flying with your camera
Oh, the anxiety of flying with your camera. Are you with me, Sparkles? You’re on your way to a fabulous destination and all of the excitement is over-shadowed by the FEAR that your precious camera and equipment will be lost, stolen, confiscated… anything. No fear, my lovelies. I travel ALL THE TIME with my bounty of gear and my dad is a former airline pilot, so I have the DL on everything you need to do to stay SANE at 37,000 feet. Ready? It’s time for wheels up!

Problems & Solutions for Flying with Your Camera

1.  Here’s the first obvious. solution.

Get a camera travel case. Pelican is a great brand – well known for sturdiness and complete ample padding, locking mechanisms, and totally check-able. PS. The most important part? It comes in pink. This detail makes buying a Pelican case basically a no-brainer, right?  

2.  Here’s the problem.

Your camera is out of your control. Whenever you check your camera gear, you face a multitude of unknown variables. And, personally, I would never ever trust my camera to baggage handlers. As the daughter of a retired freight pilot…. trust me.  It’s nothing personal, there are just so many things that *could happen* and you don’t want to risk the what-ifs with your money-maker.  Let’s not neglect to mention, a locking case is great and all, but it doesn’t stop someone from taking the whole thing leaving you with a total loss. 

3.  Here’s the second obvious solution.

Get a cute carry-on camera bag. If you’re flying with your camera on a small regional jet {as yours truly so often does} you can be forced to gate-check or check to your final destination. Sadly, they can force you. No, you can’t refuse. And, because you have a hawt camera bag {that isn’t a rugged Pelican case} your camera is less protected {gah!}. And, all of the issues from Point Uno, above, come back to haunt you. PS. Picking up a cross-body or shoulder back also isn’t the answer. They can wreak havok on your darling little bodies {especially if you have to fly your sparkly little tail through the airport like I have so many times in the past}.

So, with all the big-bummer possibilities up in the air,
how should you go about flying with your camera? Lemme help you out.


Cyrissa’s Sneaky Travel Hacks {making it easy to take my camera on an airplane!}

As someone who has back/neck issues – I have to protect my body AND my camera. I pack up my House of Flynn camera bag with essential gear that I *have to have* for my shoot. That bag is then put in a rolling carry-on bag; along with non-essential gear like reflectors, chargers, etc. This way, I can easily move around the airport; I can even run – no problem!  {You’re cute if you think you’ll never be legging it through an airport…. home-alone style.}

If I’m forced to gate check, I take it out of the rolling carry-on, check that bag, and keep my camera bag with me {win-win, amiright??}.  It usually fits into an overhead bin and always fits until the seat in front of me!

If you’re nervous about taking your camera on an airplane, I promise that you’ll be ok!  You are normally allowed one “purse” and one carry-on {soft-sided briefcases and backpacks rarely get taken as long as they’re the proper size}.  Of course, you’ll want to check with your airline to see their exact measurements and carry-on guidelines!




Other pro tips for flying with your camera!

1. Get TSA pre-check to skip the line {and the pat-downs}!

This little bad-boy is $85 for five years and it’s worth errrrry penny.  I’ll be honest, I put this off for years because I thought it was a big hassle!  Turns out, the online application took less than ten minutes, all I needed were a few pieces of identification, and a short ten minute appointment at the local office – and I was done!  Plus, I got my TSA pre-screen info in less than a week, which made it even easier to fly with my camera!

TSA will leave your shoes alone; you don’t have to worry about liquids and gels in your carry-on; your laptop gets to stay-put and you get to keep your jacket and belt, too. Just like old times! Plus, the line is usually super-short.  It’s like having a Disney fast-pass, for the airport!  LOL!

2.  Also, heads up caffeinators.

If you’re a Starbucks fan {like yours truly} save Starbucks free drink rewards for the airport {it’s more expensive at the airport – of course}. You can save yourself a little cash and feel like you’re getting special treatment at the same time.

3.  Take Lysol wipes – because ewwww.

Airplanes are sick-nasty germ incubators and, if planes are running behind, you may not end up with a super clean ride. Let’s be honest.  Even if your plane is super early – it’s probably nasty.  Protect yo-self and wipe down your seat, arm rests, window sill, and tray table. Take them to the lav, also!

4.  Most airports have “spas” to make your travel experience a little better.

While I can’t say I’d use one of these shops for a pedi or waxing {yes… some offer that}, I hook myself up with a 15 or 20 minute chair massage every chance I get!  My husband is the frequent recipient of these selfies that say “look what I’m doing!”  I’m pretty sure I have him convinced that flying with my camera is no big thang.  LOL!

Above all else, despite your best laid plans, remember my dad’s fave quote…

If you’ve got time to spare, travel by air.

It’s so true.  I’ve been bumped to first-class twice… but also missed connections due to broken armrests {I can’t make that crap up}, experienced weather delays, and been stranded overnight by myself in less-than safe places…. so when you fly, you’ve gotta be prepared for everything!


fly with my camera tips

See?  Taking your camera on an airplane isn’t so scary!

But, I totally understand your stress, so if you’ve got more questions OR travel tips of your own – drop me a note in the comments!  I’d be happy to help you out!  Plus, be sure to pin this post so you can reference it when you finally get that destination wedding you’ve been wanting!

And, if you would love to be part of a community where you can learn information like this {and other random bits of awesome} join the free Sparkle Society community. As my treat to you, you can also pick a free mini-workshop to learn more about running a photography business!

cyrissa sparkle society

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  1. OMG!! Not sure why I haven’t thought of that before!! Putting my HOF camera bag in a roller bag!! My shoulder hates me for lugging my bag with all my gear and with the smaller planes there is always that 50/50 chance my roller carry on (sized per the specs) gets tagged as a curbside check. Thanks for the idea!!

  2. Such good info! I’ve actually NEVER been on a plane before…my dad was afraid of heights so we didn’t ever travel by air growing up. I’m hoping to book one of those awesome destination wedding soon so I’ll get my chance. This will be my go-to guide when the time comes! 🙂

  3. This is great to know! I’ve always wondered how that works and although I am not a photographer very informative. Love the helpful hint for saving cash at Starbucks! *Cha Ching BONUS*

  4. I love everything about this! I was thankfully able to used my strapped camera bag as my carry on when I flew to LA and Vegas, but I love the idea of putting it in a rolling one!

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