Traveling for Photography

Travel PHotography Tips

If you follow me on Instagram you probably know I’ve been traveling a lot for work and I am not a huge fan of flying. I’ve learned a bit over the last nine months, so I thought I’d share. There’s no getting around this, it’s a lot of info here. If you’re not into reading I am going to put out a video on IGTV that discusses the same stuff.

So, let’s get
to it.

Rental Cars

I've done the math and for the amount of back and fourth I do when I am traveling in Tampa a rental car ends up being the same amount as using a car service app like Lyft. For me time and convenience is also worth factoring into the equation.

Use Budget for these two reasons:

  • Amazon Benefits - Connect an Amazon account and get 30% off all rentals and 10% cash back in an Amazon gift card. (Which I end up using for batteries in little supplies I need anyway) Considering Budget already has great prices it's the best option I have found for what I need.

  • Fastbreak - It's a free account you can setup online and it allows you to skip the line. I arrive at my destination, find the Fastbreak kiosk, look for my reservation and head to my car. No line.

Stay

If I didn't have an incredible friend (Thank you Kendal, and David too.) that let me stay with her every time I am in town for work, I would use AirBNB. Mostly because you can find great locations for a minimal cost and often there's a kitchen which leads to my next thing...food.

Food

As soon as I arrive in Tampa I head to Trader Joes, because there's no Aldi. I'd be spending money on groceries anyway and it's healthier than eating out for a week straight.

Flights - Sign up for milage programs, it's free so why not.

  • Frontier has a seasonal flight from CLT to TPA from November to April. These tickets run between $19-$25 a ticket. Carry on bags are $30. So round trip that's $100. So, if you’re traveling a short distance don’t be afraid to look at the lower budget airlines. For an hour flight I can skip the crappy pretzels.

  • American has been my best travel experience as a whole. Obviously a little more costly (but not too much) than Frontier, but carry on is included and my experience as always been great. They have large overhead bins.

  • Delta was an okay experience. I did learn when they are asking if anyone is willing to give up their seat for $200 wait until they get up to $700 to say yes, or you can actually walk up to the counter and say you’re willing for insert your price here.

  • United, just don’t. Economy only allows a personal item for free, which goes under the seat. You have to checkin at the airport for them to physically check the size of your bag. If it’s a standard carry on size they’ll force you to check it and it’s $50.

*Factor all the above into your pricing because it’s CODB.


Photography Specific Tips

  • Personally I like to use normal hard case luggage with travel cubes and lens wraps. Honestly, I don't really want what I am carrying to scream "Hey! I have thousands of dollars worth of gear with me right now!" I also do not check any gear. If I am stopped by the attendant asking if they can check my bag because the room is running out, I politely and quietly mention have a load of camera gear and lithium ion batteries, which cannot be checked.

  • Just get TSA Pre you won't have to take out all your gear when going through security.

 
 

Tax Deductions

And if you are not tracking your travel expenses for Tax Deductions you're just crazy. Here's a list straight from IRS.gov.

Deductible travel expenses while away from home include, but aren't limited to, the costs of:

* Travel by airplane, train, bus or car between your home and your business destination. (If you're provided with a ticket or you're riding free as a result of a frequent traveler or similar program, your cost is zero.)

* Fares for taxis or other types of transportation between the airport or train station and your hotel, the hotel and the work location, and from one customer to another, or from one place of business to another.

* Shipping of baggage, and sample or display material between your regular and temporary work locations.

* Using your car while at your business destination. You can deduct actual expenses or the standard mileage rate, as well as business-related tolls and parking fees. If you rent a car, you can deduct only the business-use portion for the expenses.

* Meals and lodging.

* Dry cleaning and laundry.

* Business calls while on your business trip. (This includes business communications by fax machine or other communication devices.)

* Tips you pay for services related to any of these expenses.

* Other similar ordinary and necessary expenses related to your business travel. (These expenses might include transportation to and from a business meal, public stenographer's fees, computer rental fees, and operating and maintaining a house trailer.)