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So much stuff as a photographer...

Ok, so everyone says to just take a carry on bag for trips to Italy. My wife and I are going and it will be my first time to Europe in October. I am an amature photographer and I plan to take my gear with me to Italy. Just my camera stuff is about the size of carry on.. Even if I take only the minimum amount of gear I'd still fill a good part of carry on... So, I've got questions for you Photographers out there.

Does a medium/large camera backpack count as a carry on?

Should I even take my "camera backpack" as it may be a target for theft because it looks like a camera backpack?
(I wouldn't be carrying it on my daily travels... just when i'm going from hotel-train-hotel)

tripods. I'd like to take a tripod for night shots in Venice, rome, CT... Those can only be checked, right? It won't fit inside my camera backpack.

I know I have more questions... just can't think of them right now...

Posted by
689 posts


I know others scream at me when I talk of checking a bag - but I do check bags. Mainly because of my camera gear. I take it all. I leave my good, padded camera bag at home and repack everything in a regular day pack. I have a small padded "point and shoot" type camera bag (approx 8" x 6" x4" deep) that just fits my camera body with one lense attached. I put other lenses inside two socks - which I have fashioned a draw string top to close...

Into the day pack I put:
bottom layer: Sweater or wind breaker for cushioning
then the small camera bag with camera- zipped up
lenses around the camera bag to create flat surface
then a top layer of a sweater or wind breaker or towel to keep the camera gear all together and neat.

Keep the zippers closed at the top = use a large safty pin to keep the zipper tabs together and to prevent wandering fingers from getting into your bag.

tri=pod. I've taken my back pack tri-pod - no problem.

Posted by
32268 posts


I also travel with photo gear - dSLR, 2 extra Lenses, Flash, cleaning kit and a small P&S. My travel methods vary, but basically something like this.

The P&S in a Lowepro padded case fits in one of the exterior water pockets of my Eagle Creek Daypack (it's the same color as the Daypack, so blends in somewhat). That way it's available for quick shots if needed. My Daypack is expandable, so I store the dSLR with walk-about Lens inside, again in a small Lowepro padded case (which has room for extra batteries, CP Filters etc.). Like the previous Poster, I try to cushion this with clothing or whatever.

The other 2 Lenses, Flash & cleaning kit go in the main Pack, which is checked and locked with a TSA-approved Lock (also well padded with clothing). At this point I'm trying to avoid travelling with a Tripod, as it's just one more thing and more weight to haul around. I try to use higher ISO settings and brace on buildings or columns to stabilize the Camera.

Happy travels!

Posted by
711 posts

My husband is a professional photographer and we were in Italy for the month of May. Had no trouble at all. He has a lot of photo equipment, which he carries in a Tamrac photo bag. That is all he carries on the plane and it weighs a lot. I carry a roll-on carryon with essentials in. He has a large tripod which he carries in his checked suitcase. Never a problem. We flew, took boats ,trains and hiked in the Cinque Terre, and never had any problem with theft. He did not leave any of his equipment in the hotel rooms, and when he took his camera out to photograph, he put the rest back on his back and closed all the zippers ,etc.We were careful in train stations and othger congested places, and I generally walked behind him so I could see his bag. We had no problems in Venice, Tuscany, Umbria, or the Cinque Terre. We did not go to Rome on this trip.

Posted by
36 posts

My son, a professional photographer, bought me a tiny tripod for my first European trip this summer and it worked great. A Gorilla Pod is a bendable, lightweight, tripod that can easily be attached to railings, chair backs, etc., in addition to being used the conventional way and comes in three sizes. The smallest one is great for my digital point and shoot, and the largest one accommodates his digital SLR. Check them out at This may resolve some of your tripod issues around size and space.

Posted by
25 posts

If you really feel the need to take a tripod, you might consider this idea..if you will be checking baggage. I took one to Costa Rica to hold my birding telescope for digiscoping. I took the telescope, binocs and camera as carry-on, all in a Pelican case. I bought some light PVC pipe and pipe end caps at a hardware store and packed my tripod inside the pipe padded with clothing and put the whole thing inside a duffel bag with more clothing.

Posted by
49 posts

Thanks for the replies...
So, I've been doing a little research by calling the airlines and it sounds like I can take one regular carry on and a camera bag with camera equipment in it. This sounds like what I will have to do. We originaly planned to check a bag... but after reading about how bad Alitalia is with luggage we have changed our minds about checking.

Posted by
32268 posts


One point to clarify - if you're going to be taking any regional flights in the U.K. (RyanAir, EasyJet, etc). the carry-on rules are VERY strict. When they say each person is allowed one carry-on bag, they mean ONE bag of the approved size!