There I was on a Sunday night. Beer in hand and contemplating what to pack for my trip to LA. Not what needs to go in my suitcase, that was done, but what needs to get packed into my camera bag. The first thing I decided to do was pack both the M7 and M9 with three lenses and a ton of film. Knowing full right that I would have only one night and one morning free to go shooting. The rest of my trip was filled with meetings and an award show in the evening.
I go through this every time I pack for a trip. I pack everything then I scale back. I’ve learned my lessons when traveling abroad. Some places force you to unpack everything in your camera bag (I’m looking at you France), or other places where they won’t bother hand checking your film and say “If it doesn’t go in the X-Ray? It doesn’t go on the plane.”
Even a simple, small, tripod raises flags in some airports. I remember being harassed by immigration once, in Newark Airport, because I had a tripod slung on my back. I was asked a million questions about why I needed a tripod and why I was bringing it into the country.
So I was sitting there with all this equipment scattered on my office floor debating all these questions in my head and wondering how much I want to get harassed. In the end I decided to take the M9 with the 18mm and 50mm that will travel with me to LA. Keep it nice and simple without any problems.
Next time you travel to another country, or even within your own, ask yourself what you really need and how much of it you really want to lug around with you in a foreign city. More than likely you’ll pare it down quite quickly, to just the essentials.