Posts filed under ‘Travel Tips’
My travel tip for you this Tuesday: if you’re going on a trip of a lifetime (in my opinion all trips are trips of a lifetime, but that’s another topic) and you love capturing your memories in photographs, you should absolutely consider taking a photography class. Last night I took the last of my basic DSLR photography classes at Wake Tech. I learned a lot about photography and even some about Photoshop.
For the last class, we were each supposed to bring in 24 pictures that we’ve taken, preferably while we were in the class but we could bring in older pics since we didn’t get to do the field trips due to cold weather. I was really proud of my pictures, and I’d like to share a few this you.
Here’s the Sri Venkateswara Temple (Cary, North Carolina) – first with polarizing filter, then using silly fish eye adapter:
Here are some moon pictures taken in Morrisville using various white balance settings to make it more interesting: (more…)
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Hope your holiday flights go smoothly and without delay!
This Thursday, I have to share with you a very very important lesson – please PLEASE! figure out how to reset your camera to factory settings if you ever let your friends mess with your camera settings. Sadly, I learned this lesson the hard way.
My story: This summer, a couple different friends of mine took pictures with my DSLR. They like to play with the settings, so they did so. In September, I happily set off to see and photograph Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Gydnia/Malbork Castle, and Oslo. I carefully took thousands of photos, expecting them to look as nice as the ones I took on our trip to Europe in May. When I returned home, I eagerly checked out my pictures… and cried. They’re all blurry! Then I looked up how to reset my camera and went on to take some nice pictures on my JetBlue trip.
Oh, and no, I don’t blame my friends. I can’t; it’s not their fault I don’t know how to properly use my own camera. I just hope this tip saves you from making the same mistake. No, I can’t post my blurry pics; they still make me cry.
TTT: Travel Tip Tuesday/Thursday
As my regular readers are aware, I returned just one week ago from using my All You Can Jet pass on JetBlue. I flew 12 legs (more flights than that – probably close to 20) over the course of 23 days. I think I’m now a pretty good authority on flying JetBlue. Of all these flights, I received excellent service on all but one flight. All but one of the flights were either on time or early, and the pilot on the one that was late called ahead to make sure those of us on another flight would make the connection. So their record on my watch is far superior to any other airline I’ve flown more than a couple times. Why else is JetBlue a great choice?
- There’s more leg room – really. It’s noticeably more than the other carriers.
- The leather seats are actually comfortable. The head portion doesn’t make your head jut forward, and the upright position isn’t actually leaning forward.
- The DirectTV at each seat is sooo nice. I caught lots of shows I normally watch; I just wish they had ABC.
- The snacks, which are unlimited, are actually pretty good. My favorites are the Doritos Munchies Mix and Chocobillys chocolate chunk cookies.
- Your first checked bag is free, which is definitely not standard these days.
I swear they are not paying me to post this – I really am a fan. If the price is comparable and the route is tolerable (the second part i’s kind of a big if since I can get direct flights to lots of places JetBlue flies that I visit so I wouldn’t have to go through JFK like flying JetBlue requires), I’ll be jetting with JetBlue. I recommend you do the same.
TTT: Travel Tip Thursday (Yes, I usually post my tips on Tuesday, but I’m still recovering from my trip!)
Traveling is like art in that it’s important to please yourself. You shouldn’t spend 20 minutes staring at the Mona Lisa if you’d rather spend that time seeing little known works by Monet. Who cares if the Mona Lisa is more well respected? It’s better to really enjoy your time than spend it on things you’re “supposed” to see. If you prefer Europe to Hawaii, then, for Heaven’s sake, please go to Europe! And don’t be ashamed if snorkeling in the Bahamas is more your speed than strolling the galleries at the Louvre; that’s completely acceptable. The reason the world is so interesting is because people have different interests, and you shouldn’t force yourself into spending your precious vacation time (and money!) on anything less than exactly what you want to do. Unless, of course, it’s what your wife wants to do. Happy travels!
TTT: Travel Tip Tuesday
Growing up, our parents told us not to talk to strangers. Well, I’m recommending that you throw that rule out the window, especially when you travel. The more you talk to folks, the more you’ll learn and experience. Plus sometimes strangers will help you out. For example, while I was at JFK yesterday morning, a JetBlue pilot gave me a cough drop. Isn’t that sweet?
TTT: Travel Tip Tuesday
My travel tip this Tuesday is that you should keep up with what’s going on in the world whether you’re planning a trip in the near future or even thinking about traveling. If you’d been planning to visit Mexico in early May this year, like we were, you’d have been horrified to fly into Cancun to visit Mayan ruins only to find out that they were closed and people were freaking out about dying from the swine flu. If you had the time and resources to use a JetBlue AllYouCanFly pass but didn’t hear about it until they were sold out, you’d really regret the missed opportunity. So if you like to travel, take the time to keep up with what’s going on. That said, don’t watch too much news or you’ll freak yourself out. I know I became obsessed with the reports of swine flu a few months ago.
TTT: Travel Tip Tuesday
I’ve read this tip before, but now I can personally verify the value of doing so. When my husband and I went to Europe in May, we rented a car for the week to drive around. We ended up getting a cool Mercedes C-class and were so excited to drive it.
It was super comfy and easy to drive. We’re very lucky that my husband is an excellent driver. He learned to drive on curvy backroads in western North Carolina, through construction areas on I-40, and in some traffic. This experience was great for our trip – he made it safely through the winding roads of the pass through the Alps from Germany into Austria and had no problem with construction along the autobahn or traffic in Prague.
Unfortunately he had a teeny little mishap in a parking deck in Innsbruck that resulted in a quarter-sized dent in the front bumper. Ack!!! We’d gotten insurance on the vehicle, but we’d still had a €1,000 deductible. The rental car company ended up spending almost all of that to fix that tiny little dent.
When we got home, I reminded my husband that we’d used our AmericanExpress card to pay for the car rental and that they have some sort of extra insurance that might help us recover the portion of the deductible we’d lost. He submitted the claim and waited… and followed up… And just a couple months after returning home, AmEx credited our account with what we’d lost. Isn’t that amazing?
Now keep in mind that credit cards won’t cover you everywhere and probably won’t cover every situation, but it is so nice to have that extra bit of insurance. Thanks, AmEx!
If you’re going on a cruise and have some extra luggage space once you’ve packed all those clothes and shoes, here are some other items you might consider including:
-Clothespins – for drying laundry on the line in the shower or to weigh down that overly affectionate shower curtain
-Power strip – one outlet is not enough for me since I usually need to charge more than one thing as well as the…
-Alarm clock – the cabins just don’t have them, and I really like to know what time it is in the middle of the night without having to pick up my iPhone
-Itch cream – you never know when a pesky bug bite is going to drive you crazy
-Water bottle – it’s so much cheaper to carry a water bottle around full of ship water instead of buying water everywhere
-Seasickness meds – obviously this isn’t necessary on every cruise or even for every person, but some people REALLY need these
-A general mini first aid type kit – pain meds, stomach meds, bandages, Neosporin, aloe gel, sunscreen
-An extra, empty bag for souvenirs
-Wine carriers if you plan to buy wine
-Something to make carrying your ship card easier (lanyard, wrist coil, etc.)
-Ziploc baggies – these can come in handy for all sorts of stuff, including carrying a cookie into port in case you get desperate
-Mini sewing kit – it would be awful for an important button to fall off and for you to be unable to fix it.
-Highlighter for the daily newsletters
-Mini Woolite for handwashing swimsuits, underwear, etc.
-Small umbrella because you never know when it’s going to rain
-Flashlight because you never know if the power on the ship will go out for a bit and you won’t be able to find your way out of your cabin and in to a public area
- Over the door organizer for your toiletries – though I’d skip this unless there are more than 2 people in the cabin or the people have a huge amount of toiletries
Are there any extras you like to take? I know some people like duct tape.
TTT: Travel Tip Tuesday
One thing I’ve discovered about traveling by looking back at my old photos is that I much prefer my pictures when I’ve taken the time to pack cute outfits. It’s completely possible to look good and still be comfortable. Here are some pics from our last Europe trip to show cute but comfortable outfits.
I actually wore this dress on the flight over – and then most of the day once we got there. Obviously it was super comfortable. I could kick off those flip flops, tuck my toes under my legs, and be as warm as if I had a light blanket. Sunglasses are a must, and I like having a simple headband to keep my hair from blowing into my face for pictures.
Layered solids are always a good bet. Bright colors show up really well against all kinds of backdrops, and softer colors look romantic. For packing light, it’s also really handy to be able to re-use the top layer on multiple days of your trip.
If you’re going somewhere that will provide a particularly spectacular backdrop for some nice pics (and, of course, assuming you WANT nice pics), take a special outfit. I love this red dress because it’s soft cotton, so it’s really comfortable. And it has pockets! The belt makes it look a little more pulled together. And those black flats? Sketchers – perfect for walking.
TTT: Travel Tip Tuesday