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Guide to Portable Hard Drives for the Travel Photographer

Guide to Portable Hard Drives for the Travel Photographer

You finally made it to your destination, and as you kick up your feet and sip from an ice-cold drink, the last thing you want to worry about is storage. It is a little insane that you must rely on a semi-mysterious device to hold the photographs from your most recent excursion safe, especially as you plan to do a bit more shooting as you go about your travels. Hopefully, this portable hard drive guide will help you pick out a reliable and compatible option that allows you to relax a bit during your next vacation.

Interfaces, Speed, and Capacity

Before we jump into travel-specific concerns, I want to address the most critical criteria for picking a drive: make sure it works with your machine. Some drives, or their software, will only work on certain operating systems, or they may require a reformat before you can achieve 100% functionality. Along with this, make sure the interface on your drive is supported by your computer, and is the fastest choice you have available. For example, if you are working with the latest Macs, you are going to want to find a drive that supports Thunderbolt™ 3, or if you have a tried-and-true laptop that is getting a little long in the tooth, then maybe you are going to have to go with FireWire 800 and, if you just want something universal, you can stick with USB (though USB Type-C may be the best if you want to be future-proofed).

Once you have figured that out, you are going to want to find something that is bus powered. What does that mean? Basically, the drive will be powered by the connection to the computer. This alleviates the worry of needing to find an outlet to back up your photos and can be a lifesaver if you need to unload some cards in the back of a cab or on a flight. Even if AC power isn’t going to be hard to find at your destination, it does mean you can pack one less thing.

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