Meet new scuba divers, maintain a virtual dive log, participate in our forum, share underwater photos, research dive sites and more. Members login here.

Travelling Photographer
m_grieco - 10/22/2016 11:54 AM
Category: Travel
Replies: 7

So I am headed to Thailand this December, doing a liveaboard part of the time, and 1 day of diving off Koh Lanta (Red Rock and Purple Rock offshore sites) and in previous trips I only used a diminutive Sealife camera with strobes...very easy to fit in luggage. I have since upgraded to a DSLR rig, and with strobe arms, strobes, ports, etc...which is the "best" way others have found to travel abroad with such equipment? My pelican case is enormous (was more designed for 2 rigs rather than 1, so it sits in my walk-in closet in my room), so that’s not a viable option. I was thinking of bringing the camera in the housing with a port...leaving that in my carry on with my strobes, other port and focus light (where all my money is...keep that close to me) and thought I’d put the arms in my checked bag. Think TSA will give me a hard time should I choose the put the metal arms in my checked bag (8" and 6")? The dive gear should be relatively easy as I’ve brought that on quite a few trips already...the camera is more my concern. I’ll also be bringing along many additional o-rings, grease tubes, strobe diffusers, etc...trying to prepare for anything unexpected. I’d appreciate any tips/experiences.
m_grieco - 10/22/2016 8:41 PM
Yeah, I’ve got a bit more camera, especially with my three ports. I’ll probably do creative things like stuff them with swimsuits to eliminate any dead space they cause. Yeah, I had no intention of bringing my pelican box, it’s enormous (like I could stow my kids inside it huge). The photographer I bought my kitchen off of intended to have two DSLR rigs in that box, so you can imagine how large the thing is (it weighs 50+ pounds). I’m more concerned with the TSA telling me I can’t board the plane with the 8" metal arms...claiming some nonsense that they could be weapons (I could do more harm with them than a nail clipper, and I know they’d take those). I’d love to keep all the parts to my camera in my carry-on, just curious if anyone else had similar issues.
m_grieco - 10/22/2016 8:43 PM
Should read kit, not kitchen (darn autocorrect).
Adrift - 10/23/2016 7:41 AM
Your equipment sounds expensive. You must be a professional photographer. I am just an amateur and found smaller and lighter, less complicated underwater cameras Work best for my hobby. My nephew has a slightly bigger camera than mine and he takes very good photos with them. I state these because you might want to ask professional photographers how they travel with their stuff in the airplane. I am thinking that they put them in a special case, let the airlines know about it, and check fees and/or insurance for them. Liveaboards do not have much space, so that will be another concern as mentioned by LattitudeAdjustment. If you don’t need to take this particular camera on this trip, consider a smaller, more compact camera to tote with you. As an additional thought, the boat or yacht you will be on may need you to get in the water from a height. How your camera goes in and out of the water may be a concern.

Just my 2 cents. I hope it helped you any.
DiverfromBaskingRidge - 10/23/2016 10:32 AM
You may want to do one of two things - contact TSA via email and ask - then print and take the email response with you to the airport. Or go to the airport (Newark?) and show them your camera and ask a TSA rep.
I would not want to get to the airport and not know or have something confiscated and thus rendering your camera useless... It is not like you can drive back home and leave the camera if it is not allowed...
m_grieco - 10/24/2016 10:44 PM
Yeah, leaving the camera isn’t an option, just need to see if I can bring the entire thing in my carry-on or if I need to check pieces of it.
daz88 - 12/13/2016 8:42 PM
I usually carry all the expensive stuff and arms and whatnot in the checked bag. Remember you cannot have batteries in your checked bag. TSA here is not your Thailand maybe. Carried the arms and other things through no problem, but have had them take 2 different battery banks 2 different times. you can carry a BIG battery through no problem.....but if you have a battery bank for your tablet and it doesn’t have a sticker on it saying how many mAh, they will take it. So crazy...can through every other airport in the world without getting a second look, but take a domestic flight in Thailand with a battery bank without a sticker and loose it. But, I still love Thailand :)