Packing Light for Travel Photography

Packing light for your photography trip will make your journey much more fun and flexible.


  • You can buy many of your needs in-country, but it's always nice to have your personal brands to make you feel comfortable.
  • Buy razors, shampoo, repellant, soap, deodorant, and toothpaste after you arrive. What you don't use you can give away.
  • A 20-lb. bag is just about perfect for travel. You can take it anywhere, and it makes every aspect of travel easier.
  • Buy a smaller bag than what you think you need. We tend to fill up whatever size we have.
  • Put smaller items (medicine, underwear, etc.) inside other things, such as shoes.
  • I often strip out the unnecessary foam and accessories in my camera bag and use my clothes as padding.
  • There are lots of beautiful weavings and handcrafted items to buy in Guatemala so leave room in your bag.
  • You can wear some of the clothing you buy.
  • When packing your bag, lay everything out on the floor and think about what you can live without. You will be surprised.
  • Bring clothes that are comfortable but nice enough for casual dinner.
  • If you buy items in-country you want to bring home, it's easy to buy a great bag in Guatemala just before you return home!

What to Pack for Guatemala

  • Sunscreen, if you have a special brand. (You can buy it there, too.)
  • Bring your mosquito repellent (just in case).
  • Your medicine and vitamins.
  • If you run out of anything—razors (one at a time), shampoo, conditioner, mosquito repellent (rarely needed), sunscreen, cold medicine, batteries—you can buy there. Prices are lower and you can buy small quantities.
  • Light clothing for 80F weather by day and 60F at night. (March and April are dry months.)
  • Long-sleeved shirts to keep off evening bugs and to protect from sunburn.
  • Light sweater for the evening.
  • Comfortable walking sandals or shoes. (Try to avoid bright white tennis shoes.)
  • Earplugs and eye mask for sleeping. There may be some loud celebrations!
  • Leave fancy jewelry at home. Wear your wedding ring but leave the engagement ring at home.

Camera Equipment

If you shoot with a variety of photography lenses, bring them if you are comfortable carrying them. You may also choose to photograph the entire trip on your iPhone. Storage for photos is essential. Once you register, we'll send you information about memory cards and more. 

We encourage the use of a light laptop to download images. The best way to share photos is on a computer rather than a phone or camera.

What I Take

I travel with an EOS Canon DSLR. My lens is usually a Canon 17-35 and a 50 mm. I also carry an iPhone. I might be adding a new small camera to my gear soon. I have a 70-200 L Canon lens, but it'll stay home because it's big and I don't want to carry it. I also bring an Apple laptop, a mic for recording sound, and a light tripod. Bring what you can pack and feel comfortable carrying. Some hotels will have a security lock up, but in smaller villages they may not.

Clothing for Guatemala

I take one pair of shorts, a bathing suit, several thin long-sleeved tops (I burn easily), two pairs of pants (one for getting dirty and one for dinner). I can wash and dry them in the sink in one day. I take probiotics tablets and my normal vitamins, but I put them all in the same container for convenience. I take little bottles of shampoo and conditioner because I have a special hard-to-find one. I bring zinc oxide for sun screen. (I'm going to check in November to see if it is easily available at pharmacies in-country.)