How to backup my travel photos?

Created by isomeri on Feb. 16, 2014, 7:02 a.m.
  • I'm heading out for another Interrail trip in a couple of months time and I've already started with some preparations for the trip. A major problem which I've yet to tackle is to find a good solution for backing up all the pictures from my DSLR while I'm travelling. I basically want to protect my pictures from the possibility of my camera getting lost or stolen on the trip. In the past I've carried a small hard-drive with me and backed up all my pictures there whenever I had the chance to visit an internet cafe or had access to a computer somewhere. But I hate the hassle of having to look for internet cafes (they are fast disappearing all around Europe) and jumping from computer to computer has lead to a hard-drive full of all sorts of exotic viruses.

    I don't currently own a laptop small/light enough to carry around with me, but I would be prepared to buy one if any of you have good recommendations for the job at hand. I'd much rather back up my pictures in the cloud, which wouldn't be a problem if I had a laptop since most hostels offer good WiFi. I don't think that my phone (Lumia 1020) has any capabilities to pull pictures from my DLSR (Canon 5D Mark II) and I don't have a tablet. I've heard some people using devices especially made for this purpose, but I'm not really sure how practical they are.

    So please share your experiences and recommendations. If I do end up buying a laptop I wouldn't want to spend much more than 750 euros on it.

  • Multiple memory cards? Since you've got a 5D2 you're obviously using Compact Flash cards which are pricey but there's a solution to that. You can purchase a CF to SD card adapter. SD cards are cheap as chips so you can keep plenty of them with you in a waterproof storage case.

    Another option would be a travel bank. It's essentially a hard drive with a card reader built in. There are quite a few different models and manufacturers and I don't have much experience with any of them so can't say which would be the one to go for.

    Other than that, I'd say a laptop/notebook would be the other option. As for which one, depends on if you'd like to edit while you're away or if you just want something basic that you can upload to a cloud service from.

  • I'm with stenchlord. Get multiple memory cards and keep them separate from the camera.

    If you're shooting RAW files like I suspect you are, storage space on your phone or upload speeds at a cafe would be a real issue. The only true option apart from buying a laptop is a travel bank like stenchlord suggested. Something like this...

    You can also rent a HyperDrive for 60 days for $165.

  • @isomeri: If you can get access to the internet then i would def go with the laptop, if you're gonna be traveling on foot a lot something like the 11" or 13" macbook air would be ideal, it's small light and strong. sorry not sure what's available on the windows side, but i know there are comparable systems.

    The image bank would be the only other option i can think of that would suit your situation, but they can be really expensive

  • Thanks for the recommendations so far. Those image banks look like solid solutions, but I'm leaning more and more towards just buying a new laptop and doing my backups through that. I have plenty of small hard-drives and USB sticks which I can spread around my bags and even mail USB sticks back home if access to proper internet becomes an issue.

    Now I just need to find something nice and light, definitely no larger than 14". I'm probably not going to do any real editing on it, maybe just fixing up a snap or two in Elements. The MacBook Air line is really nice, but I'm pretty invested in the MS ecosystem (SkyDrive etc.) so I'm probably going to stick with that side for now. The Lenovo Yoga has always looked pretty great to me, but it's maybe a bit too much for what I need right now. The Wirecutter recommends the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14 for a cheap solution, but I'd like to spend a bit more money for a better screen and a little less weight. They also recommend the Lenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch, but it seems to be a SKU exclusive to North-America.

  • We're developing such a device for photographers while travelling. It is a external wireless SSD which can backup SD/CF card directly. And it also can process the RAW file to output smaller preview images. User can view a 20M raw file in 1s with iPad via Wifi.


  • I am actually going through this problem, flying to NZ from Chicago and staying 25 days with family there. I am going to bring two 32gb + 16gb SD card, a 1tb laptop HD and back up photos from a PC there when possible.

    In 2012 I went on a 6000 mile road trip from Chicago to LA and up and over through Yellowstone. I just backed my photos up to the laptop every night.

    I would definitely recommend the small Yoga 14, size really matters after a while an external HD helps when you can't get to the internet for google drive/ Live. I totally hated lugging my 17" 10lb Dell around on the road.

  • This seems like what I've always wanted.

  • There are some backup software , have a look on download sites.

  • @isomeri: A couple of years ago I just bought a cheap less than $200,- mini laptop (I think the screen is only 8" or 9") and replaced the 250Gb harddrive with a 2Tb harddrive. No problems, no hassle, no multiple memory cards, which are also more expensive if you add up and also more fragile.

  • I'm a bit late to this discussion but I just got back from my honeymoon and I had great success using my iPad and the lightning to sd card reader.

    Every couple of days I would clear my camera & GoPro onto the iPad and then leave it backing everything up to icloud photo overnight.

    I have optimised storage setup on the iPad, so the originals go to the cloud, but I have access wherever, and then I have my mac at home set to download all the originals so everything is waiting for me when I get home.

    It's sometimes a little slow but it gets the job done nicely, and have a cloud backup was reassuring since multiple cards and drives can go missing just as easily as the camera itself.