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Guides and tips for photographic adventure

PontaDoMundo

Collect Important Travel Documents, Cash, and Credit Cards

Start by collecting all of your important documents in a travel document organizer (this travel organizer holds a passport, ID, seven credit cards, coins, documents, a boarding pass, and a pen!). This will help ensure everything you need to get from one place to the next is all in one place. Think about including the following documents: Passport/visa(s) ;Personal ID, including a student ID card if you have one ;Frequent flyer card(s) and other loyalty program cards such as a hotel or hostel ;Cash and credit card(s) ;Health insurance cards/document(s) ;Travel insurance info ;Reservations and itineraries ;Hotel and/or tour contact information ;Transportation tickets (plane, train, bus, car, etc.) ;Emergency contacts and important addresses. It’s a good idea to double-check your passports and IDs aren’t expired. You’ll also want to inform your bank if you’re traveling abroad so they don’t assume fraudulent activity and freeze your card. You may also want to email yourself a copy of your passport, driver’s license, medical cards and itinerary, so if anything happens to them you’ll be able to access them online.

Prepare Your Personal Item Carry-On Bag

The next thing you’ll want to do is prepare your personal item carry-on bag with anything you’ll want with you on the flight. It’s always a good idea to make sure you have an outfit (or two) and a few essential toiletries in your personal item just in case your luggage is lost. If you’ll be traveling around to multiple destinations, make sure this bag has items to keep you cozy on any train, boat or bus rides. It's always nice to have a bag that's easy to access so you don't have to get in your main travel bag each time you need your eye mask. But remember, you’ll be carrying all of this, so keep it light. We recommend you consider using a small daypack or backpack as your personal item. Here are some good things to include: Mobile device and charger, iPad or e-reader and charger, Headphones (consider noise-reducing headphones if you're sensitive to sound), Camera and/or a video camera, memory card, and charger, Electrical converters and adapters, Travel Comfort, Entertainment, and Information, Travel pillow, blanket, eye mask, and ear plugs, Travel journal and pen, Books and magazines, Games, Guide books, travel guides, maps, language guides, etc. (if you will need any of these upon arrival at your destination, Hand sanitizer or wet wipes, Prescriptions in original packaging (you’ll want to make sure you have these in your carry-on bag just in case something were to happen to your checked luggage), Glasses and case

Choose Your Main Bag

Whatever you're planning, we recommend luggage that is versatile, lightweight and big enough to hold all your essentials. The most important decision you'll make as far as luggage is finding a piece that's versatile and can fit lots of gear while also being easy to carry. If you’ll be going through different types of terrain, or switching from airports to cobblestones, having a bag with the option to roll it or carry it like a backpack or duffel is handy.

Travel Photography Tips

Understanding the customs and traditions of a place is vital. For one thing, you want to be sure you act in a way that is not rude or offensive while you are there, and it's hard to know what's acceptable and what isn't with some knowledge. It can also help you understand things people do that at first encounter you might consider incomprehensible or even horrifying. When you arrive at your destination, be open and try to take note of the first impressions—write them down if you have to. (A notebook is an essential accessory for a travel photographer.) When you see a place for the first time from the plane window, or when you drive around a bend and there it is, or as the ship nears some distant island—how do you feel? Where do your eyes go first? What do you notice about the place right away? A smell? The heat or cold? Blistering sunlight? Mysterious fog? A particular building or vista? The way people move? Their dress? Whatever it is, remember it. First impressions are invaluable sparks to creative interpretation, and by definition are not repeatable. You've seen the place in pictures, you've read about it. Now you're there, and all your senses can partake. Get out there. The only way to discover the rhythm of life in a place, and so figure out what to shoot, is to experience it. Many places, particularly hot ones, are active very early in the morning and late in the afternoon but rather in a lull around midday. Get up early, stay out late. If you are on a tour that is scheduled to leave the hotel or ship at 9:00, get up well before dawn. Wander around before meeting up with your companions. If the tour goes back to the hotel or ship for lunch, don't go with them. Rather than take the bus back at the end of an afternoon tour, hang around until after sunset and then take a taxi. Use any spare time to get out and look for photographs. Besides availing yourself of more opportunities, time spent discovering the place will enrich your experience. Get lost. Wander down alleys. Sit in cafés and watch life pass by. Don't eat where the tourists do, but where you see locals. Just set off down a street and see where it leads. Look around the bends, over the rises. Get away from the crowd. I find that if I meander away from the tourists and tourist sites, away from what is too familiar and comfortable, it's much easier to adapt to the rhythm of a place, and to be more observant. Always have your camera with you and always keep your eyes open. Serendipity plays an enormously important role in travel photography. You never know what you are going to run into, and you have to be ready. Many times you will see what could be a good photograph but decide that the light is not right, or there are no people around, or too many—something that means you will have to come back later. But sometimes you get lucky. You happen to stumble upon a scene at just the right moment. If you forgot your camera, are out of film, or your digital card is full, if you have to fumble around getting the right lens on, the moment may be gone before you can recover. This is true whether you are doing street photography or visiting a natural or man-made site. Mountains, trees, monuments, and other static subjects are, of course, not going to go anywhere, but the ray of sunshine, the soaring eagle, or the embracing couple that add the needed element to your photograph are unlikely to hang around. Think of it as hunting—whenever you leave the confines of your camp, you should be ready and able to capture whatever pops up. Make time for photography. Like doing anything well, making good photographs requires a commitment of time and energy. One problem with much of modern travel is that the days are chockablock full of scheduled tours, events, and meals. Our trips are usually of limited time, and we naturally want to see as many sites as possible. The itineraries rarely leave room for serious photography. You have to make time. It may help to make photography a scheduled part of every day, so you know you have the time and won't be tempted to get lazy and say, "I'll do it tomorrow." It might rain tomorrow. Don't procrastinate. When traveling, you're likely to encounter all sorts of situations and subjects. This requires being a bit of a jack-of-all-trades—you need to be able to photograph portraits, landscapes, and everything in between. Above all, work the situations over. Never be satisfied with your first view of a place or the first frame you snap. It's always possible—and usually likely—that you can come up with something better. Why else would painters make sketches? Get closer, then get closer still. Try different angles, different lenses. Wait for the light, wait for the crowd, wait for a bird to land on the tree branch. Never be in a hurry to get somewhere else. Tell yourself that nothing is more important than getting the best you can get out of the situation you are in. Once you've exhausted every possibility you can think of, you can start working on the next one. - By Robert Caputo, From Photography Field Guide: Travel
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Frequently Asked Questions

Best Packing List

Pants, shorts, dresses and/or skirts Shirts, including one that would be nice for an evening event Sweatshirts or jackets Underclothes, socks, nylons Pajamas Work out clothes Shoes: dress shoes, workout shoes, informal shoes Swim suit and cover up (and if necessary, towel and goggles) Accessories: scarves, hats, gloves, jewelry and watch Plastic bag for dirty clothes

If International Travel

Exchange money Double check passport up to date & visa OK Tell credit card company that I will be abroad Cell phone, calling card rates Access code for the country Give contact info to parents and roommates Go to travel clinic for immunizations, medicine and food precautions Ask about local customs in terms of acceptable/unacceptable dress and activities Ask about converters for electronics-voltage and/or plugs Buy travel insurance & emergency medical insurance Check that your carry-on items are allowed in each airport where you need to take a flight. (Restrictions can be different for different countries.)

Tips for Healthy

Avoid unhealthy-looking restaurants. Meat should be well cooked (unless, of course, you’re eating sushi, carpaccio, etc.) and, in some places, avoided altogether. Have “well done” written on a piece of paper in the pertinent language and use it when ordering. Pre-prepared foods gather germs (a common cause of diarrhea). Outside of Europe, be especially cautious. When in serious doubt, eat only thick-skinned fruit...peeled.

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