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5 tips for taking terrific travel photos anywhere

Here are some top tips and tricks for taking authentic vacation photos on your summer getaway – wherever it is

Travel photography comes in many forms, from visiting bustling tourist hotspots to spending time photographing iconic landscapes. The genre is closely linked to street photography, with many similarities in its candid style of capturing images – witnessing a brief moment in time as two friends chat outside a coffee shop, for example, or shooting an intriguing local vehicle passing by in the street.

The trick with travel photography is to always be ready; what may seem like a trivial moment could become an award-winning documentary photo. At the very least, the images from your trips will provide you with visual memories many years down the line, even if you don’t realize it at the time.

When it comes to the equipment you’ll need for shooting on location, you should aim to keep it simple – just one camera and one lens, ideally. I tend to keep my kit light, mainly to avoid having to add extra weight to my suitcase but also so that I’m fully engaged in what I’m shooting (rather than what I’m shooting with).

I don’t like to carry a camera bag when I’m walking around, either – a simple camera strap around the neck or shoulder with a spare battery in my pocket is all I need. It’s personal preference but for me, the optimum focal lengths on a camera with a full-frame sensor are in the 35-85mm range – in fact, I’d argue that one of the best 50mm lenses is perfect.

Here are my five favorite ways to take terrific travel photos anywhere…

1. Just start shooting

It’s rare that I ever choose to go on holiday to the same place twice, so I just start taking photographs – the minute you land, your travel images can begin. This isn’t the time to worry about saving data on your SD card, so make every moment count!

2. Get a feel for the place

Try to gain an understanding of where the locals go and immerse yourself in their culture. Always expose for the brighter parts of the frame – some darker subjects with detail look far better than blown-out highlights dominating the background of your shots. If you aren’t shooting in manual mode, then you can use exposure compensation to be safe.

3. Experiment with shutter speeds

Mingling with a group of local people, I found myself on a commuter bus with hotel workers. I switched to a slower shutter speed of 1/4 sec and allowed the rickety old bus to create a sense of motion in the scene. Using some technical tricks and shooting smart can bring an aspect of storytelling into your images.

4. Get up early

There’s something special about watching a town or city wake up. You will get some time to explore the streets alone and speak to locals. You can glean useful information on places to photograph that are away from the usual tourist spots.

5. Always be ready to shoot

Carry your camera in a way that enables you to start shooting within a few seconds, by wearing it around your neck or on a wrist strap. Leave it turned on, with roughly the right settings dialed in. For example, when going outside, I will reduce the ISO for the brighter conditions. Adjust for your environment in advance so you can always be ready!

Make sure to take the best lenses for travel photography so you’re ready for action. You might also want to invest in one of the best action cameras or best waterproof cameras, so you can shoot anywhere. Don’t forget to pack one of the best travel adaptors, too, so you can keep your kit charged!

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8 essential tips to take care of your eyes while travelling

Before you embark on your next travel escapade, read on to discover practical advice and precautions to keep your eyes refreshed, protected and healthy.

Embarking on a journey to new destinations is an exhilarating experience that broadens our horizons and ignites our sense of wanderlust. Whether you’re exploring vibrant cities, hiking through majestic landscapes, or simply indulging in a relaxing beach getaway, travelling allows us to escape the confines of our everyday routines. However, amidst the excitement of travel, it’s crucial not to overlook the well-being of our eyes, the windows to the world. The unfamiliar environments, long hours of transportation, and exposure to various elements can pose challenges to maintaining optimal eye health. Taking care of your eyes ensures that your adventures are not marred by uncomfortable or avoidable eye-related issues.

Eye care tips while travelling

Dr Neeraj Sanduja, ophthalmologist, and eye surgeon, shared some simple tips on how to care for our eyes while travelling.

1) Sunglasses: Investing in a good pair of sunglasses is a must, with most of the day spent outdoors they provide protection from Sun, wind and dust. Ideally, the glasses should be 100% UV resistant.

2) Lubricating drops / Allergy medications: It is always wise to carry a few bottles of lubricating and allergy medications as an eyewash and for emergencies.

3) Goggles if swimming is on the agenda: Wearing goggles can provide invaluable protection for your eyes. They create a watertight seal, shielding your eyes from potentially harmful substances such as chlorine, salt water, or debris. Goggles also help to prevent eye irritation, redness, and discomfort that can result from prolonged exposure to water.

4) Hat and sun visor: The sun’s rays can be particularly intense in certain regions, and prolonged exposure can increase the risk of conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and even temporary sunburn of the eyes known as photokeratitis. By wearing a hat or sun visor, you can shield your eyes from direct sunlight, reducing the potential damage caused by UV rays.

5) Contact Lens case and solution: Avoid wearing contact lenses on long trips and aeroplanes. Always keep contact lens case and solution handy in case of irritation if there is a need to remove lenses. Always carry extra pair of prescription glasses for emergencies.

6) Take frequent breaks while driving: If on a long road trip extended driving can lead to eye strain and fatigue. Use sunglasses to protect your eyes and frequent breaks to prevent eye fatigue.

7) Wear minimal eye make-up: While travelling especially on road trips where our eyes are exposed to dust and avoid heavy eye make-up as it attracts dust and becomes a potential source of eye infection.

8) Stay hydrated: Hydration, good sleep and clean eating are essential too for healthy eyes. Limit caffeine intake and always keep a water bottle handy.

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Instagram Is Making You A Worse Tourist. Here’s How To Travel Respectfully

When people travel to a beautiful place, the temptation to post photos and videos to social media is high. But, as I have argued, this creates a cycle that contributes to more self-indulgent travel.

Travel is back in full swing this summer, and so is bad behaviour by tourists.

Popular destinations have seen an uptick in incidents involving tourists in recent years. Reports of a man defacing the Colosseum in Rome shows that behaviour has deteriorated even in places that rarely had problems in the past.

What’s behind these abhorrent acts? One answer, my research shows, is social media. Instagram and TikTok have made it easy to find “hidden gem” restaurants and discover new destinations to add to your bucket list. But this democratisation of travel has had other consequences.

Because people now see their social media connections from their home environment travelling in an exotic location, they assume (consciously or not) that behaviour they ordinarily carry out at home is also acceptable in that holiday destination.

This is known as social proof, when we look to the behaviours of others to inform our own actions. People are likely to act more hedonistically while on holiday. Now, travellers also look to social media for proof of how others behave. If their peers from home are throwing caution to the wind while on holiday, this can cause a domino effect of bad behaviour.

I’ve identified other bad travel attitudes and habits that have emerged as a result of social media-driven tourism.

For example, the identifiable victim effect, which explains how people are more likely to sympathise with victims of tragedies when they know who those victims are. Because tourists are often sheltered in hotels and resorts away from local communities, they might (wrongly) think that travelling to a place far from home is an opportunity for consequence-free bad behaviour. They underestimate or ignore the effect their actions can have on locals or the economy.

The Instagram effect

When people travel to a beautiful place, the temptation to post photos and videos to social media is high. But, as I have argued, this creates a cycle that contributes to more self-indulgent travel.

First, tourists see their friends post photos from a place (revealed through geotags). They then want to visit the same places and take the same sorts of photos of themselves there. Eventually they post them on the same social networks where they saw the initial photos.

Being able to travel to and post about visiting the same places as one’s social group or online connections can be a form of social status. But it means that, in some cases, travellers will put more energy into creating content than they will to exploration, discovery or being respectful to local customs.

Hotspots respond

Bali is one destination with a reputation for social media-induced tourism. The photogenic island, replete with yoga retreats, is a huge draw for influencers.

In response to tourist misbehaviour, Bali introduced new guidelines for visitors in June 2023. These include rules about proper behaviour in the sacred temples, around the island and with locals, and respecting the natural environment.

Tourists now need a licence for motorbike rentals, and may not set foot on any mountain or volcano in Bali due to their sacred nature. Travellers must only stay in registered hotels and villas (which will impact a number of Airbnb properties). Bali has introduced a “tourist task force” to enforce the restrictions, through raids and investigations if necessary.

One new guideline is to not act aggressively or use harsh words towards locals, government officials or other tourists both while in Bali, or, notably, online. This speaks to the role of social media as part of the problem when it comes to bad tourist behaviour.

Other destinations have taken similar steps. Iceland, Hawaii, Palau, New Zealand, Costa Rica and others have adopted pledges for visitors to abide by local laws and customs. Campaigns like Switzerland’s No Drama, Austria’s See Vienna – not #Vienna, Finland’s Be more like a Finn and the Netherlands’ How to Amsterdam are aimed at attracting well-behaved tourists.

Where such efforts aren’t successful, some places such as Thailand’s famous Maya Bay have taken it further and fully closed to tourists, at least temporarily.

Travel respectfully

Remember you are a guest of the host communities when you travel. Here are some ways to ensure that you will be asked back.

1. Do your research

Even if you’re a seasoned traveller, you may not realise the impact your actions have on local communities. But a bit of information – from your own research or provided by local governments – might be enough to help you act more appropriately. Before you go, look up guidelines or background information on local cultural or safety norms.

Whether you agree with the customs or not is irrelevant. If it is a more conservative place than you are used to, you should be mindful of that – unlike the two influencers who were arrested for explicit behaviour in a temple in Bali.

2. Put down your phone…

Research shows that when travelling, people can become alienated from their surroundings if they are more focused on their devices than the destination.

Often the most memorable travel experiences will be when you have a meaningful connection with someone, or learn something new that you’ve never experienced before. That becomes harder if you’re constantly looking at your phone.

3. …or use your influence for good

In popular “Instagram v reality” posts, influencers are revealing the huge crowds and queues behind the most Instagrammable locations.

Showing the less-than-glamorous conditions behind those iconic shots could influence your own social media connections to rethink their personal travel motivations – are they just going somewhere to get the perfect selfie? Having more evidence of these conditions circulating online could lead to a larger societal shift away from social media-induced tourism.

If you have the urge to post, try to promote smaller businesses and make sure you are demonstrating proper (and legal) etiquette on your holiday.The Conversation

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Did you know there are 3 people who can travel anywhere in the world without a passport?

When travelling to another country, the most important thing to carry along is one’s passport, right? Think again. There are three people on the planet who do need this important document, no matter wherever they wish to travel. Yes, you read that right. According to ‘The Cosmopolites: The Coming of the Global Citizen’ author Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, “A passport is a kind of shield when you are a citizen of a wealthy democracy.”

But there are three people who are exempt from this rule? They do not require a passport to travel anywhere in the world. These 3 people are United Kingdom’s King Charles III and Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako. Before King Charles III, the privilege was with Queen Elizabeth II.

Unlike other members of the Royal family, a document, instead of a passport, is issued in the UK King’s (or Queen’s) name. It states, “His Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of His Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.”

In the case of Japan, a ministry document dated May 10, 1971, informed that it will be highly inappropriate to issue a passport for the Emperor or Empress. The document also added that it will be highly inappropriate for the Emperor to undergo immigration or visa procedures using a passport as an ordinary citizen.

However, according to reports, King Charles’ wife Queen Consort Camilla doesn’t have the same rights and is required to keep a diplomatic passport. In the case of Japan, diplomatic passports are issued for other members of the Imperial family, including the crown prince and princess.

For the Emperor and Empress of Japan, they are required to only produce the ministry document on arrival in any country. The Foreign Ministry of Japan notifies the country well in advance about the arrival of the Emperor and Empress. In the case of King Charles III, his private secretary Sir Clive Alderton has been entrusted with this responsibility. Reports suggest that Sir Clive Alderton has been one of the most trusted and much-loved advisers to the King and Queen Camilla since 2006, a year after they married.

Nonetheless, do you know citizens of which country are the most privileged in terms of travel. If you guessed Japan, you’re right. Japanese people have visa free access to 193 countries. Japan continues to have the strongest passport in the world. Despite being the fifth largest economy in the world, Indian passport holders can only access 59 destinations visa-free, according to the 2023 Henley Passport Index report. While visa-free access may be thought of as a simple measure of freedom of movement, experts say that the ability to freely travel is linked to greater economic opportunities.

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