Packing all your camera equipment for a diving holiday can be quite daunting and rather stressful.


Anyone who’s travelled before will know how roughly checked in luggage is handled.  Just look at the scratches, scrapes and bumps (and heaven forbid, cracks in hard shell cases) that are waiting to surprise you on the carousel upon arrival.

And if you watch carefully, you will see how the baggage handlers throw the suitcases into the aeroplane and if you’re really lucky you’ll also get to see when the piles of luggage fall off the cart en route to the aeroplane.  That’s really fun to see, especially when one of the suitcases is your unmistakable orange hard shell with the stripey band around it that your granny made for you so that you’d know it was yours…

I’ve even heard it said that if you have a fragile sticker on your case, the bag handlers entertain themselves by seeing how heavily they can throw it…. Just for fun…

And why does the person at the check in counter ask if you have anything valuable in your suitcase as it’s being checked in?   OK, I do have a bit of an imagination, but when someone asks me that, I wonder why they need to know.  Does a special message get passed down to the baggage staff that this suitcase is ripe for the plundering??

So, needless to say NONE of my camera equipment goes into my check in luggage.  Well, apart from the batteries and battery chargers as one is likely to have those confiscated as your hand luggage goes through that X-Ray thingy…. And then it’s too late to quickly put them into your check in luggage.  Into the bin they go, only to be used in some kid’s battery operated car or some other buzzy toy.

This leads me to packing my expensive, valuable, fragile camera equipment into my hand luggage. Now, most airlines only allow 8kg hand luggage (Kulula is 7kg) like a laptop bag / rucksack of a specific size (in the region of 56 x 36 x 23cm) and one personal item (hand bag).  But check on their website before you travel so you know what you’re aiming for.

I pack all my camera equipment into my ThinkTank Streetwalker Hard Drive backpack and my housing into my handbag (a soft material shoulder bag).  You can also just carry your housing as your personal item although I’ve not tried that before.  I also wrap everything in bubble wrap…


I’ve heard you shouldn’t put your camera into the housing (something to do with the bumping / vibrations etc) and another thing you should definitely not do is leave the o-ring in the door.  Pressure in the plane will cause problems… always take the o-ring out before you fly – never fly with a sealed camera housing.

Be friendly at the check-in counter.  Make your bag look light, hang it on one shoulder, don’t struggle with it…  If they want to weigh your hand luggage, do so in a friendly way – don’t get defensive.

I’m certainly not advocating that you go over your 8kg allowance …  However, if you do and you get caught out, pay the excess … this is far preferable than arriving at your destination with lost, stolen or broken equipment.

I’ve even heard stories of people wearing those camera jackets with all the pockets and taking things out of their hand luggage and shoving them in their pockets if there is a problem with their hand luggage being overweight…