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 vacationing can come at a cost.
What cost’s 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 the best camera gear to pack to get the best travel photographs while on vacation.
Here is a list of 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
The great thing about camera technology today is that there are many different camera options available for every traveler.
You can either bring with you one of the many great smartphones on the market today and shoot great quality point and shoot pictures while on the go.
Or you can bring with you some great lightweight and high-performance Mirrorless or DSLR cameras to capture professional-looking travel photos that will amaze every person you share your pictures with.
But don’t forget the trusty point and shoot cameras built for taking amazing vacation pictures and still be able to fit in your front pocket.
Here is a list of cameras that will not disappoint any traveler looking for great travel photos at any price or size.
Smartphones are a great travel camera for pretty much everyone.
The great thing about smartphones is that everyone pretty much has one already. Plus, smartphones are always with you, and great for when you want to carry light while exploring the city.
With most travelers opting for smartphones for vacation pictures, the latest Apple iPhones offer three camera modes: Ultra-Wide camera, Wide camera, and Telephoto camera.
This means you are essentially packing a professional-quality camera in your pocket that’s able to make the most incredible photographs.
Plus, the latest iPhones 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.
Click here for the latest Apple iPhones on Amazon.
If you are a Samsung Galaxy fan then their latest devices are basically a camera with smartphone capabilities.
The recent 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!
Click here for the latest Samsung smartphones on Samsung.com.
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.
Digital cameras are perfect for when you want to take great travel pictures and not have to worry about having a phone call interrupt the moment.
If you are looking for a compact & lightweight camera compared to a DSLR camera, yet having specs that rival the best DSLRs on the market today, then mirrorless cameras are your best bet.
Click here for the latest mirrorless cameras on B&H Photo/Video
If you are planning to take pictures with a smartphone or point-and-shoot camera, you don’t need to travel with an extra piece of checked luggage like a camera bag to lug around while traveling.
But, if you are looking into capturing amazing travel pictures with a mirrorless camera or DSLR camera, you will need a solid camera bag.
Features to look for in a camera bag are enough storage to hold extra lenses, camera batteries, and memory cards while you are out and about.
For safety and security, look into camera bags from Pacsafe. The Venturesafe camera 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.
If you are on the go, and possibly run into harsh weather elements that could ruin your camera gear, Lowepro makes high-performance camera bags for you. (Pictured Above).
Lowepro offers more adaptive interior multiple access points modular exterior attachment capabilities and a convertible utility belt.
Lowepro’s activzone back panel gives targeted comfort and support while all-weather aw cover protects gear from rain snow dust and sand so you can take amazing vacation pictures.
Click here for the latest camera bags on B&H Photo/Video
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 essential for the best travel pictures.
Below are some great lens options that you should get for whatever camera you decide to pack with you for your amazon journey.
Keep in mind that whatever lens you decide to purchase, works with the camera you have or will purchase down the road.
While most built-in smartphone lenses in the latest smartphones today are amazing, they still lack the depth that Mirrorless or DSLR lenses offer.
If you are not ready to spend money on a Mirrorless or DSLR camera to take amazing vacation pictures, then 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.
I suggest adding a Moment Wide attachment Lens as your go-to wide-angle lens for mobile photography/videography. and filmmakers. Moment’s wide-angle design allows your phone to take group photos with twice as many people. Never worry about your kids running out of the picture.
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.
Attachment lenses are easy to carry, easy to use, and make for a good extension of my smartphone camera’s capability.
Click here for the latest smartphone lens attachments on Moment.com.
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 so you have no auto aperture or autofocus.
Others electronically couple the lens to the camera to allow aperture control, or even aperture and focus.
For lens choices, I suggest a high-performance and compact design make like the Sony 35mm f/1.8 Prime Fixed Lens which makes for 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.
Click here for the latest camera lenses on B&H Photo/video.
You never want to run out of battery power while taking vacation pictures during the day. Who wants to be costly charging throughout the day just to keep your travel camera operational.
I would suggest picking 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.
I 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 unpackable device that is a pain to carry around, but not anymore.
There are travel tripods that are perfect for packing into a camera bag for any journey you decide to take, and a great tripod elevates your vacation pictures to a whole new level.
If you want a professional-grade machined aluminum flexible tripod for premium mirrorless cameras then think about a Gorilla Pod tripod with a ball head capable of holding 3kg of camera or accessories. The serious Gorilla Pod for premium mirrorless camera users.
For DSLR cameras, Manfrotto’s 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.
Click here for the latest tripods on B&H Photo/video.
Related Article: 10 Must-Have Items For A ‘Travel Go Bag’ – Always Be Prepared
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 provide the best possible vacation pictures for you.
I use Giottos Rocket Air Blaster that removes dust and debris from cameras, lenses, and filters with a powerful blast of air.
Are you worried about cleaning fingerprints from lenses? Adding a Lens pen cleaning kit to your camera gear makes it easy to clean any type of lens, filter, or viewfinder.
Click here for great lens cleaning options on B&H Photo/video.
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 a DSLR or mirrorless camera, having a camera strap 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.
Click here for great camera straps on B&H Photo/video.
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’s worth of vacation pictures is a travel saver.
Having the right memory card will help you store precious photographs and videos throughout the trip, so you can focus on enjoying your trip.
I use the SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I Card because it’s 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.
Click here for great memory cards on B&H Photo/video.
Travel camera accessories that aren’t necessary but great to have
All of the products mentioned above are necessary to achieve the best travel pictures possible based on your experience with the camera.
But, the following camera accessories below are great if you have some extra packing room to help you achieve amazing travel photographs.
An on-camera flash is an essential accessory for many travel photographers. It produces additional light when conditions are too dark, and allows you to deliver balanced exposures in daylight conditions.
Plus, an on-camera flash can be used as a powerful creative tool to establish an aesthetic that upgrades your images when lighting conditions are less than perfect.
The benefits of using an external on-camera flash far surpass those produced by a built-in camera flash. The only negative to an on-camera flash is that it’s an additional piece of equipment that you have to carry.
Brands like Canon, Bolt, and Godox make incredible on-camera flashes that are compatible with the most popular Mirrorless & DSLR camera to improve your vacation pictures like you never thought possible.
Click here for a huge selection of on-camera flash’s at B&H Photo/Video
External hard drive
While traveling, the vacation pictures you will be shooting will require more space than your camera memory card or laptop will allow.
Or, you are trying to fit all your photographs on a laptop, but you forget about backing up your travel memories, the threat of losing your travel pictures could be disastrous.
To avoid losing your precious memories, or not having enough space to continue capturing your journies, adding a rugged external hard drive can make all the difference in the world for saving your vacation pictures.
Luckily, there are incredible external hard drives from LaCie Rugged, Western Digital, and G-Technology that can give you the freedom to back up your memories so you can enjoy them at home for years to comes.
Click here for a huge selection of external hard drive’s at B&H Photo/Video
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.
I recommend a drone to anyone who enjoys traveling and taking photos. Especially if you are serious about photography or blogging/Instagram, I think a drone truly is a great investment. I have never regretted my purchase!
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.
Click here for a huge selection of drone’s at B&H Photo/Video
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.
Click here for a huge selection of action camera’s at B&H Photo/Video
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 amazing vacation pictures.
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 thinking about traveling with a smartphone to take great vacation pictures, don’t forget to pack those extra smartphone camera tools to kick your smartphone pictures up a notch.
As for DSLR and mirrorless cameras, the right camera gear like lenses and a reliable tripod set you up for success.
Happy traveling! And take some amazing vacation pictures along the way.
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