Traveling with a DSLR camera has its perks. Being able to zoom in on wildlife or fine-tune your settings to get just the right effect on your shots gives you marvelous control. Having that big camera around your neck can even help you get front-row shooting privileges in some environments. But there are some compelling reasons to travel without your DSLR, too. Traveling light and spending your time enjoying the sights rather than capturing them offers a completely different experience. Here are some compelling reasons to leave the camera at home when traveling.
Stay in the Moment
The single most compelling reason to travel without your DSLR is so that you can enjoy being inside the scene instead of setting yourself apart from it. When you think like a photographer, you’re constantly placing yourself outside your own adventures. You’re mentally framing everything around you and looking for ways to tell the story to an observer.
When you leave your camera behind, you can start being in the scene, living your adventures instead of capturing them. It’s a subtle but profound difference. The most beautiful shots will always be available to you as postcards or stock photos, and you can capture personal memories in cell phone snapshots or simply kept in your heart as memories.
Packing without your big camera may feel like you’re leaving home without your eyeballs, but you’ll be amazed how much space you’ll save in your luggage. Not only will your luggage be lighter and easier to manage, but also setting out to explore during your vacation will be a breeze. Just put your keys, cash, and passport in your pockets and off you go, with no giant bag to tote around.
Use Your Phone’s Features
If you’re used to working with a standalone camera, taking photos with T-Mobile’s Galaxy S7 Edge or another well-equipped smartphone on a reliable network will be an eye-opening experience. Your phone has a front-facing camera for selfies. It automatically backs up your photos to the cloud, and it lets you upload to Facebook or Flickr on a whim. Newer smartphones have powerful built-in photo editing software that makes color corrections and red-eye reductions easier than you ever imagined.
Protecting an expensive camera from thieves, bumps and drops, and moisture can put a huge damper on your adventures. With your cell phone in your pocket, you’re free to go boating, ride a zip line, trek through a jungle, hop into a tuk tuk, or hike in the mountains unencumbered. You won’t have to stress each day about whether you can safely leave your camera in your room or worry about how to carry it unobtrusively.
Blend In Better
Tossing a DSLR around your neck makes you look and feel like an official photographer, and that can help you get close in some situations. But it can also make the people around you stiff and uncomfortable, and that interferes with getting candid shots of the folks around you. People all over the world have embraced mobile phones. You can pull out your smartphone in a third-world village, and no one will bat an eyelash. When you spend less time setting up shots and more time interacting with people, you’ll also make more connections with locals. In fact, they’ll probably pose for selfies with you.
Less luggage means fewer expenses for checked bags or overweight items. Another cost to consider is insurance. Standard travel policies often don’t cover expensive equipment like DSLR cameras. Instead, you need to pay for a rider or policy to get coverage.
If you’re used to experiencing the world from behind a lens, traveling with only your phone’s camera might seem unappealing at first. If you give it a try, however, you might find that you enjoy traveling light and free. Your family might appreciate having you with them instead of behind your camera for a change, and you’re going to love the feeling of heading out for the day without a camera bag to care for.
Image via Flickr by Tom Hilton