Bring a ready camera
I usually bring my camera to a specialist to have it cleaned and maintained once per year or whenever I think it is necessary. This includes the cleaning of the sensor. Sometimes I check for new firmware on the web. I never update the day before I go on a trip – I am an IT guy and I think this is dangerous. Honestly, if something happens I have enough time to have it fixed. You know Mr. Murphy.
Bring the right lenses
A wide angle lens is needed for land and cityscape photography. If I was planning a trip to picture animals, a tele zoom is wanted. For portrait, I bring a fixed focal length lens with a low F-Stop (e.g. 35mm F1.4).
Bring good Equipment
To take photos (during my favorite time of the day) I bring a tripod. I would not be able to hold still and all my photos would be blurry… A tripod needs to be solid. Do never buy cheap equipment, the cheaper a tripod is, the less quality you get.
Bring more Equipment
I am talking about things that I need indirectly to take a photo: A backup system for the photos. I do not want to lose my photos by the end of the trip that would be the worst thing that can happen. For this reason, I either bring a laptop or a portable hard drive with an SD slot for automatic backup. At the end of my trip I have at least two locations where I saved my photos.
More things to think about
Power-Plug-Converters are helpful to load the camera after the day spend shooting pictures. I usually bring one Power-Plug-Converter and attach this to a power strip so I do not need to change anything but the power plug at the power strip.
The colder it gets, the faster the battery dies. Cold regions equals more batteries.
The longer the trip is going to be, the more memory cards are required. On my last trip to Asia (3 weeks) I used 2.5 64GB SD cards. I took around 4000 photos. The size of the photos to be stored are different form camera to camera.
Most of the airlines do not allow the tripod in the carry on item. My usual scenario is to have the tripod check in and all the rest in the carry on.
Batteries are not allowed to be checked in anymore!