Travel Tip: Keeping your Photos Safe

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All sorts of things can - and do - go wrong while traveling. Small things add to the adventure, larger things eventually become funny stories, given enough time. Losing things is par for the course. Cell phone chargers, umbrellas, books, the postcards you bought still wrapped in tiny paper bags... We shrug and move on.

But there's one thing every traveler dreads losing, because it's genuinely irreplaceable - and that's a camera. More specifically, the SD card inside the camera, where your digital memories were safely stored.

I had my smartphone stolen while in Paris last summer. At first I was upset and frustrated, thinking about the cost of replacing it, and the inconvenience of not being able to text my travel companion for the next couple weeks. And then a sinking sensation set in as I realized that along with the phone, almost a year of photos had vanished forever. Unlike my camera, which I upload fairly regularly, I had not backed up the smartphone photos.

I won't make that mistake again! And neither should you. Here are two things you should do to guard against losing your digital memories:

1. Regularly upload the photos you take from your camera to a secure place: your computer, an external hard drive, or a "cloud" - an online storage system you can access from anywhere. If a smartphone is your regular camera, you can arrange for it to automatically upload photos to a file sharing application like Dropbox. This way you don't even have to think about it - anytime you're connected to WiFi, your latest photos will be uploaded to a safe place.

2. Take a photo that provides some form of identification, and keep it stored at the beginning of your SD card. It could be a snapshot of your business card, or simply a note that says: "If lost, please contact (your name) at name@gmail.com." Many cameras have a feature where you can "lock" a photo, meaning it can’t accidentally be deleted. This would be a good time to use that feature. In the event that your camera is lost, many good Samaritans will try to return it, and if you've stored your contact info on the phone, there's a very good chance that the device, along with your most recent holiday photos, will be returned to you.

Follow these tips and you'll be doing your best to keep your photos - your most precious travel souvenirs - safe.
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