Sometimes, a photographer’s biggest problem when packing for a vacation is not deciding what clothes or accessories to bring; it’s how to get photography gear safely to a destination—especially when flying.
One way around this problem is to rent photography equipment at your destination, rather than carrying it there. Both online renting and local renting are available for many locations, but both require you to do some serious, in-depth research before you decide which option to use.
When you plan your vacation, take the time to figure out what kind of equipment you’re looking for and what equipment would work best for your destination. There’s a big difference between taking a few casual photos and taking professional-level photographs, and when you travel without the right equipment it’s much harder to make up the difference.
With online renting you get quality equipment—and most companies will ship it to your destination. For example, on borrowlenses.com, you can rent a semi-professional camera like the Canon EOS Rebel T3i for two weeks for only $92, including shipping to and from your destination.
When renting online, you can compare prices and rental agreements with other companies and get the best deal for the equipment you want. Online rental agencies will also have several reviews that allow you to learn from others’ experiences as you decide where to rent your gear.
Renting local is definitely tricky, but it could end up being worth the hassle. Unlike an online agency, a local shop allows you to handle the equipment before you decide whether or not you want to actually use it. This is particularly beneficial if you are concerned about quality.
The downside is that your choices are limited to what items are actually in the shop. Photography student Stephanie Gasser, who rented her gear at her destination when she was out of town for Thanksgiving, warns of another downside: “I wish the renters had been a little bit more helpful in getting me what I needed (or thought I needed), rather than trying to make the most money they possibly could.”
If you decide to rent locally, don’t just show up at your destination and hope to find a local shop; do your homework. Look online or in a phone book for local photographers and photography shops. Ask them about places to rent equipment. Photographers often network with each other, and most of them are willing to help out another photographer.
In the end, either rental option might serve you better than trying to decide between bag space, camera safety, or good photos of your trip. Now if only there were similar options for clothes. . . .