The Importance of Keeping Backups: a Sad Story and the Best Backup Options

Today, we want to tell you a story. It’s a sad story. One of loss and damage. It happened only a few months ago. It’s a tale of why everyone should backup their travel photos…

This one time in North Korea…

There we were, in North Korea; one of our most interesting trips to date. We had just gotten some really great travel photos, the kind you don’t want to lose because you think you probably won’t get another chance to take them. We were really looking forward to sharing them with everyone…

pepo app etramping north korea update

So we went back to the hotel and rested up for the night. Cez kept saying that we needed to back them up, make sure that they were safe. He said that if we didn’t, we were going to lose the incredible pictures he had taken. So I booted up my laptop, but luck being luck, my laptop just didn’t have enough space on it. It was already full of pictures which I just didn’t want to get rid of (and my laptop’s hard drive is pretty small too).

Well, Cez’s prediction came true. The next day we were out and about when his camera decided that it was time to go kaput. All the great travel photos we had on it were lost. There was a lot of waving the camera in the air and pressing of buttons, but luck wasn’t on our side. We had suffered a great loss because we didn’t backup.

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How you can avoid this!

Since then, we have realized that backing up travel photos is actually incredibly important. Sure, most of the time you’re fine, but what about that one time you’re not? When we go traveling, we want to start new adventures, not spend time backtracking so we can take the same picture we did before.

camera pictures

If you haven’t realized the importance of backing up your images by now, then you’ve probably gone through life as a lucky person. Congratulations! We hope that your luck continues forever. But, on the off chance that it dries up, we’re suggesting just a little bit of preparation.

The best backup options

There is a multitude of ways to make sure that your images are backed up. Below are just a few of them, and our recommendation on which one we think is the best.

Extra SD cards

SD cards are awesome! They’re small, you can put in your camera and your laptop, and they can get pretty big (most devices can handle up to 128gb now). I mean, come on, they’re just fantastic!

Extra SD cards

But then, they can also be pretty flimsy. One of your SD cards gets into contact with a body of water, and it’s probably going to go the way of the dodo. Another problem is the transfer process. You’re going to need a laptop or tablet to handle the exchange, and you’re going to need a lot of ports or cables to connect everything up.

Carry a portable hard drive

Portable hard drives are really worth it when it comes to the amount of information they can store. If you’re out there taking lots and lots of photos, or you’re taking them in RAW format because you want to get processing back in the electronic darkroom, then portable hard drives defiantly have space.

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But they’re big, they’re heavy, and they don’t like being thrown about. If one lands in a slightly awkward position, you’re likely to find yourself with zero data. Whilst there are a few ways to recover the data after this happens, it can be incredibly expensive and very unreliable.

Backup in the cloud

The cloud! It’s like magic. Up there, above us all, storing all our photos and files and videos and… well, anything we want them to. It’s super lightweight… probably because it doesn’t weigh anything! What more could you ask for? It’s basically like a backup guardian angel, except…

Backup in the cloud

It doesn’t work everywhere.

Yeah. That’s the problem. When it comes to actually initiating the backup, it requires an internet connection and some patience, in a place where you’re allowed to connect to it. Thinking of traveling to North Korea? You can likely say goodbye to your stable upload connection. Moreover, the size is usually incredibly limited. If you’re thinking of storing heaps of travel photos, then you’re probably going to end up having to shell out a lot of cash in monthly subscriptions to popular services like Dropbox or Google drive. It’s up to you, but it just seems like online cloud storage hasn’t developed enough for enthusiast photographers.

Our recommendation: Tardisk

We’ve found one backup method in particular which we would like to recommend to all of you out there! It’s small, convenient, and it can store quite a lot of travel photos. We’re talking about something called Tardisk. Tardisk is a little device for expanding the space on your MacBook. It simply plugs into your MacBook and (for us) adds 128gb to your hard drive. On Agness’s MacBook, that doubled the size!


The thing about Tardisk is that it combines with your internal storage in a way which means it’s fast and uses up as little battery as possible, but can still just be plugged in and used straight away. Also, TarDisk is not external storage, and it merges with your internal drive. This means that you can run software and apps on it easily, while external storage solutions are too slow for that.


PLUS, It’s pretty small, so if you carry it around with you (or a few of them), you’re almost definitely not going to notice it! 

Macbook memory increased TardDisk

The only negative we can see here is that it’s designed for MacBooks. If you don’t have a MacBook, then you might be out of luck, and you’ll have to pick one of the other options above. However, when it comes time to edit your backup of travel photos, we think MacBooks are great!

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Which Backup option do you think is best?


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Picture of Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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12 thoughts on “The Importance of Keeping Backups: a Sad Story and the Best Backup Options”

  1. Avatar of Andrew Boland

    last two trips ive taken to using dropbox. it is a serious pain to spend all that time backing up every day you travel, but its worth it and there have already been instances of files being corrupted on my sd card but backed up on dropbox thankfully. I sorted it out better this last trip and found i could back up through my phone. hmmm i could do a post on this…

  2. Avatar of Alina & Deian

    Awesome article you two. We just found your website after reading your article on

    Backups are indeed very important and we actually wrote an article about it promoting the 3-2-1 strategy. Have you heard of it?

  3. Avatar of Stef

    This happened to me as well once. I actually put all my photos on a hard drive, the hard drive fell down and I didn’t have them in any other place. Now I use Backblaze which backs up all my data. Thank you for sharing Tardisk, I will have a look at it because I always have very little space on my Macbook.

  4. Avatar of Shikha

    Oh guys, so sorry to hear that happened. I lost almost all my Marrakech photos purely by accident from my smart phone after I meant to delete one photo from my album & ended up deleting the whole album! Tardisk sounds good but as I’m not a Mac user, I’ll have to stick to the other options.

  5. Avatar of Rob

    We had a similar issue when our iPhone got dropped into the ocean in the Maldives, we lost all of the photos not backed up :( Now I ensure I backup my photos to icloud, and make sure I sync my photos from my camera on a regular basis!

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