5 Camera Bag Essentials for the Traveler

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When trying to capture life’s moments, being at home or abroad, what’s in your camera bag is important. Your gear can mean you capturing ‘the shot’ or having your camera rendered useless.

I shoot with a Nikon DSLR. I have a couple of lenses, even though the body of my camera is an older model. It is durable and has lasted me for a number of years. (Noting that the newer bodies are pretty dope too.) But without the additional gear I carry, I wouldn’t be able to catch those important. Below is a perfect list of 5 camera bag essentials for everyone from the amateur family photographer to the avid traveler to the pro shot (and just in time for the holidays).


Tamrac Travel Pack Backpack

BarrisTourista Camera Bag

The first item on my list of must haves in my camera bag is…the actual bag. When I got my Nikon, it came a shoulder bag that was annoying at best. I think got a cross body backpack and that was okay but a bit uncomfortable. Then I found this Tamrac Travel Pack backpack and it was a game changer. I wear the backpack tight to my back to avoid any sort of theft. And the inside is fantastic. There are a lot of compartments that are Velcro so they are secure yet adjustable. There is plenty of room for the camera, multiple lenses, chargers, and more.

BarrisTourista Camera Bag 2

Then there are also a lot of pockets. When I am shooting, I, at most, carry a small cross body so as to not be bogged down. The spaciousness of the backpack allows me to put my extra stuff (because I always have a lot of stuff) in the pockets. There are a couple of inside and outside pockets, along with side holders for water bottles.


Underwater Camera

BarrisTourista Underwater Camera

If you are going anywhere where there may be ocean or snow, etc., then you should think about an underwater camera. For that I have a Canon Powershot. I have only had occasion to use it a couple of times, so I need to get more adept at learning it, but it definitely came in handy on my latest trip when I went snorkeling (and clearly it also works as a normal point and shoot would). The camera states that it works down to 82 feet underwater, great for scuba diving, The Canon is not just waterproof but also shockproof (great for extreme sports and hiking) and temperature resistant up to 104 degrees.


Extra Battery

Barristourista Extra Battery

You have no idea how many times I have gone to shoot something after not having used my camera for a while, and turned on my camera to…nothing. The battery was dead. Luckily, I have a spare battery that I keep charged in my bag.

I got my extra battery for my Nikon for super cheap on Amazon. The battery works great and has not let me down yet. And after a lot of shooting, you can switch them out with ease to keep shooting.


Lightning Cable Converter

BarrisTourista Lightning Adapter

One thing I learned at a seminar was to never plug your camera directly into your computer. That is the quickest way to corrupt files on your memory card.

When I need to edit my photos, I actually prefer to edit on my iPad mini because of the big touch screen rather than my computer. But my memory cards are SD memory cards and the port is a lightning port for the iPad with no USB port.

Enter the Apple Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader. It is super simple; you just plug the lightning part into the iPad, and slide the SD card into the slot and within seconds you can view all of the photographs on the memory card. You can bulk select some or all of the photos to be imported into the iPad for editing. Easy peasy. Tip: Just make sure not to select the option to delete the photos from the card once they are imported.


Selfie Stick

BarrisTourista Selfie Stick

As much as people abuse the “narciss-stick,” a selfie stick really is great for travel photography in many instances. First, as a solo traveler, you cannot always rely on someone to take a picture for you. Second, if you are standing in front of a monument or something far away, or if you have a big group, the selfie stick is clutch. Just don’t be obnoxious, and be mindful of others and the fact that some locations have banned selfie sticks. Not to mention, please don’t injure yourself trying to get that great shot.


Bonus: Extra Memory Cards

BarrisTourista Memory Cards

Similar to me getting to a shoot or being on vacation and having a dead battery, you have no idea how many times I have turned on my camera to get a message that there was no memory card in the camera. Crap! Luckily, I had an extra one (or two) in my camera bag that I could pop in. I use the ones with high volume memory and quick speed for super sharp images. And I keep them in this compact case so I don’t damage them. The extra cards really came in handy on my last trip when one card that I had a few trips worth of photos on ran out of memory partway through an excursion. I would have missed the second half of the boat ride without an extra card.


I am a lawyer. I am a journalist. I am a writer. I am a photographer. And I love to travel.

49 comments on “5 Camera Bag Essentials for the Traveler”

  1. This is an excellent list of camera essentials for any traveler! I really need to invest in a waterproof camera as I set to check off some cool adventures in and around the water. Also, thanks for the tip about plugging the memory card directly into the computer- had no idea it could be harmful!

  2. This is a fantastic list for any photographer! I always forget two of the things you mentioned, the extra memory cards and the extra battery. My daughter, however, makes sure that the selfie stick goes everywhere with us!

  3. I have a camera backpack and I love it! I once made the mistake of deleting photos from my Nikon after importing them from the memory card to my laptop. Of course, the laptop crashed and I lost all of my photos. I’ll never make that mistake again. These are all great tips!

  4. I have been trying to get a new camera but with so many choices it is hard to decide. What I can decide now is on my accessories to carry thanks to you. I never thought about downloading my pics to my ipad. It would seem easier to do than on my laptop.

  5. These are definitely great camera bag essentials! Over the years I’ve learned it’s best to always have an extra battery pack and memory cards on hand <3

  6. Awesome advice!!! I travel with extra DS cards and a lightning cable converter, but I could use everything else you listed in my travel camera bag!

  7. I would love to get an underwater camera similar to the one you featured on this post. I love visiting tropical places for vacation so a camera like that would be wonderful!

  8. These are all great camera bag essentials for the traveler. I have always wanted to get a underwater camera for my son who loves to take pictures of everything. This would make for a great gift idea for him for Christmas too. Thanks for sharing the items.

  9. Memory cards are a must for me too. I usually have a few extras on hand. Thank you for your suggestions. They’re helpful.

  10. Great suggestions! I need to get my spare battery. I have a canon and I thought my bundle came with an extra battery. But it is not an official Canon battery and doesn’t work. I do wonder about what you said about connecting your camera directly to your computer – do you mean connecting your memory card directly or the actual camera? I always plug my card right into my laptop, and noticed that a lot of times I have to format the card or it still says full.

    1. Jonna, if you use something to convert your memory card to your computer (an adapter) that is the best way, from what I was told. You don’t want to plug the camera into the computer because files get corrupted.

  11. I’ve realized just from going away for work that I’ve needed to pack some of those items especially the extra battery. I went to camp with a group of kids, and my battery was constantly dying. It was a lesson learned.

  12. I have that underwater camera and it’s my favorite camera to take with us when we go on beach vacations! And I learned the hard way to ALWAYS have a backup battery!

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