Everything You Need to Know About SD Cards While Traveling

Everything you need to know about SD cards while traveling, to help you keep your cherished memories safe and accessible long after your trip is over!
SD Cards and Traveling

Table of Contents

When traveling, be it a few weeks or months, you will most likely carry a camera, GoPro, drone or smartphone to record your epic adventure. Bringing any of these items sounds simple enough but what most people overlook is the proper care needed to keep memories made from those devices safe. Today I’m going over everything you need to know about SD cards while traveling, to help you keep your cherished memories safe and accessible long after your trip is over!

Pramabana Temple Yogyakarta Indonesia
Exploring the Prambanan ruins!

When it comes to storing images or videos, the first point of storage is your SD card. In this post I will go over card sizes, what you need to transfer photos, backup storage, along with how to keep your SD cards safe.

SD Card Sizes, Brands and Types

SD cards and travelingNot all electronic devices a created equal but when it come to the world of SD cards most of them are. You should still buy from a trusted brand but in a pinch any SD card brand will work. I have bought my fair share of weird and knockoff SD cards while traveling, mostly from sketchy street stalls, and they worked just as well as my name brand SD cards. Over the years my favorite SD card brand has been PNY but I also use Sony, Lexar and my knockoff cards when those are full.

  • Wild Tip: If you do find yourself buying budget SD cards make sure you back it up to a different storage device just incase the card fails for some unknown reason. Actually it’s good practice to back up any SD card, just to be safe.
  • UPDATE: I just got screwed by not having a backup! I bought a sketchy SD card from a store in Scotland and after a few full days of photo taking it failed on me! So yeah make sure you have a backup because although its rare SD cards can fail!

Nowadays you can get SD cards in almost any storage size and for a pretty decent price too, how big is up to you. I prefer sticking with 64gb SD cards because it is a comfortable amount of space for my photo needs. I’m the type of person that likes to keep my photos on the SD card and also backed up on an external hard drive when I travel. So I would hate to fill up a massive SD card, like a 128gb one, only to have it break and I loose multiple months worth of content.

SD cards and traveling

The main thing to look at when purchasing an SD card is its file transfer speed. The transfer speed is how fast you are physically able to transfer file to and from your SD card to a computer or other device.

From slowest transfer rate to fastest, SD cards come in class 2, 4, 6 and 10. Along side that you now have Ultra High Speed, UHS, classes called U 1 and U 3. But for most people taking standard JPEG photos you should be fine with a class 6 or higher SD card.

I like to make sure my SD cards while traveling are at least a class 10. I usually buy a UHS SD card. I probably don’t need speeds that fast but it’s usually not much more money to get the faster class.

Data Transferring for SD Cards

Once you have found your perfect SD card you now need a way to share and transfer your stunning images to a computer or backup device. Most new computers do not have slots for SD cards so an SD card converter is a handy thing to carry around.

SD cards and travelingWhen traveling I always have my Anker SD reader with me. This SD card reader is great for convenience. You can transfer files from an SD or Micro SD card onto your computer via USB port. You can even transfer files directly from one card to the other without having to save them anywhere else first! The Anker SD card reader is a little bigger than the one I used to use, so if space is key and you want to save a few bucks this IO Gear model is pretty handy and works just as well.

SD Card Backups

SD cards and travelingA few times traveling I have witnessed someone loose all of their photos/videos from their SD card, without ever having a backup. I am extra cautious when it comes to my electronic content and I always carry an external hard drive to backup my files. Silicon Power is my go to brand for external hard drives. I actually have 3 of these and after years of use and abuse I have never had any issues. These Silicon Power external hard drives are slim, very rugged, shockproof and waterproof too! Whatever you choice for External Hard Drives make sure you have one to keep all of your memories safe.

SD cards and travelingSD Card Protection

Most SD cards are weather resistant but when traveling I still keep mine in a waterproof case for extra protection. Not only does it protect my SD cards from any stray rainstorms or possible sinking boats I might get caught in, my waterproof case keeps all of my SD cards in one place, while protecting them from scratches and damage.


Final Thoughts

Once you find the right SD card for traveling, one that covers all of your needs, you should look at a way to back up that SD card. Because keeping those precious travel memories safe is something you will want to do in the long run. If you have questions about storage or size leave a comment below and I’m more than happy to help you out!

Hiking Mount Merapi Java Indonesia
Sunrise selfies!



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Sheridan is a full-time adventure seeker, professional photographer, and creator of Outsidevibes. Having a serious case of wanderlust Sheridan has traveled extensively around the world. He has overcome multiple, serious injuries from traveling but he is determined to continue experiencing life to the fullest.
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