Best Tips to Download Photos While Traveling

tips for downloading photos while traveling
Vacation photos represent a once in a lifetime opportunity, so protect your photos by downloading them after a day of shooting. Ian Thuillier Photography / Getty Images

You are on vacation, and shooting up a frenzy with your digital camera. And this makes sense: People tend to shoot more photographs while on vacation than they do at any other time. The only problem. Where do you put all those pictures? A memory card can only hold so much. Learning how to download photos while traveling is your best bet to alleviate this issue.

There are tactics for storing images while on vacation, both for keeping your valuable photos safe while on the road and for making sure you have plenty of space to shoot as many photos as you want. Here are some options to download images while traveling.

  • Bring your laptop or tablet. This won't be convenient for everyone, of course. Maybe you don't have a laptop. Maybe you don't want to lug a laptop (and risk damage, theft or loss) on top of your other baggage. But this is probably the most effective way to store images because the software specific to your camera will travel with you. You can store the images on the laptop each night, allowing you to clear the memory card for a new day of photography the next day. Oh, and of course you have to endure the special laptop inspections at airport security.
  • Get a portable photo storage device, like a USB flash drive. This is a wonderful way to back up and save images, especially if you're shooting pictures while traveling. Some of the devices can hold as many photos (maybe even more) as your home computer, and many double as DVRs, mp3 players, video players and more.
  • Buy more memory cards. You obviously can't get an unlimited supply, but perhaps a few more cards would provide enough for your trip. Look at the capacity (shooting in the largest and best format available). If you think you can stay under that limit on a couple of cards, you may be all set. Just guard those cards with your life! Because the prices for memory cards have dropped so much in the past several years, it's far more feasible to purchase a handful of memory cards to take on your trip than it was a decade ago. Just make sure that all of the memory cards are in good working order; if you have experienced problems with any of the memory cards in the past, you don't want to trust your once-in-a-lifetime vacation photos on a memory card that may fail.
  • Get your card images transferred to CD while traveling. If you are visiting major U.S. cities, this should be no problem. Most hour-photo spots offer this service, and it's relatively inexpensive (maybe $5 to $8 per CD). If you will travel overseas, you might want to check first. You could probably ask the concierge or front desk staff at the hotel. Even abroad, most cities have hour photo places with digital capabilities. A note of warning, though. Be sure they will transfer your images at the same resolution as they are on the card. Check to be sure they don't use a smaller resolution to fit all the images on a CD. Also be sure to check the CD before deleting your card images to be sure everything is on there and OK. 
  • Use the Internet. You may be able to connect to the hotel's Wi-Fi service through your camera's built-in Wi-Fi connection and e-mail your images to yourself. Or if you can make a connection to a cloud photo storage service, such as a Dropbox or another online photo storage site, you can store the photos safely without having to worry about someone stealing a laptop where the photos are stored. Just remember that using your camera's Wi-Fi connection option can drain the battery faster than shooting photos will drain it. 

Take care to preserve your images while traveling, since you may never get another chance to take those photos!