We all want to be great photographers and the age of digital photos has made that much easier. Here are some tips from my friend Grace that can help make all of our photography better. Here’s one thing I could do- get a new camera instead of taking pictures with my phone.
Since my camera got crushed, it’s been phone only. Believe it or not I used to win some photography contests…maybe someday.
Photos are a wonderful way to share travel experiences with the world. Here are a few ideas to help you capture travel memories you will treasure forever.
Make sure your digital camera is in good working order before you go, and keep it in a water- and shock-resistant case. Bring two sets of rechargeable batteries and don’t forget the charger and etceteras. Make sure your camera has enough memory. Packing an extra memory card is wise, as there is nothing worse than running out of memory just when they start to kill the chickens for some barbaric ritual.
Don’t lower the resolution. Buy an extra memory card or you will regret this later as your photos will be more sucky. Set your camera at its highest quality JPEG setting and get more memory if you have to. You will appreciate this when you’re viewing and printing your photos later.
Take tons of pictures
You can always erase the photos you don’t want. Take pictures of everything and try to focus on some of the details such as an attractive person or a colorful display, not just panoramic scenes and tourist sites. Let your pictures tell a story by creating a visual diary of your trip. Include street scenes, interesting signs, people you see along the way. For variety take both vertical and horizontal pictures. Just take lots of photos and you are more likely to find ones you like. You might even get lucky and take a great one.
Get up close and personal.
This is especially true with people. Get close enough so you can see the expressions their faces – then get closer.Shoot for the hips and up in your zooms – unless your shooting bottoms. Pictures are often more interesting when you can catch people at candid, un-posed moments. For posed photos, try to incorporate some of the background into your shot.Don’t center the subject.
Use your Flash
In bright sun, set your camera’s “fill” or “forced” flash particularly when photographing people. Brilliant sunlight often makes people’s faces look harsh, casting dark shadows under the eyes and accentuating wrinkles. The daytime fill-in flash will soften the lighting and make the images more flattering. Your family and friends in the photos will thank you!
Don’t be afraid to Edit
When you get home edit, crop and enhance your favorites using photo editing software. Turn some of your color photos into black and white or sepia tones and then upload all your images to get prints.
If you want to start looking for another way to travel and work for the man, there are options available for you. And many of them involve working for a man (or woman) that might just be very cool and good to you.
With so many people out of work, looking for work, or between jobs there are plenty of folks right now that have the greatest opportunity they will ever have to really live their lives and do something.
Maybe now is the right time to spend a few months or even years living and working overseas. In fact, living and working in another country is the best way to really learn about different cultures. You end up working with and living among people instead of just seeing them from a tour bus.
Most of these jobs won’t make you wealthy, they won’t pay enough to pay back your student loans, but they just might make your life feel fulfilling, make your soul sing, and give you a bigger and better world view.
It’s not easy to find work overseas, but you can do it and now might be the best time you will ever have to see what it’s really like to live in a foreign culture. World travel is calling…will you answer the phone?
Do you have any idea how many people half a billion are? That’s 500 million and that is the number of Chinese who are studying English right now. Most of them don’t have native speaking teachers but they want them. The same goes for Indonesia, Spain, Morocco, Germany, and just about every other non-English speaking country in the world.
What do you need? Usually you need at least a bachelors degree. For many companies that is enough and they will pay for your housing, visa, and even your flight to and from their countries. To get an idea of the jobs available have a look at ESLcafe.com. I’ve been doing this in Morocco for nearly a year and you can do it too. In fact, I just might do it again somewhere else in the near future. Teaching is a total joy.Find out more by clicking on the i to i icon below.
Those wanting to find service jobs can. If you want to go about things the legal way with a work permit and visa you should look into companies such as BUNAC (British Universities North America Club) and CIEE (just google them) which will assist for you for around $300 to work in Australia, the UK, New Zealand, Canada or Ireland. You can work in restaurants, pick fruit, or do just about anything your heart desires.
Of course if you want to do it the good old fashioned way, just get a one way ticket and take a kick ass resume with you. It’s not hard to find employers that will hire you illegally. Of course you probably can’t expect a great salary this way either.
And then there are the guiding jobs, cruise ship jobs, sales jobs, and airline jobs which don’t usually pay as well as sedentary jobs in your home country, but pay off with the chance to spend significant amounts of time in foreign climes.
So, if you want a job or you want to leave your country, don’t wait. Start looking now.
I know that a lot of people don’t travel because of the worries associated with it. Travel can be stressful and the media doesn’t help much by telling us about every travel disaster, terrorist event, or travel nightmare. The truth is that it doesn’t matter if you are heading to Pompano Beach, Houston, or Tahiti because the dangers are all about the same. Of course, if you are heading somewhere and really worried about it, you can always invest in some travel insurance.
Whether you are planning an extended stay or visiting tropical island beach hotels, the following tips will take some of the worry out of your vacations, cruises, or outdoor adventures.
International travel has always appealed to students because students are those most likely to enjoy obstacles and dangers. Being out of your familiar environment is something that can cause confusion and misunderstandings so the first tip for worry warts is about paperwork.
Worry Free Travel Tip #1 : Have your papers!
I’m not talking about your New York Times here, I’m talking about documentation. I was once asked about my birth certificate when I was getting a car hire in London. So, this is about more than just your passport. Your passport is important too. Make sure it is still valid well before you leave. Make sure it still has blank pages which can be stamped. Ensure that you have the proper visas or can get the visa upon arrival.
Here are the list of documents I recommend you travel with:
* Passport – walid with blank pages
* Country Visa
* Copy of Birth Certificate
* Student ID
* Driver’s License
* Credit Cards
* Copy #1 of all the above in your luggage
* Copy #2 of all the above hidden in a coat or pants pocket or inside a different bag
* 10 passport sized photos
Two copies? Yes. You don’t want to worry right? Having copies makes a huge difference if you lose something or if you run into problems. The photos will come in handy if you have to do anything relating to consulates or embassies. In regards to photocopies of your credit cards, I recommend you blank out some of the numbers on your copies and just remember which number is blanked out like ’23’.
Worry Free Travel Tip #2 : Money without Stress
If money makes you crazy with worry, here is what you can do. Change a little bit of money before you leave your home country for the local currency. You’ll get the worst rate at home most likely, so I wouldn’t change a huge amount. I would say about $200 or the equivalent is enough. This is just in case you can’t find an ATM when you get there. In addition, put $100 in USD, Euro, or Pounds in a couple different spots for emergencies, these are safe currencies that you can use just about anywhere in the world.
Don’t count on your ATM working or a currency exchange being open and available when you arrive. Sometimes they aren’t.This can be especially true when you fly into airports serviced by cheap flights. Now you don’t have to worry about it. Make sure you know your PIN numbers by heart. There’s little that’s worse than having your card shut down because you used the wrong pin. It’s a good idea to have someone who you trust have your pin #s and copies of your information too.
In terms of exchange, ATMs often offer the most competitive rates. My recommendation is to forget about traveler’s checks. You lose on both ends with them and often you can’t use them in restaurants, cheap hotels, or guest houses.
Worry Free Travel Tip #3 : Dealing with Taxi Drivers
It’s true that in many cities, taxi drivers are just waiting to rip you off. This isn’t just true in third world countries but also in cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Orlando too.
Use the internet before you leave home to see how much a trip from the airport should cost. Often driver’s won’t use the meter for set trips and you need to know what the cost should be. Look out for ‘special discounts’ and make sure you have local currency because they usually won’t accept foreign cash, credit cards, or traveler’s checks and if they do, they usually will gouge you on the rate. If they offer to take you around on your first day for a small tour, take their card or number and feign interest since if they think you are going to be coming back, it is unlikely that they will try to gouge you. Know where you are going to stay or pretend you know, taking taxi recommendations for hotels is usually a way for them to make a few bucks at your expense.
Worry Free Travel Tip #4 : World Travel with Kids
If you are going to bring your children bring their birth certificates. If you are traveling in some Arab countries, single women traveling with children need written permission from the children’s father and there are other odd regulations that you should know about before embarking upon your journey. Airlines often have special promotions for kids that are worth finding out about.
Worry Free Travel Tip #5 : Lost Bags
There are a million travel nightmare stories about lost bags. If you pack everything you need in your checked bag you are asking for it. Have a change of clothes, your trip information, and essentials like glasses or medications in your carry on.
Most airlines will provide you with a small amount of money if they misplace your bags and most bags are found within 24 hours. Make sure that you have information about your rental cars, vacation packages, and hotel rooms with you and don’t trust that your checked bag will make it. It usually does, but why create an extra chance for yourself to worry?
For summer travel remember that you can’t carry big containers of sunscreen in your carry on. If you must bring it with you, buy a small bottle that conforms to airline regulations.
Worry Free Travel Tip #6 : Your Emergency Paper or Travel Book
While it would be nice to be able to memorize all the essential information about your vacations, this usually isn’t very practical. This is especially true for extended travel.
Create a piece of paper or small notebook with information about your hotel rooms, rental car, airline confirmation numbers, and any addresses or phone numbers you may need such as those of local institutes you plan to visit.
I call this my travel book and it is essential that it fits in your pocket. It’s also a good idea to have emergency phone numbers, consulate information, and maybe even your passwords or pin numbers inside. The way to do this is to write something that contains your passwords, looks natural, and doesn’t scream out password. Don’t write: “UBC Pin = 6767” or “Citibank Password = HungryMonkey 101” instead write something like
“6767 South Vegas Street, New York, NY” or “Places to eat in Florida – The Hungry Monkey on Route 101”, you’ll know what the pin or password is but it’s very unlikely any thieves would be able to figure it out.
It’s important to include the contact information for your banks and credit cards and the number to call if they get lost or stolen. Keep this piece of paper or travel book on you at all times.
Now, stop worrying and start enjoying your travels.
One of the biggest impediments to world travel is your stuff. Not just your physical stuff, but your mental stuff too. It’s hard to get rid of the baggage you’ve spent your life accumulating. One of the reasons I’ve been able to see as much as I have is that I’ve gone through the painful process of saying goodbye to people, things, and ideas…it’s never easy and if I were better at it, I would have seen much more than I have.
World Travel for Almost Nothing Tip #6: Leave Your Crap Behind You
We all like the physical comforts that a sedentary life brings us. The nice lazy boy (yeah, I miss mine), the kitchen gadgets, the easy way we can lounge around the house, and most of all the comfort of routine.
Routine is the biggest killer of adventures. It’s comfortable, we’re used to it, and even if it isn’t good for us, we hang onto it. I say that as I realize I’ve been smoking for nearly 25 years and refuse to think of how much that has cost me in terms of money and health. Or how much it will.
Yes Virginia, habits are nothing more than comfortable routine. It’s hard to leave your city, it’s hard to put yourself in a new environment, it’s hard to leave the friendships and places you are used to. But if you want to see the world for almost nothing, that is what you have to do.
Most of the time people think of travel in terms of leaving home and then coming back home. Well, a home costs you whether you are there or not. Same goes for a car, electricity, and all the other physical things you own. You have to keep them somewhere, right?
The bulk of my things are sitting in six small boxes in my brother’s garage. When I say small, I mean you could put them all in the front seat of a compact car. These are the things I’ve temporarily let go of with the knowledge that it might be permanent. I’ve also managed to somehow get a house full of things in Morocco, but I’ve very little attachment to any of them this time. My wife doesn’t count as a thing by the way, she isn’t a possession. 🙂 Besides, she’s small enough to fit in that front seat with the boxes…
Anyway, the point is that if you want to travel for almost nothing you need to get rid of that stuff or find a place where it will sit and not inconvenience anyone while you explore the world. One nice thing about traveling is that you don’t have to pay any of those expenses unless you hold on to them.
The truth is that traveling takes less money than being sedentary. As you travel you don’t need to pay those bills, you don’t need to have a job, and you don’t need to worry about what the Jones’ will think.
That also gives you the chance to let go of some of the harder possessions. Obsessions and habits need to hit the garbage can. To Truly find the joy of travel, you need to walk away from it all and experience what comes at you with your whole mind, body, and spirit.
If you have to plan everything six months in advance and you can’t live in the moment and ‘carpe diem’ than you might as well book that cruise vacation or the all inclusive package and spend the next six months working to pay for it.
The only way to really travel for almost nothing is to have almost nothing.
If you enjoyed this series you should buy my books, buy things using the affiliate links on the site, or donate a couple of bucks towards my future travels and the upkeep of this site.
Being able to do something useful makes all the difference in the world when you want to travel the world for free or for almost nothing.
The fact that I can write, edit, work on computers, fix cars, and wash dishes means that I can go just about anywhere and trade my skills for whatever I need.
World Travel for Almost Nothing Tip #5:
Make yourself Useful.
Whether you cook, clean, or practice medicine the skills you’ve worked hard to develop will help you to be welcome wherever you go. If you are a carpenter or a mechanic, you can probably find everything you need in return for your skills. If you’re good at eating chips and playing World of Warcraft, well, it might be harder to find someone who is willing to trade food or lodging for those skills…but in this world, anything is possible.
In fact, lots of people opt to take actual jobs that involve travel. Working on cruise ships, airlines, tour guiding, and many more jobs actually pay you to travel…that’s almost better than free.
The key to this is that it takes time. You can’t step off the plane and simply say, here I am! You have to talk with people, you have to interact, you have to let people know that you have something to offer. So if you want to get that free vacation rental in Bermuda for three days, you better work your ass off figuring out who you know has connections there or using the internet to network virtually.
Another skill that has really worked in my benefit is being a teacher and a Native English Speaker. You can usually find someone who wants to trade what you need for language lessons.
Couchsurfing likes to remind people that it’s not a dating site, but in fact, it is a place where I’ve met many of my closest friends and the woman I married.
One of the keys to mastering the art of world travel on almost nothing is learning to trust strangers and let them become friends.
World Travel on Almost Nothing Tip #4: Make strangers into friends.
One of the things that I love about Couchsurfing.com is that it relies on opening your heart and mind to the hospitality of strangers. Contrary to popular belief, most people on the planet are good and want to help you in this life. If you doubt that, look inside yourself and I’m sure you will see it is true.
I wrote a thesis about fans of the TV show LOST. One of the amazing things I found was that when fans traveled to Hawaii they often found places to stay, free guided tours, and new friends waiting for them. In that case, what brought these people together was a love of a TV show. For the world traveler, you are more likely to come together because of a love of travel.
I’ve made friends just about everywhere I’ve been and in the process I’ve managed to avoid paying for hotels, meals, and sometimes even transportation. I’m not saying you should be mercenary about seeking out and using people, I’m saying that when you open your arms to the world, you often get a hug in return.
While I’ve never been a WWOOFer or used HospitalityClub.com, I certainly have known plenty of people who have. These sorts of communities thrive on the fact that people are in general kind and good natured. If you don’t believe that, then you better keep paying for hotel rooms and guided city tours.
Here are a few easy world travel tips that will make your adventures more fulfilling, cheaper, and more like what you’ve always imagined travel should be.
1. Smile at the world and the world will smile back at you. Seriously, far too many people don’t smile. A smile invites people to interact with you.
2. Let people help you. I know, you want to be a rugged traveler that doesn’t need anyone. The truth is though that one way human beings build relationships is through helping each other. Let someone help you find a place, accept the offer of a stranger, ask for help when you need it.
3. Help other people. Don’t expect anything in return but when you see someone drop something, help them pick it up. If you find a wallet, make it a quest to find the owner and return it. Help an old lady up some stairs.
4. Be the first to visit a place. I know, it sounds impossible but the truth is that in every town there are little cafes that only the locals know. In every country there are creeks or cities where tourists have never been. In the entire world, there are places that you’ve never heard of. Make these your mission.
5. Fear is your friend. When you feel fear it is your body’s way of giving you a warning. Pay attention to it. Know what it is. Learn to count backwards from three and ask yourself if you need to be afraid of this or not. Overcoming your fear is a massive rush. Listening to your fear and not getting killed is an even better rush.
6. Don’t be rigid. Part of the joy of travel is that it allows us to grow and become something different than we have always been. Open yourself up to new ideas. If you automatically say no, you will certainly miss something.
7. Remember to ask question about the people you are talking with. It’s far too easy to start talking about yourself. We are all our own favorite subject. People you meet will ask you questions. Answer them, but be brief and don’t forget to ask them about themselves. They are also their own favorite thing to talk about.
Okay, seven isn’t enough…here is an 8th tip!
8. READ! If you are traveling and you don’t like to read, you will have a less wonderful time than those that do. When you are traveling the world, you will have times when you have to spend hours waiting for something. A book can make that time a joy. Why not try my latest book? Vagabonds: Sometimes Getting Lost is the Point.
Plus, if you read about the places you are going or have been, you will find all of your travel more fulfilling.
Sure, you can read the guidebook, but there isn’t much better than reading a story about a bar in Tangier and then walking into the place two days later.
Fiction, biography, travel memoirs, or holy books like the Q’uran (if you are visiting a Muslim country). All of them will give you insight into the places you are visiting.