Lights, Camera, Take-off: Can I Bring My Camera on a Plane?

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Lights, Camera, Take-off: Can I Bring My Camera on a Plane?Welcome, fellow shutterbugs and wanderers. If you’ve ever asked the question, “Can I bring my camera on a plane?”, you’re not alone. In this day and age of travel restrictions and security measures, it’s essential to know the dos and don’ts before you head to the airport with your precious cargo.


  • The TSA permits cameras on planes but may require additional screening.
  • It’s recommended to check with your airline regarding their policies.
  • Approximately 47% of travelers bring a camera on their flights.
  • Packing your camera correctly can help avoid damage and loss.
  • Always consider travel insurance for high-end gear.

Also check out: Airplane passenger rights

Unpacking the Rules: Cameras and Air Travel

According to a survey by TripAdvisor, nearly half of us (47% to be exact) never leave the ground without our cameras. Now, if you fall into that group, it’s vital to know what the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has to say about this. Lisa Farbstein, a TSA spokesperson, clarifies, “Cameras are allowed in carry-on bags and checked bags, but it’s always a good idea to check with your airline before traveling.”

Carry-On or Check-In: Where Does Your Camera Belong?

While cameras are allowed on planes, the next question that springs to mind is whether to carry it on with you or check it in. Here’s a tip from Kevin Erickson, an experienced travel journalist and photographer: when it comes to valuable and fragile equipment like cameras, a carry-on is the safest bet. This way, you can ensure its safety, and it’s always within your reach for those impromptu photo-ops.

You should also read: Can you bring umbrellas on a plane?

Packing Your Camera: A Pro’s Secret Tips

Packing your camera properly is a non-negotiable step in your travel prep. Using a hard-shell camera case designed for air travel can be a wise investment. This will protect your gear from any in-flight jostling and potential overhead bin tussles. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to label your gear with your contact information, just in case.

Travel Insurance: An Essential Safety Net

If your camera equipment carries a hefty price tag, consider getting travel insurance. This can cover loss, damage, and even theft, giving you peace of mind as you traverse the globe.

Photography Etiquette on Planes

As a rule of thumb, while it’s tempting to take shots of your traveling experience on the plane, it’s a good idea to ask for permission first. The crew and fellow passengers might not appreciate being part of your candid travelogue. Moreover, different airlines have different policies about taking photos or videos onboard. So, it’s always a good idea to check beforehand.

Keeping Your Camera Safe Through SecurityKeeping Your Camera Safe Through Security

Even if you are allowed to bring your camera on a plane, it’s important to remember that it may be subject to additional screening. This is generally a straightforward process, but there are steps you can take to make it go more smoothly: Pack your camera and its accessories neatly and logically. This makes it easier for TSA officers to inspect your items without having to dig around too much. Consider removing your camera from its bag and placing it in a separate bin. This can help your bag pass through the screening equipment more easily. Follow the instructions of the TSA officers. They are there to ensure everyone’s safety, and cooperating with them will help you get through security more quickly.

Traveling Internationally With Your Camera

When you’re planning to take your camera on international adventures, there are a few extra considerations. Some countries have specific rules and regulations about bringing professional camera equipment, or even certain types of film, into the country. Always do your research before you travel to avoid any unexpected surprises.


Can I bring my camera battery on a plane?

Yes, camera batteries are permitted, but they should be carried in your hand luggage to prevent damage.

What about tripods or selfie sticks?

Most airlines allow tripods or selfie sticks in your checked luggage, but it’s best to check with your specific airline.

Should I pack my camera lenses separately?

While not necessary, packing lenses separately in padded containers can provide added protection.

Is there a limit to how many cameras I can bring on a plane?

While there’s no specified limit, excessive amounts could raise security concerns, so it’s best to carry a reasonable number.

Can I bring film for my camera on a plane?

Yes, you can, but inform the TSA officer as films may need to be checked manually to avoid X-ray machine damage.

What if my camera gets damaged during screening?

TSA is not responsible for damage caused to packed items during the screening process. If you suspect your item was damaged during security screening, you will need to submit a claim with your airline.

Can I carry camera film in my carry-on?

Yes, you can carry film in your carry-on bag. However, it’s recommended that you carry it separately from your bag during the screening process because the X-ray machine used to screen carry-on bags may damage certain types of film.

What can I do if my camera is lost or stolen during travel?

First, notify the airline and the local law enforcement authorities. If you have travel insurance, report the loss to them as well, and keep any paperwork or documentation related to the loss.

Are there any restrictions on drone cameras on planes?

Yes, airlines generally have restrictions for traveling with drones due to safety concerns. Most require them to be stored in carry-on bags, and there might be restrictions on the types and capacities of batteries you can bring.

Can I bring my digital camera charger on the plane?

Yes, you can bring your digital camera charger on the plane. It’s recommended to keep it in your carry-on, so you have access to it throughout your journey.

Do different airlines have different rules for cameras?

While the TSA provides guidelines, individual airlines may have their own specific rules. It’s always best to check directly with the airline before packing your camera gear.

Can I bring a camera bag as a personal item?

Most airlines do allow a camera bag as a personal item, as long as it fits under the seat in front of you. However, this can vary depending on the airline, so it’s a good idea to check their specific guidelines.


While the question, “Can I bring my camera on a plane?” has a simple answer, the reality of traveling with camera gear requires a bit more thought. However, armed with this information, you’re now ready to capture your next adventure!

You should also check out: Can you bring a GPS on a plane?


  1. TripAdvisor Camera Travel Survey
  2. TSA:  
  3. Traveller’s Guide 
  5. How to Pack Cameras for Air Travel  
  6. TSA Claim Management Branch

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