Before you hop in the car for a great summer road trip, make sure you have the right cables, chargers, and photo accessories to make your trip memorable.
Watch the video above for a complete checklist of tips!
Don’t be the person who arrives at the Yellowstone Geyser with a dead battery. Make sure your phone is 100%. Now it’s easier than ever, with multiple in-car chargers to keep everyone’s phone charged while you drive. Many models are available: this multicharger from Belkin is $35.
Motel rooms are notoriously stingy about finding places to recharge. So make sure you also buy a multi-charging cord for the room, or two if you plan on having a few phones, tablets, AirPods, and a watch as well. The multiple charger is also very useful here.
Another indispensable accessory for photography is extra power. You can buy this little one power banks for just $20 to $40, and they’ll bring you about an additional 8 hours for free. These also need to be charged, so don’t forget to charge them every night.
This is very, very important as it can be very difficult to get the right cable on public roads. You already have the simple iPhone USB-C to Lightning cable, and if you’re an Android user, you have the standard USB-C to USB-C cable. But iPhone users also need a USB-C to USB-C cable to power the Power Bank, so basically they need two cables, one to charge the bank and the other to charge the iPhone on the go to load. (If you have $70, Belkin’s Boost Charge Plus comes with the necessary cables so you don’t have to carry them around with you.)
So you’re sitting in your hotel room with hundreds or even thousands of photos you’ve taken on your phone. Lost the phone, you lost all your vacation photos, so what are you going to do? Like most people, I believe in cloud storage on the go. I use the car backup smartphone app from Smug mug (full disclosure, my sponsor) to send all my photos and videos to the cloud while I sleep, and I love that SmugMug has no storage limits. SmugMug costs just over $110 per year.
Apple, Google, and Dropbox have similar storage and automatic backup plans, but they max out at 2TB. Also beware, when Apple nags you to make room on your phone, and it will, and you delete images, it also kills them from the iCloud service. If you’re a member of Amazon’s Prime membership, you also get unlimited storage for your photos there, but no video.
You may be in a location with no cellular/Wi-Fi service and unable to use Auto Backup. Or you’re comfortable (and you should be) with a second backup tier. SanDisk makes a little mini thumbdrive/hard drive called iXpand. It connects directly to the iPhone’s Lightning port (or Android phone’s charging port) and lets you copy and move files.
I’ve been preaching the use of tripods for years because they give you sharper photos, more stable videos, and better group shots. Many people ignored me for years, but now with this little selfie stick/tripod that fits in your pocket, you have to pay attention. At $25, the Insta360 selfie stick is great for better video recording and selfies, and best of all, it extends to a 4-foot tripod. You can easily open it for time-lapse shots or use it to interview someone in a cafe.
You need a smartphone tripod adapter or cage to connect the phone to a tripod. i like the one Manfrotto clampwhich retails for just over $20 and won’t break in half like others I’ve used.
If you plan on doing great things on the open road, you might want an action camera from GoPro or 360 camera van Insta360. Don’t forget that your latest smartphone model is water resistant and you can easily dip it in the water and even swim. But if you want to surf, water ski, or anything else equally awesome, think GoPro, which has the right housing for this type of activity.
The Insta360 also has a housing and is best used for vlogging as there is a lens on both sides and you get a rather unique view of the world this way. Like when I climbed a rope to the Hollywood Sign with the camera in my hand and the software made the “invisible selfie stick” disappear.
Have fun on the open road and don’t forget to wave or honk me when we cross each other on the highway.