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4 Productive Mindsets When Traveling for Photography

For a lot of photographers, the act of traveling is a double-edged sword. We travel to be able to see the world and draw as much inspiration as we can from everything we see and experience. At the same time, the act of traveling often requires pushing out of our comfort zones and leaving behind a lot of the things that allow us to operate with fewer worries and limitations.

Traveling often involves the unpredictability of new surroundings, the randomness of photographic subjects, and the requirements (and limitations) of our gear. Travel is a huge equalizer that requires a lot of planning and a lot of energy to make sure that the experience is both productive and refreshing at the same time. Here are four things to keep in mind that might help you make the most out of your travel experiences no matter where you are going.

1. Don’t Let Unfavorable Weather Stop You

A lot of photographers get discouraged when the condition outdoors don’t seem to be optimal for photography. One reality that many of us have to accept is that the weather won’t always be pleasant, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be anything worth photographing. Of course, one should always prioritize safety when the natural environment becomes dangerous, but for days when clouds cover the sky and maybe even a bit of intermittent rain falls, it might just be advantageous for you to push yourself to go out and make the most out of the day. This is especially true for trips with very limited time because you probably want to make the most out of the time, effort, and money that you dedicated for such an experience.

When we travel for the sake of photography, we do so with a wide variety of photographic goals. Personally, I spend my time yearning to see and photograph beautiful places around the world, both natural and man-made. Other people like to travel to photograph scenes on the streets, faces of the people they meet, and unique objects that represent and tell stories of that particular place. One important thing to remember is that these stories never stop due to bad weather. People in a particular place continue their way of life amidst gloomy and cloudy skies. Landscapes have distinctly unique appearances even in rough weather, and city life goes on to glow even on a rainy night.

While the weather may change what you see and photograph, it doesn’t meant that there isn’t anything to capture at all. If you find ways to continue exploring a place even when the conditions are not what you expected, and you learn to adapt to what the place is offering to show you for that particular day, you will never run out of discoveries and stories to tell.

2. Give Yourself Some Wiggle Room

As travelers and even as photographers, we are told to always plan, plan, and plan. With limited time in a particular place, there is, of course, undeniable value in having a solid plan on when and where to go at a certain time in order to make the most out of your trip. However, we also have the tendency to be too fixated on following a schedule and simply getting from one place to another that we forget to actually experience the place and gather personal memories along the way.

We must always remember that there is so much value in allowing yourself to get lost (to an extent) in order to feed your curiosity and make memorable discoveries. It is, of course, not advisable to start a trip with absolutely no plans, but it’s great to know when you can take a few steps back and play things by ear.

In our recent trip to Hong Kong, we made a simple list of the things we wanted to see and the places we wanted to photograph. We put them in no particular order and assessed what was feasible on one particular day and basically chose where we felt like going. At the same time, we gave ourselves a couple of hours in the afternoon to see new and random places where we don’t even know what we will see. With just four days in the city, we can definitely say that we made the most of the experience because our craving to do photography in the city was satisfied equally by the shots that we planned to do and the scenes and stories that we stumbled upon along the way.

3. Don’t Forget To Be a Tourist

It’s important to take into consideration everything that you need to be able to survive being away from home for a few days. Of course, one of the most basic steps is arranging for transportation and lodging, and both of them have so much impact on your overall experience. Remember that being in a place where you don’t feel safe or comfortable will affect every other aspect of your trip, which is why it is definitely reasonable to pay for a little extra comfort if you can afford it.

You’re also inevitably going to have to eat, which is why it makes sense to also explore when it comes to food. This doesn’t really mean that you should splurge on the most expensive restaurants, but instead, make the search for good memorable food part of your exploration. Travel guides and articles will probably tell you all the popular places, but it’s also beneficial to ask locals where they like to eat around the area. If you’re into other things worth checking out such as coffee, tea, or even shopping, these give you opportunities to rest for a few minutes while still experiencing life in the place you’re visiting.

4. Connect With People

In most travel destinations, it is inevitable that you will meet people along the way. The world may be beautiful on its own, but a lot of the things we photograph when we travel are due to how people bring places to life. No matter where you go, you never lose anything by meeting people and making new friends.

Everywhere you go, you will meet people who embody the identity of the place that you’re visiting — people who work at hotels and restaurants, fellow travelers, or random strangers living their daily lives. If you’re looking for unique stories and if you want to learn about a place on a deeper level, it will be from the stories of the people around you.

At the same time, in a world where communication happens very quickly no matter the distance, it is very likely that you have talked to or even worked with people from this new place that you are visiting. Taking a few hours to meet with them in person and learning about them and their place will literally open more doors for you.

Traveling for photography can be both relaxing and stressful at the same time. When your passion to take photos bring you around the world and push you to leave your comfort zone, making the most out of the trip should also mean giving yourself room to be comfortable enough to actually enjoy the experience.

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11 Tips for How to Sleep on a Plane

Get some shuteye during your next red eye.

Traveling to a faraway place can be exciting, but it may require a long-haul flight. To arrive feeling refreshed and ready to explore, you’ll want to sleep on the plane. This can be tricky – even for seasoned travelers. Distractions like noisy neighbors, turbulence, and crying babies are simply out of your control, so focus on what you can do to make your flight more comfortable. As a frequent flier who takes her sleep schedule very seriously, I’ve acquired some tips and tricks that I use on every long-haul flight. Here are my top tips for how to sleep on a plane.

Splurge on first class (or premium economy).

The lie-flat seats in first class provide ample space and privacy for an optimal mid-flight snooze, although you can still have comfort without going over budget. Compromise with a premium economy seat. You’ll get extra legroom, more space to recline, and (depending on the airline) even wider seats – all for less than the price of a business or first-class ticket

Choose a seat in the main cabin wisely.

If you’d rather save money and stick to the main cabin, choose your seat strategically. Some fliers prefer window seats so they have something to lean against while catching some shut-eye, while other fliers prefer seats located further from the galley or restrooms to avoid the commotion of people passing by throughout the flight. Bulkhead seats mean that nobody can recline their seat into your personal space, but they’re sometimes close to the restrooms and galley, which can be distracting.

Consider the flight’s timing.

If you’re planning for a long-haul flight that crosses multiple time zones, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind. Dedicated travelers might try to adjust their sleep schedules days ahead of the flight to better accommodate their destination’s time zone, but you don’t need to upend your daily life to get some shut-eye on your journey. When choosing a flight, consider the times that best fit your typical sleep schedule. For example, if you’re flying to Europe from the U.S. and have options for overnight flights departing at 7 p.m. or 11 p.m., pick the time closest to when you would normally fall asleep.

Fly direct whenever possible.

To maximize your sleep time, choose a direct flight if you can. Two four-hour flights might allow you to sleep for a few hours total, but one eight-hour flight will let you settle in and get cozy for several hours, feeling far more refreshed when you reach your destination. Plus, you won’t have to stress over making any connecting flights when you go direct.

Skip the coffee.

Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages just before the flight, and ask your doctor for advice if you’re thinking about taking any sleeping aids or supplements to help you fall asleep. If certain foods or alcohol make it difficult for you to sleep normally, you’ll want to pass on those before and during your flight, too. And don’t forget to stay hydrated.

Don’t skimp on accessories.

Sure, neck pillows, headphones, and eye masks might take up a little extra room in your carry-on, but you’ll be happy you packed them once the lights go down and you have hours to go before you reach your destination. Invest in a comfortable sleep mask that will block out light and a neck pillow that will support your head. While horseshoe-shaped neck rings are most common, there are tons of innovative options that cater to different needs. And high-quality, noise-canceling headphones will block out loud neighbors and the plane’s white noise.

Dress for the occasion.

We all want to look like glamorous jet-setters upon arriving at our final destination, but this is one time when you might want to put comfort over style. A comfortable travel outfit is a must, and be sure to wear layers for better sleep. Plane temperatures can range from toasty to downright freezing, so wear a cardigan or sweater to stay warm and cozy during your flight.

Buckle up.

The last thing you need interrupting your sleep? Plane protocol. Whether you use the plane’s blanket or bring your own, be sure to fasten your seatbelt over it, so flight attendants know you’re buckled up and won’t have to disturb you in case of turbulence.

Stick to your sleep routine.

When it’s finally time to wind down, stick to your usual sleep routine. This could include meditation, stretching, or avoiding excess blue light from the in-flight entertainment system or your cell phone. Keep your toothbrush easily accessible, and make one last trip to the lavatory to wash your face and get ready.

Don’t cross your legs.

It’s more than natural to get restless on a long flight, but keeping your legs crossed for an extended period of time can keep your blood from flowing properly and will be more uncomfortable in the long run. Extend both legs straight out in front of you and keep a slight bend in your knees. If you’ve got long legs, avoid keeping a large personal item under the seat if it will limit how much space you have.


Easier said than done, but you’ll need to relax if you hope to catch some Zs on your next flight. Don’t stress if you can’t fall asleep right away — just sit back and try to get as much rest as you can before you land.

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Safety Guide for Holiday Travel with Kids

The holiday season is a time for families to come together and create lasting memories. Whether you’re planning a road trip to visit relatives or flying to a tropical destination, it’s important to prioritize the safety of your children during holiday travel. Here are some essential tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey for the whole family.

Plan Ahead

Before embarking on your holiday travel, take the time to plan and prepare. Research your destination and make a list of any potential hazards or safety concerns. This will help you anticipate and address any issues before they arise.

Pack Wisely

When packing for your trip, be sure to include essential safety items for your children. This may include a first aid kit, medication, sunscreen, insect repellent, and any necessary safety equipment such as car seats or life jackets. It’s also a good idea to pack snacks, water, and entertainment to keep your kids occupied during the journey.

Secure Your Child

If you’re traveling by car, ensure that your child is properly secured in an age-appropriate car seat or booster seat. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and use. If you’re flying, check with the airline for their specific guidelines on child safety restraints.

Be Mindful of Food and Water Safety

When traveling to unfamiliar destinations, it’s important to be cautious about the food and water your children consume. Stick to bottled water and avoid street food or uncooked foods that may pose a risk of foodborne illnesses. Wash your hands frequently and carry hand sanitizer for added protection.

Stay Vigilant in Public Places

Crowded airports, train stations, and tourist attractions can be overwhelming for children. Keep a close eye on your kids and establish a meeting point in case anyone gets separated. Teach your children about stranger danger and the importance of staying close to you at all times.

Protect Against the Sun

If you’re traveling to a sunny destination, protect your children from harmful UV rays. Apply sunscreen with a high SPF, dress them in lightweight, long-sleeved clothing, and provide them with hats and sunglasses. Seek shade during the hottest hours of the day to prevent heatstroke.

Prepare for Emergencies

No matter how well you plan, emergencies can still happen. Carry important contact numbers, including your pediatrician’s information and local emergency services. Familiarize yourself with the nearest medical facilities at your destination in case of illness or injury.

Communicate Safety Rules

Before and during your trip, communicate safety rules to your children. Teach them about road safety, stranger danger, and the importance of following your instructions. Encourage open communication and let them know they can approach you with any concerns or questions.

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How to Stay Healthy During Holiday Travels—It’s Simpler Than You Think

Show of hands for those who typically need a vacation after their vacation to catch up on sleep, movement, and life in general? That has always been the case for me. A few years ago, I set a rule that I wouldn’t plan anything two days before or after a vacation so I could take intentional time to get ready, feel rested, and not overwhelm myself with plans. For as long as I can remember, the recurring theme in my life has always been to slow down. I’m someone who likes her hands in many projects and loves a filled social calendar. So—knowing how to stay healthy while flying and traveling everywhere? Hasn’t always been my strong suit.

Exactly What I Do to Stay Healthy While Flying

This year been filled with the most travel I’ve ever had both professionally and personally. To say I’ve been stretched and busier than ever would be a huge understatement. So, just before I set out on my 10-day vacation to Croatia to celebrate a milestone birthday for my sister, I wrote a list of how I wanted to feel when I got back to Austin. Refreshed, inspired, motivated, hydrated, and rested were all top of mind. From there, it was easy to figure out how I was going to stay the course and feel like I didn’t have to play catch up when I returned home.

To share what worked and help us all stay healthy while flying this season, here’s what I did to stay on track and feel my best.

Drink a Ton of Water

It’s one of the simplest things to do. But for me, it’s also one of the easiest things to overlook. I rarely drink enough water on the road as I’m in between hotels and meetings. Plus, lugging around a water bottle feels annoying or gets expensive.

This trip, I made a concerted effort to pack my favorite water bottle and fill it up at the airport, in the hotel bar, and at restaurants so I always had something nearby. It’s small enough that it fit in my bag without being too bulky or heavy and I never once felt parched or dehydrated, which always tends to slow me down.

Block My Calendar in Advance

I realize not everyone will have the ability to do this for a variety of reasons, but I made a concerted effort to not book plans for an entire week after I returned from vacation. That included striking morning coffee meetings and any dinners or events, no matter how strong the FOMO, for the entire week through the weekend.

I wanted a chance to unpack, do laundry, go for long walks, and take time to ease into the work week ahead. Giving everyone a heads up well in advance also helped them plan a bit better around my schedule and any deadlines were easily hit due to some additional and intentional planning.

Don’t Use the Gym

Did that one make you tilt your head and pause in curiosity? I know a LOT of friends who make an effort to get up early and hit the gym while they’re on the road, but I made the decision not to for a few reasons. First, I was just getting over a terrible respiratory infection and flu and thought if I tried to push it too hard, I might end up back to square one of being sick. Second, I wanted my movement to be dual-purpose and soaked up all the walks and hikes we took every single day around the cities we visited. This was my vacation and I wanted some slow mornings of exploring—it was perfect for me and still hit well over 10,000 steps a day. (As always, you do you!)

Pack All the Snacks

Depending on how you vacation, a lot of trips typically mean eating out every meal. At least, that was the case for us as we hotel hopped vs. renting a home for an extended period of time. I wanted to try a lot of the local cuisine, but didn’t want the heavy feeling of eating out for every single meal. (Feeling it both physically and in my bank account.)

I found it helpful to pack snacks that were easy to pop into my bag and felt nutritious for me: nuts, jerky, dried oatmeal, almond crackers, and protein powder. It certainly helped balance the amount of eating out we did. I’ve taken plenty of trips where I didn’t plan ahead and found myself reaching for something less nutritious every day and feeling sluggish when I returned.

Prioritize Rest

This one was the hardest for me, but well worth it. As my therapist recently advised, I need to learn to snack on fun vs. binge on fun. What she means is, I work so hard, typically go head down, that the moment I give myself a break to have fun, I never want it to end. Throw me in a new country with my sister to celebrate something big, and it almost felt impossible to suggest that we should go home and rest. But as I get older, I’m finding if I don’t get a full 7-9 hours of sleep, I’m not just wiped the next day, but it usually lingers longer. We got some of the best sleep and I was so happy to come home and not feel like I needed an extra week of catching up on it.

These might seem like no-brainer suggestions as they’re all things we’ve heard before to implement in our daily lives, but it was prioritizing them that really took the work for me. I hope they help you stay healthy while flying, and ensure your holidays and travel go off without a hitch.

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