Travel Photography Gear Essentials

If you have plans to travel, I'm sure you will want to capture those fun and beautiful moments during your adventures. Knowing what photography gear you should have can be confusing because there are so many accessories out there. I've put together a list for the essential travel photography gear that you will need to document your memories.

photography gear and accessories for traveling

This is a basic list of photography items that you may want to include in your travel kit. Every situation is different though and you will have to decide which items fit best for photography on each trip you take.

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My family loves to go on a few road trips each year. High on our list of places to visit are National Parks, which is lucky since we live in Utah and are so close to so many! We also love to visit family and see the sights wherever we go.

Bryce canyon national park utah

Travel Photography Gear Essentials


I've read that the best camera for you to use is the one that you have in your hands. You can get varying degrees of photos with your cell phone, point and shoot camera, or a DSLR camera. Today I'm going to focus on the camera I use the most for travel photography - a DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex).

Canon DSLR Camera travel kit

I have a Canon Rebel T5 that I purchased 3 years ago. The EOS Rebel series is an introductory camera, a step up from the point-and-shoot cameras. I have been very happy with my camera and use it very often for my nature and landscape photography. It has traveled on every vacation over the past three years and I haven't been disappointed by our photos. 

winter pond at canyon entrance park logan utah
Pond at Canyon Entrance Park in Logan Utah.

sunset at Cabrillo Beach California

The Canon line of cameras lets you tailor your photography use to what you are comfortable with - either auto or manual shooting. It's pretty easy to learn how to use this DSLR camera, especially if you play around with it. I take multiple photos at different f-stops to see what difference it makes and what I'm most comfortable with.


There are so many different options for lenses. If you buy a kit camera, it will include a basic lens. Mine came with a 18-55mm lens. It's a basic good for many photos kind of lens. Your everyday photos will look really nice. Eventually you may want to upgrade. But what lens to buy?

Which lens you want to purchase for your travel photography will depend on what you plan on using it for. Here's a rundown on the lens options and which situations you would use them.

  • Wide-angle lens (Canon 28mm f/1.8 wide angle) - broaden your angle of view and increase the depth of field in your photos. Vivid nature shots, group photos, architecture, night sky photography, and indoor in tight spaces.
  • Telephoto Zoom Lens (Canon 55-250mm Image Stabilization or Canon 75-300mm) - wildlife photography, the moon, school performances you need to zoom in on, nature
  • 50mm lens (Canon 50mm f/1.8) - Lifestyle, portrait, product photography. This lens is not a zoom lens, to get a closer view of what you are photographing you will need to physically move closer.

bee on lavender taken with 50mm lens
Bee on Lavender 50mm lens image - look at the detail and finely blurred background.


Extra Battery and Charger

If you use your camera extensively while traveling, it's important to have an extra battery and a charger. Different settings of your camera will wear the battery life sooner (live view photography for example). You don't want to be caught with a dead camera battery right when you need it!

Memory Card

Buy a few extra memory cards before your vacation. You will probably take quite a few photos of your trip and won't go through them until you get home. Having multiple memory cards insures that you will be able to take as many photos as you want to document your trip.

Lens Hood

Reduce the sun flare in your photos when you use a lens hood.

Lens Pen

Safely clean your lens with a lens pen. Using your shirt or a towel can scratch your lens.


When traveling and sightseeing during the day, the sun is a bit harsh and tends to wash out your images. If you want your colors to be accurate and bright, using filters on your lens is a good way to go.
  • Ultraviolet (UV) filter - absorbs UV light and reduces the bluish cast of daylight, can help reduce glare. Some photographers leave the UV filter on the lens at all times to protect from dust and scratches.
  • Circular Polarizer filter - deepens the intensity of blue skies, reduces reflections, improves saturation of colors, reduces glare
      misty narada falls mt rainier ali biorn photography


For certain photograph situations, a tripod is needed. Night sky photography, the smooth flow of water, or long exposure in low light. When you are traveling, you don't want heavy gear to weigh you down. Finding a lightweight, dependable, steady, and collapsing tripod is essential. There are quite a few different ones on the market, but this one had the best reviews and it fold down to a decent 19".

Remote Shutter Release

Depending on your camera model, you could buy a wireless or corded remote. It's so useful for group photos, selfies, and low light/night photography. No more having to set the timer on your camera and have to run to quickly get in place.

soft side adjustable camera bag

Camera Bag

The kind of camera bag you take will differ depending on how many items you are packing; and also what your day will be like while traveling. Will you change lenses throughout the day or just need one? Will you need a tripod for photographs? Will you be hiking quite a bit?

Depending on the answer to these questions, you may need more than one bag for your travel photography gear. Possibly a cross body bag will be best, or even a backpack could work for you.

My current camera bag is a soft-side average camera bag. It has a moveable sectioner inside the case, two side pockets (I put my extra battery in one and the lens hood in the other), and one front pocket (in which I keep my filters and extra memory cards). It works well for short trips, non-strenuous climbing/hiking, taking photos at viewpoints, and is an easy fit for amusement park rides (perfect for when we went to Disneyland).

I would love to upgrade to a Camera Backpack Bag. These have compartments for your camera, lenses, and accessories; while also supplying the comfort needed when you will be out for a long day of sight seeing or hiking.

I hope that you found this post about essential gear for photography while you travel. You can also read my posts about Photography Tips for Beginners and How to Make a Camera Strap Cover.

camera lens and accessories to have when traveling and adventures


  1. I agree a camera backpack would be wonderful. Our recent trip to Europe, the big camera never left the hotel room it was too much to carry.

    1. We usually carry a normal backpack around with water and snacks, so having one for my camera and a little extra room would be great.

  2. I agree with Janet. My regular camera is too heavy to carry around my neck and I usually have a backpack. Need to find a solution because I often find my phone isn't quite up to the task.

    1. I've read about mirrorless digital cameras that are much lighter weight and have many of the same functions as a DSLR. You can check them out here -


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