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The Importance of Backing Up Your Travel Photos

Travel photography is all about capturing special moments that we experience while on an outdoor adventure. It’s also a way to document the many beautiful and incredible destinations that we visit while travelling abroad or paying a visit to a stunning escape in our own country. 

The photos you take should always serve as reminders of your experiences. However, you should regularly take a moment to check whether your photos are safe and backed up. It’s easy to assure yourself that you’ve got digital copies on your phone or computer, and you may be the most careful person in the world. But accidents can still happen in the blink of an eye and nothing can adequately replace the moments you’ve created and captured on camera. 

Why you should back up your travel photos

If your most special and meaningful photos were lost, moved or deleted by mistake, or if your computer was suddenly flooded with malware and you lost all access to your files, it’s fair to say you would be devastated. That’s why creating numerous photo backups is vital. 

Many of us have been affected by the loss of our important files in one way or another. We’ve all accidentally deleted something we were not meant to; our computers have crashed unexpectedly, and we’ve lost all progress we’ve made on projects, and several have had homes flooded or suffered damage which leaves family belongings in ruins. The point we’re making is that not all of the instances of photo loss are down to human error. While it’s easier to take extra care when storing or uploading photos, sometimes mechanical failures, theft or damage are unavoidable. 

However, by backing up your photos in smart and simple ways, you can protect all of those photographs you cherish the most. That way, if something goes wrong for any reason, you can feel a little more at peace knowing that your photos are backed up, safe and not compromised in any way. The best part is that it’s so easy to back up your photos now. 

How can you back up your photos?

The vast majority of photos these days are taken on smartphones or some form of digital camera. Consequently, the first images you save of your photos will be on a portable device’s internal storage like your computer or phone’s hard drive. 

Again, without sounding like a broken record, if these devices were lost or damaged to the point where the data was unsalvageable, then all those photos will become relics of the past. While storing them on a digital device that you use regularly is good, it’s wise to consider storing them in additional locations. Below are some suggestions, separated by category of storage.

Physical storage

External Drives

USB flash drives are simple portable storage solutions, given that they can be easily stored away until needed. They’re also highly transportable, cost-effective and lightweight. You can get USB drives with large amounts of storage space, but it’s important to remember that large amounts of high-resolution photographs can quickly eat up storage space. 

Alternatively, Solid State Drives (SSDs) and Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) are more stable and can accommodate significantly more storage, but tend to cost more on average. These are also connectable via USB. 

SD Cards

SD cards can also act as excellent photo backup options. It’s quite common to find SD cards with hundreds of GB of storage space, which you can insert directly into your camera. Many computers have ports that hold SD cards, so transferring photos is straightforward. If you’ve got multiple cameras with several SD cards, this can be a convenient storage and backup method. 

Even some smartphones have built-in micro-SD card storage ports, so saving photos directly from your camera roll can instantly be stored here and not clog up your internal hard drive space. However, you’ll likely need an adapter of sorts to transfer files from micro or nano-SD cards to a computer.

Cloud storage

Backing up photos and files to the cloud is becoming increasingly common. In many ways, the cloud can be the most practical and efficient way to store your photos, much of which is free of charge. No separate transferring of files between disk drives and SD cards. All of that is done automatically, with your photos accessible whenever you want. Some of the most widely-used cloud photo storage solutions are below:

iCloud Photos

Apple has a broad iCloud storage system which works seamlessly across iPhones and Macs. You can access this storage via your native Photos app on a Mac, or, if using a PC, via icloud.com or the Windows iCloud Desktop app. 

iCloud is built into every Apple device, with 5GB of free storage available to every user. You can upgrade to iCloud+ with three tiers of storage plans, 50GB, 200GB and 2TB, with numerous other benefits tied into each. 

Google Photos

Available on iOS and Android devices, Google Photos allows you to back up your photos to your Google Account, which is synced across your Google Drive. 

Featuring automatic backups and syncing across devices that use your Google Account, this solution works a treat. You get 15GB of storage for free, but you can upgrade to Google One which offers plans of 100GB, 200GB or even 2TB worth of storage for affordable monthly fees.

Dropbox

Dropbox is a universal online photo storage and backup solution that works across iOS, Android, Windows and Mac, and even some cameras themselves. Often, your phone photos can be automatically backed up to Dropbox, and also when you connect SD cards or cameras to your computer. 

Dropbox has plenty of flexibility for individuals, households and businesses. Dropbox Basic includes 2GB of storage for one user across a maximum of three devices. There is also Dropbox Plus (for one user) and Dropbox Family (for up to six users), both of which offer 2TB of storage space. Dropbox Professional provides 3TB, which comes with 180-day account recovery insurance. 

Other cloud storage solutions include Adobe Creative Cloud, Flickr, Microsoft OneDrive, iDrive, Amazon Photos and many more. 

Printing

While everyone today predominantly uses digital technology, the idea of printing might seem somewhat behind the times. However, some photos are worth printing. Printed and framed photographs make excellent gifts and features of the home. There is something very special about digitizing the photos that mean the most and hanging them up. Furthermore, every printed photo can be considered a backup of the digital copy. 

Digitization

Conversely, you can digitize timeless physical photos via a scanner, most of which preserve their resolution and quality. This avoids any light glare and reflections from taking a photo of the physical image with your phone. Many household printers come with built-in digitization and scanning features now. You can then store these digital copies any way you wish. 

You can see from this guide that there is no right or wrong way to back up your digital travel photos. However, to make sure you’re covering all bases, it might be prudent to consider storing and backing up your photos in two or three different locations. For example, have cherished photo collections stored on your computer, in a chosen cloud location and on a separate hard drive. That way, you’ll know for sure that they’re accessible anytime you need them and you won’t have to worry about losing them should something happen. 


You can create so many wonderful printed pictures of scenic sunsets, beautiful beaches, misty hilltops and all other kinds of superlatives while you document your travels. Don’t let them lose their significance and luster by improperly backing them up. 

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