Using A GoPro For Travel With Kids

What are the pros and cons of  using a GoPro for travel with kids?  Last year I had to get a GoPro to add to our family travel kit.  This is the blog post I WISH I had of read before I forked out for the absolutely highly recommended GoPro HERO5.

In addition, I did loads of research online and bought a number of different accessories that, after numerous videos and blogs, I was convinced I needed.  But did I actually NEED them?  Read on, I might save you some money!

Is the GoPro an amazing action camera with lots of functionality, yes totally!   However, how compatible and necessary is the GoPro for travel?

The Go Pro creates unique memories in awesome places.
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Firstly – About Me

I think I am a fairly typical 40-something mother.  I manage with new technology, but I don’t embrace it.  I’m a bit of a dinosaur, but if given a push and some time, can capably learn.

In short, I can’t just watch one or two tutorials on how to use something and then go out and use it.  Especially not when most of the time my traveling companions are curious, active and impatient.  There is simply no time to “play around” with the settings.

Once at home, my time for photo editing and video editing is non-existent.  I need my photos to be pretty good in the field because not much is going to happen once I get home.

Honestly, I felt that my lack of use of the GoPro was due to my own shortcomings.  So I asked my Instagram followers  for their thoughts on GoPros and found some interesting feedback.

“We love our go pro.  It’s small so easy to travel with and the quality of the pictures are great.  Love the fish eye lens on them and the voice activation allows family pictures which we don’t always get when it’s just the three of us.  Just ordered a dome for ours.  Yet to try it out but pictures I’ve seen using these are great for water shots.”   bec.dw – Instagram

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I also think the video on the go pro makes great footage and putting these together to make short videos is another great way to capture your travel memories.  One downside, I think is the battery length.  You need a spare (or battery pack) if using a lot and out exploring with limited charging facilities.

Underwater & Water Proof Qualities Of GoPro For Travel

“Our absolute favorite thing about the go pro is the fact that we can take it to snorkel and capture the underwater life with it. It’s awesome for that.”  Freetworoam

“Our daughter loves ours! She loves watching her underwater footage later on.”  wyldfamilytravel

“They’re great for underwater except I took mine to the silfra fissure in Iceland and the bloody thing wouldn’t turn on, it was too cold. No pics for me. I’m still cross with it.”  kidsandcompass

“Excellent for underwater and action videos and photos.”  adventure.baby

Wide Angle Lens

One of our favorite features, apart from the underwater photos is the wide angle lens and the unique perspectives!

“I love the wide angle too.”  lindagoeseast

Steady Filming

“We love being able to use our Gimble with the go pro and all our video come out so pure and unwobbly.”  fromthevinetraveltime

What Accessories Do You Need To Use Your For GoPro For Travel

GoPro The Handler Floating Hand Grip

This floating hand grip is good for land filming (keeping your hand steady) and if you should drop it in the water (as the kids do) the orange end of the handle comes to the surface, making it easy to locate.

The Dome Port

Firstly, the Dome Port is not a GoPro product.  It is a split housing that works with your GoPro camera and sits in front of the camera lens. When used on the waterline, the camera, located inside the Dome Port photographs what is above the water’s surface while reconstructing a “virtual image” of what’s below the surface.   I understand that the Dome Port is responsible for many of the very cool water pictures you see on Instagram.

Don’t think that you are going to just pop on the Dome Port and start taking “to die for” pictures.   It needs a lot of practice.  The port itself is pretty huge and also quite fragile looking piece of equipment.  We have carried it in its box and packaging to date – which measures 8inches (20cm) x 7.5 inches (19cm) x 5.5inches (14cm) high! (That is a lot of space in a suitcase or backpack.)

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There are Dome Port carriers on the market and while I wouldn’t rush in and get one immediately, certainly consider that they will reduce the space in your bag a bit.

We have been looking at this particular Dome Port on Amazon.

Practice  how to use the Dome Port BEFORE you go on holidays or are at that gorgeous destination.  Learn on how to keep the lens clean – or be prepared to Photoshop the images.  It was hard to get a clear shot for me.

This shot we got in Fiji is amazing, but it took a lot of work!  It took maybe 50 shots, and a few by-passes with the kayak, all the while mumma was jumping neck high waves.  It is not easy to get the perfect shot.

Accessories We Purchased But Don’t Use Much

Scenelapse 360-Degree 

Scenelapse spins up to 360 degrees in 60 minutes and you use it to take panorama photos & video.  I thought it would be ace to set it going and then play with the kids. We haven’t done a successful photo yet!

PolarPro StrapMount

We bought this strap mount as it was multipurpose and could be used on a backpack, scuba BCD, life vest, Camelback etc. Additionally, the quick release plate lets you quickly remove the camera.

Another great device that we haven’t quite worked out how to use.

GoPro Casey Carrying Case

We purchased the Casey which is an amazing carry case.  It is weather resistant and in a semi rigid shell.  The case includes a custom compartment which means that I ended up storing DSLR lenses in it as well as Go Pro accessories.

It does keep all your GoPro pieces in one place, but on the negative side uses quite a lot of space in the bags, especially alongside the Dome Port.

However, most of the time I just pop the GoPro, attached to its  GoPro The Handler Floating Hand Grip into an old sock and pop it at the bottom of my backpack or bag.  The actual case is too big, with too much unnecessary stuff

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Should You Consider Getting a GoPro For Travel With Kids

We have personally found that the camera doesn’t work that well in low light, and that overall there is just too much technology in our travel bag!  This was the experience of other families too:

“We find the batteries don’t last all that long. However the footage is amazing. We have the Hero4, it heat up in the waterproof casing so hope to get a newer model soon. Too much tech”  our3kidsvtheworld

“We don’t have a GoPro but do have a similar model.  We really need to start using it!”  travelwiththetremains

“We love using my GoPro when we travel, but I’m terrible at doing anything with all the footage afterwards! I still haven’t even looked at any of the footage I filmed in Utah last Christmas!  Also, I don’t like the whole fish eye effect though as it warps buildings too much.  I have one of the simpler ones without a screen but I’m thinking of upgrading as we so often get it out of synch and end up with footage of the inside of my bag instead of footage of the fun adventures we’re having!”  littlehiccups

Conclusion On GoPro Benefits For Travel

The GoPro, in the right hands seems, to take some amazing photos!  In a non tech savvy mumma’s hands, with not a load of time to play, then it is not so amazing.  Without time to learn and practice then I haven’t had time to use its functionality.

When on holiday we need to make an active decision about which tech we should take.  Is the destination appropriate for drone or more action oriented,  or would it lend itself to great photos with our Canon 6D.  Obviously if there is underwater action involved, the GoPro is a no-brainer.

However, in making decisions like these it changes our family holiday into something a little less spontaneous and this was something less enjoyable about our 2017 trips.  In 2018, our year of scaling back and simplicity, I tend to just take the iPhone 7 Plus so I can whip it out and snap a picture while capturing the moments that make childhood so special.  And – gasp – often I leave the phone in the car so we can be fully present in the moment.



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7 comments

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  • Such a handy read. I’ve got a GoPro Hero5 and don’t use it enough. Mainly because of the impatience of the little people – they are only up for one round of photos and video. I usually use my iPhone 7 for rushed pictures and video. We did get the GoPro out for some shots at the beach and in the pool on our last holiday though. I’m yet to edit them and see the full results! I might look into the GoPro holder for smoother footage #fearlessfamtrav

    • Yes that is it. Little ones can only be photographed for pretty limited times… and not with a mother saying “wait, i have to figure out these settings!” So it hasn’t worked particularly well for us yet.

  • I’ve been ummming and ahhhhing about a GoPro for too long. I tried the Akaso on our trip to Iceland, thinking it was a good alternative, but I was really disappointed with the photos (video fine). But maybe that’s because I haven’t taken the time to learn the functionality. Maybe one day I’ll treat myself to a GoPro….. #fearlessfamtrav

    • And that’s the whole thing, as a parent with kids… who has time to learn functionality. At least that is my take home message. (I hope!)

  • We love our GoPro although probably don’t use it enough! It comes into its own in/on water, when we’re hiking or when we go skiing. Thanks so much for joining #fearlessfamtrav this time around.