Test your camera before you leave

One of the worst feelings you can have while on vacation is to be 6000 miles away from home and find your camera isn't working.

Here's what you can do. At least a week before you go, test your camera. Try the different modes you use most often to make sure they're doing what you expect them to do. Make sure you have enough memory cards and that they're all working.

You want to be sure you've removed your old photos to your computer or where you usually back your shots up so you don't end up deleting photos you really wanted to keep.

Camera Repair in the Forbidden CityThis is a classic photograph that should remind us all to check and make sure our cameras work before we leave on vacation. The last thing you'll want to end up doing is having your camera repaired under an umbrella in Beijing's Forbidden City.

Check that you have your main camera battery and a backup charged and that they keep their charge while you still have time to get a new one if you need to replace one.

If it has a zoom, make sure that it works at the long and short ends of its range.  Test the flash and make sure it works too.

If your camera uses AA batteries make sure you have plenty of fresh ones with you. While you probably can find them just about every where, you might find that they cost a lot more than you expected them to be and they're not as fresh as they should be.

Many of the small cameras go through batteries fairly quickly these days so be sure you have at least one extra rechargeable battery. While you might find them in foreign lands, they could be counterfeit and harm your camera.

All this seems pretty obvious, but I'm always amazed to find people who pack cameras they haven't used for months or even years without testing them. Just as important is trying out a new camera. They're most likely going to work, but I saw one couple on trip several years ago that discovered that their brand new high priced camera didn't work right. They ended up paying a premium price for a new camera in a foreign country.

Spending some time with a brand new camera is really important. Take some time and read the camera manual(or take it with you if you can) so that you are familiar with the camera's controls. With all the controls and menus on today's cameras the last thing you want to do is get home and look carefully at your photos only to see that you were using the wrong setting or had accidentally set it to over-expose all your shots.

The best advice is test your equipment and spend some quality time before you leave on your next trip.

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