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What to pack for a holiday to the Maldives

Woohoo, you’re going on holiday to the Maldives! You’re going to have the best time ever.

You may think that all you’ll need to pack for a holiday to the Maldives would be your swimsuit and your suntan lotion. These will definitely be high on your list but there are a few extras you’ll definitely want to squeeze into your case!

I’ll begin with a few packing tips for the Maldives before moving on to some of my favourite items.

Tip #1 – What’s the seaplane weight allowance?

Before packing your bags, make sure you check what the seaplane luggage allowance is. If you’re flying long-haul, you’ll probably have a pretty decent luggage allowance. With Turkish Airlines I had 30kg plus 8kg for my hand luggage. That’s a pretty hefty suitcase! But when we arrived in the Maldives we found out that the seaplane only allows 25kg and you’ll need to pay for any extras. Our luggage was well under but we saw other guests who had to pay a lot to get their luggage on the seaplane.

Tip #2 – Dress Conservatively

The Maldives is a Muslim country where a lot of women will wear either a burka or a headscarf. It’s polite and respectful to dress conservatively – particularly around the airport, Male and small villages. Once you’re in your resort or island you won’t need to worry about it too much as it will mostly be tourists around.

Make sure you pack a large scarf that can be worn over your shoulders. Also pack at least one pair of loose, light trousers or a long skirt or dress.

Tip #3 – Swimwear you can swim in

If you’re a guy you probably have no idea what I’m talking about right now. If you’re a girl, you’ll know exactly what I mean. Sexy, skimpy little bikinis looks gorgeous while you’re strolling along the beach. But when you’re swimming they tend to slip away in the places you really need them to stay put! You’re going to want to do a lot of swimming, snorkelling and maybe even scuba diving so when you’re packing for the Maldives make sure you have a least one swim suit that’s suitable.

Tip #4 – An underwater camera

If you’ve been thinking about investing in an underwater camera (like a GoPro) but weren’t sure if it was worth it, it really is for the Maldives. The water is so clear and there are so many fish, you really won’t want to miss the chance to capture these on camera. You’ll also want it for boat trips or when you’re on the beach.

Tip #5 – Leave the shoes at home

Our island, Coco Palm Dhuni Kohlu, was made up of entirely sand so most guests ditched their shoes within a day or two. You didn’t need them and it just made walking even more difficult! It was great walking around barefoot and I loved getting dressed up but not worrying about heels.

Tip #6 – What to wear in the evenings?

Each resort will be different but, on the whole, laid-back luxury is the vibe most resorts go for. Ladies are lucky and can get away with almost anything but guys often need to wear a collar and will sometimes need full length trousers.

Tip #7 – Take a dry bag (or two)

If you’re taking lots of boat trips and particularly if you’ll be scuba diving, a dry bag is really handy. You can keep all of your valuables and clothing safe and dry and not worry about them getting wet on the boat or during rainstorms.

We also used them as packing cubes when we were packing our suitcases for the Maldives to keep everything neat, organised and compressed.

I also found that dry bags make a cool ‘man bag’ meaning Sam was happy to carry all of our stuff so I didn’t have to squeeze everything into a girly beach bag.

Tip #8 – Keep make-up to a minimum

It’s very humid in the Maldives so there’s no point in caking your face in make-up. The moisture in the air and a lovely slick of sweat will wipe it off in no time. Mascara, blusher, eye brow pencil, a shine reducing powder or cream and lippy were all I wore.

Tip #9 – Consider a lightweight speaker

Some hotels provide docking stations but if yours doesn’t then pack a lightweight speaker. There’s nothing better than lazing by your own private pool while listening to your favourite tunes.

Tip #10 – Don’t forget the insect repellent

Mosquitoes weren’t too much of a problem for us but there were a couple around. Don’t forget the DEET to keep those pesky biters away.

Tip #11 – Make sure you have some small notes for tipping

One thing I always forget when I arrive in a destination it to make sure I have small notes for tipping. If you tip your room cleaners on your arrival they’ll look after you for your whole stay.

Tip #12 – Brits won’t need plug adaptors

They use British plugs in the Maldives so lucky Brits don’t need them.

When packing for the Maldives, fill your suitcase with loose, easy dresses that you can throw on over your bikini. I always pack lots of dresses when I’m travelling as they’re small and light and easy to wear. A cute swimsuit, a loose cover-up, sunnies, flip flops, a sun hat and an enormous beach bag and that’s pretty much your Maldives packing list sorted.

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12 Useful tips for hitchhiking across the globe!

Hitchhiking is one of the most fun and cheapest ways of travelling. Hitchhiking refers to a means of transportation attained by asking a ride from strangers. A ride is generally free, but in some cases (rare times), drivers ask for minimal compensation. While several countries have laws about hitchhiking, questions are raised about its safety. But those who live for travelling, and their life is only about travelling, this isn’t the major issue. Here are 12 useful tips for hitchhiking.

1. Be clean. Most people will stop their car and let you in only if you don’t look shabby and sweaty. You don’t have to be suited and booted, but in clothes that aren’t muddy and unclean. It’s advisable to wear bright clothes so that you are easily visible.

2. Carry limited baggage, preferably only one backpack. If you have lesser luggage, car drivers will be happy to accommodate you, and even motorcyclists will stop by to give you a ride.

3. Make a signboard. The thumb does not always work and it’s better if you carry a small cardboard cutout with the destination you wish to travel to. You can write on it in English or the local language of the state or country, for better readability.

4. Dress according to the weather, as you may have to wait for hours on end before finally hitching a ride. If you are in a cold place, be covered in warm clothes, if you are in a hot and humid place, wear loose and comfortable clothes.

5. Don’t stand in the middle of the road, but don’t stand too far away either. Choose a spot where you will be visible to vehicles from a long distance.

6. Keep your backpack well-stuffed with food, water, rain-gear and sufficient amount of money. Carrying a cellphone is a good idea too, for your own safety. Don’t go overboard with expensive things though. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and watches.

7. Note down the vehicle’s make, model and color before getting in. You could also text the details to someone if they are keeping tab of your whereabouts.

8. Keep your bag close to you, just in case you have to make a quick exit from the vehicle.

9. Start a conversation with the driver and the vehicle inmates so that everyone is comfortable. However, don’t get too personal. Read about the country’s culture to know what you can expect from those offering you a ride.

10. Be prepared to stand under the sun and rain, all day long, and sometimes even more. Not all countries are hitchhiker-friendly.

11. The things that you most certainly should carry are: Black marker, flashlight, pocketknife, pepper spray and sunscreen.

12. Buy a map of the area or make sure you have it on your phone. This will help you to decide routes and find a good spot for hitchhiking, in the direction of your travel.

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14 Secrets To Getting Great Photos At The Beach

We all have locations that make our heart sing when we shoot.

For me, that location is the beach.

It’s where I’m the happiest and feel the most creative and connected. Since I live about an hour away from the beach I don’t get to shoot there often, so I have to make good use of my time and surroundings when I’m there.

Here are a few tips to help you this summer when you hit the beach in search of the perfect shot!

1. Different lighting conditions

When you shoot at the beach often times it seems as though the days are longer, this is because there typically is not much that is blocking the rays from the sun, so the golden hours actually seem to start earlier and end later so keep this in mind if you prefer to shoot in those magical hours where the light is soft and dreamy.

Sunrises and sunsets on the beach can provide some seriously amazing color in your images!

2. Water Reflects Light.

Since light is easily bounced with water you’ll have to keep in mind that when the light is harsher that this will also be reflected in the water and can bounce the light to create unflattering highlights both on your subject and the surroundings.

3. Creative locations

Just because you are shooting at the beach doesn’t mean that you are only limited to the beach! Look for unique settings that will help to tell the story more elaborately.

For example, there is a path that I love to shoot that leads up to the beach. I really enjoy photographing children as they run through it going to the beach, it makes for nice framing and it tells more of the story.

Some other fun ideas might include sand dunes, piers, fun colored beach houses, jetties, lifeguard stands, etc. Don’t be afraid to try out new things, but remember to be careful if you are on piers and jetties!

4. Don’t forget your lens hood

This is especially important on the beach when you are shooting into the sun for backlit images. By using a lens hood you will be able to drastically cut back on haze that could overwhelm your subject.

While I’m all for some yummy haze, I think it’s best in moderation so that it isn’t overbearing. Your lens hood will help you to retain those important details of your subject.

5. Experiment

Shooting at the beach can be a great time to rent a wide angle or a fish eye or even a Lensbaby. These lenses can help to give your images a unique feel and with such a vast and beautiful backdrop what better time to try something new!?

Some other fun and unique equipment you might want to try are Polarizing and UV filters, these can add blues and rich hues to your images while shooting at the beach.

6. Bracketing

When you are shooting at the beach and you are wanting to retain some of the sky along with keeping your subject well exposed and you do not want to use a flash, you can try bracketing!

You can either do this manually by exposing for the different highlights and then shadows or some camera bodies actually have a bracketing mode that will shoot several exposures of the same image. Then you can use your post processing software like Photoshop to merge the images for some very dramatic results.

7. Spot metering

I have always found that spot metering seems to work the best when metering on the beach. This way you are exposing for your subjects skin as opposed to evaluative or matrix metering which might be thrown off by the much brighter background and reflective water.

8. Don’t be afraid of less than ideal weather

One morning I had a session and when I showed up there was so much fog I could hardly see the water. After it started lifting a teeny bit, I was able to start shooting and the fog left me with some very ethereal photos.

The fog also helped to keep the sun from becoming too bright too quickly so I actually had more wiggle room with my time too! Also, stormy dramatic skies can make for some truly stunning images, so don’t fear the clouds if they start to roll in.

9. Watch that horizon

It can be so much more evident when you have a very sharp horizon, like where the ocean meets the sky running through someone’s head or neck. Horizons can also become more sloped and angled if you tend to shoot like a drunk monkey… which I do, so I am always keeping this in mind when shooting.

10. Random strangers

In most cases, you are not going to be the only one on the beach when you are shooting. First thing in the morning joggers and surfers are usually out in full force and by the evening hours families are enjoying walks along the shore.

Try to find a location that might not be as popular, something off the beaten path or just be sure that you are aware of random people that might be popping into your frame and try to shoot around them or angle so that they are not in the photo.

11. Keep an eye on your gear

It is very easy for sand to get into your camera when you are switching lenses especially if you only shoot with primes, like I do. I typically try to change lenses with the body in my bag keeping the sand from blowing in and I do this very quickly.

Also it is very easy to be caught up in the moment and drop your gear into the ocean, so try to always use a strap when shooting in the water.

12. Check your background

Often times on the beach you will find trash cans, over abundance of seaweed, cars and more. Remember to keep an eye on your background to keep distracting elements out of the frame. Having such a wide open space like the beach will just make these elements appear more obnoxious.

13. Safety first

While I am all for trying some creative and fun poses, I always keep safety a top priority when at the beach. It is very easy to slip and fall on slimy rocks that make a jetty or to have a toddler fall face first into the water.

Be mindful of your surroundings and keep safety a top priority when you are shooting at the beach.

14. Have fun

Shooting at the beach can be a ton of fun, especially with children.

Many times they are so interested in exploring their surroundings, don’t become irritated if they don’t want to sit perfectly still and smile at the camera, instead follow them around and try documenting them as they explore their surroundings and feel the salty water or gritty sand between their toes!

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Five Ways to Make Travel Easy

Plan Your Itinerary Carefully

There are never enough ways to make traveling easy. Millions of people travel every year and with newer technologies and the advent of the internet of things, we continue to find new ways to lessen the stress and burden.

Whether it’s via plane, train, or ferry, the easier it is to travel, the better you’re able to concentrate on what brought you to the place you’re traveling to. So, these tips will help you whether you’re traveling for pleasure or for business.

This is key to making your travel easier. You’ll want make sure your connections are within the time you’ll be able to get from one connection to the other.

If you’re on a business trip, planning your itinerary gives you a chance to work out any kinks you may have with the client or customer you’re working with.

They may have a different idea what’s going to happen during your trip, so it’s best to be able to share that information and ensure everyone is on the same page.

2. Utilize Multi Use Devices and Hacks

The internet is rife with life hacks and travel hacks. From how to pack your bag to how to utilize a hotel’s free services, you can find devices and hacks to make your traveling easier.

Using your cell phone as a recorder, map, and filling it with books or videos, allows you to keep yourself and your family busy during the travel to and from your destination. You can pack smaller sample sized personal items to utilize the space in your carry on for other things.

Family’s on vacation are more apt to need personal items that are larger sized. Or they could create individual carry ons for the children who can hold their own stuff and still utilize smaller items.

3. Update Your Cell Carrier for International Travel

If you plan to travel to another country, whether you’re driving, flying, or boating there, you’ll want to make sure you’ve purchased international calling and data for your electronic devices.

Most cell carriers are will to give you temporary pricing to help you stay in touch with those at home.

But, remember to do your research, because depending on what country you go to, you may need to utilize their internet services. Especially for those on business, it’s not a good idea to be without connection to your home office or the internet.

4. Get Travel Insurance Before You Travel

If you’re planning an adventure vacation, you’re going to want to get hard travel insurance. If you’re just planning to stay at the beach and write, you’ll want to get soft travel insurance.

Because you’ve planned your itinerary, you’ll know what type of travel you’ll be doing. So do your research, contact your insurance carrier, and see if their insurance coverage for travel will fit your needs.

There are more and more insurance companies including travel insurance in their portfolio than ever before, so you’ll be able to price shop for the right value for you and your family.

Business travel insurance is critical to in case you lose your electronic devices, get sick, or are in an accident while in a different country. Make sure your company has you covered. Do your research and you’ll be able to get the best deal.

5. Don’t Let Your Temper Flare

The old adage, “Patience is the key to happiness” is true for traveling, too. Learning techniques to help you keep your temper during stressful travel experiences will make your travel easier. From healthy eating to meditation, there are a myriad of ways to keep yourself calm.

When it comes to family travel, practice makes perfect. If you have young children, you can practice calming games with them. You can also perfect the art of redirection.

Children who can learn to calm themselves and will allow you to redirect them takes practice and lots of it. Don’t expect to have a perfect experience if you and your family have never flown outside the country.

There are lots of things that happen during international travel that will wear on a child’s small psyche. You’ll want to practice techniques to help them recover and deal with these issues.

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