Travelling light with Russell Ord.
Posted on January 17 2018
Ok, put on your best smile, work that charm, use every trick in the book to avoid excess luggage payments. Some airlines are better than others; however, excess fees can get expensive fast and have you noticed over the years the carriers bringing down your max weight, 32kg, 27kg, 23kg and shrinking, we need to pack smart and light.
I know every trip is different, from photographing for clients and requiring a range of equipment to personal holidays all this and more can dictate just how much gear is necessary to get the job done. Let's face it the more money we save at the check-in counter, the better for our back pocket and profit margins.
A couple of lessons I have learnt in the past, "the hard way".
1. If shooting for a client, do not forget to include all excess baggage charges to be included in your quote. Take the kitchen sink of just in case this, just in case that happens, your covered.
2. I like to use large HPRC hard cases / Pelican cases so I don't need to worry about crushing equipment, take off anything you can such as wheels, extra handles etc... it's incredible how much weight this reduces.
3. The odd pocket or two in your jacket is an excellent fit for a lens or lenses and wear all your heavy clothing, be ready for some weird looks and questions at the X-Ray when you pull out your equipment and place in the tray. A 600mm is probably pushing those boundaries.
4. Be smart and only take the essentials for getting the job done, I used to always to take so much gear and barely use half of it. When shooting for clients (covered anyway), I would always carry backup bodies and even an extra Aquatech water-housing to make sure work would be delivered.
5. On personal trips challenge yourself, last year to Germany I took one camera body ( Fuji Xpro 2 ) and one lens (23mm 1.4 - 35mm equivalent ) it makes you think outside the square and it certainly helps to increase the skills with that focal length.
6. On my return flight, I will have one copy of my work with me and the second copy with my main luggage, if this goes missing you can still deliver to the client. I read somewhere last year a photographer would also post a copy just in case the plane went down, I find this a little over the top considering you won't be back to enjoy the rewards anyway and I am sure the client will understand, but each to their own.
7. Pre-pay for another bag, it's far cheaper doing this than excess baggage at the airport. If a frequent flyer it may be better to look at upgrading to all the weird and wonderful airline packages, I am with Air New Zealand and having the upgrade gives me more weight and an extra bag plus a few other perks, this membership pays for itself 5-10 times over throughout the year.