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Backup your photos while traveling

I was sitting on my computer with my hard drive attached in our apartment in Melbourne. I completely forgot about the hard drive when I lifted my laptop. What happened then passed like a slow motion movie in front of my eyes. I saw my hard drive falling on the ground.

I prayed that everything is going to be fine but it was broken. My laptop didn’t recognize the hard drive anymore. And I only had my Sydney photos on this hard drive, not on my computer, not somewhere else. Two weeks of Sydney photos completely lost.

Technology is not for eternity. Even though you don’t let your hard drive fall on the floor, it might be that that something fails at some point. And this is mostly the moment in which you don’t have a copy of your data. And the first moment to think of another backup plan.

After my experience in Melbourne, I have been backing up my photos and all important documents very carefully. And I recommend you to do the same. Because for me photos are memories and I do not want to lose them again. I bet many of you feel the same.

That is why today I want to share some tips with you on how you should back up your photos while traveling:

Save then at least in two different places

Don’t trust in just one device. One device can fail. That two or even three devices/backup services fail at the same time is almost impossible. I don’t store photos directly on my laptop as it gets very slow with the number of photos I have. That is why I personally use a hard drive and upload my photos to a cloud service:

1. External Hard Drive

My hard drive of choice is the Transcend 2 TB Hard Drive. It has enough space and it’s drop tested, which means it doesn’t break immediately when it’s falling down a couple of centimeters.

After my old one broke after a minimal distance of drop, I am very satisfied with this one. The same hard drive is also available with 2 TB storage in case you need more storage.

2. Backup Plan with Backblaze

I also invested in a backup plan. All the data on my computer and my hard drives is automatically synchronized with a cloud service. I don’t have to do anything. It synchronizes my files when my laptop is connected with wifi. My backup plan of choice is Backblaze.



They offer a personal backup plan for 5 USD per month or 50 USD per year. The plan includes unlimited space. You can access your data on your laptop or even on your mobile device. You can restore different versions from up to 30 days.

When you lose your data, you can restore and download the files as a zip file or let them send you an usb flash (99 USD) or a hard drive (189 USD) with all your data. And you know what? If you send the drive back within 30 days, they even refund you the money.

If you’re not sure, use the 15-day free trial to get familiar with the service and decide after, whether you want to pay the monthly fee or not.

3. Alternatives

An alternative to Backblaze is Sync.com. Here, you get 5 GB of storage for free. You can synchronize your data as well or just upload it in your account on their website.

I use Sync just for my photos and upload important ones directly there, so I do not exceed the 5 GB for now. Because as soon as you hit the 5 GB limit, the cost is higher than Backblaze. It costs 8 USD per month for a 2 TB storage.

Again, you can access it from your computer and mobile.



Some people use Dropbox or Google Photos. I use Dropbox with files, I need to access from different places and have to share with co-workers or clients. But I personally, do not save my photos there as the photos would also be in a folder on my laptop and would decrease the storage and slows it down.

Further Reading: Three Dropbox Competitors for Secure Storage by Cloudwards

I tried out Google Photos and it’s really fast to upload but you have to upload everything manually and in the end, it decreases some space on your Google account. Which means less space on your mail account, Google Drive etc. You can also upload your photos in a smaller quality there, so it doesn’t take up much space but I want my photos to be in the quality they are, so for me, it doesn’t make any sense.

It’s all up to your expectations and the importance of your data at the end of the day.

So: how do I backup my photos while traveling?

As you could read beforehand, I use the following system:

I save all my edited photos on my hard drive and let the files be synchronized with Backblaze after. The photos that are the most important to me, are additionally uploaded to sync.com.

Thus, I have regular photos and all my files in two places and important photos even in three places.

I really recommend you to not only use two hard drives but a cloud service. You are traveling and could lose both hard drives at once if someone steals your bag for example.

Now please tell me, how do you backup your photos while traveling?

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Backup your photos while traveling

Read next:How to improve your travel photography

4 thoughts on “Backup your photos while traveling

    1. Stef Post author

      I never really thought about it either until I lost two weeks of photos. That is when I got a hard drive which doesn’t die after a low drop.

  1. Tobias

    Usually you only think about backup once it’s too late. If it is less data and not terabytes, then a SD card serves the purpose, esp. on shorter trips when it is only the photos you backup. Eats nearly no space at all and can easily be hidden anywhere (or carry with you), esp. if you don’t have a locker.

    1. Stef Post author

      Yes, I never really thought about backing up my photos before it happened to me. That’s true, a SD card should be enough during short trips. Nonetheless, I would go for a hard drive for long-term travels.

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