Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Travel pictures are a valuable keepsake that you don't want to lose. On a long trip you'll want to take extra steps to store those travel pictures.

I have a Kodak DX6490 that I purchased a couple of years ago. I have only used it here around the house and have been so pleased with it, but I do know it only holds about 400 photos. I know how to download those photos here at home to my PC with the dock that came with the camera. All I have to do is press one button and they download automatically, but I have no idea what to use on my laptop to do the same thing, other than take the dock with me and store them on the laptop. I will be away from home for a month, so 400 pictures won't do. I suppose I could buy a ton of those little cards that go into the camera and just keep the photos on those cards and not even take the laptop, but I can email back to my family here if I take the laptop.

Between your laptop, the memory cards, and emailing the pictures back home, I'll vote (strongly) for two out of three of those.

And email's not one of them.

Let me explain why ...

First, I'll tell you I face this same problem when I travel. I know that like you, I definitely don't want to lose those travel photos - they're way too valuable. That's why I'm going to suggest you do two separate things; the same two things that I do.

First, that DC6490 takes what are called "SD" flash memory cards. Yes, I would get a few additional of those. The good news here is that in the two years since you purchased your camera, SD cards have grown in capacity. I'm guessing you have a 512megabyte card based on the number of pictures you store. Cards are now available with 1 or 2 gigabytes, or in other words, 2 or 4 times the capacity. I'd grab a couple of those. (My most recent 1gig card was $60 US - they're fairly inexpensive.) Use them, fill them up, and keep them in a safe place when not in your camera.

I'd also either take along the cradle and install the appropriate support software on the laptop, or (and this is what I actually do) get a SD card reader for the laptop, and periodically copy the photos from the card(s) to the laptop for safekeeping. USB card readers are also not that expensive, and typically the contents of your SD card, once inserted, simply appear as another disk drive on your computer. Using Windows Explorer you can copy the files form the SD card to a directory on your machine quickly and easily.

Naturally I'd make sure all that worked well before you leave on your trip.

"...if you're taking hundreds or perhaps thousands of pictures, email's not an appropriate way to save them all."

What this setup does is leaves the pictures on both the SD cards and your laptop. That way if something happens to one, you'll still have the other.

Now, I explicitly said that email's not one of my approaches. The problem boils down to the fact that pictures are large and email is slow. Or rather, uploading pictures to the internet is slow, and sending email is just another form of upload. With so many pictures involved, you could easily spend hours and hours (and hours and hours) uploading, or perhaps be throttled by whatever internet provide you happen to be using for uploading "too much".

So certainly email some of your pictures to your friends - perhaps even update a photo sharing website during your trip - I've done both. It's a neat way to let people who care know about all the fun you're having as you travel. But if you're taking hundreds or perhaps thousands of pictures, email's not an appropriate way to save them all.

Article C2694 - June 18, 2006 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

June 19, 2006 7:56 AM

If you're travelling light and don't want to take a laptop, if you've got a relatively recent hard-disk based mp3 player you can usually use that (with a suitable cable) to store photos. Stick with ones with which you can see the photos whilst they're on the device, so you can check they transferred OK. If you want to get a new player for the purpose, the best solutions are probably either:

- The iPod with Apple's own "iPod Camera Connector" (But go to an Apple store and check that it works with your camera before buying), or:

- The Creative Zen Vision (NOT the Vision:M), which has an inbuilt CF card slot, with which you can use a CF to SD (or whatever) adaptor.

Chuck Eglinton
June 19, 2006 7:18 PM

Another alternative is to buy a device that is made for storing photos directly from your digital camera.

One such device is the SmartDisk FotoChute 20GB Digital Photo Storage Unit:

July 1, 2006 9:19 PM

I have a Zen Vision:M and was wondering how I might be able to upload pics to the device without a computer while traveling. Is there any way to do it?

September 6, 2006 8:36 AM

if you can find a way to upload the photos from the camera directly to the Creatve Zen Vision:M please let me know at

September 20, 2007 12:45 PM

Best way to store you pictures is use

Kathleen Kelley
May 14, 2008 5:21 AM

My needs- 80 gig storage, see photos on big screen tv, transfer photos from camera to storage device when traveling, transfer photos already on laptop to storage device when at home. EASY TO USE FOR NOVICE.
My hard drive is beginning to fill up. I would like to remove all my photos from my laptop to a photo storage device. Presently they are organized (Christmas 2008, Miami vacation 2007, KJK communion etc.) Can I organize them in a storage device in the same way? When I play them on TV, can I view just Miami trip or do I have to go through 1,000 other photos until I get to the ones I want? I would appreciate responses and recommendations from anybody on the best specific photo storage to buy. Also, Leo, you say you rarely endorse a product, but that is what I am asking for from you. My budget would be about $500 maximum.

Patrick Laundy
May 18, 2009 6:32 PM

I find the best way to store photos while travelling is by using a free online photo album site OurPhotos. It provides unlimited storage and you can easilly and quickly create albums and upload photos. I'm using it while we travel Europe in June 2009.

June 4, 2009 4:09 PM


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