lbs).
The Compact Action is the best choice for owners of entry-level DSLRs with standard kit lenses who like to shoot a lot of photos and movies.
The ergonomic joystick head with the scroll-wheel locking mechanism is very intuitive and easy-to-use. Its comfortable grip allows you to capture smooth movies and great images with little effort.
The innovative circular quick release plate is perfect for effortless camera attachment by hand without any need for coins or screwdrivers.
Thanks to its shape, camera orientation will never be an issue again. Simply close the lever just above the joystick handle. Also, the Regulating Dial, together with the round quick release plate allows you to perfectly adjust every camera to the tripod thereby enhancing its stability.
Last but not least, the photo-movie selector allows maximum freedom in any circumstance. Switching to the desired mode only takes a second and ensures you always obtain great photos and smooth movies.
Side Note: Don’t forget that you can add a smartphone clamp to any of these tripods above to capture steady vacation pictures with your smartphone.
Camera cleaning gear
Are you a clumsy travel photographer that tends to smudge the lens with an oily fingerprint while trying to put a lens cap on? I know I do.
Or what about being in a tourist attraction that is going through renovations and dust is everywhere and accumulates on the camera lens?
You never what to use a Kleenex or your shirt to clean your camera lens because it can cause scratches on the lens that are impossible to fix.
Having some great camera cleaning gear in your camera bag is a must to protect your investment and also provide the best possible travel photographs imaginably.
Large Rocket Air Blaster easily removes dust and debris from cameras, lenses and filters with a powerful blast of air. Made of rubber.
Includes a one-way valve to prevent Blaster from breathing in dust and spreading it back to your equipment.
The ultimate convenience in cleaning for eyeglass lenses and high-quality optics.
Safely and quickly clean eyeglasses and sunglasses plus other optics including lenses on cameras, webcams, cell phones, binoculars, microscopes, and many others.
Easily remove smudges and dirt. Safe for use on lenses with anti-reflective coatings. High-tech ammonia-free formula cleans effectively without leaving streaks or residue.
Directions Gently brush away dust and dirt with the folded wipe.
If you are traveling with a smartphone or point and shoot camera, you don’t need a camera strap to hold your camera.
But, if you are carrying along with you doing your travel a DSLR or mirrorless camera, having a camera strap with you helps you carry your camera easier and prevent you from dropping your expensive camera and lens out of your hand if someone bumps into you.
Or if someone tries to steal your camera out of your hand which almost happened to me in San Francisco years ago.
You will feel at ease with the Black Rapid Sport strap, whether you are hiking in the Himalayas or running along the touchline. Designed for adventurers.
The shoulder strap has a wider part on the back to cover the shoulder and distribute the weight evenly. Thanks to its feather-light weight and breathable materials, you can concentrate on the action without worrying about the strap.
It is 167cm long and weighs 190g. Comes with a CR-3 sliding carabiner and FR-5 case screw, LOCKSTAR protection, BRAD strap and storage bag.
The Presidio Camera Strap from ONA is a perfect combination of strength and comfort.
It is designed for comfortably wearing across the body and can be used with camera kits weighing up to 6 lb.
The Presidio Camera Strap is handcrafted with top-grain leather and a soft neoprene padded neckline. This 63” camera strap features two sets of chrome buckles that allow for adjusting the length from 24 to 29”.
It is also equipped with custom rivets that provide an extra style point.
If you are traveling with a mirrorless camera, DSLR, or drone, having memory cards that are large enough and fast enough to store a whole trip worth of photos is a travel saver.
Having the right memory card will help you store the precious photographs and videos throughout the trip, so you can focus on enjoying your trip.
A powerful SD UHS-I memory card that delivers performance and elevates your creativity. With shot speeds of up to 90MB/s and UHS speed Class 3 (U3) recording, you’re ready to capture stunning, high-resolution, stutter-free 4K UHD video.
And, because your pace doesn’t let up after the shots are in, it delivers up to 170MB/s transfer speeds for a faster postproduction workflow [requires a compatible device capable of reaching such speeds, such as the SanDisk SD UHS-I card reader (sold separately)].
Plus, it’s built to withstand weather, water, shocks, and other less-than-ideal conditions so you can rest assured that it’s good to go wherever your work takes you.
Travel camera accessories that isn’t necessary but great to have
All of the products mentioned above are necessary to achieve the best travel photo possible based on your experience with the camera.
But, the following camera accessories are great if you have some extra packing room to help you with your amazon travel photographs.
If you are packing a DSLR or mirrorless camera, having a flash is perfect when you are expecting to take a lot of night photography or for when you are trying to light up a subject in the foreground during the day.
External hard drive
If you are looking at taking a lot of travel photos or videos along your journey, your memory cards might not be able to do the job.
Having an external hard drive with you helps you with storing your travel photographs as a backup in case so you can continue to use your memory cards further throughout the trip.
International travel plug adapters
When you are traveling internally, regardless of what type of electronics you decide to pack for your trip, having an international’s plug-in adapter that can charge multiples electronic devices is a travel saver.
I like traveling with a drone when I am doing hikes along the Hawaiian coast or the Seira mountains. They are great for achieving incredible Ariel videos that are jaw-dropping.
Worried about how much space they may take up? Don’t worry as the following two drones mentioned are light and easy to pack. Just keep in mind that were ever you take your drone make sure that you are paying attention to the local rules of flying.
You don’t want your expensive drone taken away from you from the autarkies or having to suffer huge fines.
If you are looking for a compact camera that is tiny and waterproof a, wanting to take incredible videos or pictures, maybe have a look at an action camera.
If you are an adventure type, they are a fantastic camera to bring along with you during your action-packed holiday.
But, if you are not the adventure type, it might not be necessary to buy, but it may force you to get out of your comfort zone and explore.
Worried about your camera skills?
Worried about your camera skills? Take some photography courses before you go!
There are some great online courses that you can take your present photography skills and elevate them to heights you never thought were possible.
When I started travel photography, I was horrible. I had no clue about framing, focus, and pretty much everything else when it came to taking great travel photographs.
But, from taking that some great online courses mentioned below, I have moved my way up from the beginner point and click photographer to a more intermediate framing and focus travel photographer in no time.
I hope you enjoyed this post on the best tools to pack with you to take the best travel photographs ever.
In my experience of taking travel photography, which still isn’t much, I have learned along the way that having the right camera equipment just makes taking travel photographs so much better.
If you are just thinking about traveling with a smartphone to take great pictures, don’t forget to pack those extra smartphone camera tools to kick your smartphone picture sup a notch.
As for DSLR and mirrorless cameras, having the right camera gear like lenses and a reliable tripod set you up for success.
Happy traveling! And take some amazing pictures along the way.