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The Best Way To Store Travel Photos
When I went on vacation with my family as a child, we would bring an analog 90’s Kodak camera and pack a few rolls of film. Because the film was limited (maybe 20 shots per roll) we took pictures quite sparingly.
When we got home, we had them developed and stored them safely inside in a drawer. They usually turned out pretty bad by the way, so we rarely ever went back to look at them again…
Then in the ’00s came the digital revolution and digital cameras changed everything. Now we are free to take all the pictures we want, allowing us to snap each and every bowl of Kow Soi we eat in Bangkok and letting us take 150 pictures of our girlfriends posing in front of the Taj Mahal in order to get that perfect Instagram shot.
Of course though, with this abundance of travel pictures comes a new problem – how and where to store them all!
Whilst the devices we use (be it a camera, phone or a tablet) do have a pretty generous storage allowance (especially if you buy an SD card) they do still fill up especially if you are going for an epic six-month loop around South America. Furthermore, leaving pictures sit on the devices they were taken on is pretty pointless, not to mention potentially perilous (as I will demonstrate further in this article).
In this article, we take a look at various ways to store your travel pictures and examine the pros and cons of each.
Cloud storage is a service model in which data is maintained, managed, backed up remotely and made available to users over a network (the Internet). So you basically save your pictures by uploading them to the internet and they are saved remotely. Our recommended Cloud Storage provider is Dropbox.
We like Dropbox because of its reliability, generous storage and its ease of use; users simply sign up for it, install it onto their various devices and then get started.
Dropbox can be installed for free and the free version (Dropbox Basic) comes with 2GB of storage which is enough to get you going. If you need more storage, then various price plans are available for your needs.
Because Dropbox can be installed on multiple devices, you can take a picture with your phone, upload it straight to Dropbox and then immediately access it on your computer for editing. This is one of my personal favorite Dropbox functions.
Dropbox is available for both Mac & Windows and iOS & Android. You can also sign in to your account from any device, meaning you can access your Dropbox even if you’re using a friend’s, work or a public computer.
Pro’s of Dropbox Storage
- Take pictures and upload them instantly.
- Backs up whenever you get Wifi.
- Infinite Capacity.
- Fast transition from device to desktop.
Cons of Dropbox Storage
- You do have to pay each month.
- You are ultimately reliant on a 3rd party storage company.
Nothing is perfect but I think that the pros outweigh the cons and Dropbox is defo the best way to store your travel photos.
Top Tips For Managing Dropbox Storage!
Taking and uploading an endless amount of pictures can mean that you end up with hundreds and thousands of pictures in your Dropbox. This in itself can become an issue so there are some steps you can take to keep your Dropbox neat, tidy and orderly.
It is definitely worth taking some time to sort your pictures into various folders. For example “New Zealand 2019” and then maybe even make some sub-folders within that, such as “Wellington” or “Surfing Pics”. Note that once you have made some folders you have the option of uploading your pictures straight into your chosen folder.
Keep on top of storage.
It pays to regularly take time to maintain your Dropbox to prevent it from becoming messy. Just the same way as you would prune your garden, tidy your room or shave your beard, you should regularly check-in and have a little tidy up. You can easily do this from your phone in your “downtime” so is a perfect task to do whilst sitting on the toilet or on a long bus ride!
Delete unnecessary images.
You probably took about 25 pictures of the Hollywood sign to try and get the perfect one. However, in reality, you maybe only need 1 or 2 of them so when you get a minute go through them, choose the best and delete the rest!
Other features of Dropbox
As well as being great for storage, there are some other useful features of Dropbox which you may be interested in.
The first one is that Dropbox is also great for file sharing. If you want to share a picture, an album or an entire freaking folder with somebody then it can be done very easily. You simply click “Share”, type in their email address and then they get sent a link. All the receiver needs to do from there is open it – even without having to create or previously owning a Dropbox account.
A word to the wise. It is pretty easy to overshare and so we recommend being careful and giving folders the once over before you share them. Whilst Auntie Betty may well be delighted with your close-ups of Lions in the wild, she may be less impressed with your naked selfies…
Dropbox also allows you to recover deleted files. If you accidentally delete an image or a thousand, then you can usually retrieve it. This is not the case with files deleted from USB drives or hard drives.
Not convinced by Dropbox? Let’s look at some of the other options out there.
Storage on Your Device
Do you really need to move pictures from your device? Can’t you just leave them there and look at them on the screen? Yes, you can. However, there are some huge drawbacks with this.
Firstly, what do you do with them when the time comes to upgrade your phone? These days, the average person changes phone every 18 months. Whilst some devices do offer various media transfer facilities (moving all the files from your old phone to your new phone), this is not always an option, especially if you are changing between phone manufacturers, which is becoming far more common.
Also, if you keep moving pictures from device to device then you will soon end up with several years worth of travel pictures on your phone which is simply going to be too much storage for one phone to take.
There is an even bigger danger though. Phones are frequently lost and stolen. Losing your phone is annoying and if you don’t have insurance, is costly. However, with a little money and patience phones can be replaced. Your treasured travel pictures though, cannot ever be replaced if you only stored them on that one phone.
Please bear in mind that when you go traveling in many parts of the world, you and your phone are constantly been sized up as a massive target for theft. Many tourists have taken the picture of a lifetime up at Machu Picchu only to have it stolen along with their phone back in Lima. For some tips of staying safe on the road, check out this blog post.
External Hard Drives
External hard drives are useful whether it’s flash drive, a mini drive, or a USB drive. They offer large storage, are usually pretty lightweight and compact and of course, you own anything that is on them.
However, there are some major limitations with them.
Firstly, getting pictures from the phone onto your drive means going via your computer and this can be a time-consuming pain in the bum. You need to take time out to do this, which I guarantee you will put off and forget to do.
Secondly, these drives do break. Either their chips get fried or the connections go but they break more than the manufacturers will ever admit. I once lost my entire music collection and all of my snaps from South America because my 1TB external hard drive broke. I was gutted.
A more common problem is that of compatibility. For example, an external hard drive you filled up using a Windows Machine will not let you access your files if you connect it to a Mac. I also had this problem when I switched from an Acer to a Macbook 2 years ago.
Furthermore, the drives that used to work very quickly become obsolete. I guarantee that any USB Drive you buy today will not interface with the computer you will be using in 5 years time. This essentially means your treasured travel pictures will be locked safely inside your USB where not even you could ever actually get to them again. I mean what’s the point in that?!
See You On The Road
Anyway, we’ve pretty much covered that topic off. As always, we love to know what you think and we are always open to new ideas and suggestions so do take a moment to leave a comment.
See you on the road guys.
This is a sponsored post for Dropbox. All opinions are my own. Dropbox is not affiliated with nor endorses any other products or services mentioned.
Freeborn Aiden. Senior Editor, resident travel insurance expert and 2nd longest-serving member of team Broke Backpacker. Can’t resist a colourful shirt, ideally one with no buttons. Rampant Psytrance addict and seriel cat fancier. Aiden recently realised that his entire reality is little more than a badly written 90’s sitcom.