Your production gear is your bread and butter so taking good care of it when you’re travelling is a must!

Whether it’s an out of town shoot or out of the country gig, your production equipment has to remain safe during the travel as much as possible.

But travelling has its unique challenges. And with your precious gear in tow, it can get tricky. If you’ve been wondering what are the best practices when it comes to travelling with gear, we’ve curated 4 important tips you can keep in mind. Follow these to make sure everything runs smoothly next time you travel with your gear.

01. Pack Only What You Need

It’s easy to overpack and to bring all the “what if” items, (what if I need this or that?) But you want to avoid this mentality and instead be objective. As a filmmaker, you might be programmed to be overprepared, so you end up overpacking. But doing so means adding up on luggage expenses or just having an overly sore back once you’re done. The key is to bring only the gear you know you will use.

If you’re shooting in a city, chances are if you forgot something, you can always find a place to rent one out. Unless you are going to be shooting in the middle of nowhere, bringing extra or unnecessary gear will only burden you.

02. Opt To Use Carry-On Cases

Make sure your most precious items are brought as a carry-on instead of dumped inside the plane’s cargo hold. A plane’s cargo isn’t always handled with care and it’ll be heartbreaking to find out your equipment got broken before you could use it.

Invest in Pelican cases that are small enough to bring inside a plane as a carry-on. Also make sure to check the size requirements for carry-ons for the plane you’ll be flying in, as the requirements change depending on the airline.

03. Always Obtain or Inquire About Customs Clearance

If you have to bring gear to an overseas shoot, make sure you’re pre-cleared by customs so your items won’t be held once you come back. The customs requirements are different for each country so make sure to check. For example, if you travel overseas and you’re returning to the United States, customs may want proof your camera was first bought in the United States. If it was purchased overseas, you will need to pay taxes upon entry.

If customs ask for the proof of purchase and you don’t have it, your gear might be held up or not allowed into the country right away. Again, the requirements will be different for each country you are travelling to and the items you are travelling with. It’s always a good idea to research or inquire ahead of time so you know what documents to bring.

04. Don’t Forget Insurance

No matter how careful you are, there’s a big possibility your gear will be damaged while you’re on the road or travelling. There are countless scenarios that can happen when you shoot on location or in transit. From the airport alone, multiple people will be handling your items and they won’t know whether they have to be delicate or not. So, your best bet is to have insurance ready. Make sure you double-check the details of your policy prior to leaving and figure out what it covers.

Also, make sure all of your equipment is sufficiently insured. There are some instances where circumstances might not be covered by the policy so be clear on that ahead of time.

Travelling with your video production equipment can become a major headache if you’re not careful. It’s worth looking into renting local gear instead of travelling with all of your stuff just to prevent any extra expense. But if you badly need to use your own gear, then keep these tips in mind and they should help you out.