Wondering how easy it is to bring (and use) your Polaroid camera on your ILP adventure? We’ve got some insights from volunteers who have done just that.
So you may have noticed that one of the coolest little travel trends are these cutie Polaroid cameras. They are super darling, the perfect travel size camera, really easy to use and you get instant pictures of your adventures!
Those pics are perfect for putting straight into your travel journal, having little gifts to give to friends you meet, or posting them on your bedroom wall while you volunteer in Romania or another ILP country.
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Our volunteers love their Polaroids and have a few tips on how to bring one on your semester too.
Getting Through Security
So you want to make sure your camera and film make it through airport security safe and sound right? We have some advice from ILP Alumni to make sure that's exactly what happens:
When I travel with mine, I pack the film and the camera itself (I typically have film inside) in my personal item. When I'm unloading my liquids and electronics during security, I ask if they can do a hand check on my film and camera. It's never been a problem — the TSA employee will take your camera and film through, and usually swap it to make sure it's actually film and a polaroid camera. I've had to unbox my packets of film if they're still in the cardboard box, but that's it.
Brikel W. (an ILP Dominican Republic volunteer) had no problems putting the camera and the film in her checked bags. Other volunteers have said the same thing.
But the Fujifilm website (and Kelsi K., an ILP Thailand volunteer) suggest keeping your film and camera in your carry on bag. If you are worried about it, pack your film and camera in your carry on and know security may ask you to take them out of your bag and examine them by hand instead of putting them through the X-Rays.
What About Buying Film?
You may be able to find it abroad, but I wouldn’t risk it because it may not be as easy to find. Here in the States, you can get it lots of places (like Walmart and Target) although it’s cheapest on Amazon and at Costco, especially if you buy it in bulk (a smart idea of you want to save money). In general, most volunteers say just to pack tons from home instead of trying to find it there.
ILP has a Facebook group for each country so once you know where you're going, you can ask the current volunteers if they've been able to find any in your city but general consensus is to pack enough to last you your whole trip.
Carrying Around Your Camera
The nice thing about a Polaroid is that they are more robust than other cameras (like a more expensive DSLR) so you don't really have to worry about fragile lenses or other elements, but you should still be careful with it.
Heat and light can damage your film and camera, so try to keep your camera cool (just don’t leave it baking in the hot Thai sun for hours while you’re at the beach). And with any valuable, keeping it close to you while you’re site seeing. You can even get a cute carrying cases with a strap you can sling your camera over your shoulder instead of carrying it in your hand around all day long (which we suggest).
Most volunteers tend to carry it around via a should strap, but it also has been fine just stashed in a backpack, for most volunteers.
Using Your Camera
We love these photos for cool Instagram pictures, for putting into your rad travel and scrapbook journal and using it to decorate your dorm room abroad, but we especially love taking pictures of your kids who might not have a photo of themselves.
One of our favorite stories is from Alyssa R. who was volunteering in the Dominican Republic. She gave a Polaroid to a boy who hadn’t ever seen a picture of himself, let alone a printed picture of him to keep! Awwwww, think about how your pretty little pictures can change lives.
Or, the one about Macie N. who snapped a picture of two friends in the DR and had parent after parent ask if she could take pictures of their kids — these mommas had never had a physical picture of their kids and all the volunteers with Polaroids helped these parents get pictures of their kids.
Awwwww, think about how your pretty little pictures can change lives.
Ready for your international adventure?