No one wants to hear the words: “Honey, I can’t find the camera!” Yet every day, throughout the world, people leave their camera, with those perfect pictures, in hotels, on buses, at the pool. They get stolen in crowds and from restaurant tables and beach chairs. They get dropped overboard, or bounce out an open car window. They get lost forever. Despite these risks, there are some simple things that you can do to decrease the potential for loss of your prized memories.
The camera doesn’t matter.
The bottom line is—even the most expensive camera money can buy is nothing compared to the loss of the pictures on the memory card. You at the Louvre. Your kids playing on the waterside over-looking a sunset on the Atlantic Ocean. A herd of elephants on the plains in Africa. Once those are gone you better be either a great artist or very good at describing things. But even with the greatest of skills nothing can replace the shot that you toiled over so that you could share the moment with family and friends. It’s like the one that got away on a fishing trip. Nobody likes the story of the one that got away.
Two is always better than one.
If you’re like most people you probably have one large memory card for your camera that will allow you plenty of room to take both photos and video.
The simplest thing to do to minimize the potential loss of your memories is to have multiple memory cards. This way, your loss is reduced to those shots taken on one card. You may not want to have a card for every day of the trip, so you may want to just alternate between a card for everyday activities and one for those special excursions or moments. Keep the cards in a safe place in a pocket. You may even want to take them out of the camera between locations if you are particularly cautious. Mark the cards with numbers or letters or some identifier so that you know which is which. You can also buy a memory card case to keep them in so that they don’t get mixed up with your pesos, pence, or paise.
Wait a second. Back up.
Still, there is the potential to lose both the camera, and potentially the cards, if Murphy’s Law is to be believed. So, how can you prevent the best laid plans from coming undone? Do what you do at home (you do back-up your data at home, right?). With the use of a simple card reader and a USB memory stick, you can have a back-up of your picture files safely stored in your room safe, or in your pocket in very little time. Get a memory stick that is 2 or 3 times the size of your cards so that you will have plenty of room for pictures.
Most hotels have some form of computer available to guests so that they can check email, etc. You can use the computer to transfer your photos from your memory cards to your USB back-up. Even if they don’t offer computers to guests they usually have one for office use. You can be very charming, can’t you?
If you don’t have computer access at the hotel you may be able to find a local retailer who will allow you to transfer your pictures using their computer. Photo retailers are likely the best for this, as they usually understand the need to back-up your pictures.
Uploading can be fun, but costly.
If you have access to the internet, and can upload your photos to a Dropbox or other cloud type storage, you may have the ideal solution.
Armed with your laptop and a good WiFi signal, or access to the hotel guest computer and a good internet connection, you may want to consider this as your daily strategy. Watch for data charges though, and be ready for slow internet speeds outside major cities.
Uploading gigabytes of photos will take time, and you’re on vacation, so be ready with an alternate plan if you find that the process is taking too long. Don’t let the realization of a slow connection stop you from protecting your memories.
A last option for those travelling in major cities is to take your memory cards to a local photo retailer and have them back-up your pictures to a DVD. This is likely not going to be a daily trip, and you probably don’t want a CD or DVD per day, but backing up after major events on the trip could still save your most important shots. Most importantly, don’t come home with the story of the one that got away. With a few simple steps you can bring home the big one.