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Travel Photography Tip #5: Use a Tripod

When trying to take a great travel picture, using a tripod stabilizes your camera and keeps it in one position so your camera has the time to process the image.

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Taking that perfect picture to symbolize your trip to a far-off land and it comes out shaky or out of focus. What the heck? OK, what went wrong? Most likely the camera wasn’t still and the photo came out blurry. Best and easiest solution… use a tripod. Its simple really, the tripod stabilizes your camera and keeps it in one position so your camera has the time to process the image.

Cameras have shutter speeds, which is the time it takes to actually take a picture. The slower the camera’s shutter speed, the more dynamic the images are. These shutter speeds go down as the camera’s price tag rises. Meaning, more expensive cameras generally have a wider range of shutter speeds, so what does this mean? Unless you plan on breaking the bank on a 4-5 thousand dollar piece of equipment, you may need a tripod to keep your camera stable while you take pictures. Slower shutter speeds mean the camera takes longer to process the image so the camera must be held extremely still. This is where a tripod really comes in handy.

Tripods are key to taking outstanding photos with high definition details that will really turn heads. Using a tripod will also take away any handheld camera shake that often occurs with amateur photography. Have you ever noticed when taking pictures that you have it focused perfectly in the viewfinder but the image comes out blurry? That’s because it was human error. Holding a camera makes it subject to any shaking, movement or mistake made by the operator.   Try using a travel tripod, usually lightweight and easily collapsible, these are excellent buys and very affordable. You can purchase a pretty good quality one for around $40-75 USD and they fold up to around the size of an electric razor.

Using a tripod will make pictures of action look more dynamic as well. When taking pictures of harder to capture subjects like waterfalls, outer space and in low light situations a tripod is crucial to keeping it in focus. When the camera needs the extra time to process an image it must be held completely still and this is where user error comes into play.

Tripods also allow the user to fiddle around with the more advanced camera options like different modes and shutter speeds.   These allow for more dynamic results and cool effects that make your pictures look so cool. Haven’t you ever looked at a photo and wondered how the heck the photographer made it look so cool? Chances are they used a slow shutter speed and a manual picture mode so they could adjust levels until they found something unique. That’s what photography is all about, trial and error until you figure it out.

So have fun out there and try new things, experiment and luckily with digital cameras, you can erase the bad ones and keep the good ones.

In the grand scheme of things you don’t necessarily NEED a tripod but if you plan on taking pictures of landscapes, sunsets, and water, a tripod is needed.

 

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Guides

Save Big Bucks on Airline Tickets with these Tips

Let’s look at ways you can definitely save money off airfare and have the vacation of your dreams.

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Airline tickets have become so expensive that it’s beginning to limit where many of us can travel. Of course you can find cheap flights if you search hard enough or get lucky, but we can’t all gamble on that. Let’s look at ways you can definitely save money off airfare and have the vacation of your dreams.

Book early

This is the tried and true method to saving big bucks on airfare and will always be the way. Book early and you will be happy in the wallet region. It’s a fact that airlines like their planes booked early so they don’t have empty flights. It’s an advantage to both parties to book early. The airlines like it for obvious reasons and you like it because the rates are so affordable.

Its best practice to book at least 2 months in advance for domestic and 3-4 months for international travel. According to Airlines Reporting Corporation passengers on average saved up to 20 percent by booking 2 months in advance. That’s a nice chunk of change. They also reported a staggering 28 percent savings when booking international flights with at least 24 weeks advance notice.

Obviously we all can’t book that early, who are we…planners?

For the rest of us who aren’t super planners and like to live by the seat of our pants, here are some other saving options.  

 

Off-peak and cheap days

First you have to figure out when exactly the cheapest days to fly are and which times a year are cheapest.

Simple, search for your flight but check the entire month you want to travel, this will show you the price highs and lows.

On average Tuesday, Wednesdays and Saturdays are cheapest days of the weak to fly. The times of the month vary depending on time of year and season.

Its good to travel during the shoulder seasons, these are the times in between the high and low seasons. So early spring and late fall are great and cheaper times to fly.

 

Know the baggage rules

Saving bucks on your baggage is crucial to flying for cheap. A select few airlines will allow one or two checked bags for free but most charge for all bags. Some “discount” airlines actually charge for carry on bags as well. These “discount” carriers usually end up being the same price as other airlines after all the hidden fees.

Make sure your checked bag isn’t over the allowed weight restrictions, because that can add a hefty penalty fee. Many times a heavy bag fee can be up to $675 per bag, so check before you leave home or leave some extra room I your carry on in case you have to repack at the airport.

 

Fare alerts

Sign up for fare alerts form a certain airline or ticketing service like Kayak.com. These fare alerts may seem like an annoyance but in reality they can save you major bucks. Once you buy the tickets at an awesome price make sure you end the alert or you will continue to receive emails on a loop forever!

 

Off airports

You favorite airport is awesome, it’s close and convenient to get to, that’s why it’s usually more expensive to fly out of. Instead choose a secondary airport, maybe one that is farther out or smaller, often these have great deals on flights.

 

Hopefully you save some money on your flights so you can do many more fun activities on your upcoming vacation. Send pictures and let us know how much fun you had.

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Travel

3 Tips for Using an Online Travel Agent

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Surprise expenses, less than sanitary hotel rooms, and tourist destinations that are ripoffs – sure travel can be fun, exciting, and even rewarding, but everyone has their travel horror stories

Fortunately, you can mitigate your risk of a nightmare vacation by using an online travel agent. They can take the headache out of trip planning, and help you find the best place to travel that meets your requirements for both budget and enjoyment. 

But before you hire just anyone from a pool of online travel agents, here are 3 tips you need to know. 

1. Look For Transparent Pricing

No one likes hidden fees. It happens enough with travel transportation. Hidden baggage fees and cancelation fees can eat into your travel budget. 

The last thing you want is more hidden fees from your travel agent. Always read the fine print and make sure the advertised price is the final price and includes no hidden fees or surprise taxes. 

Booking through a travel agent won’t usually cost you more. Some agents may charge a nominal planning fee, but the bulk of their income comes from commissions paid by the vendors. 

As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” Look behind the initial price and see what unique value a travel agent can bring.

2. Check Their Credentials

One of the best ways you can ensure you find a good agent is by checking their credentials. Don’t go solely by recommendations from your friends and family. While recommendations can certainly be helpful, you also want to find an accredited agent. 

There are a few certifications you can look for. The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) and The Travel Institue both certify travel professionals, helping keep out the riff-raff. 

3. Use A Specialist

Once you decide on a location you would like to visit, try to find a specialist for your destination.

A travel agent will know the ideal things to do for your chosen destination. This is especially true for agents who specialize in a specific area or niche market. 

Agents often have package deals too, so you can get your airfare and hotel booking in one trip. If you’re needing a car, an agent can help you rent one too. If you’re traveling as part of a group, such as a large family or a corporation, an online agent can also help you get group discounts to your destination.

And if you want something a little different and off the beaten path, a knowledgeable agent can help you with that. Not everything is planes, trains, and automobiles. Maybe you want to bike from one destination to another, hike an obscure trail, or kayak from one destination to another. 

Basically, an agent can serve as your all-in-one, one-stop shop for your vacation destination. 

A Good Online Travel Agent Is Invaluable

A good online travel agent is trustworthy, reliable, and provides good value. By following these tips you can find the right agent to help with your travel planning.

If you’re ready to plan your next trip but aren’t sure where to go, check out the Destinations section on our site to find the best places to travel. Don’t let your 2022 travel plans be boring!

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Destinations

Most Beautiful Spring Vacation Destinations in the US

Are you looking to plan a spring break destination but wanted to stay away from the Frat boy party? Not everyone wants to wake up hungover with permanent marker drawn all over their faces and for those proud people, we have some beautiful places they can visit.   For those of us trying to enjoy the wonders of our country without being blackout drunk, search no more. Here are six awesome choices for travelers looking for beauty instead of the party. Check out the most beautiful destinations in America this spring.

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Are you looking to plan a spring break destination but wanted to stay away from the Frat boy party? Not everyone wants to wake up hungover with permanent marker drawn all over their faces and for those proud people, we have some beautiful places they can visit.   For those of us trying to enjoy the wonders of our country without being blackout drunk, search no more. Here are six awesome choices for travelers looking for beauty instead of the party. Check out the most beautiful destinations in America this spring.

 

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston South Carolina is a great place to start any list of cute springtime cities. The cobblestone streets bring a real uniqueness to the city. You’ll feel like you stepped back in time with the vintage restored homes and moss covered trees. It feels like walking through a storybook here, you’ll fall in love for sure.

 

Ennis, Texas

This small Texas town is home to the most outstanding collection of wildflowers West of the Mississippi. The prairie here in spring erupts with purple and blue wildflowers and is truly remarkable. The small town is very open to tourism and actually keeps track of where the best flowers are, so check before you go.

 

The Grand Canyon

Springtime in the Canyon is the perfect time. The weather is great, not too cold and not too hot, just right for hiking and exploring. Officially the offseason or shoulder season, the Grand anyone is quiet this time of year. The lines are manageable and the parking lots are half empty. Take a donkey tour to the bottom or make a weekend of it and camp out near the flowing Colorado River. The hidden waterfall of the Grand Canyon is flowing super heavy now and the beautiful pool underneath is waiting to be swum in.

 

Holland, Michigan

The tulip fields of Holland Michigan are spectacular and so wonderfully majestic. If the views here don’t bring a tear to your eye then you aren’t truly appreciating the beauty. Each May, millions of tulips come into full bloom here and the annual Tulip Time Festival is raging. The town’s Dutch heritage isn’t lost as its architecture shines, with windmills and all.

 

Savannah, Georgia

Enjoy the Deep South before the heat and humidity of summer take over. Savannah is glorious during the springtime and tourists should play attention. The cute little city has plenty of Spanish moss and bright azaleas to make it so picturesque. The riverfront area is alive with tall ships and modern yachts cruising by.

 

Washington, DC

Every spring our Nation’s capital is covered in beautiful pink flowers as the Cherry Blossom trees bloom. Originally given to America as a gift from Japan, the Cherry Blossoms are planted all around the National Mall, which has all our monuments. The National Cherry Blossom festival happens the first weekend of bloom for these trees and is a spectacle to be seen. The city is alive with tourists and fun events for the entire family. Highlights include the cherry blossom parade and kite festival.

 

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