I had a problem with a compact flash memory card last month while on the Great Rivers cruise. Fortunately, I had purchased a SanDisk card which included a free one-year subscription to RescuePro recovery software. When I returned home, I downloaded RescuePro and recovered all but one of my pictures. You will find this software at:
Also fortunately, I had backed up my pictures each day on my netbook and discovered the problem when backing up the third day. Had the recovery software not worked, I would have lost the third day's pictures, but no more.
Prior to taking a netbook on trips, I used a handy product from Wolverine Data for backup. Although they now offer an improved model from the one I used, you can find their product at:
Some people back up their pictures by uploading on the Internet to a web site. This works IF you have regular access to the Internet, the bandwidth to support large picture files, and the time required to upload the files.
Backing up your pictures can only take a few minutes at the end of each day, especially if you have your own hardware device. You have a lifetime of memories invested in your trip and its pictures. It's best to preserve them by backing them up.