On the road again? Have a back up plan.

Image of a family watching their travel photos on a television screen on the wall

Don’t get caught

The other day I discovered some beautiful and unique photos from my trip to Italy on my tablet. But, before I could get them downloaded, my device prompted me to update the software. Yikes! The software update didn’t work and my tablet needed to be restored back to factory settings. Lucky for me, the guy at the Genius Bar was able to save it. I almost lost the last few pictures I took on my one and only 25th anniversary trip. I pride myself on being organized and technically savvy, but let’s face it—things get missed and stuff happens to everyone. Including me.

A good majority of people don’t have an organizational system for their digital photos. The riskiest offenders take photos using their phones without even backing up to the cloud. If your phone slips out of your hand or you click the wrong button—you lose precious memories. That’s all it takes. I recently heard a tragic story. A young couple had saved up to take their first trip to Europe. An expensive 35 mm SLR camera was purchased for all the memories they wanted to capture together. Unfortunately, the expensive camera along with all the SD cards and some belongings in a back pack got stolen right at the end of the trip on their way home while they were at the airport. Sadly, this couple didn’t know about backing up photos while on the road. All their photos were lost. Heart-breaking.

Back up when traveling
Buy a small portable inexpensive laptop you can take with you on trips for quick photo backup. Dump photos from mobile devices, tablets and digital cameras into one main Pictures folder on the computer and organize it later when you get home. I do this nightly when on the road. My recently lost tablet photos were taken on the last day of my trip just before I put the device in my backpack to get to the airport, otherwise they would have made it into my nightly photo back up process.

While traveling, if you have Internet access or Wifi, back up the best photos to the cloud too — if you can. Large file sizes, connection speed and space are an issue always but they will become absolute deterrents to backing up photos when encountering spotty internet connections while traveling. Don’t rely solely on the cloud for photo back up of mobile phone photos either, especially while traveling outside of North America. If you’re shooting 35 mm digital raw camera files you can’t rely on cloud back up at all. Get a laptop and use it for back up.

USB keys help you sleep at night
Bring at least one if not two high-quality, reliable 128 GB USB keys with you. Create an identical copy of your entire Pictures folder from your travel laptop where you’ve been dumping photos and copy it to both USB keys. Do this on a regular basis (nightly works well) but especially after special shooting events. Give one USB key to your partner or travel buddy. Now you’re covered. You won’t be sorry.

Back up best practices
In general, we recommend at least 2 or more backup’s of your original digital photo files at home.
This means:

  • Two external hard drives in addition to the original copy on your local computer
  • Some form of cloud back up

Be proactive about backing up your photos whether you’re at home or on the road. Learn more about our Disaster Protect Package , which includes a full back up strategy and minimize your risk of photo loss.