With my move back to the USA this year, as well as my health issues, I’ve been forced to change how I travel. No more £30 weekend trips to Prague, or last-minute flights to Norway. My travel has become more mindful, more local, and more planned. But one thing that has remained constant is my love for travel polaroid cameras!
Why is that? In this digital age, I often wonder about the takeaways people get from travel. Do we travel only so we can then write about it on our blogs? Do we travel to take cute Instagram photos? Do we travel to check things off bucket lists or add a tally on our list of countries? These are definitely things I worry about, and I’m sure I have a roundabout ‘yes‘ to answer each of those questions. But ultimately… none of those are why I travel. I travel for the experience, the expanded horizons, and the memories. For me, there is no better travel takeaway than a little polaroid photo, easily tucked in my wallet or back pocket, to remind me of the adventures taken.
A bit about film & polaroid cameras
I’ve always loved film cameras: Anything from the disposable camera picked up from the grocery store, to my uncle’s vintage Canon. In high school I bought a $5 original polaroid camera from a neighbor’s garage sale, which I played about with until the end of the film pack (this was post Polaroid company going bankrupt, and pre the age of Amazon, so I could never find new film). Nowadays polaroids have made a comeback, along with the more user-friendly Fujifilm Instax.
And yes, there is a difference between polaroid and instax (although I’ve lumped them together in this post). The difference comes with how the film develops. For example, when you snap a photo on an original polaroid camera, you need to hide the photo from light sources so it develops properly. The same is not true for Instax, which develops fine in sunlight (one reason it is more user-friendly). You can read more about the differences in this post, or on Sophort’s website!
Personally, as much as I love the original polaroid camera, I think that Fujifilm Instax is a much better travel polaroid camera option. It is not only more accessible (more commonly sold and less expensive film), but it is also smaller and more lightweight. However on the other hand, it is lacking that history, and I think its photos develop more under-exposed. I go more into specific cameras at the bottom of the post, but first…
Why you should use a travel polaroid camera
I truly fell in love with traveling with a polaroid camera in Vienna. Dan and I went on a polaroid tour of Vienna with Sophort, which to this day remains one of the best city tours I’ve ever been on. (Sophort offers tours in cities other than Vienna, too!). We learned all the details of polaroid, and then traipsed about the city chatting with a local and seeing the city through new angles. Not to mention that the photos we took on that trip still hang above my desk and are so treasured! This tour inspired me to continue traveling with a polaroid camera – if you look through my blog, you can see these photos featured in my posts, such as New York City or Prague.
Polaroids are just fun. There really isn’t much more to it than that. They give you an opportunity to go back in time, to slow down, to change your perspective, and to PLAY!
In case you need more reasons to take a travel polaroid camera on your next trip, here are a few:
- A polaroid photo is the perfect travel takeaway – there is no better souvenir!
- Some people give locals polaroid photos if they take portraits of them. This seems like a nice way to connect with people!
- Polaroid photos bring travel into your home. String some up above your desk or bed to create lovely decor.
- You can see a city through creative and new angles – especially on a polaroid city tour!
- They are fun and memorable
- Polaroid cameras remind you that the best takeaway from travel is the EXPERIENCE!
Travel Polaroid Camera Details
Here are a few practical tips for those of you thinking of getting a polaroid camera, looking to upgrade, or to get some good accessories. For anyone wondering, traveling with a polaroid camera is easy! The film can go through airport security X-rays perfectly fine. Just be careful not to put pressure on the film or spill liquids on it in your luggage.
*NOTE: If you are buying an original polaroid, make sure it is made by Impossible. They are the only providers of legitimate original polaroid film.
Best travel polaroid cameras to buy
- Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 – This is the most popular instax, which I have. It is lightweight, affordable, and perfect for travel.
- Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 – Similar to Mini 8 but slight upgrade. Has a selfie mirror!
- Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 – Slightly higher tech than the Mini 8. It is wider so the film is closer to the original polaroid size (3×5″). You can adjust focus with the lens, and it includes a tripod socket.
- Fujifilm Instax Mini 70 – Higher tech like the Wide 300 but thin and lightweight like the Mini 8. Ideal for travel, and for those who want something a bit more advanced.
- Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neoclassic – Has higher tech features including double exposure, yet still lightweight. Has a vintage/classic design like an old film camera!
- Polaroid Originals 600 by Impossible – Bigger than the Instaxes, but has the original polaroid design with pop up flash.
- Polaroid Originals 9008 Onestep by Impossible – Original polaroid design but smaller than the 600. Has a self-timer function!
Travel polaroid accessories
- Instax Mini film
- Instax Specialty film – Rainbow, Candy pop, Shiny Star, and more
- Instax photo album
- Instax vintage case
- Impossible original polaroid film
- Washi tape
- A city tour with Sophort
I love my travel polaroid camera. If you’ve never traveled with a polaroid camera, then I have to encourage you to try it! It helps you view a city through new eyes and new angles, and get off your phone. Plus, you get the perfect little takeaway.
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