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06-03-2019, 06:54 AM   #1
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Relocating advice needed


Due to unfortunate circumstances it is more than likely I must leave the US soon for a year or two as I wait for my status to be processed.

As this move is expected to be temporary yet relatively long(1 year+) Iím having trouble deciding what to do with my photography gear. As someone who had a pretty severe case of GAS (in rehab) I have accumulated quite a few lenses (mostly old, cheap K mount stuff), weird cameras, and other bits and bobs (quite a bit of film too). While most are cheap theyíre definitely quite heavy and bulky. In addition, I had also purchased a 50L dry cabinet which is another large item to move. I intend to take my most commonly used lenses/cameras with me back home (Taiwan) but I would like some advice on what to do with the rest.

From what I have researched, the options I have is shipping things back(probably by sea) or renting a storage. Does anyone have experience in one or the other? Iím worried about cost/possible damage for shipping, and security for self-storage (Iíd rather my stuff not end up getting auctioned on tv, haha). Also a little worried since I wonít be around in person should an issue arise. Iím expecting to return to NYC so if anyone knows good storage locations Iím listening.

While I probably donít have as much film as other regular analog users I definitely have a lot. I worry about storage condition if leaving it here, yet I think most ways to travel with them involves x-ray and Iíd rather if theyíre not exposed to that. Thinking about mailing them back in a package but not sure if those goes thru x-ray.

As much as Iíd really want the dry cabinet in the tropical weather of Taiwan I think itís a bit too difficult to bring it over(and potentially back?), but Iím open to suggestions.

Another question would be the part of bringing my camera gear during the flight. As much as Iíd like to stuff everything in just my carry-on I probably have too much. Is checked luggage safe, and is it necessary to buy one of those hard cases? (I usually wrap fragile items in my clothing but Iíve not travelled much with photography gear)

Thank you for reading and any advice is appreciated!

Last edited by Fobbo; 06-03-2019 at 07:01 AM.
06-03-2019, 07:28 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fobbo Quote
. . . While I probably don’t have as much film as other regular analog users I definitely have a lot. I worry about storage condition if leaving it here, yet I think most ways to travel with them involves x-ray and I’d rather if they’re not exposed to that. Thinking about mailing them back in a package but not sure if those goes thru x-ray.. . .

Thank you for reading and any advice is appreciated!
you may want to review this information:

Film | Transportation Security Administration

Tips Bringing film through airport security and the effects X-rays have on film | The Darkroom

9 Tips for Traveling through TSA Security with a Camera – Improve Photography

I would also contact TSA and confirm you can ask for a hand check of your film

get to the check point as early as possible

and this thread:

experiences traveling on airlines with cameras - Page 3 -


QuoteOriginally posted by Fobbo Quote
. . . Also a little worried since I won’t be around in person should an issue arise. I’m expecting to return to NYC so if anyone knows good storage locations I’m listening.. . .
if you have someone local you trust, consider consulting an attorney and arrange a power of attorney ( general or limited ) and put that person on the rental agreement for the storage unit


I would avoid checked luggage for my cameras and lenses if at all possible

Last edited by aslyfox; 06-03-2019 at 08:08 AM.
06-03-2019, 07:51 AM - 1 Like   #3

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Good luck with your move and hopeful return.

Carrying the film with you will likely subject it to less x-ray scanning than mailing it.

As far as putting stuff into storage, do you have anyone local you can depend on in case of problems? Ask them to put the storage account in their name in case of any billing or other issues that have to be handled locally. When I paid for storage I had to visit the office in person whenever my credit card number changed, but that was a long time ago and maybe everything can be done online today.

Checked luggage is definitely more risky than carry-on. Roughly the same level of risk as shipping it: rough handling, get lost, or get stolen. IMO airlines do a worse job reimbursing you for lost luggage than do FedEx or UPS. Consider one of these approaches:
1) Take the most valuable or fragile stuff as carry on, then put cheaper lenses in checked luggage.
2) If there's too much for carry on, send it all via FedEx, UPS, or whatever other shipper is best for Taiwan. Pay for insurance.
06-04-2019, 06:28 AM   #4
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How To: Flying With Film - Film AdvanceFilm Advance

A little dated, but relevant.

Pack the gear and ship it. Too much can go wrong while you are out of country. Alternative is to find a trustee to keep the gear safe.

06-05-2019, 08:56 AM   #5
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When I moved to Denver from Hawai'i, I packed 60 or so lenses myself. They survived. All of our household stuff was packed in a truck, repacked in a shipping container, barged to Honolulu, on a ship to California, shipped by rail to Denver, then trucked to our house, about five weeks in transit. I just used a lot of common packing and shipping stuff. We had a lot of stuff to bring on the plane so I only had a camera and superzoom in carryon.
06-07-2019, 09:42 PM   #6
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The best solution is someone you trust holding onto it, preferably someone who knows a thing or two about camera gear. It'll not only be a nightmare to ship, but it'll be just as nightmareish to ship back. Also consider that post/freight in your home country will be nowhere near as reliable or safe as when you initially shipped.

Good luck friend, hopefully everything sorts out soon!

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