Is it worth buying a GoPro for Travel?… Questions Answered & Product Review
February 16, 2018
This post hopes to answer the question, should you buy a GoPro for travel? It’s based on my recent experience of finally getting around to buying a GoPro, and using it on a trip to Iceland.
I’ve styled the post as a Q&A, going through some of the questions people might have about GoPro’s and owning one. If there’s any extra questions you want to ask, pop them in the comments and I can add them on.
I’m not a tech wizard, so this post isn’t tech heavy. This post is designed for people like me who are considering the GoPro for travel, with suggestions for accessories etc. So if you’ve been pondering if they’re really worth the hype and splashing the cash on, this should definitely help.
Why did you finally buy a GoPro?
Firstly, the story of what actually pushed me off the fence into getting one…
I’m sure lots of you are reading this in a position where you’re not sure if they’re worth it, and that was me too. I didn’t really have experience taking videos and didn’t know if it was worth the money.
I’m very lucky in that I have a partner who also loves to travel. As a surprise present, she edited together a bunch of video clips I had taken using my old digital camera in Africa. I was genuinely shocked at how nostalgic I got seeing video as opposed to photos, and then the impending regret that I hadn’t taken more videos of the rest of my trip.
So I thought, you know what, I’m going to use my savings and buy a GoPro for my future Travels.
Which model GoPro did you get?
I splashed out and got the GoPro Hero 6, as I thought that if I was spending the money I’d want to get the latest tech. We chose this model as I had done my research on the different features of different models. I viewed the camera as a long term purchase that I would be using for years to come.
This model also has more advanced image stabilisation to previous models and other improvements. I managed to get it in the post Christmas sales and that was that.
How much will a GoPro cost?
This obviously depends on the model, but currently a GoPro Hero 6 which is the latest model at the time of writing (early 2018) with all the features, will set you back roughly $400, if you’re getting accessories too (which at least one of which, a memory card, you’ll need) then I’d budget $500 all in. There are bundles through Amazon which you can go for at the same time as buying the GoPro itself for accessories.
Depending on what you’ll use it for, you don’t need to buy the latest model, there are Hero5 Session cameras for $200, but these are very different. I go through the accessories I bought, and my experience with them in the next section.
What accessories will you need?
One thing that is a bit annoying about having a GoPro, is that you’ll likely want or need to get a bunch of accessories. Which when added to the price of the camera, can add up to a lot of cash…
The accessories I got below (which when you list them seem alot!), were the extras I wanted, but by no means are they all required.
The ones I chose aren’t the most expensive type either. There are various super expensive accessories that I won’t go into. I took the approach of buying accessories I personally needed, that are the cheapest type, that are good enough, and positively reviewed.
Mainly you’ll NEED to get a memory card for your GoPro as they don’t come with one. I bought a SanDisk Ultra (which I haven’t linked as I wasn’t happy with it for reasons I’ll now explain).
After being surprised that my battery kept dying and being really erratic, then spending a bunch of time researching and reading more about this issue online. I realised that it’s likely the quality of the memory card not the GoPro itself. Unfortunately, sometimes poor memory cards cause the GoPro to work harder to save information, thus draining the battery…
So it’s worth not skimping on the memory card and getting one that works well with the GoPro. I’ve now upgraded mine and I’ll update this post once I’ve been able to fully test it out in due course.
Screen & Lens Protector
Secondly, you’ll probably want to get some sort of screen and lens protector. If like me, you worry about scratches etc, this will be similar to what you use for your smartphone.
I bought the ‘Kupton Screen Protector‘, and it’s barely noticeable and has worked extremely well at protecting the screen and lens. No matter how much I’m told something is designed for wear and tear, I’ll always want to protect it as much as I can. So for a small extra price, it was worth it.
For accessories, there are a few options of bundles with lots of accessories, including selfie sticks, a stand, floating selfie sticks, extra clips, straps, etc etc.
I bought this ‘Accessories for GoPro‘ bundle, but there are lots of different sellers selling similar products you can choose from. Althought admittedly I don’t use all of the accessories, for the ones I do use, I found the bundle is pretty reasonable for the amount of kit, and definitely sufficient for most peoples needs.
I also bought the ‘Smatree Battery (3-Pack) With 3-Channel Charger‘. This ended up coming in really handy when I had my poor memory card issues.
If you’re planning to be filming a lot and on high quality settings, you’ll need spare batteries. The GoPro will only last just over an hour or so on some settings continuously recording, and you don’t want the issue of running out of power. I ended up buying the set of three batteries and a charger linked above. This also works as a great dock to charge multiple batteries (including the included GoPro official one) at a time.
Yet another thing I use is a carry, case. I bought this in store in a combo deal with the camera, but it’s come in useful for carrying my GoPro stuff. I would advise however, buying your other accessories BEFORE your bag. Then you’ll know how big a case you’ll need for all your stuff. Mine is actually a little bit small in hindsight…
Are GoPro’s easy to use?
There is a bit of trial and error when you first start, and it’s definitely worth doing some research on all the features etc. But once you’ve got the basics, it’s extremely quick and easy to use, and very user friendly.
I would advise taking it out for a test trip, maybe even a walk in the park for example, to use its different features etc. This is a great way to make sure you know how to use it, and also have all you need before you go out on your full travels.
How do you edit video footage?
There’s lots of options for video editing these days, a lot of which I’ll admit I’m not the most familiar with. My partner is a photographer so does the ‘proper editing’.
What I do whilst I’m travelling is use the ‘QuikStories’ app that you’ll be able to use once you have a GoPro. This app is so great and easy to use, and works perfectly for editing a day’s worth of footage into a short couple of minutes video you can share.
That’s how I’ve made a lot of my travel videos that I want to share quickly and easily online. It means I can edit and share the same day, all from my phone, so is super handy. Note, I also only discovered the ‘movie’ vs ‘square’ setting for editing recently, so forgive my rookie editing error on the Iceland videos there…
What videos have you made?
Other than my first little test video on a 10 minute walk in the woods near my house. You can check out all of my videos on the video section of my blog linked here.
There’s not too many on there yet as I’ve only had the GoPro a couple of months and gone on one proper travel trip, but from a 4 day trip in Iceland I made a video of each day. These Iceland videos were all edited using QuikStories so you can see what kind of videos this handy little tool produces.
Are you glad you bought your GoPro?
Overall, yes I’m very glad I’ve bought one. I feel like I can really capture experiences and remember them so much more with video than I can with photos, especially as I’m not a professional photographer. It’s so great to look back on travel videos and feel that nostalgia. Being able to relive some of those experiences is something I think money can’t buy.
Summary – Should You Buy A GoPro For Travel?
In summary, to answer this question you really need to think about how you like to record your travels, and how much you value different forms of capturing your time travelling.
What I mean by this, is that the main reason I eventually bought my GoPro after being sat on the fence for years, was my emotional reaction and joy to seeing a short video of some of my time travelling, that I’d completely forgotten about.
This reaction for me, was alot deeper than any photograph I had taken. I felt so nostalgic and it really connected me back to my time travelling. So I said to myself, I needed to capture more of my travels through video.
GoPro is the market leader in adventure video cameras for a reason. GoPro’s are extremely accessible, you can find lots of kit for it, and it’s very user friendly. However, all that goodness comes with a hefty price tag. So you need to put some real thought into it and think about if it will be worth it for you.
Some things in life, such as travel memories, can be pretty priceless. So if you feel as strongly as I did, then you probably will be quite insensitive to price and willing to splash out. If you are strapped for cash however, older models can still record great quality, so this could be a better option if you’re saving money before a big travel trip.
Do you have any questions about GoPro’s that I haven’t covered in this post? Pop them in the comments and I’ll endeavour to update the post and answer them!
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