Planning a vacation? Among the most important things you can bring with you is your camcorder. After all, all those glorious memories aren’t going to remember themselves. You’ll have to document them. But like traveling with children, traveling with your camcorder takes some preparation. Fortunately, it’s not too difficult.
Use a Camcorder Bag
Unless you’re traveling with a pocket camcorder that can slip into your pocket, you’ll probably want to use a carrying case for your camcorder. Using a purse to stow your camcorder isn’t ideal, since in the process of opening and closing it you could accidentally dislodge a wallet (or make valuables vulnerable to the quick-handed locals). A case also makes it easier to store items like additional a digital still camera, memory cards, tapes, lenses, waterproof housings and cleaning cloths that you might need during your daily travels. Not only that, but in the event of inclement weather, a bag can keep your gear dry when not in use.
When using a bag, always keep it zipped, even if you're just moving short distances. I know from rueful personal experience that camcorders can be knocked out of an open bag if, say, you're bending over to grab a child before they take a headlong dive into a busy street.
Use Portable Storage
If you own a camcorder that uses a hard drive or flash memory card to store video, you may want to consider bringing along a portable storage drive. These hard drives can connect directly to your camcorder via a USB cable and let you off-load your footage from the camcorder. These drives serve two purposes: they free up camcorder memory space if you’re running low. Even if you have ample memory left on your camcorder, transferring your footage secures it in the event your camcorder is lost (or worse) during the next day’s outing.
If you have a heavy shutter finger (i.e. you love recording any and everything in your sight) then extra power is a must. If your camcorder uses a replaceable battery, you may want to consider purchasing a second one. Bringing this spare along (remembering to keep it fully charged) can help you on the road in the event your battery burns out on you during a crucial moment.
If your camcorder has a built-in battery – as many pocket models do – you may want to purchase a portable charging device. These units connect to your camcorder via USB and deliver a charge that, even if it doesn’t completely restore your battery, will give you enough juice to get through the day. The best portable chargers will themselves use rechargeable batteries so you won’t have to constantly pay up for new batteries.
Bring a Lens Cloth
Vacations invariably mean hours of sampling the local delicacies or elbowing people aside at the greasy snack bar. Unfortunately, our fingers tend to attract grease and dirt which can easily make its way to your camcorder and particularly your lens. A micro-fiber cleaning cloth – handily stowed in your camcorder bag – will ensure smudge-free videos and photos after countless Philly cheese steaks or German bratwurst.