Guide to backing-up your pictures

Travel On The Dollar
January 22, 2013  •  2 min(s) read

With all the social websites out there, everyone wants to share and save their travel memories – especially save. There are cameras of all sorts – point-n-shoot, DSLR and smartphone cameras – and everyone carry at least one of them. Taking photos is a great way to remember your travel moments for life and share them with friends.

If you lose that camera, smartphone or a memory card, then you could lose the photos forever. Even if you back them up to your hard drive or laptop, they may fail too. So here are some ways you can backup all vacation photos for safe keeping:

The base rule is to back-up everything in two places.

Apart from external hard drives and flash drives, there are lot many websites these days, offering free space to store your files. By having multiple backups, you are ensuring your memories will never get lost. So let’s look at all the options we have:


LaptopIf you find yourself carrying a laptop every time your travel, then copying the pictures over is the easiest way to back them up. While on the move, you will take a lot of pictures, so make sure to copy them from your camera to your laptop as soon as you get back to your hostel/hotel. The process only takes a few minutes and in case your camera is lost or stolen, you will still have the pictures from the last day.

But that involves carrying a laptop and most travelers prefer to pack light and leave those expensive electronics at home. In that case, another option is to save them on multiple memory cards while on the go.

Memory Cards

memory cardsThe memory cards keep getting faster, larger (in bytes) and cheaper these days. Deal sites like or list deals on memory cards often, so sign-up for their everyday deals and purchase high memory capacity cards. Having a large memory card ensures the extra space you will need to keep clicking the pictures and storing them on the card itself.

If you have multiple memory cards, then cycle them daily. This way if you lose a memory card or your camera you won’t lose a weeks worth of photos.

During the transfer of pictures from camera to laptop or external hard drives, many cameras offer an option to “keep photos” or “delete photos” from the camera, you should always keep them. This acts as a secondary backup system, where your laptop being the first. This will fill up the memory card, but it’s a good strategy to bring multiple and large capacity memory cards with you on vacation. They are cheap these days for a lot of storage and if you use a DSLR, then they can easily fill up, so 32GB or 64GB capacity are your best bet.

External Hard-drives or Flash drives

WD PassportExternal hard-drives are a great option to backup the pictures, and there are cheaper options out there. But cheap hard drives crash and have short life spans. A 500 GB is more than enough for all of your photos and videos on vacation, especially if you take a lot of HD videos.

Some of them are pocket-sized (like Western Digital Passports) and yet carry a good amount of space, and can carry them on your travels. But if you don’t carry a laptop then transferring pictures may not be possible. In that case, you can use the memory cards as first backup option, as mentioned above, and copy the pictures over when you’re home.

Flash drives are small, easy-to-carry and can be used as external hard-drives as well. But the same constraint apply if you’re not carrying a laptop, where you’ll be unable to transfer pictures over to the flash drives. SanDisk and variety of other companies offer flash drives up to 128GB.

With a lot of internet cafes everywhere, you can backup the pictures over to your external hard-drive or flash drive if you don’t have a laptop.

Online backup

online backupHard-drives, flash drives and other means of personal backup systems can always crash, so the best way to ensure you don’t lose those memories is to back up online. With a variety of websites like DropBox, Mozy, Skydrive, Google Drive, Box etc. offering free spaces online, those are the best backup spaces.

Although almost all of them have limited storage options for free, you can purchase extra space for as little as $5 a month. Of course there is a work around so you don’t have to spend that travel money in buying extra space. You can create multiple sequential accounts with usernames like JohnDoe1, JohnDoe2, JohnDoe3, etc to guarantee a massive online storage. Or just invite friends, and when they sign-up for an account, you get more free storage.

If you use your smartphones for pictures, then all of these websites have apps for smartphones, which allow you to upload directly from the apps. Just use your hotel wi-fi at the end of each day to backup the pictures on the websites.

Send your feedback and suggestions in comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

Travel On The Dollar