Tips for Traveling with Dolls
After my trip last month, on which I took a Ruby Red Siblie, I started thinking about traveling with dolls. Travel photography with dolls is one of my favorite kinds of doll photography! I love taking photographs of my dolls places, whether it's a quick photo shoot, a day trip, or a longer vacation. I know a lot of people struggle with this, though, so I thought I would put together a list of tips to help make the experience smoother and easier for those who are nervous or self-conscious about it.
Find the Right Bag
Take some time to find a good bag for traveling with your doll. The right bag might depend on your preferences as well as the type of trip you're taking.
For instance, when I'm just doing day trips or short photo shoots, my go-to bag is a clear drawstring "stadium bag" backpack with a mesh front pocket, which I turn around so the pocket is on my back. That allows the doll's outfit to be seen while she's on my back, but also means that she won't accidentally lose a shoe.
For lengthier trips, I need a bag that will hold a little more. For larger dolls, I really like the older American Girl Doll-Carrier Pack, which has a full-size backpack compartment and a secure doll carrier on the front of the backpack. The Starry Doll Carrier is also a great choice: I like that the convertible strap can either be a handle or a shoulder strap, and it's got lots of pockets and storage inside. I also really like the travel seats that can strap onto a suitcase's telescoping handle.
If you're just doing a photo shoot at a local destination and you're taking lots of props, a large shoulder bag or tote might be just the thing. If you are bringing multiple dolls and large props, consider using a large bin or a laundry basket to carry everything you need for the shoot. I even have one of those folding wagons that I can use if necessary to transport large or awkward loads.
Prep Your Props and Outfits
I always try to anticipate what props I might want on a trip. Sometimes it can be difficult to know everything you'll want ahead of time, but daily changes of clothes, pajamas, sleeping bags, toys, games, and food are always a good bet. A doll-sized suitcase is great for travel photos. Other props might be dictated by the type of trip. For instance, a friend of mine recently went to Disney, and took Star Wars cosplays and other Disney-themed outfits for her dolls. And if you'll be hitting a doll store, don't forget to bring extra clothing for any new friends you pickup!
Remember to Pack Your Confidence
A lot of people feel self-conscious about bringing their dolls places, especially if they are relatively new to it. Remember that most of the people who will see you will be strangers you'll never see again. Their opinions of you do not matter! That being said, for the most part I've found people to be friendly, curious, and supportive. Some will ask questions about the dolls or what I'm doing, but the majority of people are kind. Besides, if you carry yourself with confidence, chances are no one will question what you're doing.
If you still freeze up at the thought of bringing a doll on your trip, find yourself a buddy. Meeting up with another doll friend is a great way to get started taking your dolls places and practicing doll photography. If you're traveling with non-dolly friends or family, try enlisting one supportive person's help. When we travel, my husband will often help me set up pictures, hold things for me, and act as "fall patrol," waiting just out of frame to leap forward and catch any dolls that decide to topple over. Taking pictures with someone makes it so much easier to feel comfortable and confident!
Taking dolls places and getting pictures with them is one of my favorite things to do. I hope these tips will help get you started, too!