Professional photographers know that there are plenty of reasons why occasionally renting lenses, camera bodies, video equipment, and photographic accessories make sense. But renting camera gear for travel also makes sense. Here are our top reasons why, some shots to prove it, and a special discount code just for you.

waved albatross espanola galapagos renting camera gear

A waved albatros in flight over Española Island in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.

Why renting camera gear for travel is a great idea

Your trips and vacations are special times in special places with special people for special reasons and, odds are, you probably want to document all that specialness in pictures and/or video. For many travelers, smartphone cameras do the trick much of the time. But then there are those times when shooting circumstances require a more well-rounded set of camera gear. Whether you’ve already got a partial travel photography kit or none at all (except that smartphone), this is where renting camera gear for travel comes in.

blue footed booby canon camera

A blue-footed booby in the Galapagos.

Perhaps the number one reason to rent camera gear for travel is for situations when specialized and expensive camera equipment is needed to truly capture the adventure. For example, there’s no denying that a better lens will get you better pictures of the famous landscapes and wildlife of the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.

While we were back in the US at the end of last year, we unexpectedly got the chance to return to the Galapagos. Great. Only one problem: most of Eric’s photographic equipment, including the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens he loves for wildlife photography, was still locked up in our truck…in Argentina.

marine iguana galapagos renting camera gear

Marine iguanas warm up in the sun in the Galapagos.

Solution: he rented a Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens. This ensured that he got the shots he wanted from this visit to the archipelago and it was way cheaper than the US$2,800 price tag to buy that lens.

Natural events, such as aurora borealis or solar eclipse, represent another circumstance when travelers may want to rent specialized gear to capture the spectacle. Our post about How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse includes more information about shooting techniques and necessary specialized gear.

birds of mashpi lodge ecuador

Birds photographed in the Mashpi Reserve and Mashpi Lodge in Ecuador.

Another reason to rent is when you want to use gear you don’t often have a need for, like a GoPro camera for filming underwater adventures…or video gear, or lighting equipment, or a tripod, or filters, or a stabilizer, a medium format camera, or, you name it.

kicker rock cerro brujo arch

Kicker Rock, an iconic formation in the Galapagos, in the distance.

Renting gear is also a great way to get some hands-on experience with equipment you’re considering investing in. Maybe you want to switch brands or switch from a DSLR to a mirrorless camera system as Eric just did when we were back in the states. By renting the gear you can try it out in the real world before you make the investment.

nazca booby nest galapagos

A nesting Nazca booby in the Galapagos.

Tip: When renting gear, don’t forget to think through any accessories you might need to buy or rent along with it such as a tripod, extra sim cards, additional batteries, different-sized filters, a dive housing for that rented GoPro if you are using it for SCUBA diving, etc..

Why we rent from Lensrentals

We’ve now gotten camera gear from Lenrentals a couple of times, so it’s time to tell you why we will keep going back to them when we need to add specialized camera gear temporarily to our Trans-Americas Journey.

They have an incredibly wide selection of camera gear including bodies, lenses, and video gear from more than a  dozen major brands. If we need it or want it, they’ve got it.

They’ve got accessories covered too, including tripods, filters, lighting, bags, and more.

lensrentals shipment renting camera gear for travel

Unboxing our Lensrentals items.

Your rented gear comes to you in a protective hard-sided Pelican-type case which you can also use on your journey to keep the gear safe from drops, water, and dust before sending it all back in the same Pelican Case.

Their customer service is also tops. We had a VERY tight window in which to receive the rental gear that we needed for that trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands that we mentioned. In tracking our shipment, we realized it was scheduled to arrive as we were boarding the plane. Lensrenatal customer service reps recalled our original shipment and reshipped our gear to the hotel we were at prior to boarding our flight. The shipment arrived in time and Lensrentals then shipped the return packaging from the hotel to our residential address so it would be there for us to use to return our rented gear at the end of our trip.

land iguana galapagos canon camera

A land iguana in the Galapagos.

Lenrental also offers a rent-to-buy option called the Keeper Test Drive program. So, if there’s some fancy gear that you want but the price tag is too high you can rent the equipment and, if you like it, you keep it and pay a reduced used gear price for it.

If you choose to keep the gear you’ve rented, Lensrentals also refunds the cost of up to seven days of rental. Note, the used gear price at Lensrentals varies depending on how long the gear has been in the rental pool. For example, the same model lens that entered the rental pool a month ago will have a price tag that’s higher than the same lens that has been rented out for 12 months.

waved albatross mating

A pair of waved albatros get to the point on Española Island in the Galapagos.

This is basically neither here nor there, but Lenrentals also seems like a fun place to work with plenty of interesting employees. For example, one employee who was helping us has a digital signature that intriguingly reads “nomad no more”. And as Eric was signing the rental agreement, he noticed the registered corporate name of the company is The Dude Abides, LLC. Turns out, the owners are huge fans of The Big Lebowski.


As a special gift to our readers use the code  TAJ15  during checkout at and get 15% off your gear rental.

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