Thursday 20 January 2011

Travelling overseas with your camera gear

I have travelled abroad many times with my camera gear and there are a couple of things that you can always do just in case you have a problem. Firstly and most obviously is to have camera insurance, Make sure that your insurance covers you where you are travelling, I always contact my insurance company before hand so that they know when and where i will be, that way there should be no problems if you need to make a claim, I always take a copy of purchase receipts for all my gear just incase customs ask questions as we carry a lot more gear than the average Joe, Here in the states you have to/should fill in a customs form-CBP 4457, You need to fill in details of all the gear you will be taking along with serial numbers and go to the customs office along with your gear and let them check it and confirm that the details are correct and then they will stamp the form-you need to do this before each trip!!, I am not sure if they think that we will be buying abroad or that we will sell some gear abroad, the USA is probably the cheapest place on the planet to buy gear so i am guessing its the latter, I normally contact the Airline to confirm my baggage allowance, I am flying to Japan with American airlines , Their site show that flights to Japan can only have 1 piece of carry on baggage and yet when you call them you are told that you can also have a personal item like a laptop bag, Its only 1 piece if you are going via another country so well worth the call, Infact i called twice and spoke to 2 different people just to make sure, Going to a very cold climate means lots of big clothes so that means 2 cases in the hold, luckily AA allow 2 bags free of charge which is a bonus as when i flew to California with AA  ALL bags were chargeable, I keep all camera bodies and lenses with me so a specialist bag/case like a think tank or Gura Gear are the order of the day, I have a think tank roller case, I like these as you cant tell how heavy it is unlike a rucksack, The think tank is within the carry on size but with the 600,200-400,14-24,16-35, 2 bodies and flashgun it weighs a tremendous amount, I try to get a seat towards the back as that means you are one of the first on and have no problems with getting an empty over head locker, Be sensible and make sure that you don't have anything sharp in your carry on bag like a pen knife or allen keys, these should be put in the hold luggage as well as batteries for you flashguns, Its getting harder and harder to travel with a lot of gear, Some airlines are better than others, I hear that Quantas is a pain in the butt so ask around, I have yet to have a problem with American Airlines and they have always been very helpful-fingers crossed that it stays that way

EDIT-I have been to the customs office and had my papers stamped by a very friendly officer, It seems that they do not care if you take gear out of the country and sell it, Their concerns are that you buy abroad and bring it back in without paying duty-also once the paper is stamped as long as its in good condition you do nit have to renew it unless you have different equipment-took 5 mins so not too bad


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