Gary Dowd  

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Travel Woes For Photographers

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Travel Woes For Photographers

“I’m sorry, sir,” the gate agent in La Ceiba, Honduras explained, “but your bag must be checked. It will not fit on the plane.” The plane I was about to board was a Czech-made LET-L410, a 19-passenger, twin turbo prop and designed to handle uneven runways such as the one we would be landing on in Porto Lempira. “This is very expensive camera equipment,” I returned. “It cannot be checked. I travel with this all over the world. Why not let me see if it fits first – then we can discuss another option?” Reluctantly, he agreed. But I felt he was just indulging another “Americano” who didn’t know what he was talking about. Truthfully, I wasn’t 100% sure my Kiboko bag would fit in the overhead. I’ve traveled on the smallest commuters in the USA, but not on such a small aircraft as the L410. Was I relieved when it fit – just – after removing the tripod.

More and more, I find myself in similar situations. I don’t travel to tourist locations where air transport is a nice, comfortable jet. I go into the more remote locations less traveled because that’s where many of my clients work. It’s usually crazy logistics and often with questionable modes of transportation.

And lately, major US airlines are restricting travelers to one personal carry-on item. This despite the fact that airline websites clearly indicate that you are allowed one personal and one carry-on item (as long as it fits  the “size-wise” requirements. (for the record – I don’t mind respectfully challenging the gate agent on this)

I do have a couple workaround options thanks to Gura Gear and ThinkTank Photo - but the latest restrictions are making these solutions less than 100% successful. I am at a loss.

So – I’d love to hear from other traveling photogs who have found solutions that  are working for them. If you don’t mind sharing something about a piece of gear or anything else that makes life easier for you when you travel, send a comment.