Sitting on my veranda in Rhodes again this morning escaping the sun for a few hours, picked up a little too much yesterday. Thinking about our forthcoming trip to the South Pacific got me fired up about what to pack, as I spend a lot of time these days wondering what I need to take away with me when travelling, the constant battle between weight of extra lenses, and the restrictions put on you by you airline allowances. I’d rather not stick the whole lot in pelican cases and have it thrown in the hold, even though I know a couple of people that actually do this . Most of the time I am fortunate to know what I’m likely to be photographing before I go away, so can usually just get by with the ‘minimum’ of photography equipment both in my carry on aeroplane bag, and my checked in suitcase.

So for this trip to Rhodes, in my hand luggage bag I took my Canon 5dmk2, Canon 24-70 2.8L, Canon 16-35 2.8L, a pair of pocket wizards, 430ex II Canon Speedlite, portable Wd passport 1TB hard drive for backup and storage, couple of lens hoods, 2 spare batteries for my 5d, as well as a small case containing about 10-12 memory cards, and a card reader. Oh and my massive behemoth of a laptop.. Which is on its final trip before it gets sent to the laptop scrapyard. All this combined is pretty much 8kg, which is the limit for Olympic airlines hand baggage allowance in 2010. Pretty reasonable, as i think the hand baggage allowance on Ryanair is about 6kg.

All the other bits and pieces were slung in my hold baggage, so things like filters, extra cables, 4 block extension cord (yes i take one, the amount of times I have got to a hotel room and there has only been one plug socket… trying to charge my small arsenal of electronics has proven somewhat difficult.

When I travelled to Hong Kong earlier in the year, I packed another DSLR body as backup, and continue to do so to make sure i have a body on standby if something would fail. Depending on whether I am photographing for myself, or photographing for a client whilst abroad, I pack accordingly – the more client work I have the more backups of equipment I take with me.

Regardless, my carry on cabin baggage is always my lowepro vertex bag, it’s got tough taped heavy duty zips, which is reassuring when your lugging the rest of your kit around and do not want to have to think about anything else. It’s also padded enough to be slung around when someone else moves your bag around…

I think the next post will be about tips for travelling light, and tips for packing your camera equipment in your hand luggage bag.

I’ve found from experience that you can never rely on your checked in baggage to actually make it to your destination so you must pack as if you may never see it again….but there is a fine balance between saving weight, and keeping the minimum possible. For instance, I will pack the main charging unit for my spare camera batteries but will pack the standard charger to wall cable into my checked in luggage – why? Because I know nearly every electronic shop in the world sells this kind of cable. Weight saved, but not at too much expense.

Read more: Read my review of the Vertex Camera Bag
Coming up next: 10 important tips and things to remember when packing your travel photography bag.