The Travel Checklist

So you plan on taking a little trip, do you?

Good! You should. You deserve it. You work too hard and you’re not appreciated the way you should be. They want to give you two weeks? Take five. Get out, see the world. That’s what you need to do. Pack a toothbrush, a change of underwear and your camera. That’s about all you’ll need. That’s about all I take for a five week spell on the road. Just ask Megan.

“Ah, but what’s the point of the camera?” you ask. “I’m just going to wind up taking lousy tourist shots like everyone else. I never know what to shoot when I go on vacation.”

That can be a problem, sure, and it’s one we’ve all faced at one point or another. Sometimes it can be tough to know what to shoot, when to shoot and how to shoot it, even when we’ve done this a time or two. So let’s look at this pragmatically, step by step. Print off my handy-dandy checklist, stuff it in your pack and never again lack for prompting on what to shoot on the road. I carry a version of this sucker into every new destination and it helps me get the most of out each and every adventure.

Have a look at your list when your adventure is all over and done with. If you can tick off at least five shots from every category I promise you you’ll be heading home with a nicely representative portfolio of images from your travels. If not, you can try again.

Category 1: The Urbanity of it All

– The Classic Cityscape

– The High Vantage Advantage

– The Sundowner Alexa

– The Early Riser Catches the Worm

– The Devil’s in the Details

– The Long Exposure

– The Architectural Flair

– The New Monument Movement

– The Classic Monument Redux

– The Back Alley Bonanza

– The Reflections are Among Us

– The Museum Masterpiece

– The Rainy Day Parade

– The Street Life Made Easy


Category 2: The Things that Move us

– The Panning Predicament

– The Underground Subway

– The Electric Boogaloo

– The Scooter Shooter

– The Big Bus

– The Bridge to Somewhere

– The Human-powered Transport System

– The Tuk-Tuk Tickler

– The Tri-Shaw Show

Category 3: The Natural World

– The Rocky Mountain Way

– The Babbling Brook

– The Sea Breeze

– The Spring Showers

– The Parks and Gardens

– The Decay of it All

– The Bold Landscape

– The Green Acres

– The Farm Life

– The Creepy Crawlers


Category 4: The Culture that Binds Us

– The Mighty Temple

– The Traditional Music

– The Music that Moves Us

– The Thrill of Sport

– The Night Life

– The Dance

– The Protestor’s Agenda

– The Wedded Bliss

– The Cocktail Experience

– The Light is Right at Night

– A Festival Evening


Category 5: The Way We Eat

– The Local Specialty

– The National Favorite

– The Ubiquitous Nature of It All

– The All Out BBQ

– The Drink of Drinks


Category 6: The People We Meet

– The Headshot

– The Environmental Portrait

– The Classic Portrait

– The Coupled Bliss

– The Urban Lifestyle

– The Beautiful People

– The Family Unit

– The Executive

– The Blue Collar

– The Teacher


Category 7: The World Is Your Oyster

– The Black and White Cookie

– The Film Grainer

– The Madness of Macro

– The Flash Power Enthusiast

– The Military Pedigree

– The Zoom Blast

– The in and out of Focus


If you’ve been paying careful attention you know that this list is meant to challenge you and force you to interpret these categories with your own brain and through your own lens. I hope that some of you reading this take up the challenge – I’d love to see what you come up with. I’ll go through my archives and post a few examples of just how I use this when I visit a new place and in turn I hope that’ you’ll throw in your own two cents – help me to refine categories or add new shots.


9 thoughts on “The Travel Checklist

  1. Great list and idea. Since you say you have a version of this list you bring with you, does that mean you bring a tailored version to suit the particular destination you head to? At any rate, thanks for sharing.

    • Indeed, I will tailor it for each trip. I don’t actually take my own list out and look at it too much anymore save for just before I set off; I generally have an idea of what I should be shooting while I’m out and about. But for my first few adventures I swore by this thing!

      I’ll try and get up an example of how I’ve used this in the field in the coming days.

    • Excellent! I posted this in the SPC as well, so throw up some examples of how you’ve used it once you begin! Can’t wait to see the work

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