Is A Camera Bag Considered A Carry-on? – 2023 Guide

In this post we’ll get to know if a camera bag is considered as a carry-on along with the tips you need for flying safely with your camera bag.

Specifically, we’ll talk about the following things:

Also, if you’re interested in a nice mirrorless camera bag for travelling, check out our complete guide for the best mirrorless camera bag for travel.

Travelling can be tricky especially if you are traveling by air, this is because the airlines keep changing their rules regarding the carry-ons. We understand that air security is important but it also makes things difficult for the travelers. So, if you’re planning to fly with a camera, things will get even more messed up for you.

When you’re a professional photographer, flying with a camera can be a mixed experience. Given the freaking stories about lost or damaged luggage, keeping your camera bag in the luggage is a terrible idea. Also, no one would want to see their precious camera equipment kept under a plane.

Is a camera bag counted in carry-ons?

img source:

Most of the airlines allow a carry-on or hand luggage that can easily fit into the overhead bin of the plane, along with a personal item such as a small backpack or purse. So, yes a camera bag is considered as a carry-on but you’ll have to consider some factors so that you understand the restrictions imposed by the airlines.

Whether a camera bag is considered as a carry-on or not, depends on the guidelines issued by the airlines you’re flying. As long as the bag meets the weight and size restrictions of the airlines you’re going to travel, there is no issue. If your camera bag is too large for a carry-on or a personal item, you’ll have to keep it in the luggage. The standard and the most common luggage size is 22’’ X 14’’ X 9’’ and it can fit easily into the overhead bin.

If you have a compact camera bag, you can stuff into the bag you’re carrying as hand luggage. The best idea is to have a compact camera bag that you could take along on the go. You can also decrease the number of personal items or hand luggage so that you can keep your precious camera bag along with you on the go.

How to fly safe with a camera bag?

img source:

All airlines allow you to have limited luggage as carry-on and you must learn how to manage your stuff properly. To make sure you have a good experience flying with your camera bag, we have jotted down some easy to follow tips which are as follows:

  • Pack your camera bag tight
    When you pack your mirrorless or DSLR camera, make sure that everything is packed tightly. Obviously you won’t want your lens or camera bouncing in the bag and thumping into each other freely. This is the reason we recommend our readers to go for padded camera bags that are equipped with separate pockets or compartments for various photography equipment.
    Most of the high quality camera bags for travel are equipped with different portions for camera body, flash units, lenses, and other gear. A good tip is to keep the camera in its original box and then put it into the camera bag. This will make sure that your camera is safe and sound and is tightly packed.
  • Watch out for the poachers
    Taking an expensive camera in its original box at an airport can be risky and it can invite the poachers out there. This is where the best camera bags for travel come in as the can hide your camera’s packaging and keep the pick pockets from reaching it. The trick is to go plain so that no thieves are alerted if you’re carrying an expensive camera with you.
  • Keep it all together
    To avoid any hassle, keep all of the photography gear in one place so that you don’t miss out on anything. Also, if TSA may want to scan your camera separately they’ll take out the stuff and inspect it thoroughly. So it’s better to keep all the things in one place so that nothing is left behind. The TSA regulations can change anytime too so it is imperative that you visit the website and go through the latest rules and regulations regarding the issue.
  • Always take off the lens
    One mistake that most of the travelers do is that they forget to take off the interchangeable lens before keeping the camera in the bag. The lens can get damaged if they are attached to the camera because of the positioning. If the camera bag gets hit it could damage the delicate threads that are necessary for connecting the lens and camera properly. So, it is necessary that you take out the lens and pack them separately, preferably in a different padded compartment to avoid damage.
  • Choose a compact camera bag
    When it comes to camera bags for travel, the smaller is the better. A compact carry bag is always good to go as it will be easy to carry and won’t create hassle for you. If the size of the camera bag is too large or it’s too heavy, you’ll have to pay extra fees for the additional weight.
  • Preserve the batteris
    Don’t carry loose batteries together because it can be dangerous. If you have put loose batteries in one compartment and the terminals come in contact with each other, a short circuit can occur that can lead to fire. You must take out the battery and store it safely and separately for later use.
  • Keep extras
    Keep some extra gear with you such as battery and lens so that you don’t have to worry about if some part gets damaged while you’re traveling. Also, sometimes the security personnel may ask you to turn on the camera for security purposes during screening so it is good to keep extras with you. Also, don’t worry as the x-ray process won’t cause damage to the memory card and won’t erase any stored data either.
  • Switch it off
    Always remember to switch off your DSLR or mirrorless camera’s power before you start flying, and the same goes for any electronic device. If you think that the power switch will get accidentally pressed, make sure you cover it properly using a duct tape for strength.

What are some important travel camera accessories?

img source:

Travel photography is fun and if you have the required accessories along with you on the go, then the task gets easier. While these accessories are not necessary for photography, but having them will save you much time and effort. So following are some essentials that you should keep in your camera bag while travelling:

  • Portable hard drives
    Travelling with portable hard drives is always recommended so that you don’t have a shortage of memory while you click your favorite shots. You can go for 1 or 2 TB SSD so that you can store plenty of images and videos that you shoot. Once you get back home, you can transfer the data to your PC or laptop.
  • Camera clip
    A camera clip allows you to attach the camera on your belt or on the straps of your backpack so that you can access it easily. While you’re walking and hiking, you must have quick access to your camera because obviously you won’t miss on any chance to capture the candid images.
  • Camera lens filter
    Camera lens filters allows you to achieve various beautiful photography effects that the software can’t. These lens filters are designed to reduce reflections and glare that are caused on glass or water. They also help in cutting down the light going to the camera to different degrees.
  • LED video light
    An LED video light is very small but it’s powerful and it helps in shooting videos at night. If you’re on a mission to capture some terrific images at a haunted place, this accessory will help you a lot. The LED video light takes up no space in a camera bag and it can be charged easily using a USB cable.
  • Spare batteries
    There is nothing more annoying than the batteries running out while you’re about to shoot your favorite moments. We recommend packing 2 to 3 extra batteries so that there’s no tension of batteries running out while you’re travelling.
  • Camera rain cover
    Do you love shooting during rainfall? Why wouldn’t you, photos under rainfall are absolutely beautiful! However, you’ll need a camera rain cover with a decent weather sealing so that there is no damage to the camera under the waterfall.


A camera bag is considered a carry-on but it is always a good idea to go through the rules and regulations formulated by TSA and the airlines you’re going to fly with. To be on the safe side, always take a small camera bag so that it’s not considered as an extra piece of carry-on luggage. There are lots of beautiful and small camera bags for travel available on the market which can help you travel safely with your camera. Hope you have a safe and successful trip with your camera!