Traveling With Photo Gear

I know there are a lot of different ideas out  there on how to travel with your camera gear and  what you can and can not do. A lot of people have written about after September 11th things changed and rules changed. Well that is true,  but now things are some what figured out  concerning the Transportation Security Administration, the ones who screen all baggage at US airports. I talk about the way I travel in  my "What's in Matt's Bag" section of my website. I basically use hard Pelican cases that I put in waterproof duffel bags or a combination of water proof duffel and a wheeled extra large duffel, depending on the type of trip it is. It is important to note, that I take sand paper or have my bags worn enough that the name brand logos have worn off of them. They are just black waterproof bags with some hint of a logo.

I use TSA approved locks on all my pelican cases that are in my duffel and then I lock the duffels and my camera backpack that I carry with TSA locks as well. The lock I use is a Travel Sentry 3 - Dial Combo Lock made by Easy Go. These locks have an indicator that tells you if they have been opened. When a red marker appears around the base of the locking arm, you know the lock has been opened by a TSA official. This is good to know as if things are missing then you can file a claim with the TSA and your insurance company will have proof.

Travel Sentry is a company that has set a standard of locks that manufactures can use that will be approved by the TSA. TSA and Travel Sentry work closely to control this process. You may ask if this is only in the US and what if I travel internationally. Well yes, as of today, only the US TSA tells passengers that if their bags need to be opened for inspection that they may cut the locks if they are not Travel Sentry Certified. When you travel internationally, use your Travel Sentry lock as you would any luggage lock to protect your equipment.

When you leave the US the TSA can inspect and relock your bags. When you are traveling on flights outside of the USA the baggage screening usually does not require opening bags and if it does you will probably be asked to be present. When you are abroad use your Travel Sentry lock to keep your baggage locked and safe.