Any traveling filmmaker understands the anxiety that comes with traveling with your gear. Traveling with expensive lights, audio equipment, tripods, and cameras requires some tedious planning and attention to detail. Follow these 7 tips and you’ll be smooth sailing on travel day.

1) Pack the Essentials in Your Carry On – Let’s face it, there are just some things that have to go under the plane. Lights, tripods, stands, etc. As you reluctantly pass over your gear to the checking agent you can at least have some peace of mind knowing that you have the essentials in your possession. Your cameras, lenses, SD cards, and batteries are the 4 must haves in your carry on bag. These 4 items are not only expensive, but they’re also the most important. In the off chance that your gear gets lost or damaged in transit, the good news is that you’ll still be able shoot.

2) Have a Backup Plan – A lot can go wrong when traveling with you gear. Lost bags, damaged gear, or simply forgetting that variable ND filter are all possibilities when traveling. Spend some time before the shoot researching a couple of rental houses or camera shops close to your shoot location. It’s always good to know where these places are and have them on speed dial in the event that you need them in a pinch. We hope that you won’t!

3) Make a Checklist – And check it twice! You might swear that you have it all but anybody that’s been in this business for a while has forgotten something they need on a shoot.

4) Arrive a Day (or two) Early – Nobody likes feeling rushed. Give yourself some breathing room and arrive a day or two early. By doing so you’ll ensure that any flight delays or cancellations won’t derail your shoot plans and that you’ll have time to replace any forgotten gear. It’ll also give you some time to settle in and enjoy the destination. Nothing wrong with mixing a little business and pleasure, am I right?

5) Padding – Make sure you add lots of bubble wrap and padding around your gear to protect it. Have you ever seen how luggage handlers toss those bags around? Yeah…not pretty. Try to avoid metal on metal contact and exposed screens on reference monitors and cameras. If you’re like us, you order a lot of film gear online…and with that film gear comes bubble wrap, lots of bubble wrap. Hold on to it and use it next time you travel with your gear. Don’t have any laying around? Get some Here.

6) Batteries – I’ve heard a number of filmmakers run into conflicts with batteries. Fortunately we haven’t, however it’s always safe to abide by TSA protocol to avoid any snags. Most camera and gear batteries are allowed in your carry on as well as your checked bag as long as they are not connected or inserted in their devices. To learn more about flying with batteries peep this link

7) Have Insurance – Any video professional should have production insurance whether they travel or not. Many companies require that you have insurance before you even step foot on location. Having insurance when you travel is especially important because it covers your gear in the event that it gets lost, stolen, or damaged. And that’s something you can’t fix in post ;)

Written By: Andrew Klein, Executive Producer (Fog Coast Productions)