Always Wanderlust https://www.alwayswanderlust.com Travel, Photography, and Adventure Gear Thu, 10 Jan 2019 05:11:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.3 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/AWLogoRetinia-32x32.png Always Wanderlust https://www.alwayswanderlust.com 32 32 Travel Budget – Realistic Plan You Can Stick To https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/travel-budget-how-to/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/travel-budget-how-to/#comments Wed, 02 Jan 2019 23:03:41 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=22635 Everyone plans their year around their vacation. It’s that one much anticipated time when we can lay back, enjoy the scenery, and leave all the stress of work behind. So you ask yourself, What’s it going to be this year? Are we going to the white sand beaches of Bali? Are we going museum hopping in Paris? Is our ski trip to Aspen long overdue?” You could be anywhere in the planning stages of your dream trip. You could have just settled on a destination and booked your tickets and reservations. You could have just written down your list of top 10 places to go and are now saving up for when you can go. Whatever the case may be, one thing that you’re absolutely going to need is a travel budget. Why is that you ask? Well, it’s no surprise that a vacation can do a number on your…Continue Reading

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Everyone plans their year around their vacation. It’s that one much anticipated time when we can lay back, enjoy the scenery, and leave all the stress of work behind. So you ask yourself, What’s it going to be this year? Are we going to the white sand beaches of Bali? Are we going museum hopping in Paris? Is our ski trip to Aspen long overdue?”

You could be anywhere in the planning stages of your dream trip. You could have just settled on a destination and booked your tickets and reservations. You could have just written down your list of top 10 places to go and are now saving up for when you can go.

Robuer with wooden stilts in the fishing village of Tind

How about a trip to Norway? Definitely, need to budget for it!

Whatever the case may be, one thing that you’re absolutely going to need is a travel budget. Why is that you ask? Well, it’s no surprise that a vacation can do a number on your bank account.

So it’s important that you plan ahead to resist the temptation of overspending. You could go on your vacation and charge everything on your credit card and not give a second thought about it. You’ll only go back home and realize that you’ve racked up quite the credit card bill. That would be more on your plate to deal with.

Plus, you’ve been planning your whole year around this. You don’t want to bring along the anxiety of not knowing what you can and cannot spend. You have to plan your budget, so you can be free to fully enjoy your vacation.

Not having a travel budget can even make your vacation turn disastrous. No one wants their vacation to end with not just good memories, but a couple of regrets too. Everybody has experienced that one point or another and having a travel budget is one step you can take to avoid experiencing that ever again.

travel budget

You want to get your money’s worth. After all, you worked so hard for it. You want to set aside some funds and know exactly where they can go towards. This will lift the stress off your vacation time. Stress is something you should leave behind, not something you should carry along with you. That just defeats the purpose of going on vacation in the first place, right?

Exactly how can a travel budget help you?

If now’s the time you’re planning the vacation, you can use your travel budget to plan it more realistically. This will limit your choice or airlines, hotels, tours, the list goes on. Don’t let the “L” word scare you off. That just means that with a travel budget, you’ll be able to do more things and visit more places.

If now’s the time you’re saving for your vacation, you can use your travel budget to set your savings goal. You’ll know what you want to do and what you have to spend on it. So that means you’ll also know how much you have to save.

If everything is packed and all your accommodations are booked, you can use your travel budget to know how much you can spend spontaneously.

Obviously, you won’t be able to plan everything ahead. The cool thing about going on vacation is that a lot of things can take you by surprise. Maybe you’ll want to try out something you just newly discovered. Maybe you want to eat a swanky local restaurant that comes highly recommended on Yelp.

Having a travel budget can help you say yes or no to these spontaneous whims and help you get the best out of your time out of town.

The best part about all this is that it’s not at all hard to do. But before we get into the details of how to create a great travel budget, it has to be clear to you that a travel budget is just a mere guide. It’s not there to be followed to a tee.

You have to create your budget with some allowances. Remember, you’re going to be dealing in estimates and you might make a mistake or two along the way.

What you’re aiming for here is flexibility, not restrictiveness. With that being said, let’s get started!

7 questions to ask yourself when creating a realistic travel budget


How are you going to get there?

Normally, one of the biggest expenses that will blow a hole in your wallet is travel fees – how you’re going to get to your destination.

Now, these could vary depending on where you’re going and where you’re coming from. You could be going there by plane, by ship, by car, etc.

You’re going to have to do your research and weigh your options. If you’re planning to travel to multiple locations, you’re going to have to research how much it’s going to cost you to go to these places as well.

Important note: Before you get anxious about this, there are a couple of fares comparing sites that you should check out. These will help you out a lot. Sites like Skyscanner, Kayak, and GoEuro will do all the work for you. You could also get good deals if your book your flights using their services.

They will list all the flight to your destination from the cheapest to the most expensive. All you’ll have to do is select the one that fits your budget the best.

Where will you be staying?

Another big expense will be your accommodations. More research has to go into this. You have to look up lodging options to decide where you’ll be staying.

Different people have different preferences. Maybe you’d like to stay at a hotel with a pool. Maybe you’d like to stay at a hotel that’s the situation right in the thick of everything.

Maybe you’re a backpacker and you’d like to crash at a cool hostel. Do your research and find places that will fit your needs and your budget.

Important note: To get the most back out of your back, try to book a reservation at a place that offers at least one meal with your booking. Check out our Accommodations Page for the absolute best deals on hotels and hostels.

It could be a hotel that has an inclusive breakfast buffet for certain rooms or a hostel that has a kitchen that guests can use.

How are you going to be moving around?

The next thing you have to consider is what modes of transport you’re going to be using when you get to your destination.

Naturally, every location is different. If you frequent travel sites, a lot of them report that taxis in some places scam tourists who don’t know better. They ask for a lot more money if you’ve got that clueless “I’ve never been here before” look in your eye.

If you’re on a tighter budget, then perhaps the smarter way to move around is by bus or train, where the fares are always standard.

If you don’t plan to get everywhere on foot, then allotting a budget for moving around is a must.

Important note: It would be smart to search for public transport ticket options. Some cities offer a travel card that you can use on all of their public transportations. This would be way cheaper than having to pay for each individual trip.

If in your research you find out that booking taxis in advance would be cheaper than hailing them freely, then, by all means, do so.

Also, it’s important to get the locals’ perspective on how to get around. This will the lessen the chances of you being ripped off because taxis, for example, will back off if you know how much a trip to somewhere is going to cost.

What (and where) are you going to be eating?

It’s not very realistic for anyone to decide on every single place where they’re going to be eating at on their vacation. That’s just absurd.

What you aim to do here is to get a ballpark figure of how much your meals are going to cost you. Sniff around online where people give estimates to how much their meals at specific places cost.

Apps like Zomato and TripAdvisor will do that for you. People leave their reviews of the food too. Whether you’re the type who likes fine dining or hole in the wall places, these apps will come in handy.

If you’re hard-pressed for time, you can just follow this basic rule of thumb: you’ll be expected to spend 2 to 2.5 times the price of a one night’s stay at your hotel (or resort, hostel, etc.) on a day’s food expenses.

Important note: If you’re down for it, always eat at where the locals eat. These places are popular for a reason. Not only will you be getting more of a cultural experience, but you’ll also probably won’t spend as much as you would at, say, an international restaurant.

If you’re renting an Airbnb, try to cook some of your meals to save some money. This will give you the chance to check out the local markets and to save your money for fancier restaurants.

What activities will you be doing?

If you don’t have travel OCD and you don’t have to go into your vacation with a solid itinerary, that’s perfectly fine. All you need to have is a rough plan of what you’d like to do when you get there.

Let’s say your favorite band is passing by the place you’re visiting because they’re on tour and you want to go see the show, then factor in those ticket costs. Let’s say where you’re visiting offers a lot of water activities like boating and scuba diving and you want to try those out, then factor in those costs.

Just by knowing yourself and who you’ll be traveling with, you’ll have a vague idea of what you’re going to want to do. Make a list of your “must do’s” and research beforehand about how much they’re going to cost you.

Important note: Travel services offer to book major attraction tours in advance. Some of them even offer deals like special discounts and extra detours if you book earlier than when you arrive. This will help you avoid the traffic of tourists who are looking to get on these tours impulsively. Check out our recommended tour companies on our Travel Resources page for some awesome money saving deals.

Are you going to shop?

Most likely, the answer is yes. At the very least, you’ll pick up a few souvenirs to bring back home. This is something that you can’t really research, but you should set aside a budget for these costs.

Old Bazaar in Kruje, Albania

How can you resist to shop in bazaars like this

Think about your shopping habits. Is this something that you really enjoy and absolutely have to do when you’re on vacation? If yes, then allow a bigger budget for it.

Important note: If you plan to bring back souvenirs for friends and family, then it would be helpful to bring a list of these people with you.

By doing this, you’ll be able to check them off and reduce the risk of overspending. Also remember that if you end up buying a lot of stuff, you’re going to have to find room for them in your luggage.

Do you have money left over for emergencies?

If not, rethink your planned expenses. You should always have money set aside if anything goes awry. It would be foolish to just assume that everything is going to go smoothly.

In case something like a medical emergency arises or even stumbling upon a cool shop or restaurant, it would be smart to be prepared for it.

Important note: If you don’t have a clue about how much we’re talking here, a general rule is to set aside 2 to 3 days’ worth of daily expenses as an emergency budget per person.

For those who are looking to make a simple budget, how do you get started?


People who travel a lot have a sense of where they’re going to spend their money on and don’t even need to write all these down as for reference.

They usually have a ballpark number of how much they can spend in a day or even a week without going over their budget.

If you’re new to this, then all this planning can be a bit overwhelming. So how do you get started?

First, you’ll have to do research about the location you’re traveling to. You have to know what the approximate cost of living is going to be.

Personally, in order to do this, I check how much a night’s stay is at the average hostel. I do this even if I don’t plan on staying at a hostel for a number of reasons.

  1. There is always going to be a hostel anywhere in the world.
  2. Researching these hostels isn’t difficult at all. One site will list all the hostels in an area for you.
  3. They always update their pricing.
  4. You can get a ballpark idea of how much lodging is going to cost for the traveler on a budget because they base their pricing on this.
  5. The cost per stay at a hostel reflects its quality. You can then compare other accommodations to this level of pricing and quality.

Knowing the cost of living index would come in handy if you play to stay and live like a local for a while. So if you plan to stay somewhere for a relatively long time, then it would be smart for you to do this.

After you figure out how much the average hostel costs per night, multiply that by 3. That’s going to be your budget for one day.

To illustrate, let’s say the average hostel costs $25 a night. That would give me $75 as my daily budget. To break that down, I’d have:

  • $25 for my accommodations
  • $25 for my food
  • $25 for everything else

So if you plan to rent an apartment for a whole month, then you need to find one that would cost less than $25 to rent per night – less than (25×30) $750 per month. If you go over your food budget, then cut costs on your “everything else” budget to compensate.

Will this really work?

This is how I do my own budgeting and of course, I have my own level of comfort that I have to meet. But it may be different for you. You may be able to multiply the average hostel cost by 2 if you can get by on that.

Maybe your standard of living is higher than mine and you need to multiply it by 4. The trick here is to practice. Test out your “factor” by making a detailed budget of one vacation and compare it to the next. You could even do this by benchmarking values in your own area.

If you get good at this, you’ll be able to have an idea of what a good budget would look like for your next trip. This would be an advantage when your plans aren’t really solid and are likely to change on the fly.

Okay, so how do I put this in use?

Let’s stick to our hypothetical budget of $75 per day. What I do is I would take out a week’s worth of my budget at a time so I don’t incur a lot of ATM fees (I’ve learned my lesson).

So I would have $525, but I would only carry $75 with me on a daily basis. This helps me plan ahead. Let’s say I’m going out for drinks with some friends for the night, then I would cut back on food costs during the day.

If I reach the end of the week without even spending my entire budget, that would give me the chance to splurge on some treats.

What should have their own sections in my budget?

You can manage by allotting your food and “everything else” budget for little trinkets, cheap tickets, and snacks. However, if in the middle of the trip, you plan to take an expensive sailing trip, a class or go to a concert, then those shouldn’t be included in your daily budget.

Treat them as separate expenses, so you don’t have to scrimp on food and other essentials.

Traveling for longer periods

After you’ve figured out how much going to a specific location will cost you, check your overall costs and compute the average cost per day.

How can you tell if you’re budgeting like a champ or spending way too much? One way to do this is by comparing the time you can live on that budget in a high-cost destination versus a low-cost destination.

To give you an example, the same budget that you could manage on for 3 months in Europe could last you 6 months in Southeast Asia.

If you plan to travel the globe, plan your budget accordingly. That means you’ll be able to stay longer in low-cost destinations if that’s what you want.

Testing it out

  1. Figure out your factor

You can test your theory by creating a detailed budget for a specific destination. Once you have this, you can then divide the daily cost by the average hostel cost. Round it up it down to the nearest whole number and this is going to be your factor.

  1. Separate bigger items in your budget

Remember, do not include more expensive items in your daily budget. So, in theory, it could look something like this:

  • Location A, 7 days: $75 per day = $525
  • Location B, 14 days: $60 per day = $840
  • Location C, 21 days: $40 per day = $840
  • Airfare from home to A: $600
  • Cruise from A to B: $250
  • Concert ticket: $175

TOTAL OF: $3,230 for 42 days (6 weeks)

  1. Allow for some flexibility

You might find that you’d want to change things up a bit because you’re liking a place a lot more than you expected. For example, this is what your new schedule could look like:

  • Location A, 7 days: $75 per day = $525
  • Location B, 21 days: $60 per day = $1,260
  • Location C, 14days: $40 per day = $560

The average cost per day will make it out to $56 from your original plan of $53. That’s not much of a difference, but you will have to consider this if you’re on a tight budget. So there you go, you’re now armed with the right knowledge to plan your travel budget.

Here’s a very handy MS Office Template to Budget for Travel

DO YOU BUDGET FOR TRAVEL?

 

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RV Camping Essentials – With Printable Checklist! https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/rv-essentials-checklist/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/rv-essentials-checklist/#respond Thu, 20 Dec 2018 18:58:41 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/camping-checklist-supplies-list-copy/ What To Take RV Camping? A camping trip can last days or weeks, and if you’ve never hit the road in an RV before, you might not know where to start. Whether you’re heading out for a weekend or the rest of your life, there a few things that you need to turn your caravan into a home and save some headaches along the way. Packing for any trip can seem extremely daunting, especially a camping trip. Whether you are new to the RV life, or you are just trying it out for a weekend, certain essentials can make the experience an incredible one. RV Checklist: 1 – RV Camping Essentials 2 – The Galley(Bed & Bath) 3 – Tools and Repair Essentials 4 – Kitchen Essentials 5 – Clothing Essentials 6 – Extras/Miscellaneous 7 – Pet RV CHECKLIST – PRINTABLE PDF RV Essentials and Tips You can’t just park your…Continue Reading

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What To Take RV Camping?

A camping trip can last days or weeks, and if you’ve never hit the road in an RV before, you might not know where to start. Whether you’re heading out for a weekend or the rest of your life, there a few things that you need to turn your caravan into a home and save some headaches along the way.

Packing for any trip can seem extremely daunting, especially a camping trip. Whether you are new to the RV life, or you are just trying it out for a weekend, certain essentials can make the experience an incredible one.


RV Checklist:

1 – RV Camping Essentials

2 – The Galley(Bed & Bath)

3 – Tools and Repair Essentials

4 – Kitchen Essentials

5 – Clothing Essentials

6 – Extras/Miscellaneous

7 – Pet

RV CHECKLIST – PRINTABLE PDF

RV Essentials and Tips

You can’t just park your RV anywhere. You have to plan this first.


Parking Spots & Leveling Blocks 

The first thing you will find, in an RV, is that you need to be able to fit into a variety of parking spots or more accurately, parking sizes. In massive parking lots or large sites, this is not so much a problem, but you are bound to have a tight squeeze or sharp corner somewhere along the way. Be sure you know how to maneuver the RV and which side the hookups are on. Backing up can be more difficult than it looks, especially if you are towing a camper trailer. Be patient and take your time, accounting for where the door will end up as well as where the power, water, and sewer lines will go, if applicable.

After that, you need to make sure the RV is level. If you’re not level, many things in your RV simply won’t work. Your fridge and your propane system can fail to operate if not level and will ultimately be damaged. Not to mention how hard it is to sleep in a bed when you keep rolling onto the floor. There’s a good chance that at some campgrounds, the ground is most likely going to be uneven. Having leveling blocks will make sure that fridge stays running, your food doesn’t spoil, and you won’t have other unpleasant surprises.

Utilities 

RVing isn’t always glamorous. If you’re staying in the RV for long periods of time, you’re going to have to know how to hook up the power, water and empty the sewer. If you are renting an RV, everything you need should be included and you will be shown how everything works when you get started. Before you leave, check all connections and make sure you have any additional attachments necessary. For example, if your RV is a 50 amp camper, it is pretty much essential to carry a 30 amp converter as many sites are not compatible with 50 amp. You do not want to arrive at a full hook-up site only to realize you cannot access it because you have the wrong connection.

For water, most hoses are standard. If you are new to RVing or plan to travel around a lot, it can be beneficial to have multiple lengths of water hose. As well, a water regulator is often required when hooking up to a municipal water source. A small attachment that goes on the end of the hose, it regulates water pressure going into the RV. This protects the RV plumbing from being damaged by high-pressure lines. A quick tip if you do not have regulator is to turn down the water tap at the source. Just be sure no one accidentally turns it back up and be aware of the pressure on your taps. You also have the option of simply filling the water tank and having access to running water wherever you are on the road.

The most important and unpleasant RV essential is the sewer hose. Or the sewer system in general. Manage it properly and you will have a smooth holiday with all the benefits of your own private bathroom. Pull the wrong valve and things can get messy very quickly. So first things first, check that you have all of the sewage hoses and fittings you need before you go. You probably want to get a pair of rubber gloves you can designate for just this purpose (something you will not have a problem throwing away).

Usually, there is an elbow-shaped pipe that attaches to the RV sewage tank. The hose attaches to this elbow and then gets put inside or attached to the sewage dump (often just a pipe sized hole in the ground). Every RV has a black water tank (from the toilet) and a grey water tank (from sinks and shower). Always open the black tank valve first and then the grey water tank. Also be sure to use enough water in your toilet so the black water tank has enough liquid in it. Do a practice run of this process before you go so you’re not running around trying to figure it out when it’s too late.

Overall, with utilities, the RV is versatile and can adapt to your purpose. If you are looking for a warm shelter for a wilderness camping trip, you may not require all the bells and whistles. If you like a few creature comforts or are heading out for a long road trip, set off with everything you need, and you will be a self-contained oasis. Everyone is different, and you will quickly find your comfort level in your RV, especially if you prepare in advance.

Pack a Mechanic 

Only kidding! Most RVs do not require you to be a mechanic to drive them, they are much like any other vehicle. Still having some mechanical knowledge and some basic tools can come in handy. This one probably seems pretty obvious, but RVs are more likely to run into emergency situations because of their size. Having an emergency kit along with jumper cables will help you be prepared just in case you find yourself stranded during the middle of your vacation. In the kit, you might also want to include a whistle, flashlight, tire pressure gauge, extension cords, and more.

The benefit of renting an RV is that they often come with roadside assistance so that you do not have to handle any mechanical problems. If you do not come equipped with a personal mechanic (or the equivalent) on the trip, seriously consider adding insurance that covers your RV so you have peace-of-mind no matter where you travel to.

Kitchen supplies 

One of the best parts of having an RV is being able to use the kitchen. From garbage bags to dishes to soap and towels to cleaning products. You’ll want versatile pots, pans, dishes, and utensils to suit your cooking needs. One pot meals work great in an RV. The top three items that RVers forget to pack are garbage bags, condiments and sauces, and a can opener. It really is the little things that make for an easy and relaxing trip.

rv checklist

RV Kitchen

There is usually a good amount of storage space in the kitchen so here is where you want to indulge. Pack your favorite meal options as well as some additional treats. If you take time to stock up at a grocery store and prepare with the food in mind that you will eat, you will save time and money and allow the trip to run smoothly. In the end, you’ll want to be as stocked for the road as you would be at your home. After all, an RV is your home away from home.

Campfire goodies 

What’s better than starting a campfire after a long day of travel? Many times people choose to cook their meals over a campfire and it can be the center of the evening after a long day of sightseeing. You can’t start a fire without firewood. You will also likely need an ax, some type of firestarter, and matches or a lighter. If you will be preparing food, you will need to pack a grill and utensils. You’ll also want a pot and pan, skewers, flame-resistant gloves, and cooking implements. Use one of the side storage cubbies as the go-to spot for campfire supplies so you can pull out the chairs, light the fire and start cooking.

Emergency Kit 

If you’re going to spend your days out and about in the outdoors, you’ll want to have a first-aid kit. You never know when you might take a tumble or get injured. If you’re pretty far out in the forest or desert, you might be pretty far from a doctor. Being prepared will help keep you safe and help buy you time in case of an emergency.

Since you will be on the road with an RV, you will want to bulk up your emergency kit a little bit. Pack extra flashlights as well as oil, windshield wiper fluid and coolant. Be sure to have pylons and flares, simple tools, as well as a spare tire and tire jack. Even with roadside assistance, you may have to help yourself, or at least properly protect yourself until help arrives. In that regard have a set of emergency phone numbers, a backup charger for your phone, as well as a detailed plan of where you are headed left with a friend or family member. These essentials ensure you can have peace of mind while you explore new horizons.

Food and Water 

Plan your recipes and meals before you leave so you know exactly what you need to bring. Packing food is always a good idea to reduce the overall costs of your trip. You’ll want plenty of water and items that won’t perish easily. Canned foods, meats, peanut butter, crackers, cereal, and other munchies will help keep you satisfied without going bad quickly.

Water could have a category of its own. You use it to drink, wash, bathe and flush the toilet yet it is often forgotten. The great thing about RVing is you have a built-in water tank. The difficulty can be in knowing where to find water. If you are not staying at a campsite with a freshwater hook-up, you might need to fill up before you go. It is also important to pay attention to where your water is coming from, make sure it is safe to drink before filling your water tanks.

As with any vacation or road trip, the main two issues are what are you going to eat and where you are going to sleep. In an RV, you have that covered and everything else is simpler because of it. Being able to stop, whenever you want or need, to eat, rest, or use the bathroom takes a lot of the stress out of a holiday and allows you to really relax and see the sights at your own pace.

Galley(Bed & Bath) Essentials


  • Outdoor rug
  • Picnic/beach blanket
  • Backpack(s)
  •  Fitness equipment
  •  Office supplies
  • Cards, games, crosswords, puzzles
  • Walkie Talkies
  • Suntan lotion
  • Mouse Traps
  • Toiletry kit
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Nail clippers
  • Hairbrush/comb
  • Toilet Paper
  • Dental Floss
  • Scissors

Tools and Repair Essentials


RV Kitchen Essentials


  •  Roasting sticks – For m
  •  
  • Lump charcoal

Clothing Essentials


  •  Hiking pants or shorts
  •  Sunglasses
  •  I
  •  

Extras/Miscellaneous


  •  Cellphone or Smartphone

Pet


  • Favorite toy from home
  • Familiar blanket or bed from home
  • Extra collar
  • Dog tags
  • Sturdy leash and harness
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Medications or supplements
  • Motion sickness remedy
  • Rawhide or chew bone
  • Portable food and water bowls
  • Waste removal bags
  • Puppy pads
  • Disinfectant spray
  • Paper towels
  • Copy of health/vaccination papers
  • Paper towels

DOWNLOAD THE  CHECKLIST

GOING CAMPING WITHOUT AN RV? CHECKOUT THE CAMPING CHECKLIST!


Full Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon affiliate program. I earn a small commision if you use links on this page to purchase a product at no extra cost to you.


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Best Photo Locations in Lake Tahoe | Nevada & California https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/lake-tahoe-photo-locations/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/lake-tahoe-photo-locations/#respond Wed, 19 Dec 2018 23:43:04 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=22361 Lake Tahoe In Any Season If there is ever a place one can call an all season photographer’s paradise, it would Lake Tahoe. Winter, spring, summer, or fall the seasons produce amazing photographic opportunities for every photographer at any level. Whether you’re scrambling up boulders on the Northern Shore or high up on some vista overlook; you’re always within a shutter click away from a postcard-perfect frame. I have been fortunate enough to have visited Lake Tahoe through different seasons in over a decade. I’ve spent an entire winter season in the North Eastern Tahoe City, skiing its surrounding slopes and then scrambling my way towards various locations to catch a sunset during Apres hour. I’ve scouted and photographed a lot of places in Lake Tahoe discovering hidden little gems that today is teeming with photographers that you have to compete with. Best Photo Locations in Lake Tahoe California Eagle Falls Emerald Bay State Park…Continue Reading

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Lake Tahoe In Any Season

If there is ever a place one can call an all season photographer’s paradise, it would Lake Tahoe. Winter, spring, summer, or fall the seasons produce amazing photographic opportunities for every photographer at any level. Whether you’re scrambling up boulders on the Northern Shore or high up on some vista overlook; you’re always within a shutter click away from a postcard-perfect frame.

I have been fortunate enough to have visited Lake Tahoe through different seasons in over a decade. I’ve spent an entire winter season in the North Eastern Tahoe City, skiing its surrounding slopes and then scrambling my way towards various locations to catch a sunset during Apres hour. I’ve scouted and photographed a lot of places in Lake Tahoe discovering hidden little gems that today is teeming with photographers that you have to compete with.

Best Photo Locations in Lake Tahoe



 

Blazing skies at Lake Tahoe's northern shore.

Blazing skies at Lake Tahoe’s northern shore in the State of Nevada

I have discovered many Lake Tahoe photo locations from random explorations and from research. Some famed spots like the Bonsai Rock are relatively difficult to find if you didn’t have any help from GPS coordinates. I found the Bonsai Rock from somebody posting it coordinates on Google Maps – now the location is reasonably famous amongst photographers, and you’ll see a swarm on weekends that it’s tough to miss.

I also use an app called Trover to collect a list of photographs and locations that I will talk about later. It’s a very useful app for discovering new locations as well as making a list of places that you eventually want to visit. There’s a budding community there of travelers who post photos that will give you a serious case of wanderlust.

At the end of this post is a compilation list of all the exact spots that I’ve mentioned here via a Trover embed. There are a thousand spots you can take great photos of Lake Tahoe – it is the largest Alpine Lake in North America, and as such, you’re never far away from a sunset reflection or an Alpenglow over its surrounding peaks. This list not meant to be a complete list of all photo locations but rather a guide of tried and true places that generate the best photos of Lake Tahoe.

Best Time to Photograph Lake Tahoe?

For me, winter is the definitive answer. The photo locations are less crowded, and I often find myself alone in solitude to ponder in the white landscape and enjoy the silence along the lake’s shore. That’s not to say, other seasons are bland. On the contrary, summer is also a great time to enjoy the lake and great for scouting other locations with long days at your disposal.

Bonsai Rock Winter

Bonsai Rock Winter

Spring brings about the lupine bloom that blanket the shores in some sections of the lake. Climate change has brought about some changes in Lake Tahoe’s shores, and these fields of lupine have popped in locations where beaches grew mainly due to lower lake levels. Fall is also a great time to shoot in Lake Tahoe when aspen trees create an interesting contrast to the Lake’s blue waters.

Photography Tips

Sunset, sunrises, midday, or midnight, Lake Tahoe, can be a photographer’s paradise! Ideally, you want to bring your whole arsenal and the kitchen sink. Superwide through telephoto you will find a place to utilize every focal point. Since you’re mostly shooting skies and water, you would want to bring along your favorite polarizer; it’s great for slowing the water’s motion as well as exposing the rocky bottom of the lake.

Lake Tahoe, Emerald Waters

You can cut glare using a polarizer filter to reveal the bottom of the lake.

Taken with a polarizing filter

Taken with a polarizing filter

You can bring a graduated neutral density filter with you, but if you know how to blend exposures via layers in Photoshop, then that’s the better option. That you need to stabilize when shooting during the golden hour. A good tripod is a must in these situations to hold your camera in place.

The Nevada side is great for sunsets and has lots and lots of exciting foreground – like the multitude of granite boulders that litter the shores. There is room for abstract and creativity here if the weather doesn’t permit for grand and wide landscapes. Use telephotos and isolate the boulders if you can.

Lake Tahoe, Stone Stack Sunset

Stone Stack Sunset

boulders

Boulder detail

California vs. Nevada

A sunset on the western shore

Sunset on the western shore

Lake Tahoe straddles two states, California and Nevada. As such I’ve divided this guide to reflect the subtle differences and the best times to shoot which locations. From experience, the California side is better at giving you the best sunrise photos since your shooting in the western shores. I’ve had many excellent sunset photos of Lake Tahoe on the eastern Nevada side.

That’s not to say you can’t get great sunset photos in California or vice versa, like photography compositions, some rules are meant to be broken. If you have the time, experiment and you might just land an excellent frame where you least expect it.

So, without further ado. Let get to the best photography locations in Lake Tahoe!

California (Western Side)


Eagle Falls

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eagle falls

Sunrise at Eagle Falls

Eagle Falls is tucked away in some man-made stares across the Eagle Falls Trailhead parking lot. An ideal sunrise location, set up camp long before dawn so you can get your spot set up because you’re likely going to be competing with other early bird photographers. Late spring is one of the best times to shoot this place due to the more significant flow of water and the position of the sun directly on the falls during this time.

During the summer the falls would have dried up and you’ll only get a trickle of water that may or may not be that interesting in composition.

Emerald Bay Overlook (Just before Eagle Falls)

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emerald bay

Emerald Bay

If you search for images on Google, you’ll most likely see a bunch of pictures of an island in an aquamarine bay. The island is called Fannette Island, and the bay is Emerald Bay. The Fannette Island has a European style stone castle that’s called the Tea House; It was built by the owner of Vikingsholm. What’s cool about this view, is that you can frame all of them on a classic postcard-perfect view.

This viewpoint is found right on a pull out stop off highway 89. If you can’t park your car on this shoulder, very likely since it’s a popular place, park across the street in the Eagle Falls Parking lot and walk across. This view is very close to the falls, and you can probably catch both once you capture a few frames of one.

Emerald Bay State Park

This is likely where you will end up parking during the busy season in Emerald Bay. You can get some good photos here once you have exhausted your options at Eagle Falls and the Emerald Bay Overlook. There’s a trail here that meanders all the way down to Vikingsholm, and from there you can catch an eye’s level view of Fannette Island. Because of its location, it’s ideally shot during sunrise or dawn. It’s also ideally located near South Lake Tahoe where you can find various accommodations for your trip.

Rubicon Bay

boat dock into the sunrise

Boat Dock Into The Sunrise

Always Wanderlust Daily Photo - Winter at West Shore

Winter at West Shore

Rubicon Bay is home to a popular marina and hosts a few beaches on the East Shore. This part is never short on man-made structures has boat houses and wood boat docks and moorage. If you explore this place at dawn, be prepared for some the craziest sunrises you’ll ever see!

If you’re an early bird, this spot along with Eagle Falls will give the best bang for your buck in getting that postcard-perfect photo. Beware, not all docks are public so make sure you read the warning signs before you walk long one.

Maggies Peak

Just like Mount Tallac, Maggies Peak is quite a hike. It’s a relatively moderate trail, not quite as difficult as Tallac but will break out a sweat or two. You can see Lake Tahoe with Cascade Lake juxtaposed above the tree line and beyond.

Lake Forrest Beach

Kings Beach Lake Tahoe

During late spring, a walk through Lake Forest Beach gives you opportunities to photograph a field of lupine. These purple colored wildflowers provide an excellent foreground to Lake Tahoe’s expansive background. These plants grow up to three feet tall with its bright purple flowers popping up against a golden hour backdrop is a thing to behold. However, if you’re not there in the spring, the beach also offers opportunities, like the one pictured above, for sunset landscapes.

South Lake Tahoe

Blooming mule's ears plant in the Desolation Wilderness.

Blooming mule’s ears

This area is by far the most densely populated part of Lake Tahoe. It’s sharing a border with Nevada, and several casino hotels make its mark along with the massive gondola of Heavenly Ski Resort. However, there are patches of forest lands and parks where you can easily escape and discover some unique photo opportunities.

The drive along Emerald Bay Blvd will undoubtedly turn up a few photography spots. There are also several groves of aspens in the area, making also ideal for fall photography. There’s a turnout towards the Mount Tallac Trail and the road leading to the trailhead is surrounded by forests. This spot has various wildflowers blooming during spring.

West Shore

Boat house during sunrise on the west shore

Boathouse sunrise

Lake Tahoe’s western shore is punctuated by boats, boat launches, and a multitude of man-made objects. That is in contrast to the more natural boulder lined shore of the Eastern Nevada side. If you want man-made subjects to provide contrasts in your composition this side is your best bet.

The only issue with this part of Lake Tahoe is the many privately owned shoreline. It can be difficult to find places to access the lake. Still, it’s worth it if you can find a spot where you can roam freely. Just be sure to wake up early because this side has epic sunrises.

Mount Tallac

Mount Tallac is the tallest mountain of the west shore of Lake Tahoe. It’s a moderate trail with up to 10 miles round trip and up to 3500ft in elevation gain depending on which route to take. It offers some of the best vistas of the Lake. It’s an oft-trodden trail that offers fantastic views of Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe itself.

There’s a backcountry campsite just below the peak and it’s a great place to get familiar with multi-day hiking.

Tahoe City Marina Lake Front

Lake Front Marina

Lake Front Marina

This place isn’t beautiful in the summer but come winter when the water freeze solid and snow blankets the shores, this place can match any other place in Lake Tahoe regarding beauty.

Nevada (Eastern Side)


Mount Rose Scenic Overlook

lake tahoe scenic overlook

Lake Tahoe Scenic Overlook

This overlook can be reached via highway 431 off Incline Village on the Nevada side. The road leads to Mount Rose Ski Resort, and you can see this overlook off the bottom of the road with a vast view of the lake. This is one of the best vistas in Lake Tahoe that is very easy to get to. No hiking required.

Hidden Beach

Secret Beach Sunset

Secret Beach Sunset

Hidden only by name. Hidden Beach is one of the best spots to take sunset photos of the North Shore. It’s just a few yards from Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park information center. It’s not easy to get to, but if you park at the information center. Take the trail south and scramble over a few boulders to get to this location.

Sand Harbor

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Sand Harbor is just teaming with boaters and beachgoers in the summer. If you don’t like people in your shots, you should avoid this place. However, in the winter it’s often devoid of visitors and presents various photographic opportunities. It has a sandy beach and several man-made structures if you would like man-made elements in your picture.

Creek Beach

best spots to photograph in lake tahoe

Creek Beach is found just south of Secret Cove. It is part of the trail that connects Chimney Beach and Secret Cove. So really, you will have your hands full and perhaps all day exploring this area. Hike up and down the trail to and from Chimney Beach. There is unlimited compositions you can come up with depending on the time of day, the weather, and the season.

There is a lot of exposed granite slabs that make the area great for superwide angle shots. If there’s a storm or overcast, come here anyway. You can get some really dramatic and surreal shots like this photo on the left.

Bonsai Rock

Bonsai Rock

Bonsai Rock

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Arguably the most photographed boulder in all of Lake Tahoe. Its moniker comes from the little trees that have sprung up from the pine cones trapped in the boulders cracks. It used to be difficult to find, but now it’s often crowded with people. Your best bet here is to shoot it during winter or weekdays, there are fewer photographers during those times.

Getting to this location, you can quickly figure why it’s famous. It’s the Bonsai Rock is, to be cliche about it, a very photogenic rock. It just so happens to frame perfectly an ideal sunset. You really can’t go wrong here, and lots of other photographers have the same idea too. But if it’s your first time in Lake Tahoe, you have to check this place out!

Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park

Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park

Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park

Pine Cones And Sunset

Pine Cones And Sunset

This place is the defacto information center of the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park which also encompasses Secret Cove, Chimney Beach, Sand Harbor, and the Bonsai Rock. A small parking lot with restrooms make this an ideal stop for families driving through the park. It also has a few spots where you can get unique photos. So while everyone is out crowding the Bonsai Rock, come to this place instead – you might just like it.

Carnelian Bay

Carnelian Bay is teeming with activities in the summer. If you’re lucky enough to find beach access, it’s one of the least photographed places in Lake Tahoe.

carnelian bay

Stand Up Paddle Board and Kayak

Secret Cove

Tahoe Blue secret cove

Tahoe Blue, Secret Cove

Secret Cove infamous for being a nudist beach, so don’t be surprised if you come across beachgoers sans swimming trunks. This cove offers some great photo opportunities just a little before the golden hour. The waters are clear and blue in most cases, and it truly showcases the coined term “Keep Tahoe Blue.”

Here you’ll find kayakers and stand up paddlers enjoying their sport during the summer and often make great subjects to juxtapose on Lake Tahoe’s spectacular landscape. Just be mindful of the bathers in the nude.

Chimney Beachchimney beach

Chimney Beach got its name after the left-over chimney from a house built during the Gold Rush. This beach is located next to Secret Cove and has some of the best areas to get creative compositions of Lake Tahoe. During years of drought, you’ll see boulders exposed along the shores, and you can use them as foreground interests in your photos. If you see high clouds on the skies above. Make your way here quick and wait for the fantastic Alpenglow that surely to happen.

East Shore Boulders

East Shore Boulders

East Shore Boulders

The East Shore has the most concentration of rocks and boulders along Lake Tahoe’s shore. It creates a distinctive scene and one of the best places to photograph a sunset with rocks or boulders in the foreground.

Flume Trail

The flume trail is both foot traffic and mountain bike trail. It has incredible views of Lake Tahoe once you get a little above the tree line. I’ve done this trail with a mountain bike a couple of times, and it’s quite a challenge (I’m not a biker). If mountain bikes aren’t your thing, just hike it up. It’s not a bad trail for hiking and offers unique views of the lake.

Crystal Bay

crystal bay

Crystal bay catamaran

This is the first bay you’ll come across if you’re driving from the California side towards Nevada in the north. The bay is enclosed in mostly privately owned beaches so there’s no easy way to get down. There are a  few road stops and if you have a telephoto lens, you should be able to catch some very interesting compositions of sailboats, catamarans, kayakers and so on.

There you go. What’s listed here is by no means an ultimate list. There are many places not listed here that are also great spots to photograph in Lake Tahoe. I hope you’ve found some clues and perhaps even some inspiration to explore this natural wonder. And I hope, you also do your part to Keep Tahoe Blue!

Below is the Trover List for all the beautiful spots to photograph in Lake Tahoe.

Best Spots To Photograph In Lake Tahoe – a photo list by Always Wanderlust (Adonis V.)

HAVE YOU BEEN TO LAKE TAHOE? WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PHOTOGRAPHY SPOT?

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Camping Checklist – Printable Supplies Packing List https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/camping-checklist-supplies-list/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/camping-checklist-supplies-list/#respond Sun, 09 Dec 2018 21:35:30 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=22144 What To Take Camping? A camping checklist is necessary to make your camping less tumultuous. Camping can make for a fun time. Camping can give you a chance to reflect on yourself and the wonders of nature. While camping you’ll discover trails and various hiking opportunities. Hiking is a great way to unwind, and at the end of your journey, a campfire can be incredibly relaxing. There is a lot to consider and plan when you want to go camping, and this article is going to help go over some of those things for you. Before you pack, use this handy checklist to help you plan and make sure carry all the essential items. This comprehensive list does have a lot of items that you probably don’t need and it’s ok not to bring everything and the kitchen sink. However, our motto here at Always Wanderlust is “It’s always better to…Continue Reading

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What To Take Camping?

A camping checklist is necessary to make your camping less tumultuous. Camping can make for a fun time. Camping can give you a chance to reflect on yourself and the wonders of nature. While camping you’ll discover trails and various hiking opportunities. Hiking is a great way to unwind, and at the end of your journey, a campfire can be incredibly relaxing. There is a lot to consider and plan when you want to go camping, and this article is going to help go over some of those things for you.

Before you pack, use this handy checklist to help you plan and make sure carry all the essential items. This comprehensive list does have a lot of items that you probably don’t need and it’s ok not to bring everything and the kitchen sink. However, our motto here at Always Wanderlust is “It’s always better to be prepared than not!”


Camping Checklist:

1 – Camping Tips

2 – Campsite Essentials

3 – Tools and Repair Essentials

4 – Kitchen Essentials

5 – Clothing Essentials

6 – Hygiene and Health Essentials

7 – Personal Items

8 – Luxury Items or Extras

9 – Pet

CAMPING CHECKLIST – PRINTABLE PDF

Camping Tips

Things to consider and learn before going camping.


If you have children or pets, over-packing is better than under-packing. Camping can be messy. Your kids may love playing around in the grass and dirt. As the day moves along, your children are going to get really messy. It is almost impossible to prevent, but luckily, you will not need to worry if you have extra clothes on hand. So it is important to be prepared.

It’s imperative that you pitch your tent before the sun goes down. Once things go dark, you will find it very hard to erect a tent, locate wood and cook a meal. Some people cannot see very well at night, and this makes setting up camp at night next to impossible. Don’t let this happen to you, and have a shelter set up before dark.

Camping Checklist - The Ultimate Necessities And Supplies List

Moonlit Night Under The Minarets

Make sure that your sleeping bag is right for the season and climate where you are camping. You are going to roast all night long in a sleeping bag designed for cold weather that you camp with during summer. On the flip side, bring a sleeping bag meant for summer camping will make you very cold during your winter camping trip. Hypothermia can be experienced, as well.

Don’t forget to include special pillows made just for camping on your adventure. Since standard pillows can pick up a lot of humidity, debris or even creepy-crawlers, leave them safely at home. They can mildew quickly after absorbing moisture. Camping pillows are made with a protective, moisture-proof coating to prevent these issues.

For Kids and Family

camping checklist with petKnow where your kids are at all times. You have to be sure they don’t wander off into the woods. Something could happen very quickly, so if you keep an eye on your kids, your supervision will help keep them safe. If you have pets, make sure you have them leashed at all times. You never know when a wild animal might wander into the campground and your dog might go off and chase it.

An orange peel may just be the natural answer to repelling mosquitoes when you’re out camping. If you neglected to pack mosquito spray, fear not. Rub the inner peel of an orange over your body as mosquitoes will refrain from biting you. This should effectively repel mosquitoes for hours.

Pack ready to eat foods in your camping gear, like trail mix and jerky. It’s likely that you’ll be so worn out at dinnertime that you will only feel like snacking and not cooking. They are also convenient because they keep well and don’t need to be refrigerated.

Don’t Forget The Duct Tape

Duct tape is a great fix-all for camping trips. Tents may get torn, in which case duct tape can provide a seal. A little duct tape can mean you can still sleep dry through a rainy night.

Before setting out on your camping adventure, make sure you can read a map and a compass. Even if you know the area well, getting lost is always a possibility. Also, this will help to avoid tragedy with friends or family.

Bring waterproof matches as part of your survival kit. Even though they are waterproof, you still want to have them sealed off from any liquid. Matches can be made waterproof by simply placing them in either nail polish or paraffin for a quick dip. You can store them in a prescription bottle or film canister.

Don’t Forget The TP

Toilet paper is one of the essential items that you need while camping. If you go camping at a location with no toilets, you will have to use the bathroom in the woods. To keep from having to use potentially dangerous leaves, you need to have toilet paper on hand. It would be wise to use is to bring along some baby wipes as well.

Ensure that your food is safe while camping. Place food in sealed containers so it does not come in contact with water. Also, carry ice packs so you can insulate and cool your food. Keep your raw food away from cooked foods. Wash your hands while preparing food and afterward, and keep any surfaces, utensils and cooking containers clean as well. Make sure your food is thoroughly cooked, and keep perishable foods cold.

When you are camping, layers of clothing are ideal. Weather can change on a dime. It can be chilly in the early morning, only to be followed up with a sweltering, humid and hot afternoon. Then it can turn cold again in the evenings. It is best to bring all types of clothing so that no matter what the weather is, you will be prepared.

Not So Essentials

If you are camping for several days or weeks, bring along some form of entertainment. Try to leave the electronics at home, enjoy the outdoors and only bring a radio or a book for those evenings sitting around the campfire. Speaking of campfires, you can source the firewood at the campsite instead of buying them.

You can find firewood at the campsite

You can find firewood at the campsite

Water purification tablets should be taken with you. Use these for emergency situations where you either run out of water or do not have the time or means to clean the water otherwise. Try the tablets at home so you know how they will taste beforehand. You will want to get a different type of tablet if you don’t like the way your water taste.

Build yourself a survival kit; keep it with you anywhere you go while camping. A survival kit should include items like a flare gun, matches that are waterproof, a knife and other items you think you may need. If you were to get lost or were put in an emergency situation, the survival kit will be of great help. Always keep it nearby and never leave it behind at the campsite.

Campsite Essentials

These are things you need to have when you go camping:


Nice to Have:


Tools and Repair Essentials

It’s always nice to have tools and gadgets available to help fix things. Having tools also make camping less of hassle when you’re cleaning up.


Kitchen Essentials

Why not bring the whole kitchen sink too? Ok, perhaps you don’t need some of the items here but it sure makes camping more fun when you have the most of the things you use in your own kitchen.


  •  Washbasin
  • Microfiber dish towel

Nice to Have:


Clothing Essentials

Outdoors clothing is obviously different than the clothing you wear for business or weddings. Go for practical and function over style – you don’t have to give up the “style” part as some outdoor clothes can indeed be stylish!


  •  Hiking pants or shorts

Emergency/Cold Weather:

It’s always good to have the following items no matter where you are since the weather can change drastically.


  •  I

Swimming/Warm Weather:


  •  S

Hygiene and Health Essentials

Maintaining proper hygiene while camping might be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be.


Sun and Insect Protection:


Nice to Have:


  •  Portable 

Personal Items


  •  Cellphone or Smartphone

Luxury Items or Extras

You certainly don’t need the following items to have a fun camping trip. If you’re camping in a very remote place or for a very long time some of the items below might be required. Maybe you want to watch a movie before you go to sleep or perhaps even read a book.


Pet


  • Favorite toy from home
  • Familiar blanket or bed from home
  • Extra collar
  • Dog tags
  • Sturdy leash and harness
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Medications or supplements
  • Motion sickness remedy
  • Rawhide or chew bone
  • Portable food and water bowls
  • Waste removal bags
  • Puppy pads
  • Disinfectant spray
  • Paper towels
  • Copy of health/vaccination papers
  • Paper towels

READY FOR CAMPING?

DOWNLOAD THE  CHECKLIST

 


Full Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon affiliate program. I earn a small commision if you use links on this page to purchase a product at no extra cost to you.


 

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Travel and Sex – How to “Get it On” Safely https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/travel-sex/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/travel-sex/#respond Sat, 08 Dec 2018 21:00:56 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=22182 Travel and sex. Getting busy under the sheets in some hostel dorms happens more often than you think. I’ve witnessed my fair share of dorm mates getting it on while I and other people are pretending not to notice. It’s one of the many reasons why I hate hostels.  I have over a dozen stories to tell in various hostels all around the world – but that’s for another day. Since we’re just humans, after all, getting horny is only part of it, and it also permeates to travel. It’s especially true when you travel alone, and the call for companionship starts to take hold. Most travelers come prepared when it comes to traveling. However, most don’t expect to get laid, so safe sex preparations are often overlooked. If you are likely to engage in sexual activities on your travels; come prepared and practice safe sex. This means preparing any…Continue Reading

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Travel and sex. Getting busy under the sheets in some hostel dorms happens more often than you think. I’ve witnessed my fair share of dorm mates getting it on while I and other people are pretending not to notice. It’s one of the many reasons why I hate hostels.  I have over a dozen stories to tell in various hostels all around the world – but that’s for another day. Since we’re just humans, after all, getting horny is only part of it, and it also permeates to travel. It’s especially true when you travel alone, and the call for companionship starts to take hold.

Most travelers come prepared when it comes to traveling. However, most don’t expect to get laid, so safe sex preparations are often overlooked. If you are likely to engage in sexual activities on your travels; come prepared and practice safe sex. This means preparing any means of contraception and having a solid plan to stay healthy during your travels.

This article will give you an overview of things to consider, plus information about common STIs, prevention, and treatments. Whether you intend to have sex or not when you are traveling, this article will benefit you.

Travel and Sex – How to “Get it On” Safely

Sexual Health Preparations Before Traveling

eggplant penisBefore your travels, it is a good idea to visit your GP or local sexual health clinic to find the right form of contraception for you. The proper contraception can take some time to figure out; and often comes with trial and error of different ways. Therefore, it’s best to give yourself as much time as possible to try out different methods before settling for one. This is particularly important if you are traveling for an extended period and may not have access to facilities. Besides that, finding contraception overseas is an expensive affair.

Types of Contraceptives Available

There are some different contraceptive options available; some are more convenient than others. Contraceptive pills are the standard option but can easily be misplaced. Doses can easily be missed which can lead to complications. Also, some women do not react well to contraceptive pills and may experience irregular periods, depression, or other symptoms. If your body responds well to hormone-based contraceptives but often miss doses, there are other options available.

The “implant” is a fairly new but popular method of contraception. It goes under the skin of the arm. It works similarly to a contraceptive pill but doesn’t rely on you having to remember to take the pills. Your GP will be able to provide further details about the “implant” and discuss whether or not it is right for you. Some women do have complications with the implant and end up having to have it removed earlier than initially expected. On some occasions, your GP may suggest another form of contraception not based on hormones like a non-hormonal coil.

For those that do not wish to take pills or have devices implanted into their body. Condoms are always the best option. Condoms also protect against STIs which other methods of contraception will not. For safe sex, it is recommended that condoms are used in conjunction with another form of contraception such as the “the implant,” or contraceptive pills. Condoms are also fairly widely available when traveling; unlike other forms of contraception.

Protecting Yourself Against Infection

protection

STIs can come in a variety of forms, and some are virtually undetectable. Most hurt future fertility. Therefore, it’s always best to understand how to protect yourself against any sexually transmitted infection. Many people don’t know how quickly an STI can be transferred from one person to another. Sexual intercourse isn’t the only way an STI can spread.

Oral sex, anal sex, sharing sex toys, or any other genital contact can put an individual at risk of a sexually transmitted infection. Condoms are the safest way to protect against this type of disease and should be worn by anyone engaging in casual sex. Sexual contact without condoms shouldn’t be considered unless both partners have been tested for any sexually transmitted infections and are not having sex with anybody else.

STI Risks

Anyone who partakes in unprotected sex during travel can be at risk of catching some different STIs. These can include, genital warts, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and herpes — nasty things to be sure. These STIs are treatable but can have lasting damage your health and fertility if not treated. In addition to these common STIs, unsafe sex can put you at risk of catching life-threatening diseases like HIV. To minimize the risk of catching such infections or diseases; condoms are always the most effective option.

Symptoms of STIs

Although some STIs are symptomless, you could still have it. Essential signs to look for include itching in the genital area or anus, rashes, or unusual discharges from the penis or vagina. If you have any of these symptoms, get checked at your local clinic, pronto! If you experience any of the symptoms during your travels, locate the nearest hospital and get tested ASAP.

Travel and Sex – How to “Get it On” Safely

 

Be aware that you might take a financial hit when seeking medical treatment overseas. It is, therefore, best to practice safe sex to avoid unnecessary procedures. Being tested before you travel should give you the reassurance and peace of mind. You certainly don’t want to pass it on to others. A full test will check for all types of sexually transmitted infections and diseases. It will include a blood test, along with collecting swab samples from the penis or vagina.

Treatments for STIs

If you do manage to get infected, and I hope you don’t. Most minor STIs are easily treated with a course of antibiotics. That’s all it usually takes to get rid of the infection altogether. Antibiotics, however, can be costly depending on where you are in the world. That’s why it’s good to have travel insurance to cover for medical expenses. Be that as it may, getting an STI is just nasty business so avoid it at all costs. Stay safe, and be sure to use condoms when engaging in any sexual activity. There is nothing worse than getting sick with an STI when traveling abroad.

The Final Word

Protecting yourself against sexually transmitted infections or diseases during travel is essential. However, you should also ensure that you have an effective contraceptive plan to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Unwanted pregnancy is the worst at the best of times. This can additionally be magnified if it happens in a place away from home.

 

spermPregnancy requires a lot of medical care and attention. This can be a huge hassle and very costly when overseas. This can also put a damper in all your travel plans. Therefore, you should find a reliable contraceptive method before you set off on your travels. Always remember to have fun, but not at the expense of your health. Engaging in casual sex will very likely happen when meeting new people. But still exercise your due diligence; make sure you are adequately prepared to avoid any negative consequences.

Discuss the best method of contraception with your GP and familiarise yourself with ways to protect yourself. Your GP in your local sexual health clinic will provide you with the assistance that you require to put your mind at ease before your travels.

DO YOU PLAN ON DOING THE HORIZONTAL MAMBO?

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Ebu Bekr – Xhamia Ebu Beker (Mosque in Shkoder, Albania) https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/ebu-beker-mosque/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/ebu-beker-mosque/#respond Sat, 01 Dec 2018 21:48:08 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=22001 The Ebu Bekr Mosque – Shkoder, Albania  The Balkans, especially Albania, is a very interesting place. It’s one of the only European nations with a predominantly Muslim population. It’s not uncommon to see mosques with towering minarets with loudspeakers blasting away with afternoon prayers. The country boasts a solid mix of Turkish architecture and ancient medieval fortresses. Regardless of your faith or religion, there’s no denying the beauty of these mosques. The Ebu Bekr (sometimes spelled Beker) mosque is small but a dominating figure in the center of Tirana in the northwest of Albania. It has only two minarets as opposed to the usual four that accompany bigger mosques. It served as an important centerpiece in as the academic source of the city and attracted many Islamic scholars. Xhamia Ebu Bekr The Ebu Bekr mosque dates back around from the 18th century. It was fully renovated and refaced in 1995 with…Continue Reading

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The Ebu Bekr Mosque – Shkoder, Albania

 The Balkans, especially Albania, is a very interesting place. It’s one of the only European nations with a predominantly Muslim population. It’s not uncommon to see mosques with towering minarets with loudspeakers blasting away with afternoon prayers. The country boasts a solid mix of Turkish architecture and ancient medieval fortresses. Regardless of your faith or religion, there’s no denying the beauty of these mosques.

The Ebu Beker at sunset in Shkoder, Albania

The Ebu Bekr at sunset in Shkoder, Albania

The Ebu Bekr (sometimes spelled Beker) mosque is small but a dominating figure in the center of Tirana in the northwest of Albania. It has only two minarets as opposed to the usual four that accompany bigger mosques. It served as an important centerpiece in as the academic source of the city and attracted many Islamic scholars.

Xhamia Ebu Bekr

The Ebu Bekr mosque dates back around from the 18th century. It was fully renovated and refaced in 1995 with monetary donations of Saudi Arabia. Visitors are welcome to go inside and marvel at the awesome interior and enjoy the meditative ambiance. On the outside, the building is beautiful and the surrounding park is clean and serene – which is a stark contrast to the busy and noisy streets nearby.

Ebu Beker Mosque or Xhamia e Madhe in Shkoder, Albania

Ebu Bekr Mosque or Xhamia e Madhe in Shkoder, Albania

There are several run-down businesses nearby and looks a little seedy at night. My hostel is just around the corner and a walk to this part of town is just a few minutes. Tirana is not a big city and there’s really no much going on outside of the Rozafa Castle and the Lake. The Ebu Bekr Mosque, however, did give me a few awesome photos during sunset as pictured in the first photo above. If you’re in Shkkoder, Albania you might as well take your shoes off and wander inside. Tourists are allowed and the people there are very friendly.

Category Cityscape
Exposure Various, ISO 100
Camera Sony A7III
Lens Sony FE 24-240mm
Filter Polarizer
Location Tirana, Albania

Useful Information:

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Website

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Weather in Shkoder

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Best Gifts for Travelers – 37 Unique Gift Ideas https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/best-gifts-for-travelers/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/best-gifts-for-travelers/#respond Sat, 01 Dec 2018 19:24:32 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=21846 Gift Ideas For Someone Who Loves Traveling [updated December 2018] The Best Gifts for Travelers? It is difficult to find a perfect gift for that special jet-setter in your life. I’m here to provide some excellent gift ideas you can give to someone who’s got a severe case of wanderlust. Having been to over 53 countries, I know what items work and what doesn’t. I pack things that I use and can withstand the rigors of adventure travel. Packing light and using items with multiple purposes is my motto and I’m sure that bold adventurer in your life would also agree. This compilation of gift ideas is sure to make any journey comfortable and fun at the same time. Best of all, it won’t break the bank, so there’s more left money for that airline ticket! Travel Gift Guide: Awesome Gifts Under $50 Amazing Gifts Under $100 The Frequent Traveler…Continue Reading

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Gift Ideas For Someone Who Loves Traveling [updated December 2018]

The Best Gifts for Travelers? It is difficult to find a perfect gift for that special jet-setter in your life. I’m here to provide some excellent gift ideas you can give to someone who’s got a severe case of wanderlust.

Having been to over 53 countries, I know what items work and what doesn’t. I pack things that I use and can withstand the rigors of adventure travel. Packing light and using items with multiple purposes is my motto and I’m sure that bold adventurer in your life would also agree.

This compilation of gift ideas is sure to make any journey comfortable and fun at the same time. Best of all, it won’t break the bank, so there’s more left money for that airline ticket!


Travel Gift Guide:

  1. Awesome Gifts Under $50
  2. Amazing Gifts Under $100
  3. The Frequent Traveler
  4. Travel Gifts For Men
  5. Travel Gifts For Her
  6. Best Gifts For Adventurers
  7. Best Gifts For The Geeky Traveler
  8. Gifts For Travel Photographers

Gifts Under $50

Here are some gifts that definitely won’t break the bank! Gift ideas that are sure to be used by any traveler.


International Power Adapter Kit

Your jet-setter will be very happy with this item. No matter where he or she is in the world, you can be sure they are plugged in and recharged. The Ceptics 12 pack has all the sizes and adapters for practically all the known civilized world.

If your traveler is an Apple user, the Apple World Travel Adapter Kit fits the bill.

See It On Amazon

Carry On Cocktail Kit

Your favorite traveler complaining about underpowered in-flight drinks? Have them bring their bar to the flight! These practical kit will have them making their Bloody Marys in no time.

See It On Amazon

Pro Packing Cubes

Packing cubes help you organize and compress items in your luggage. This set will help you compress clothes, toiletries and everything in between.

See It On Amazon

Scratch the World Travel Map

A perfect gift for the humblebragger traveler. Now they can show off where they’ve been around the world or perhaps they can plan their next trip on this world map poster. It’s also a perfect gift to educate soon would be young explorers!

See It On Amazon

Espro Travel Coffee Press

This coffee press is design for people on the go who wants excellent tasting coffee. You can take it with you on extended backpacking or camping trips with a bag of coffee and brew your tasty coffee every day. It sure beats the nasty instant coffee you get at some hotels.

See It On Amazon

GOOLOO Quick Charge

This item is one of the most practical things I have during long road-trips. It saved my neck several times over when I forgot to turn off the car lights and drained my battery. I can charge your camera, smartphone, and even your laptop on top to being able to jump start your car. This is a must-have item for the traveler always on the road.

See It On Amazon

Matador Packable Adventure Travel Gearmatador packable

Matador gear offers the perfect under $50 gift for the adventurer. The brand boasts some of the most practical products from a packable tote bag to a packable lens base layer. Check it out!

See It On Matador

Gifts Under $100

For a little bit more and still under a hundred bucks, these gifts will keep on giving.


Packsafe Travel Backpack

The Pacsafe Metrosafe is an anti-theft travel backpack that a traveler can take as a piece of extra luggage. It’s made of cut-proof lightweight steel mesh meant to prevent pickpocketing and slashing. It also comes equipped with RFID blocking pocket that keeps credit cards and IDs safe.

See It On Amazon

LuminAID PackLite Hero

The LuminAID is an awesome device, for around $70 you get a solar phone charger, camping lantern, and battery backup. It weighs less than 10 ounces and packs down to 1 inch thick so it can easily be packed and stored. It can be charged using solar power or USB.

See It On Amazon

JBL Waterproof Speakers

This portable speaker can connect up to three smartphones or tablets. What’s more, it has a speakerphone function that allows you to take calls and speak on the speaker. Its rugged design means it can take some abuse and you can easily clean it with running tap water.

See It On Amazon

Holy Stone HS160 RC Drone

Drones are definitely the thing nowadays. It seems everybody needs to have one or be left in the dust. The HS160 drone can take your selfies with a push of a button. It’s also under $90 and with Amazon’s coupon promo, it’s currently under $80. What a steal!

See It On Amazon

Moment Lenses

The biggest drawback to smartphone photography is the static focal lens. You can’t have a super-wide angle or long telephoto. That’s where Moment Lenses come in. They allow you to have interchangeable lenses on your phone just as you would with professional DSLRs.

See It On Amazon

Gifts For The Geeky Traveler

Do you have a geeky traveler in your life? These gadgets will surely impress even the pickiest geek.


Noise Cancelling Headphones

Cabin noise, city traffic, or office noise can be annoying. These headphones can help you filter out the noise so you can focus on what you want to hear. Enjoy your music, video, movies without the stuff you don’t want to hear. These items can be as low as $70 like the COWIN E7 Pro or a little bit more like the $300 Bose QuiteComfort Series.

See It On Amazon

Amazon Fire HD Tablet

The Amazon Fire lets your geeky traveler enjoy his or her favorite movies, kindle books, TV shows, music, and favorite apps all in a sleek little package. Prime members also get unlimited access to over a thousand books and magazines at no additional cost. Your geek explorer will love this item as I do!

See It On Amazon

ANBERNIC Handheld Game Console

Geeky travelers will love this item! It can connect to any TV and has over 3,000 playable games from NEOGEO to Sega Genesis. Only a geek would know what I’m talking about. Now the geek can play their favorite classics anywhere in the world.

See It On Amazon

GlocalMe G3 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot

This item is perfect for digital nomads. It allows you to be connected when WiFi isn’t available. Reasonable rates for global data without roaming charges. Connect multiple devices at the same time and take the internet with you everywhere.

See It On Amazon

Gifts For The Frequent Traveler

Do you know a jet-setter who always on the road at any time of the year? Here are a few gift ideas to make their travels more comfortable.


Heated Travel Blanket

Best Gifts for Travelers

Do you have a frequent road-tripper in your life? How about a 12 volt heated blanket like the Car Cozy two person blanket? It’s great for long distance travel in cold climates. Don’t let your traveler be cold and frozen.

See It On Amazon

Memory Foam Neck Pillow

Best Gifts for Travelers

Make those long-distance flights more comfortable for your jet-setter. A memory foam neck pillow will allow any traveler to sleep and rest comfortably on any flights, especially in economy class.

See It On Amazon

Handheld Garment Steamer for Travel

Best Gifts for Travelers

Your frequent travel would appreciate this item. They can always look their best on the road no matter the occasion. This steamer eliminates germs, odors, and straightens wrinkles on their packed clothes. It’s incredibly portable and heats up in just 25 seconds.

See It On Amazon

Travel Gifts For Men

Here are fantastic gifts for the traveling man in your life.


Men’s Premium 20-Piece Necessities Travel Kit

Best Gifts for Travelers

Do you know a man who’s about to travel? This TSA compliant toiletries kit is ready to go. It comes complete with all the grooming and oral care essentials your man needs to stay on top of his adventures.

See It On Amazon

RFID Blocking Slim Bifold Wallet

Best Gifts for Travelers

This wallet will protect information stored in RFID chips from unauthorized scans. It’s a perfect gift for any man who travels in third world countries.

See It On Amazon

GoPro Hero5

Best Gifts for Travelers

GoPro Hero5 is the best video camera for the traveler and adventurer. 4k Videos and 12 MP stills, over land or underwater, this item won’t disappoint. Any recipient receiving this gift will be jumping in joy.

See It On Amazon

Snow Boots Waterproof Outdoor Hiking

Best Gifts for Travelers

I love these boots so much, I bought two pairs. They’re great for cold weather hikes and walking all around in the snow. It’s remarkably cheap but the quality isn’t lacking. Any man receiving this as a gift will surely love it.

See It On Amazon

Travel Gifts For Her

Useful and practical gifts for her.


Infinity Scarf With Zip Pocket

Best Gifts for Travelers

It’s chick, stylish, soft and has a nifty pocket to hide her passport and valuables. It doesn’t sacrifice style over function and comfort. The scarf folds small and doesn’t take up much space on your luggage. It is great for keeping her warm and chic at the same time.

See It On Amazon

S-ZONE Women’s Travel Purse/Backpack

Best Gifts for Travelers

Made with high-grade genuine leather, this shoulder bag/purse can convert into a backpack for travel. She can easily carry her notebooks, phone, iPad, and it even has side pockets for water bottles. Stylish and practical at the same time.

See It On Amazon

Travel Electronic Toothbrush

Best Gifts for Travelers

Now, this is a gift that will put a smile on her face and make that smile extra bright. This portable toothbrush delivers 22,000 strokes a minute for that sparkling white smile. Stylish options to fit any personality and style.

See It On Amazon

Foldable Travel Hair Dryer

Best Gifts for Travelers

If your special traveler can’t live without her hair tools, this portable hair dryer is perfect. Advanced ceramic technology that delivers negative ions makes for the healthiest dry hair around.

See It On Amazon

Gifts For The Adventure Traveler


Know any intrepid adventurer in your flock? Here are some amazing gift ideas for the mountain man or gal.

Ultralight Hammock

Best Gifts for Travelers

Camping, backpacking, hiking, or just hanging out at the beach, hammocks are an essential part of adventure comforts. The Youphoria Portable Hammock comes with tree straps and weighs only 12 ounces.

You can even go for a 2-person type like the Lisuu Camping Hammock with an integrated mosquito net. Your adventurer will put these items to good use for a long time.

See It On Amazon

Outdoor Water Filtration

Best Gifts for Travelers

Adventurers need to always be hydrated in order to tackle the next challenge. Packing liters of water can be tiring so we rely on solid water filters to do the job of providing clean and drinkable water. The Platypus GraviyWorks can provide 4 liters of potable water in just minutes with no pumping required.

If a more traditional pump action filter is what your adventurer wants, then the Katadyn Hiker Pro delivers just as well in an 11-ounce ultralight package.

See It On Amazon

Ultralight Mountaineering Tent

Best Gifts for Travelers

Ultralight tents is an adventurer’s staple gear. It means comfort during long hikes or ascents up arduous mountains. Modern ultralight tents are not only lightweight, but they’re also sturdy and can withstand the elements regardless of the season.

See It On Amazon

Micro Fiber Towels

Best Gifts for Travelers

Every traveler should have one. It folds small and packs small. Dries quick and absorbs more than their cotton counterpart. Microfiber towels can be used for backpacking, outdoor camping, gym, yoga, and just about anything. It’s one of the most practical gifts you can give to your traveler.

See It On Amazon

Matador Hydrolite Hydration Backpack

matador hydrolite

Matador has partnered with leaders in hydration and filtration technology to offer you the world’s first packable hydration pack! The pack is designed specifically for travel and adventure with a built-in filtration system that gives you access to clean drinking water anywhere in the world. Go for it – drink straight from rivers, lakes, and even international taps with the in-line assembled Sawyer® MINI water filter.

See It On Matador

Gifts For The Travel Photographer

Know an avid travel photographer? Here are some awesome gift ideas for that will help them land the next NatGeo cover spread.


Compact Travel Tripod

Best Gifts for Travelers

Tripods are a necessity when it comes to producing professional quality images. For travelers, having a compact tripod saves on weight and luggage space. Something like the Gorilla Pod can attach to almost anything and can hold some heavy professional cameras.

Perhaps they need something a little for hefty and professional like the Geekoto Carbon Fiber Tripod that can fold inside any carryon luggage? Whatever you choose, I’m sure your travel photographer will love what you pick. For more options on tripods, Check out my guide on the best travel tripods for under $100.

See It On Amazon

Circular Polarizer

Best Gifts for Travelers

Circular Polarizers are great for making photos more vibrant and any seasoned photographer will appreciate one in their photographic arsenal. Its effects can’t be easily reproduced in Photoshop and it’s an essential tool for Landscape Photographers. They’re small and can be a great Stocking Stuffer.

These items can be cheap like the decent Tiffen Circular Polarizer or expensive like the B+W Kaesemann, whatever you choose, I’m sure it will make him or her very happy. For more information, read my guide on circular polarizers.

See It On Amazon

Memory Cards

Best Gifts for Travelers

Your favorite photographer probably takes thousands of photos. Having extra memory cards is always welcome. This is one item that can never go wrong unless you pick the wrong type. Make sure it fits the standards of the camera your photographer is using. Most are using the SDXC type nowadays.

Memory Cards are tiny and perfect as Stocking Stuffer. The 128 Gb Sandisk Extreme is just over $40 and the 64 Gb version is under $25. Though cheap, these cards are used by professionals all over the world – I use them too.

See It On Amazon

So there you go, you’re sure to find your awesome gift for that special someone who travels in your life. I hope I’ve given you some awesome ideas for your traveler’s gift whether it’s for a birthday, wedding, Christmas, or just about any occasion you can think of!

With all that said, you’re probably curious about…

What did I get from my wife this holiday season?

Google Pixel 3 XL 128GB w/ Project Fi

Best Gifts for Travelers

Okay, it’s expensive but I haven’t changed phones in over 3 years. I was long overdue and this phone takes awesome pictures. Good enough to sell in stock photography in fact. It’s also paired with the best phone plan made for travelers, Project Fi – Project Fi works great all around the world. It’s blazing fast in Russia and equally strong in South America – Read about my Project Fi Experience. Get $20 when switching to Project Fi.

See It On Amazon

What did I get my wife?

Apple iPhone XR 256 Gb

Best Gifts for Travelers

She’s got a little bit more of an eclectic taste than I do and iPhones are her thing so that’s what she got. Toe to toe with the Google Pixel it takes better photos. Heck, all the Apple iPhones I know, produce some of the best photos. I’m just not an Apple fan, but my wife is so that balances it out. Best of all, Project Fi now works on iPhones as well!

See It On Amazon

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND HAPPY TRAILS!

 


Full Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon affiliate program. I earn a small commision if you use links on this page to purchase a product at no extra cost to you.


 

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La Meije (3984 m) : All You Need To Know About Climbing https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/la-meije/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/la-meije/#comments Thu, 29 Nov 2018 20:58:44 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=21883 La Meije sits at the northern end of the Massif des Écrins and towers over the famed ski village of La Grave. Rising to 3.984 meters above sea level, it is the second highest peak in the massif and among the tallest in France. The peak has long held significance to the inhabitants of La Grave. Its name comes from the Provençal word ‘meidjo’ meaning midday. This refers to the fact that the sun passes directly over La Meije at noon. Villagers used to refer to the Grand Pic as ‘oeille de la meidjour’ or the midday needle, for this reason.   Every year thousands of skiers, hikers, rock and ice climbers descend on the town from every corner of the world. Everyone from all walks of life come to enjoy the spectacular scenery at the foot of the massif. A Challenge Best known as a keen challenge for mountaineers, La…Continue Reading

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La Meije sits at the northern end of the Massif des Écrins and towers over the famed ski village of La Grave. Rising to 3.984 meters above sea level, it is the second highest peak in the massif and among the tallest in France.

The peak has long held significance to the inhabitants of La Grave. Its name comes from the Provençal word ‘meidjo’ meaning midday. This refers to the fact that the sun passes directly over La Meije at noon. Villagers used to refer to the Grand Pic as ‘oeille de la meidjour’ or the midday needle, for this reason.  

Every year thousands of skiers, hikers, rock and ice climbers descend on the town from every corner of the world. Everyone from all walks of life come to enjoy the spectacular scenery at the foot of the massif.

La Meije Summit

Climbing La Meije

A Challenge

Best known as a keen challenge for mountaineers, La Meije was the last major mountain in France that has been summited. It was first climbed in 1877 by Emmanuel Boileau de Castelnau, Pierre Gaspard, and his son.

La Meije is also the first major summit in France to have been climbed first by a French mountaineer. The rest of France’s significant peaks were first climbed by other European alpinists, mostly of English heritage.

For some French mountaineers, this is a particular point of pride. An English alpinist, William Augustus Coolidge (credited as the first alpinist to successfully make a winter ascent of the Jungfrau), tried to climb the peak and failed.

La Meije was the eleventh and final ascent that de Castelnau would make before enlisting in the army and later studying medicine. He met Pierre Gaspard, a famed mountain guide who had already climbed several other peaks on the massif. Subsequently, in 1876 the three became a prolific team with several accolades to their names.

For the elder Gaspard, the ascent of La Meije came right in the middle of his prolific climbing career in the Massif des Écrins. Along with La Meije, he climbed 11 other peaks in the range. One in particular now bears his name – Pic Gaspard.

The route by which the three mountaineers made their ascent had previously been tried unsuccessfully by a few other alpinists, including Coolidge, and is now the most common route for mountaineers take on their way to the summit.

What are the Most Common Climbing Routes?

La Meije is composed of an eastern and western summit. The western summit, or Grand Pic, is the higher of the two and therefore the primary target for mountaineers.

Grand Pic is well known in mountaineering circles for having no easy route to the top. However, the main route, summited by de Castelnau and the Gaspards, is considered slightly simpler since it requires less rock climbing.

La Grave La Meije

Both routes in La Meiji begin at the same spot

Both routes, the so-called common route along the mountain’s north face and the route from the south face begin in the same spot. From La Grave, you head up to the massif via the cable car. Once you have reached the terminus, the path will diverge depending upon which route you take.

For the north face route, you will hike for six to eight hours through some rugged and rocky terrain, heading right toward the mountain, until you reach the Refuge de l’Aigle. For the south face route, you will hike for about five hours through similarly rugged and rocky terrain until you reach the Refuge du Promontoire.

Both mountain huts are well taken care of, offering half-board meals as well as running water and comfortable dormitory-style beds. During the on-season, they are frequently full due to the large volume of climbers that the mountain gets each season. As a result, it is best to make a reservation ahead of time.

How Long Does it Take to Climb La Meije?

The climb of La Meije is generally divided into two days. The first day gets you to the refuge and the second to the summit and backs down. Regardless of which route you take, the first day requires some pretty intense hiking. Overall elevation gain for the climb is about 2,250 meters, of which you will gain 1,750 on the first day.

Waking up early on the second day at the Refuge de l’Aigle, on the north face route, you will exit the mountain hut and hike across the base of the Tabuchet glacier until you reach the base of a large, 40-degree snow slope. Here is where you will need an ice ax and crampons, not to mention some calf strength. Once you have gotten up this snowy wall, the rest of the way is a mix of glacial hiking and rock climbing all the way to the summit.

The Grand Pic

As you go to Grand Pic, you will pass the eastern summit along the way. Depending on how much time you have, some guides will make a quick detour to get to the top of this minor summit and snap a few photographs of the Grand Pic.

Trekking towards Refuge de Promontoire

Trekking towards Refuge de Promontoire

Meanwhile, waking up early at the Refuge de Promontoire, on the south face route, you have quite an intense day ahead of you as well. The refuge is located at the base of a massive rock wall. To reach the summit, you will spend the lion’s share of your day climbing the western edge steep southern buttress.

After spending most of the day climbing this buttress, you will arrive at the summit after a mix of glacier hiking and a bit more rock climbing. On the way back, you will abseil back down the buttress, which is both incredibly exciting and amazingly scenic.

Something to think about while your abseiling: consider that the first alpinists to climb La Meije via the southern wall did not abseil back down, as the technique had not been invented yet. They climbed back down with their ropes, leaving them tied in some of the trickier places. 

Regardless of How You Reach the Summit, You Will be Rewarded with Fantastic Views.

The top of Grand Pic offers panoramic vistas of the surroundings. It highlights some of the other prominent peaks of the Massif des Écrins, including the Doigt de Dieu and Barre des Écrins, as well as the alpine lakes and valleys below.

Be ready for spectacular views at the top of La Meije

Be ready for spectacular views at the top of La Meije

La Meije can both be climbed individually but is also frequently included in a multi-peak traverse of the Massif des Écrins. One of these traverses, which goes across part of the massif from west to east, is considered one of the most beautiful in the Alps.

This traverse commonly referred to as the East-West branch stretches for 15 kilometers and includes several of the massif’s other high peaks. That includes Pointe Nérot (3537m), Pic Gaspard (3,883m), Le Pavé (3,824 m), Le Rateau (3,809 m), Pic de la grave (3,669 m) and Dôme de la Lauze (3,512 m).

The trek is quite intense but makes for an unforgettable alpine mountaineering adventure.

How Difficult is it to Climb La Meije?

Roped climb of La Meije<

A roped climb of La Meije

La Meije is not a very difficult climb. Rated PD, or peu dificile, meaning that the climb is only slightly technical. Regardless of the route, you will need to have some basic rock climbing and ice climbing skills.  

Most guides will ask that you have previous mountaineering experience before attempting to climb La Meije. They usually do not require previous rock or ice climbing experience.

You should be in excellent physical condition; capable of carrying a light load uphill for consecutive hours with minimal rest. If physical fitness is an issue, your guide may recommend doing some light endurance and core training before climbing La Meije.

It is also recommended to arrive in La Grave a few days early to adjust to the elevation.

Regardless of your level of experience or competence, it is always best to hire a certified guide. Most guides, certified by the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations, have been trained under the most rigorous international standards.

An IFMGA-certified guide not only will know the area very well but will also handle all of the logistics. This will ensure that everyone is as safe as possible throughout the climb.   

What Equipment Do You Need for La Meije?

Mountain climbing equipment is necessary to summit La Meiji

Mountain climbing equipment is necessary to summit La Meiji

While the climb of La Meije is not overly technical, it does require some climbing equipment. That includes carabiners, crampons, a harness, helmet, ice ax, and rope. Depending on your guide, these equipment are included in the package. The rest can be rented pretty easily in La Grave.

Along with having all the proper equipment, bringing all the necessary clothing is also imperative to successfully climb the peak. Temperature and weather conditions can change rapidly as elevation increases. It is essential to bring clothing that will be comfortable at the bottom as well as the summit.

Most guides recommend that you pack clothing in layers. This includes bringing a sweater or windbreaker, light jacket, and heavy jacket, both of which should be waterproof; a regular pair of polyester pants and another pair of wind-resistant and waterproof pants; two pairs of wool socks; outer and inner gloves; mountaineering boots; a sun hat and knit, woolen cap; and a pair of sunglasses.

Guides will offer a list of any other equipment that you may need to bring along on the trip.        

When is the Best Time to go to La Meije?

The best time to climb La Meije is from July until September. During the summer, average daily temperatures range from 15ºC to 20ºC toward the base of the mountain and steadily cool down to about freezing and below as the elevation increases.

Coinciding with the warm temperatures is dry weather. During the summer it is rare to receive more than 75 mm of rain each month. That means the chances of having clear and sunny days are quite high.

However, fast-forming storms are not uncommon at higher elevations and something every mountaineer should keep an eye out for.

How to Get to La Meije?

The easiest way to get to La Grave and La Meije internationally is via Geneva. It has the closest international airport. From Geneva, you will drive south for about three hours, going through Grenoble.

If you are flying from within France or closer in Europe, then you might prefer to fly into the Lyon Saint-Exupery Airport and then make the two-hour drive to La Grave via Grenoble.   

Due to its small size, you might have some trouble finding accommodations in La Grave. This is especially true during the peak months in the summer. However, there are several nearby towns, such as Grenoble.

If you want to combine climbing La Meije with further alpine adventure, flying into Geneva and staying in Chamonix is also a good option.  

La Meije combines all the Essential Ingredients of Excellent Mountaineering Experience.

La Meije requires some technical climbing up imposing surfaces. It also allows you to spend the night in a quintessential alpine refuge and finishes off with spectacular views of the mountain’s magnificent surroundings.

It is the perfect mountain for one of your first ascents or your one-hundredth ascent. La Meije always offers something different depending on how you approach the peak and what route you take.  

Ready to tackle this majestic French summit? You can find several options to climb La Meije with a mountain guide at Explore-Share.com, an online booking platform for guided adventures worldwide.

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK? WANT TO TACKLE LA MEIJE?

 

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Polarizer Filter – Why You Need One and Which One to Get https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/polarizer-filter/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/polarizer-filter/#comments Thu, 15 Nov 2018 23:34:40 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=21727 In today’s age of Photoshop, Lightroom, or Instagram the need for filters is becoming obsolete. You can snap a photo with your phone and instantly post it to Instagram while applying any of its variable filters available. Why even use a blue or a warming filter when you can apply it during post-processing using Photoshop? There is no need to buy or carry around expensive Graduated Neutral Density filters when you can bracket the shot and then blend these exposures during post-processing Indeed, the current technology and techniques allow us photographers to carry less gear that weighs down our backpacks. However, there are still some things that Instagram and Photoshop can’t do what a Polarizing Filter can. That’s because the Polarizer’s purpose is to filter the light coming in through lens and into your camera’s sensor. You see, the light becomes “polarized” as it travels through the Earth’s atmosphere and…Continue Reading

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In today’s age of Photoshop, Lightroom, or Instagram the need for filters is becoming obsolete. You can snap a photo with your phone and instantly post it to Instagram while applying any of its variable filters available. Why even use a blue or a warming filter when you can apply it during post-processing using Photoshop? There is no need to buy or carry around expensive Graduated Neutral Density filters when you can bracket the shot and then blend these exposures during post-processing

Can never get enough Circular Polarizers

Can never get enough Circular Polarizers

Indeed, the current technology and techniques allow us photographers to carry less gear that weighs down our backpacks. However, there are still some things that Instagram and Photoshop can’t do what a Polarizing Filter can. That’s because the Polarizer’s purpose is to filter the light coming in through lens and into your camera’s sensor. You see, the light becomes “polarized” as it travels through the Earth’s atmosphere and as it passes through pollution all the way to your lens glass.

The Circular Polarizer’s primary function is to block this light, and that’s why you will see darkened and bluer skies on your photos using the filter. In theory, you can achieve this same effect in Photoshop but what you can’t do is filter polarized light. For example, reflections – water reflection or non-metallic objects deliver polarized light. You can reduce or even eliminate these reflections before you press the shutter with a polarizer. This effect alone cannot be replicated in Photoshop or any post-processing process known to man.

The Polarizing Filter works it’s magic with a linear polarizing film that filters out the scattered light rays and allowing only the light that moves in a linear direction. Linear Polarizing Filters were one of the first polarizing filters produced for film and manual cameras.

Here's a Circular Polarizer in action. Noticed how much darker and bluer the mountain is compared to the rest of the frame?

Here’s a Circular Polarizer Filter in action. Noticed how much darker and bluer the skies above the mountain is compared to the rest of the frame?

I’ve used Linear Polarizing filters when I was shooting with large format film cameras. They worked great but had one downside, their use interferes with modern camera auto-focus and metering systems as it had problems seeing the light moving in linearly. The solution to this is to add a quarter wave plate on the polarizing film to twist the light coming into the lens in a circular pattern – That’s what a Circular Polarizer Filter is, the topic of this article!

Without getting into the physics to explain polarization further, the important thing you have to know is – Polarizing Filters have the most profound effect then it’s used at 90-degree angle from the Sun. That means it works the best when the Sun’s rays are to the left or right of your composition. It is less effective when the Sun is 180 degrees, meaning right behind or in front of you. Still, these minuscule effects can even have a pleasant addition to your image.

Wide Angle With Circular Polarizer Filter

As mentioned, the degree of polarization is most effective when you point your lens 90 degrees from the Sun. You can see this profound effect when you use a Circular Polarizer Filter with a wide angle lens 28 mm or smaller (full frame, cropped sensors will be lower). Since wide angles include more of the sky, you can see part of the atmosphere that isn’t fully polarized. This leads to part of the sky being darker than the rest. It’s up to you if you like this effect or not, I don’t have a problem with it, and I often use Polarizers with Super Wide angles.

There are some things you would be aware of when using a Circular Polarizing Filter. Using one will subtract 1-2 stops of light coming in so you’ll have to adjust accordingly. Most applications of a Circular Polarizing Filter is when the camera is Mounted on a Tripod, but some wildlife photographers use it well while hand holding the camera.

Another thing to be aware of is that the physical thickness of the Polarizers. With wide angle lenses and shooting wide open, can reveal unnatural vignetting at the corners of the frame. There are thin Circular Polarizer Filters to address this particular issue, but you should always check to make sure you’re not at the point of vignetting before taking the shot. You can also check the frame after you took the shot and examine the corners to retake another photo if necessary or adjust your f-stop for a smaller aperture.

Circular Polarizers

Circular Polarizer Filter in action

With all that said, some photographers leave the filter on their lenses all the time. I shoot most of my nature and landscape photos with a Circular Polarizer Filter on my optics. Most images and scenery can use a Polarizing filter, and you should be using them or at least have one in your camera bag. There are just some things Photoshop can’t recreate and what a Circular Polarizer Filter can do is one of them.

Good polarizing filters are not cheap. The ones I use are costly. There’s no reason to tack on a $30 piece of glass on top of a $2,000 lens, that would be stupid. Add to the fact that you could easily have 2-3 different size filter mounts on your lenses and the costs can add up. So what is the solution to this problem? Buy the largest Circular Polarizer Filter matched to the largest lens you have and then buy step-down rings to allow it to fit your smaller lenses. The most common size is 77 mm, but some Super Wide Angle lenses go up to 82 mm – the larger the filter, the more expensive it is!

Here are the Top 5 options I’ve compiled with detailed summary and review to help you pick your Circular Polarizing Filter.

TOP 5 CIRCULAR POLARIZER FILTERS


B+W XS-Pro HTC Kaesemann Circular Polarizer Filter

B+W XS-Pro Kaesemann Circular Polarizer

 

MSRP: $70-$360
Pros: Quite likely the best Circular Polarizer Filter in the market
Cons: Not cheap

This is the filter I use most today. I lost one many years ago and replaced it with a Nikon and then the Heliopan. Now I’m back to using it again. Schneider Optics makes the B+W Circular Polarizer and for those in the know, one of the best lens/glassmakers in the world. The optics from Schneider is second to none, and the B+W Polarizing filter is no exception.

The Kaesemann is a high transmission circular polarizer filter. This filter is specifically designed to mount on digital cameras. It has a variable stop loss of 1 to 1.5 depending on the degree of polarization. It’s relatively easy to clean and so far hasn’t been scratched from my rugged use due to its multi-resistant nano coating. The colors come out neutral and do a reasonable degree of polarizing effect. Overall, I’m happy with this filter and will continue using it in the foreseeable future. If you have the cash, get this filter, call it a day shopping and go out shooting.

See The Best Deals

Heliopan SH-PMC Slim Mount Circular Polarizer Filter

heliopan polarizer

MSRP: $130 -$310
Pros: High-quality glass that losses just a stop and high-quality brass rings
Cons: Expensive and requires great care and handling

I’ve been using the Heliopan 77 mm Slim Mount polarizer for many years. The optical quality is phenomenal. It’s a bit of a toss-up between this and B & W or Nikon, but quality-wise, you can’t go wrong with either of one of them. The SH-PMC means that it has a filter factor of 2.0 vs. 2.5 of the older versions – 2.0 means just one stop light loss while maintaining the same polarization.

Even though the filter has solid brass rings and build, over the years of use, I’ve managed to scratch the glass and eventually it would start to flare when shooting with the sun in the frame. Before that, flares were controlled and didn’t happen as often. The colors come out neutral as expected of high-quality filters such as this. I have since gone back to B&W as my go-to Polarizing Filter for most applications. I still reach out to my Heliopon occasionally but only when there’s no Sun on the frame. Would I recommend this filter for you? Yes! If there are no scratches on my filter, I’d happily use more. It’s a little on the expensive side, but you do get what you pay for.

See The Best Deals

Nikon Wide Circular Polarizer II Filter

Nikon 77mm Wide Circular Polarizer II Filter

MSRP: $130 -$250
Pros: Strongest polarization out of any filters in this group
Cons: Unless you like the effect, images come out too saturated

I’ve used this Polarizing Filter for a couple of years. It’s made by quality optics (and camera) maker, Nikon, so you know what you’re getting when you tack on this filter on your expensive lenses. If you want a strong polarizer, this is it. The polarizing effect on this filter is a lot stronger than anything listed here. Colors will saturate more, and it will cut down the reflections more as well.

Even with strong filtering the Nikon filter still manages only to lose 1.5 stops of light at its zenith. It’s also a very sturdy and robustly built piece of gear that can withstand basic abuses. It doesn’t scratch as easily with its super thin glass and frame made for wide-angle lenses.  If you’re looking for your first Circular Polarizer, you can’t go wrong with the Nikon – you get a high-quality filter that’s not overpriced.

See The Best Deals

Tiffen Digital HT Multi-Coated Circular Polarizer Filter

Tiffen Digital HT Multi-Coated Circular Polarizer

MSRP: $34 -$169
Pros: Excellent filter for the price
Cons: Filter mount isn’t the best fit for some lenses

I had the chance to purchase a Tiffen Warming Circular Polarizer at a low price and jumped right on it. Tiffen makes quality camera equipment and gear at very affordable prices. I’ve owned some of their tripods, flash accessories, and other camera accessories over the years. Optically, you won’t be able to find any difference between this filter and any of the filters mentioned above.

The Tiffen Circular Polarizer is a high transmission polarizing filter that was designed with digital cameras in mind. However, I find the screw to be a little cumbersome with attaching to my Nikon lens. The colors come out great, not too saturated, just enough to see that the filter is working. The price isn’t too shabby either. It’s quite affordable for the quality of the filter you’re getting. If you don’t have the extra spare cash and want a quality Circular Polarizer, the Tiffen Digital HT should fit the bill.

See The Best Deals

Hoya HD 8-layer Multi-Coated Circular Polarizing Filter

MSRP: $30 -$70
Pros: High-quality glass that losses just a stop and high-quality brass rings
Cons: Expensive and requires great care and handling

You can’t mention filters (especially polarizing filters) without mentioning Hoya. These filters are probably what most photographers pick up first when they first start their first foray into polarizing filters. Their cheap, readily available, and marketed well. I’ve had one included on the first used Nikon Film camera I purchased. They work well, and I’ve never really been one to scrutinize down to the pixel level to substantiate the quality.

For years, I’ve always associated Hoya with “cheap.” But, now the brand does make decent filters that are affordable and highly functional. The filter I had finally broke apart from uses on the field, and I’ve never purchased another Hoya filter since. For around $30-$70, it’s an excellent Polarizing Filter to start with but you might find yourself eventually needing one of the filters above should you find yourself using a Polarizing Filter more and more.

See The Best Deals

Things To Consider When Buying A Circular Polarizer Filter

Although price varies significantly from one Circular Polarizer to the other, you should look into other factors outside of this. But, suffice it to say, the more expensive the Circular Polarizing Filter is, the better the quality. It always baffles me when I see a photographer using a $2,000 lens and then mounting a $20 filter on it. Light already has to pass through the lens’ multiple optical elements, and then you place a cheap element in front of all that?

Now, before you fork a hundred bucks on the most expensive Circular Polarizer Filter here are things you should look for:

  • Light Transmission: Cheaper filters are dimmer and therefore a few stops slower than High Transmissions ones which are more expensive. If you use tripods then this wouldn’t be an issue, you might even like the effect especially on waterfalls and moving water.
  • Glare Resistance: Multi-coated filters are more glare resistant and are also more expensive. If you don’t include the Sun on the frame, then this wouldn’t be much of an issue.
  • Color Neutrality: Cheap polarizers can affect the hue of the colors. Polarizers should be color neutral.
  • Contrast: Cheap polarizer without the proper coating will make your images look dull and lack contrast.
  • Vignetting: A thin polarizer is more expensive and allows more versatility when used with wide angle lenses.

Here are a few examples of Circular Polarizer Filter in use:

the general store in bodie california

Partially cutting glare from the glass to reveal contents inside the store. Bodie, California

Eagle Falls Lake Tahoe

Slowing the light coming in 1.5 stops extra to produce the milky water effect of the waterfall. Lake Tahoe, California

Iguazu Falls is a park that borders with Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay

Enhancing the colors of a rainbow. Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Peyto Lake in mid-afternoon. Calgary, Canada.

Enhancing the blues of the sky and glaciated lake. Peyto Lake, Canada

Always Wanderlust 22 Pictures That Prove The Canadian Rockies Rock image 10

The Polarizing Filter made this elk’s coat more saturated

Lake Tahoe, Emerald Waters

Cutting glare on the water to reveal the bottom of a lake. Lake Tahoe, California

Interesting read about Polarization: WIKIPEDIA

DO YOU HAVE A CIRCULAR POLARIZER FILTER?

 


Full Disclosure: I participate in the Amazon affiliate program. I earn a small commision if you use links on this page to purchase a product at no extra cost to you.


 

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Travel Inspiration – Excuses Why You Can’t Travel https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/travel-inspiration/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/travel-inspiration/#comments Fri, 09 Nov 2018 23:49:05 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=21747 Ever wanted to travel the world but second-guessed yourself? How many excuses can you come up with when you think, “I want to travel the world?” I bet you’ve used up all the fingers in your hands for the count. You’re not alone, and when it comes to long-term travel, everyone has a dozen reasons why they can’t. For people who have never traveled longer than a month they have some misconceptions about Round-The-World travel and what makes it not possible. Here we’ll go over the reasons you can’t just pull the trigger and take that leap. 1 – The Gap in my Resume Will Put an End to my Career This is not the 50s through 80s anymore. There has been a massive paradigm shift in thinking. It is now very common to have quality employees with gaps or massive gaps in their CVs and Resumes. Even hiring managers…Continue Reading

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Ever wanted to travel the world but second-guessed yourself? How many excuses can you come up with when you think, “I want to travel the world?” I bet you’ve used up all the fingers in your hands for the count. You’re not alone, and when it comes to long-term travel, everyone has a dozen reasons why they can’t. For people who have never traveled longer than a month they have some misconceptions about Round-The-World travel and what makes it not possible. Here we’ll go over the reasons you can’t just pull the trigger and take that leap.

1 – The Gap in my Resume Will Put an End to my Career

An afternoon view of Lake Ohrid, Macedonia.

An afternoon view of Lake Ohrid, Macedonia.

This is not the 50s through 80s anymore. There has been a massive paradigm shift in thinking. It is now very common to have quality employees with gaps or massive gaps in their CVs and Resumes. Even hiring managers and potential employers have taken long sabbaticals. The crash in 2008 has left a lot of quality employees with massive gaps in their resumes as well, and they are back in the saddle. You’re not alone.

So let’s pretend you’re a hiring manager. You have two choices in potential hires. One has been collecting unemployment the other traveled around the world collecting experiences and gaining worldly knowledge. One has been sitting at home sucking up on the welfare system while the other may have volunteered to help starving children in Africa, learned a new language, or learned about new cultures that you have never even heard about. Who then would you hire?

The trick with any interviews is to turn a potential negative into a positive. Talk about what you’ve learned. Talk about how your travels made you a better person and what those experiences you gained traveling brings to the table. Turn potential employers into believers.

2 – I am Too Old to Go on an RTW Trip and Stay at Hostels

Torres del Paine's three towers.

Torres del Paine’s three towers.

Nonsense. I was 38 years old when I started traveling long-term. I hit rock bottom, lost, with no particular direction to where I’m going with the rest of my life. Having spent the better part of it pursuing the so-called American dream, none of it made me happy or fulfilled. I decided to wake up from that dream and live my life of adventure in reality.

Since then, I’m 42 now, I have slept on multiple stranger’s couches (no, kick your dirty mind off, Couch Surfing!). Stayed in more youth hostels than I care to count. Shared kitchens, bunk beds, and bathrooms with college students. Partied and bar hopped with a bunch of 20-year-olds in over 50 countries. You will have camaraderie with travelers that transcends beyond time and age. Nobody cares that you’re 50 or 75 years old traveler sleeping in dorms at hostels. People who don’t travel have a warped misconception about hostels. They think it’s dirty and full kids who have sex with each other in bunk beds. While some of it might be true. The truth is it’s better than hotels, and you can meet a lot of people there you can connect with regardless of age.

3 – It’s Very Expensive to Travel, and I Don’t Have Enough Money

Sunset Quito Ecuador

Watching the Sunset in Quito, Ecuador

If you’re traveling or “vacationing” for a week or two at a time like the majority of Americans do, then yes it’s true. If you compound and add up the expenses for these week(s), you will probably come up with a very high dollar figure that’s probably enough to squash your long-term travel dream. But, long-term travel is different than a week vacation.

You are not staying in posh hotels sipping may Tai at the beach. The approach, priorities, and reasons are entirely different. You don’t have to be a trust-fund baby to afford round-the-world travel. I’ve met travelers with no more than $500 to their name and a small backpack that have circled the globe multiple times.

The problem with our society is that we don’t treat travel or being worldly as important as owning, a house or saving up for college, or getting married. I know some people who spend more than $50k on their wedding, which is a one-time event in life and has a 50% failure (divorce) rate in the future! How is that more reasonable than $10-20k expense in one to two years to round-the-world travel that provide you with fantastic memories of moments in time for the rest of your life?

Sure the fancy car or SUV might look good as a trophy in your garage. You might even turn heads as you cruise down the street. But, have you ever heard of anyone reminiscing about that moment in time when they cruised down the street with their Lamborghini? You will have to make sacrifices and give up some comforts when you travel long-term, but you don’t need a lot of money. You can volunteer, Couch surf, house sit, teach English, and work odd gigs to keep on traveling. Once on the road out there, you will find various creative ways to make money and may even find free accommodation.

4 – I Don’t Have Time

The seven ladders canyon hike is popular hike near Brasov.

The seven ladders canyon hike is favorite hike near Brasov.

Time and money are the two biggest excuses people give for not taking an extended trip. Unfortunately, for those of us who live in the US, most of merely, do not have the vacation days to take more than a week or two at a time. While it is not as simple as taking your vacation, you would be shocked at what you might be able to work out with your employers.

Why not ask for an extended leave of absence? It’s that simple. You can reason that it’s for your mental health. What do you have to lose? If you want to leave your job or to want to change careers, a long-term adventure around the world gives you the freedom that you can’t have a 9-5. I had a 2-month break from between contracts and decided to take off to travel. While traveling, a friend contacted me for .NET development gig that I can do at home. I happened to be in Romania at the time (which had excellent internet infrastructure), and I was able to continue traveling while still earning an income to fund my travels.

The point is, you’ll never know until to take that first bold step. You may find you have a skill you can hone and use while on the road like web development, teaching, freelance, writing, photography, and hey you might even start a blog and earn some income from it.

5 – It’s Too Dangerous to Travel Internationally

Ura e Brarit

Ura e Brarit

Yet all the slate of recent terror attacks you’ll see in the media lately about Europe, like cars being driven into a crowd in Las Ramblas, in Barcelona. A trolley being rammed into swathes of people in Nice during Bastille Day. This is still the dumbest statement I’ve ever heard in my life. This is a myth! Stop watching all the negative news and ignore the stupid media. They exaggerate things to make things worse than they are. You are more likely to be struck by a car in your neighborhood than being mauled by something or somebody overseas.

Read blogs (like these); follow somebody who has been traveling the world on Instagram or Twitter. You will find many people hanging around in these so-called dangerous places reported by the media. Do not let fear dictate what you do in life.

6 – I Have Kids or Pets. I Can’t Travel Long-Term With Kids or Pets

Sunset at Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Sunset at Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Another myth. It is all about your mindset. There are plenty, and I mean plenty, to families who travel and have been doing it for years at a time. It is probably not easy; I personally never traveled with kids because I have none. However, I will certainly do it when it I have kids of my own. I would want my children to experience new cultures and learn different things they would not otherwise get from regular education. I can homeschool my kids or send them to school abroad. They would learn different ways to have a happy childhood – they do not need material things.

Having pets will make your travel logistics a bit difficult, but it shouldn’t stop you. You’ll have to do some advanced planning, or maybe you can find a willing family member to take care of your pet while you travel. But why not just travel with your pet!

Family travel is more challenging than Solo Travel, but you will probably bond with your wife/husband and children in better ways than traditional families. Your whole family will learn invaluable education and skills acquired from traveling the world together. You will experience things better than other families bogged down by enormous debts and mortgages.

7 – I am a Woman/LGBT. It is Too Dangerous to Travel Solo

At The Old Austro-Hungarian Border

At The Old Austro-Hungarian Border

You will probably end up giving your parents a heart attack if you travel the world by yourself. It is understandable. As Bilbo Baggins says: “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Yes, female travelers do have to be more vigilant than males or couples. However, if you are sly and armed nun chucks, who is going to bother you? Just do your due homework and exercise extra caution to put mom and dad at ease.

There are undoubtedly many solo women travelers out there doing just fine. Just enter “Solo Female Travel” in Google search, and it will return over 74 million results! You will find solo female travelers from all walks of life and some as old as 70 still exploring the world. The point is, gender, sexual orientation, age, and skin color should not be a hindrance to long-term travel.

8 – Everyone Hates Americans

Isla Del Sol Featured

Isla Del Sol Featured

Dear fellow Americans, we aren’t gettin’ no love abroad. Just telling people, you are an American makes people from other country’s faces cringe. The Donald is not making things better either. We have it rougher than different nationalities around the world. However, this is our chance the change that perception. I have been to many places that have negative opinions of Americans, but these are also places that welcomed me as the individual most!

You must behave, be friendly and be more empathetic and humble. Do not go around boasting how great America is and how right you are to do this or that. Take your politics aside and treat people like people because, in the end, we are not citizens of a specific country. We are all citizens of the Earth, and we have to live on this planet together.

9 – My Health Insurance Won’t Cover Me

Machu Picchu

Touristy But Worth It In The End

I worked in the Healthcare industry once and knew how insanely expensive it is in the US. There is even a single treatment of a drug out there that cost almost a million per! You probably think that we have the best healthcare in the world, which is why it is so expensive. This could not be further from the truth. In some developed countries, healthcare is flat-out free. As it should be. It should be a given right to any citizens of the country to live a healthy life. These benefits even extend to foreigners visiting the country.

Of course, traveling without your insurance is risky. A catastrophic event might not be covered by your policy – like being airlifted out of active volcano you fell into from a recent hike. However, anything like the flu or a bacterial infection that you contracted from kissing a random person from a night out of a drunken stupor, it is no big deal. You can show up to any doctor who likely doesn’t speak English and get treatment at low costs. Most pharmacies in some countries have lax drug policies and sell most medicine over the counter with a prescription. You will have to do your research and take things under caution.

10 – I Have Way Too Much Stuff to Leave Behind

Torress del Paine

Patagonia

The only thing that makes us rich are experiences, not things. Your TV and your multitude of furniture and knick-knacks won’t make that lasting impression in your life. When’s the last time you recalled an excellent time with your beautiful coffee table? Many years from now you’ll only regret the things you didn’t do or try. You’ll be surprised how happier you are if you have less “stuff.” Invest your time in minimalism and start keeping only the things that are important and have a legitimate function in your life. You’ll be amazed at how much time and money you will save for more important things like adventure and travel!

11 – Planning Sucks/I’m Too Lazy to Plan

Popradské pleso

Popradské Pleso

Well, this is a lame excuse. I’m the worst planner in the history of humankind, but I managed to pull out fine out of 56 countries. I even ended back on several of them several times because I did not plan it too well. However, let me tell you. The best experiences and discoveries I ever had was when I did not intend to visit place A or country B. I love the random things that I come across and all the casual friendships and the discoveries that come out of it.

A two-month break between contracts a couple of years ago led me to find a cheap flight deal to Bucharest. I bought it a minute later and found myself wandering the streets of Bucharest a few days later. Nothing was planned. I had an idea, but I went in there with the intention of discovering what is in store for me next. I ended up staying in Romania for almost three months!

While long-term travel may not be for everyone but for those of us who dream it, we often find ourselves issuing roadblocks and reasons why we cannot. These excuses are often a product of our fears that are not real. Once you gather the gumption to take the first steps, you will find that “there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE?

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Best Travel Tripods For Photographers | Under $100 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/best-travel-tripod/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/best-travel-tripod/#comments Thu, 08 Nov 2018 19:02:42 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=21439 The best travel tripod, choosing one can be daunting. I’m here to present the best options for your style, height, and special needs as a photographer. All for under $100! Every successful and professional photographer I know, own at least one tripod. From the birth of the very first cameras ever created a tripod always accompanied it. That was because the first cameras were huge and heavy, let alone extremely low light sensitivity. Nowadays, cameras are a lot smaller and lighter, and most come with anti-shake and stabilization technologies that eventually the camera can divorce the tripod and still make great photos. Or is that the case? Unless they can come up with technology that can cheat physics, there will always be a need for tripods. Sure, with low noise sensors, anti-shake, and super fast lens wide-open you can capture just about anything under the Sun. What it can’t do is capture…Continue Reading

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The best travel tripod, choosing one can be daunting. I’m here to present the best options for your style, height, and special needs as a photographer. All for under $100!


Every successful and professional photographer I know, own at least one tripod. From the birth of the very first cameras ever created a tripod always accompanied it. That was because the first cameras were huge and heavy, let alone extremely low light sensitivity. Nowadays, cameras are a lot smaller and lighter, and most come with anti-shake and stabilization technologies that eventually the camera can divorce the tripod and still make great photos.

Or is that the case? Unless they can come up with technology that can cheat physics, there will always be a need for tripods. Sure, with low noise sensors, anti-shake, and super fast lens wide-open you can capture just about anything under the Sun. What it can’t do is capture sharp images with flowing waters, the milky way, the epic sunsets and sunrises, and any long exposures that require anything above 2 seconds.

What I will review here are professional quality tripods that are under $100. That’s right. These tripods can stabilize your full-frame travel camera just as good as any $300+ tripods. What’s more, I’ve compiled the ones that are compact and can fold inside a carry-on for travel. You see, I’m a tripod fanatic. I’ve owned over 15 of them, and I have three that I keep with me at all times. About 98.99% of my photographs are taken when I was using a tripod. One of the photos published on National Geographic was shot on a tripod. All my award-winning photos and best-selling ones are shot on a tripod.

In short, tripods are very important to the creation of fantastic imagery. Let’s find out the best ones we can afford.

The Best Travel Tripods for Under $100


Mactrem 62.5” Aluminum Alloy Tripod

Mactrem 62.5

 

MSRP: $74.99
Max Height: 62.5″ Tripod | 64″ Monopod
Weight: 2.99 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 16.9”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Flip-Lock
Load Capacity: 33 lbs
Pros: A lot of features for the price, very compact when folded, and reasonably well built
Cons: The center column requires a little bit of force to tighten for it to stay in place

The Mactrem 62.5″ is made out of premium aluminum alloy and can support up to 33 lbs of gear. The tripod can be adjusted anywhere from 21.5″ to its max height of 62.5″ which is good enough for most photographers. Like most of the tripods on this list, the center column can be inverted so you can shoot even lower than it’s minimum height. For an aluminum-based tripod, it’s fairly light, weighing in at 2.9 lbs with the included ball head. The ball head is basic but does the job

The Mactrem is a flip-lock design, which allows you to set up the tripod within seconds. Another useful feature is the center column can be converted to a monopod with a maximum height of 64.” As with other tripods mentioned here is the padded soft foam grip that is useful for those cold days. The tripod can be folded to as short as 16.9 inches allowing you to throw it in your carry-on luggage or anywhere you prefer without taking too much space.  With a $74.99 price tag, it’s tough to beat its value.

Mactrem 62.5” Aluminum Alloy Tripod

Overall Value 5
Portability 5
Weight 5
Durability 4
Ergonomics 4
See The Best Deals

K&F Concept 62″ Aluminum Tripod

K&F Concept 62

MSRP: $79.99
Max Height: 62″
Weight: 2.99 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 18.1”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Flip-lock
Load Capacity: 22 lbs
Pros: Very light for aluminum, compact, fast to use and folds very small
Cons: The included ball head is a little flimsy and needs to be replaced with something more robust

The K&F Concept tripod is made of  Magnesium aluminum alloy and weighs in at just under 3 lbs with the included ball head. That’s lighter than most Carbon fiber tripod of the same design. Its legs can reflex to 180 degrees which allows it to be folded to about 18.1” (460mm) and can fit inside standard carry-on luggage. The simple flip-lock design means you can extend the legs out to full height in seconds giving you more time to catch the action. The center tube easily disengages, and you can turn it upside so you can shoot even lower to the ground.

There’s a stretchable hook you can use to hang a bag or a more massive object to keep the tripod even steadier if the need arises. There’s a sponge grip on one of the legs that are useful during cold times when touching metal isn’t enjoyable. At $79.99, you’re getting a lot of value for your money here. I was very impressed with the durability of the K&F Concept that I occasionally use from time to time. I’ve used in salty waters over sand and other rugged areas. The tripod just kept on going. The one gripe I have is the cheap ball head it comes with – it’s flimsy and can’t handle a load heavier than 5 lbs. I have several ball heads that’s a better replacement, so it’s not a deal breaker. As far as tripods go in this lot, this is the best deal for the money.

K&F 62″ Aluminum Tripod

Overall Value 5
Portability 5
Weight 4
Durability 4
Ergonomics 4
See The Best Deals

Davis & Sanford 53″ Carbon Fiber Tripod

 

Davis & Sanford 53

MSRP: $69.95
Max Height: 53” with Extended Column | 53” Without
Weight: 2.99 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 12”
Leg Sections|Type: 5 Sections | Twist-lock
Load Capacity: 10 lbs
Pros: Carbon Fiber frame means lightweight construction and also compact
Cons: The twist-lock legs were prone to having problems when exposed to sand

The Davis & Stanford branded tripods come from and manufactured by well-known camera accessory makers, Tiffen. I’ve used Tiffen products from polarizers to camera stabilizers. I’ve always trusted the quality of their products. I also the 65″ version of the Traverse (priced at $130, too high to be in this group). The Traverse 53″ comes with the same eight layer Carbon Fiber legs as its larger brother. However, it’s a few ounces lighter and comes with a 5 Section legs twist lock action that can extend the tripods full height without the center post. The

The Davis & Sanford is one of the lightest and compact tripods out of this group. At 2.6 lbs, you might be worried that it will fly off like a feather. It’s surprisingly stable and is equipped with a slightly better ball head than the K & F above. Folded to 180 degrees, the tripod’s compact frame is at 12.5 inches allowing to fit just about anywhere you can think of. It’s a matter of preference, but the twist-lock design means it will take longer to set the tripod up which could mean missing that crucial shot you wanted to capture. The other gripe I have is that twist lock is prone to lock up when sand and other debris get in there. Overall though, you’ll be impressed with the quality and build of this tripod compared to other ones costing nearly $500.

Davis & Sanford 53″ Carbon Fiber Tripod

Overall Value 4
Portability 5
Weight 5
Durability 4
Ergonomics 5
See The Best Deals

AmazonBasics 52″ Carbon Fiber Tripod

 

AmazonBasics 52

MSRP: $89.99

Max Height: 53”
Weight: 2.99 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 12.5”
Leg Sections|Type: 5 Sections | Twist-lock
Load Capacity: 10 lbs
Pros: Very compact and lightweight
Cons: Too many sections with twist-lock takes a long time to set up and won’t be able to hold heavier cameras

Fast from the Davis & Sanford heels is Amazon’s similar designed AmazonBasics 52-inch carbon fiber tripod. No one knows who makes these products for Amazon, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it came out of the same factory as any of the mentioned tripods in this line-up. I’ve purchased a lot of AmazonBasics product before and attest their decent value for the money.  The AmazonBasics tripod is one of the most, if not the most, compact tripods I’ve ever seen. You can virtually fit and carry this thing anywhere without feeling the tug.

The twist lock design does come with the extra added time to set the tripod up just like the Davis & Sanford above. The ball head that comes with the tripod is also not up to standards. I would have reservations putting my $3,000 Nikon DSLR on this tripod. If you’ve got a lighter camera/lens combo, then this tripod is more than good enough. Priced at $89.99, it’s not expensive, but I would pick up one of the top two tripods mentioned above unless you want the Amazon name plastered on your tripod.

AmazonBasics 52″ Carbon Fiber Tripod

Overall Value 4
Portability 5
Weight 5
Durability 3
Ergonomics 4
See The Best Deals

Rangers 57” Aluminum Tripod

Rangers 57” Aluminum Tripod

 

MSRP: $69.39
Max Height: 55″ Tripod
Weight: 4.1 lbs with ball head | 2.89 lbs Without
Folded Length: 14”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Flip-lock
Load Capacity: 26.5 lbs
Pros: Cheap aluminum tripod with lots of features
Cons: Heavier and doesn’t extend as tall as the other tripods on this list

Just like the K&F Concept tripod the Rangers 57″ is made of aluminum alloy and weighs just under 3lbs without the included ball head. However, with the ball head, it’s pushing in the 4 lbs territory. It’s not heavy by any means but something to be aware of when deciding to purchase a tripod. What you do get is a stable tripod that can cover decent height.

The $69.99 price tag isn’t too shabby either. The flip-lock design will have shooting in no time. Another cool feature is a removable leg that you can convert into a monopod by attaching it to the ball-adaptor. The included 360-degree panoramic ball head is stable and can hold over 20 lbs. Some users have complained that the flip-lock becomes loose over time, but that happens with any flip-lock design even if you bought a $400 tripod – it’s easy to tighten.

Rangers 57” Aluminum Tripod

Overall Value 5
Portability3
Weight 3
Durability 4
Ergonomics 4
See The Best Deals

Geekoto 77” Aluminum Tripod

Geekoto 77”

 

MSRP: $79.99
Max Height: 55″ Tripod | 57″ as Monopod
Weight: 3.37 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 19”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Flip-lock
Load Capacity: 17 lbs
Pros: Extends very tall and reasonably light
Cons: It’s not as compact as the other tripods on this list and the max load is so-so

The Geekoto tripod design has tall people in mind. This tripod can extend from 19″ to 77″ in seconds with quick release flip-locks. Weighing in at 3.37 lbs, this tripod can stabilize 17 pounds of gear. Like the Ranger tripod above, you can disassemble the center column to transform into a monopod. However, it goes up even taller to 81 inches.

The taller the tripod, the taller the folding length. The Geekoto folds to a minimum of19 inches, making it one of the least portable tripods on this list. You probably don’t want to put a bulky DSLR with a 900 mm lens on this tripod, but or normal zooms and mirror-less cameras this will do just fine. For the pro features that the Geekoto carries, you might be skeptical as to the quality of the tripod. Fear not, this is a solid piece of hardware that won’t bite your bank account.

Geekoto 77” Aluminum Tripod

Overall Value 4
Portability 3
Weight 4
Durability 4
Ergonomics 4
See The Best Deals

Neewer 66” Carbon Fiber Tripod

neewer carbon fiber 66

 

MSRP: $99.99
Max Height: 66″
Weight: 4.67 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 19.3”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Twist-Lock
Load Capacity: 11 lbs
Pros: Extends pretty tall, have a great load capacity, and anti-skidding feet
Cons: Heavy for Carbon Fiber and not as compact as the other reviewed tripods on this list

Hovering near our $100 price point, the Neewer 66″ Carbon Fiber tripod is the most expensive tripod on this list. It’s a little heavy for Carbon Fiber touching close to the 5 lbs territory with the included ball head. However, it can withstand heavier load than other tripods on this list, with 33 lbs load capacity. It can also extend tall at 66″ of height and folds to 19.3 inches. The Neewer has an anti-skidding feet design where you can unscrew the rubber feet to expose metal points – useful in wet areas.

You center column can be converted to a monopod and since it’s made of sturdy Carbon Fiber material, can be used as a walking stick – Perfect if you’re doing some hikes to your photography location. For the features you’re getting the $99.99 price tag is a bargain. I’ve bought tripods throughout the years that were 3x the price and doesn’t even same features or build like this.

Neewer 66” Carbon Fiber Tripod

Overall Value 4
Portability 4
Weight 3
Durability 4
Ergonomics 4
See The Best Deals

BONFOTO 55″ Carbon Fiber Tripod

BONFOTO 55"

MSRP: $99.99
Max Height: 55″ Tripod | 57″ as Monopod
Weight: 2.5 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 15.35”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Twist-lock
Load Capacity: 17.6 lbs
Pros: Extremely lightweight with ball head included and very rigid
Cons: Does not extend very tall and included ball head is flimsy

Another Carbon Fiber tripod that is hovering near our price point. The Bonfoto Carbon Fiber tripod is equipped with similar features as the Neewer above. It has a four section leg with a twist-lock mechanism and has a center column that you can convert into a monopod. Unlike the Neweer, however, is that the Bonfoto can be folded to 15″ making it very compact. It’s also lighter at 3 lbs with the included ball head.

With the compact design, it doesn’t entirely cover as much height as the Neewer with a maximum height of 55″ and a lower holding capacity at 11 lbs. Also, unlike the Neweer, the Bonfoto comes with rubberized non-slip feet. It’s a matter of preference but I the metal points on the Neewer. Still, this tripod is more good enough for most application where travel is concerned and where you’re probably not carrying heavy equipment.

BONFOTO 55″ Carbon Fiber Tripod

Overall Value 3
Portability 5
Weight 5
Durability 3
Ergonomics 4
See The Best Deals

BONFOTO 55″ Aluminum Alloy Tripod

bonfoto 55 aluminum

MSRP: $65.99
Max Height: 55″ Tripod
Weight: 2.6 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 14.5”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Flip-lock
Load Capacity: 17 lbs
Pros: Just as light and durable as the Carbon Fiber version and even cheaper
Cons: The included ball head comes loose and doesn’t quite hold heavier gear firmly

This is Bonfoto’s Aluminum version of the tripod above. Frankly, it’s just as feature rich with a convertible center column that you can use as a monopod. It has the same load capacity at 17 lbs and weighs even lighter at 2.6 pounds with the included ball head. The ball head is not quite as good as the one above, but it’s decent. I’ve always found that included ball heads from sub $100 tripods to be flimsy and that’s why I have quality ball heads at hand for replacement. Still, it’s the included ball head is indeed usable as long as you make sure to tighten the knob securely.

Other notable difference from the Carbon Fiber version is the flip-lock design. It has the same 4 section legs, but you can have this version set up much faster than the twist-lock action of the Carbon Fiber. It’s a matter of preference at this point but having both designs, I prefer to work with flip-locks – though prone to loosening over time (you’ll have to tighten it again). For $15 less than the Carbon Fiber version and weighs even less? Which one would you go for?

BONFOTO 55″ Aluminum Tripod

Overall Value 5
Portability 4
Weight 5
Durability 3
Ergonomics 4
See The Best Deals

Neewer 62” Aluminum Alloy Tripod

Neewer Aluminum 62

 

MSRP: $52.94
Max Height: 55″ Tripod | 57″ as Monopod
Weight: 4 lbs with ball head
Folded Length: 22.4”
Leg Sections|Type: 4 Sections | Twis-Lock
Load Capacity: 8.8 lbs
Pros: A cheap no frills tripod that does the job
Cons: Heavier and doesn’t quite hold as much gear as the other tripods reviewed on this list

The Neewer 62″ is the Aluminum version of the Carbon Fiber tripod of the same name. At almost half the price of the Carbon Fiber version, this tripod has most of the features as any tripods on this list. It can fold to 17.7″ weighs only 3.9 lbs with the included ball head. The four leg section flip-lock design can hold a capacity of 17 lbs.

The tripod isn’t as stable as most of the tripods on this list, but if you’re using a light camera and lens combo, you won’t need anything else. The ball head is decent; it doesn’t quite hold heavier cameras in place unless you tighten hard on the locking knob. I’m tempted to say spend the extra $20 for one of the first two models on this list but if $20 is such a big deal then save the $20. At this price point, Neewer Aluminum tripod is cheap and does the job it’s meant to do with no frills.

Neewer 62” Aluminum Tripod

Overall Value 4
Portability 3
Weight 3
Durability 4
Ergonomics 4
See The Best Deals

HONORABLE MENTION

Rovtop 55″ Aluminum

The Rovtop tripod has an interesting design, like some tripods on this list it can double up as a monopod by converting the center column. It has a maximum height of 55″ and a minimum of 14,” and the center column can be inverted if you want to shoot lower. It’s made of solid aluminum and can carry up to 8.9 lbs of load. The tripod weighs in at just a hair over 4 lbs at 4.1 lbs with the included ball head. At a $59.99 price point, it’s a good deal than some of the tripods mentioned here.

See The Best Deals

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN SHOPPING FOR THE BEST TRAVEL TRIPOD

For a lot of photographic applications, you still need a tripod. I’ve gone through over a dozen tripods throughout my photographic career. From 6 pound wooden behemoths when I was shooting large format film to $500 featherweight brand name Carbon Fibre tripods that were a technological leap in its day. Today, manufacturing of tripods from all over the world have made it very competitive for and cheaper for photographers. You don’t have to get the brand name tripod to get a decent and functional product. There’s a lot of tripods available now, all under $100 that work just as well as ones priced over $300.

best travel tripod

One of the things you’ll have to consider when choosing a tripod is your shooting style. Do you like to have the ability to be so low to the ground? Are you tall and love to shoot at eye level? Do you shoot with heavy telephoto lenses? Do you want to be able to set up the tripod in seconds so you can get on to shooting your subject? These factors come into play when you choose your next tripod, and I’ve touched on these points with my summaries on this list.

Your decision might be swayed by one technology over the other. Carbon Fiber vs. Aluminum? Flip-locks offer the most convenience and speed when it comes to setting up a tripod, but you can only find it on Aluminum tripods. The carbon Fiber material isn’t conducive to the flip-lock design.

Carbon Fiber vs. Aluminum

Carbon Fiber is lighter than Aluminum, that comes to no surprise. However, technologies in metallurgy have tightened that gap between the two materials. It’s probably just my imagination, but I find that Carbon Fiber tends to be more stable and more vibration resistant than aluminum. Again, having continually used and switched back and forth between one or the other, I can attest that Carbon Fiber fares slightly better in some regards it also loses in others.

Flip-lock vs. Twist-lock

twist-lock vs flip-lock tripod best travel tripod

Twist vs. Flip

Again, it’s probably a matter of preference, but I find Flip-lock to be better in most applications. It’s faster to set up, bar none. While you’re still twisting and tightening a twist-lock tripod I probably already have shot several frames with my flip-lock. Unfortunately, due to the material and design, flip-locks require more engineering in order for it to mount on Carbon Fiber tripods within the $100 price point.

Folding Size and Height

If you’re tall and like to shoot at eye level, this plays a big factor for you. I once used a short but very compact tripod on a trip and found myself wanting to shoot at eye level at every frame. Suffice it to say; my back was aching after a photo session. The more compact the tripod is, the shorter it probably extends.

Load Capacity and Weight

The rule of thumb is, the heavier the tripod, the more it can carry. It’s a simple law of physics. What gear you take and shoot with will dictate this choice. I typically never carry lenses over 4 lbs and don’t see a need to with my shooting style. So my decision on which tripod to use tend to favor the lighter ones. Your needs might be different, so keep this in mind when choosing your tripod.

Ergonomics

How cumbersome is it to use the tripod? Flimsy designs can take away the fun of photography and may make you miss the most crucial shot. Does the tripod have padded handles, so you don’t have to touch the icy aluminum material on cold days? Luckily, most if not all of the tripods I’ve compiled on this list take this factor into consideration.

With all that said, the Mactrem 62.5″ or the K&F Concept 62″ Aluminum Tripod is the best travel tripods for the money. Both can extend to 62″ which is tall enough for most photographers. Both are also surprisingly lightweight at just a hair over 3 lbs with the included ball head – that’s lighter than some Carbon Fiber Tripods listed here. The flip-lock design is a joy to work with; I have a hard time picking up my twist-lock Carbon Fiber tripod for a days shooting over these.

If you’re sold on Carbon Fiber then consider the Davis & Sanford 53″ Carbon Fiber at $69.99 it’s a steal. The AmazonBasics 52″ Carbon Fiber Tripod at $89.99 is also not far off from a great deal. If you’re tall and need a little more height, the Geekoto 77” Aluminum Tripod is your best bet as the best travel tripod.

ARE YOU LOOKING FOR THE BEST TRAVEL TRIPOD?

Read Next >> The Best Travel Camera | The Best Sony E Mount Lenses for Travel

 


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The Best Day To Buy Airline Tickets https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/cheapest-day-to-buy-flights/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/cheapest-day-to-buy-flights/#comments Thu, 01 Nov 2018 18:27:58 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=21591 THE BEST DAY TO BOOK FLIGHTS? This is a question that’s on every traveler’s mind. Is there even such a thing? Whether you’re going on a vacation, visiting family across the country, or on a business trip – you want the best deal on your flight ticket. You’ll probably spend countless hours on Google trying to find the answer. The internet is ripe with responses and eager to help with all sorts of tips, advice, travel hacks, and all sorts of magical apps that will magically determine the best day to buy flights. They will tell you that you should purchase your ticket six weeks prior to your flight or some variation of the same response. But. Is One Particular Day(s) Really Better Than The Other For Booking Flights? Well lucky for you, I’ve spent enough money out of pocket buying cheap airfare that has taken me to over 53…Continue Reading

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THE BEST DAY TO BOOK FLIGHTS?

This is a question that’s on every traveler’s mind. Is there even such a thing? Whether you’re going on a vacation, visiting family across the country, or on a business trip – you want the best deal on your flight ticket. You’ll probably spend countless hours on Google trying to find the answer. The internet is ripe with responses and eager to help with all sorts of tips, advice, travel hacks, and all sorts of magical apps that will magically determine the best day to buy flights. They will tell you that you should purchase your ticket six weeks prior to your flight or some variation of the same response.

But.

Is One Particular Day(s) Really Better Than The Other For Booking Flights?

Well lucky for you, I’ve spent enough money out of pocket buying cheap airfare that has taken me to over 53 countries around the world to give you an answer. And that the answer is a resounding, YES! Incidentally, the cheapest day(s) to buy flights have been right under our noses. It’s “Black Friday“, “Cyber Monday“, and “Travel Tuesday.” Airline companies are joining retail companies and slashing their airfares to join in on the frenzy. Airline companies want to attract buyers who aren’t excited to wait in line at the local mall only to find out the product they wanted to buy

Discount airline WOW Air once offered $99 one way flights from New York’s JFK to popular cities in Europe like Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin, London, and Copenhagen! Deals like these are very, of course, very basic. Stripped down to the bone. You’ll have to pay for checked-in luggage and other comforts like meals. There is a probably a long layover on your flight itinerary as well making your flight longer than normal. There are ways to take advantage of these situations and I’ll go over that in detail on this article.

Cyber Monday, Black Friday, and Travel Tuesday

If you happen to miss the deals on Cyber Monday or Black Friday, you can purchase cheap flights during Tuesdays. There’s a reason why it has earned the “Travel Tuesday” moniker. This is because airlines announce their deals on Monday nights, and by Tuesday at noon, the other airlines are scrambling to match or offer a better deal. The only issue is that your Tuesday noon might differ than my Tuesday noon depending on the time zones.

Chepeast day to buy flights

A graph showing which days have the lowest airfare prices

You can see on the graph above that prices dip for flights during these days.

Pro Tips For Buying Cheap Flights

Use Skyscanner

I use either the Skyscanner app or their website to find the cheapest deals on flights. I have written about this the Skyscanner app on my roundup: The Best Apps to Find Cheap Flights. On the Skyscanner website, you can find special deals from airlines on the Skyscanner pages. Just mark your calendar or set up an alert on the Skyscanner app to remind you to visit Skyscanner on Black Friday or Cyber Monday to search for your favorite destinations. You can even use their “Everywhere Search” feature which allows you to find the lowest prices on flights in every destination around the globe.

A Long Layover is a Good Thing

A flight with a very long stopover is cheaper than a regular ticket. People don’t buy into these deals because they don’t want to be stuck in an airport with nothing to do. That’s not the case! It’s a good way to notch another country under your belt if you do it right. Think of it as an extra reward.

You can use this time to check out the country at little to no cost to you. For example, I bought a cheap flight to Belize for $500 offseason, and it had a 10-hour layover in El Salvador. My then girlfriend and I decided to check out San Salvador city. It wasn’t that far from the airport, and purchasing an 8-day visa was all we needed to see the city. Let me tell you; some dangerous things are going on in that city that are too lengthy to say here. Suffice it to say; I’ve gained some insights from that layover that will influence my future travel plans or not to El Salvador. I wouldn’t have gotten that experience had I not had a long layover from a flight.

Have Some Flexibility

Flying out on a weekday is typically cheaper than flying out on the weekends. What time you fly out also plays a factor on the airfare prices, so the more flexible you are about timing, the better your chances of finding a cheap flight. If you’re using Skyscanner, there is a nifty feature to see the different airfare by adjusting the date you fly out and the return date. You can see all the prices in real time as you add or subtract a day or two.

You can adjust the departure and return days conveniently via the Skyscanner website

You can adjust the departure and return days conveniently via the Skyscanner website

Turn Inconvenience to Convenience

Nobody wants to get up very early or go to the airport very late. Early and very late flights are on an awkward schedule and are cheaper on average than flights on regular hours. I always think of it as a way to skip a day on hotels and accommodation. If I can sleep on the plane or a train journey, I save money by not having to stay a hotel for that duration. Red-eye flights are cheap because it’s inconvenient, but you can turn this into an advantage if you plan carefully.

Set Up an Email Alert for Cheap Flights

The Amazing Village of Riomaggiore in Italy

Cheap flights can help see the Amazing Village of Riomaggiore in Italy

Flight alerts are by far one of the best tools for the budget conscious traveler. You can have your favorite travel app to set an email alert whenever it finds a deal to destinations and price point you specify. Again, Skyscanner is very good at this. You can set up the price alert on the app to track the price of a specific flight.

When and if the price changes, the app will notify you by push notification or via email. If you are flexible about your destination, you can set up multiple alerts to help you land a cheap flight to a destination of your choice. Using this method, I was able to find a very cheap trip to Bucharest and had a great adventure all around Romania!

To set up an alert on Skyscanner:

  1. Go to the Skyscanner homepage or open the Skyscanner app on your phone.
  2. Search for the flight route and dates you want to track.
  3. Click the bell icon on the website located in the top-left or the bottom-left on the app.
  4. Click ‘Create,’ and that’s it! You will soon get notifications of any price changes.

Cheaper Isn’t Always Better

Sugarloaf Mountain View in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

How about Rio de Janeiro?

Most cheap budget airlines don’t include checked-in baggage on their price. These are often hefty fees that would almost certainly negate the initial affordable price of the ticket. Make you sure you read the fine print as to what’s included or not on the cost of the ticket. If you are a minimalistic traveler and can do with only carry-on luggage then maybe you don’t care about the baggage fees. However, if you’re in need of extra baggage, you might want to look elsewhere and compare the prices with other airlines offering a free checked in baggage.

Keep Scanning Skyscanner

There’s a high chance that you will find the best flight deal on Special Offer days – The day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday), and subsequently the Monday after that (Cyber Monday). Airline companies are offering all kinds of extravaganza when consumers know that retailers are slashing their prices. The Skyscanner app or website makes it very easy to track or find these deals so you can be on your way to your next bucket list destination!

Use Google ITA Matrix

Google’s old flight search engine is still great as a research and a price comparison tool. You can see the cheapest day to buy airline tickets when you use the calendar of fares option. Read my in-depth guide for using the ITA Matrix Software to get the most out of flight searches.

Armed with all this knowledge, you should now have the tools necessary to land you that cheap flight to your dream destination. Don’t forget to download the Skyscanner App!

HAVE YOU FOUND CHEAP FLIGHTS ON BLACK FRIDAY?

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Skyscanner. All opinions are my own.

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Lofoten Rorbuer – Why You Should Stay in One https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/lofoten-rorbuer/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/lofoten-rorbuer/#comments Tue, 30 Oct 2018 20:39:16 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=21521 When I first saw my first photos of Norwegian rorbu I was fascinated. These little red houses on stilts over a rugged shoreline with granite peaks on the backdrop was very captivating. It wasn’t long until I developed the desire to visit the Lofoten Archipelago and see it all for myself. These red cabins are hotels or other accommodations catering to tourist in Lofoten. Historically, however, the word rorbuer was used to describe houses in the Lofoten Islands. It comes from the Norwegian word “ro” which is to row (your boat) and “bu” meaning storage or house. The rorbu was used as a seasonal house when fishermen came out to fish in the winter. What’s fascinating about these little red cabins is that they’ve been in use since the Viking era, circa 11th century. The rich bounty in the Lofoten Archipelago drew a lot of fishing activity in the area,…Continue Reading

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When I first saw my first photos of Norwegian rorbu I was fascinated. These little red houses on stilts over a rugged shoreline with granite peaks on the backdrop was very captivating. It wasn’t long until I developed the desire to visit the Lofoten Archipelago and see it all for myself.

Typical rorbu in the Fishing Village of Reine

Typical rorbu in the Fishing Village of Reine

These red cabins are hotels or other accommodations catering to tourist in Lofoten. Historically, however, the word rorbuer was used to describe houses in the Lofoten Islands. It comes from the Norwegian word “ro” which is to row (your boat) and “bu” meaning storage or house. The rorbu was used as a seasonal house when fishermen came out to fish in the winter.

Rorbuer on stilts along the sea

Rorbuer on stilts along the sea

What’s fascinating about these little red cabins is that they’ve been in use since the Viking era, circa 11th century. The rich bounty in the Lofoten Archipelago drew a lot of fishing activity in the area, and the fishermen needed a place to stay during the season. The rorbu is very basic, typically with only a bedroom and a storage room used to store equipment for fishing.

Cabins on Stilts

The red cabins are usually built on stilts and poles to keep them upright over the sea. The color red was used because it’s the cheapest paint color to purchase during the era. The rorbuer has been in functional use as a fishing cabin until modern times when most have been converted into tourist accommodation and attraction.

A rorbu or rorbuer in Reine for rent

A rorbu or rorbuer in Reine available for rent

Today, the rorbuer is synonymous with Lofoten. Most of these cabins are available for rent, and some are indeed authentic. Some are even renovated to fit today’s modern standards of living, complete with running water, kitchen, and electricity. However, some are still very basic and even look like they did centuries ago.

The famed postcard perfect view of Reine with rorbuer

The famed postcard-perfect view of Eliassen in Hamnøy with rorbuer

The most notable rorbuer and one that you’ll like see in postcards are the Eliassen Rorbuer. Located in Hamnøy by the Reinfjorden and surrounded by magnificent peaks. A classic view of this from above is hiking the Reinbringen trail where you can see it all from a ridge towards the summit.

Notable Reine/Hamnøy Rorbuer

Reinefjorden Sjøhus

Eliassen Rorbuer

Toppøy Rorbuer

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The fishing village of Å also contains a good concentration of rorbuer. Here you’ll see rorbuer still in use by fourth generation fishermen, which offer a real authentic feel of the Lofoten. I stayed at the HI Hostel in Å which consist of ten 100-year-old “rorbu” cabins. One could argue that Å one of the most beautiful fishing villages in the Lofoten Islands. If you want cheap accommodation with an authentic rorbu feel, then I recommend you stay at the Å Hosteling International.

Notable Å Rorbuer

Å-Hamna Rorbuer

Å Rorbuer

Lofoten Fishing

Not far from Å is the village of Tind, another great place to see little red cabins standing on poles over the ocean. Here you can still see fishing boats on the docks in front of the rorbu as they return from a fishing voyage from the sea. It might even come as a surprise to you if the rorbuer you rented come equipped with a flat screen HDTV. Most of these cabins are available on Airbnb by enterprising owners.

Notable Tind Rorbuer

Tind Rorbuer

Rorbu 13 at Tind

Robuer with wooden stilts in the fishing village of Tind

Rorbuer with wooden stilts in the fishing village of Tind

Nusfjord fishing village

Nusfjord fishing village

Another famed fishing village offering rorbuer accommodations is Nusfjord. Tucked away in a bay surrounded by rugged granite cliffs. The village is an open-air museum complete with traditional rorbu that you can stay at. It’s a toss-up which one of these villages offer better views, but I recommend you visit all of them and see for yourselves.

Notable Nusfjord Rorbuer

Nusfjord Rorbuer

Photography Tips

The Loften Archipelago gets a lot of weather so expect clouds in the sky if not overcast. The only thing that would ruin your shot is wind which does come often. Overcast and muted colors surprisingly work well as seen with the Eliassen shot above. Use a polarizer to make the skies blue and give your shot a little shot of color.

As usual, good equipment equals good results. Read my guide for the Best Full Frame Cameras to capture the Rorbuer and check out The Top 10 Best Lenses for Sony E Mount.

Other Useful Resources

Here’s a map of the Roruer in Reine area – MAP

More information – WIKI

Weather forecast for the Lofoten Islands – LOCAL WEATHER

Cheap flights to Norway – AppSkyscanner

Research the Best Flight Available – Google Flight Matrix

Cheap Car Rental in Norway – Save 30% on Car Rentals | Free Ebook about Renting Cars in Europe

WANT TO STAY IN A RORBUER?

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Bucket List Item – South Africa Tour https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/south-africa-bucket-list/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/south-africa-bucket-list/#comments Fri, 26 Oct 2018 22:26:52 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=21490 I haven’t been to all the seven continents nor do I have the desire to chase the goal of having to visit all seven. However, I do have an extreme desire to explore Africa. Africa has long been on the top of my bucket list, and I want to go on Safari while immersing myself in the culture. I want to photograph Lions and Elephants in their natural habitat as well as trekking to the top of Kilimanjaro. I want to swim with sharks in Cape Town. These would all tantalizing experiences, but there’s so many more that I can’t wrap my head around it. On my spare time, I spend countless hours researching and surfing the internet about Africa and where I should go first or which part of the continent I should focus on. Africa is a Vast Continent I wouldn’t even know where to begin. In the…Continue Reading

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south africa bucket list

I want to take pictures of this guy.  source

I haven’t been to all the seven continents nor do I have the desire to chase the goal of having to visit all seven. However, I do have an extreme desire to explore Africa. Africa has long been on the top of my bucket list, and I want to go on Safari while immersing myself in the culture.

I want to photograph Lions and Elephants in their natural habitat as well as trekking to the top of Kilimanjaro. I want to swim with sharks in Cape Town. These would all tantalizing experiences, but there’s so many more that I can’t wrap my head around it.

On my spare time, I spend countless hours researching and surfing the internet about Africa and where I should go first or which part of the continent I should focus on.

Africa is a Vast Continent

I wouldn’t even know where to begin. In the past, my travels can be summed up as serendipitous chaos. I wouldn’t even plan anything and just go buy a one-way ticket and let the chips fall where they may. It’s been an excellent way to discover the world, but it’s not without its downsides. I’ve missed a lot of photographic opportunities due to the lack of planning. In hindsight, I’ve learned a lot and can now apply these lessons to my future adventures. Like adventures in Africa.

Africa the Continent to Explore

Now that I’m a little older and wiser, I would tackle Africa with a plan unlike what I’ve done for South America, Europe, and Asia. I’ve never been privy to tours in the past. I was stubborn and didn’t care much for someone dictating my adventures. Having met various personalities throughout my travels, I’ve slowly warmed to the notion of doing tours.

south africa bucket list tours

I want to go on safari. source

Why not delegate the complicated planning and administrative stuff to the people who know the place and I focus on the fun and adventure? What a concept! My organizational skills and attention to detail leave little to be desired.

With all that in mind.

The question is, which part of Africa should I tackle first?

To answer this question, I only have to browse through my Instagram feed and see what gets my attention. By overwhelming numbers, the place the appears most in my feed is, South Africa! Yes, I follow a lot of influencers who plaster their feeds with excellent photos of South Africa and it makes drool with envy as I picture myself being in their shoes.

South Africa – Adventure Awaits

The dazzling Cape Town and the fantastic Garden Route. The Savanah Safaris are waiting for me to test my telephoto lenses against Lions and Zebras. Hah! The entire continent’s flare is concentrated and be explored into a single package that is South Africa. This is the place I will check out first and foremost.

south africa bucket list

South Africa’s amazing landscapes. source

For adventures like these, I would trust all the planning to GAdventures South Africa Tours, they’re a tried, true, and highly rated tour company still operating today. Since my focus, for the most part, is photography, I would very likely go for the National Geographic Journeys package – I’m hoping to again, get one of my photos published by Nat Geo, it was such an Honor to have had one of mine published!

If you’re in your thirties, I recommend you go for one of the 18-to-Thirty-Somethings GAdventures tour, catering to your age group. I’m a little past my thirties, but if my wife joins, I would be down to party with you guys. No worries, whichever tour you pick I’m sure you’ll have a blast, GAdventures is a world-class company, and you can’t go wrong with them.

A Tour for Everyone

If you’re into wine like me, South Africa would be heaven. South Africa makes some of the world’s best vintages. The Cape Town Victoria Falls tour offered by GAdventures has a Stellenbosch wine tour as an option.

south africa tours

Cape Town looks incredible from up above. source

If you have a month to spare, the Highlights of South Africa tour should have you covered. It will take you around Cape Town via Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia. Wildlife sightings and amazing cultural experience are what awaits you on this journey.

All the famed National Parks down to dining with local families is also covered. Indeed, I am torn between this and the NatGeo Tour. All these things packed into 30 days would be epic!

I know I’m not there yet, but just the thought of it and talking about it gets the wanderlust juices flowing through my veins. I can’t wait until I’m telling you my own stories about my African Safari and the plethora of photos I’m going to plaster all over my website.

The skies the limit and best of all, I won’t have to deal with administration and planning. I’ll have GAdventure take care of that and make my travels a breeze. I’ll end up saving more money in the long run as GAdventures have worked out all the deals for me. It saves me from all the headaches associated with planning and research. I just want my cup full of coffee and adventures.

What’s Your Africa Bucket List?

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Mount Rainier National Park Washington – Reflection Lakes https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/reflection-lakes/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/reflection-lakes/#respond Wed, 24 Oct 2018 20:27:39 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=21376 I started visiting Mt. Rainier National Park the minute I moved to the Pacific Northwest. However, I initially didn’t photograph or visit Reflection Lakes. Not because I did not want to because I wasn’t even aware of it. Imagine that! One of the most iconic spots to photograph in the park and I wasn’t even aware of it. I often found myself exploring the Paradise area from the southern approach and not venturing beyond. When I took the northern approach via the Chinook Pass, I found myself photographing Tipsoo Lake instead. It never really even crossed my mind to complete the loop around the National Park. One day last fall, I decided to drive from north to south from Chinook Pass. From there I took the detour towards Paradise on Stevens Canyon Road. Lo and behold, there’s a pristine meadow full of wild mountain blueberries. There lie two lakes that seemingly…Continue Reading

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I started visiting Mt. Rainier National Park the minute I moved to the Pacific Northwest. However, I initially didn’t photograph or visit Reflection Lakes. Not because I did not want to because I wasn’t even aware of it. Imagine that! One of the most iconic spots to photograph in the park and I wasn’t even aware of it.

I often found myself exploring the Paradise area from the southern approach and not venturing beyond. When I took the northern approach via the Chinook Pass, I found myself photographing Tipsoo Lake instead. It never really even crossed my mind to complete the loop around the National Park.

One day last fall, I decided to drive from north to south from Chinook Pass. From there I took the detour towards Paradise on Stevens Canyon Road. Lo and behold, there’s a pristine meadow full of wild mountain blueberries. There lie two lakes that seemingly frame Mount Rainier on its reflections. It is with luck this particular day that peaks are clear of clouds. I couldn’t wait to get off my car and explore the area.

There is a parking lot, and I would imagine this place would be crawling with visitors in the Summer when the meadows are blanketed with wild-flowers. I hadn’t visited the area during peak bloom because the entire Pacific Northwest was engulfed in smoke from massive wildfires – there was a week where the visibility was only 2o feet! Perhaps on another summer, I’ll get a chance to photograph the famed wildflowers, but I’m happy to take a few autumn frames as chance would give me.

A flowing into Reflection Lake

A flowing into Reflection Lake

Several marked signs point to several trails in the area with Pinnacle or Plummer Peak. But I was content to meander around in and out around the Wonderland Trail which offers fantastic views of the lakes and Mount Rainier. Besides, I was also busy harvesting the many blueberries growing wild along the lakes.

There are several varieties of these berries too and you’ll get your hands full within minutes of picking them. You’ll also stain your fingers and tongue as these berries are very dark. Bear in mind, you’ll need a permit to pick these berries in the State of Washington under the Free Use Berry Permit. The berries harvested under this permit are for personal consumption only. The best time to go here for berries is during September.

Why You Should Visit

Picking berries, though fun, wasn’t my primary purpose for visiting Reflection Lakes. I was there to take photos, but while waiting for the eventual sunset, I had time to scout the area for photographic locations and harvest berries. It’s easy to see why many photographers come back again and again at different seasons to this location. Colorful autumn leaves, insane wildflower blooms, random wild animals, the soaring volcanic peak of Mount Rainier, and pristine alpine lakes.

Wild Blueberries in Rainier National Park

Wild Blueberries in Rainier National Park

At the parking lot, you’ll see a marker that talks a little about the history of Reflection Lakes. There was once commercial activity in the area with a store and a business for boat rentals. The lakes were also stocked with Trout for recreational fishing. It would have been normal to see people wading and swimming in the lakes during this period. Today, however, the lakes are under repair in the hopes to bring it back to its natural splendor. It is not uncommon to see signs that warn you to stay on trails and not step on any fragile under repair meadows.

Overlooking Reflection Lake

Overlooking Reflection Lake

Hiking the loop trail allows you to see the Tatoosh Range with its jagged peaks that reminded me of the Minarets in the Eastern Sierras in California. Louise Lake can also be seen below with the Stevens Canyon Road winding its way at the top of the lake. At this time in mid-September, you can still look at some wildflowers in bloom, though it’s already way past its peak. Still, the faraway views of the surrounding ridges and valleys provide more than plenty for sore eyes.

There are reports of bear sightings in the area. With all the rich berries strewn about, I would not be surprised to encounter one during my stroll. Keep your distance. Don’t make a move or run. Stand tall and raise your arms with a stick to make your figure seem bigger in proportion to the bear. Play dead if attacked. Don’t climb a tree because bears can climb. Above all, be extra cautious of the bear has cubs nearby.

The Smaller of the two, Reflection Lakes

The Smaller of the two, Reflection Lakes

Yes, I’ve got my precautions down to a pat. But, I’d still prefer not to encounter a bear at any point while I’m in the wilderness unless I have a grand telephoto lens that I can capture it at a distance. Bears or not, with camera in tow, the Reflection Lakes is a fun photoshoot. These are reasons why the area is often crowded on the weekends with photographers hoping to catch a perfect moment between the synergy of Mount Rainier and Reflection Lakes.

Photography Tips

Try to arrive as early as possible in the morning when it’s calmer, and the winds aren’t blowing waves on the lake. However, if you’re like me and not an early bird, look for areas on the lakes that are shielded from the wind. The few times I was there it was windy, and there were no reflections of Mt. Rainier. The smaller lake has a smaller body of water and surrounded by tall trees that shield it from the winds so you might want to try your luck there.

If you come later the winds are stronger, making it very difficult to get a reflection on the lake.

If you come later, the winds are stronger, making it very difficult to get a reflection on the lake.

Place your tripod low to the ground to get more of the reflection, and it looks like a grand landscape. Super-wide-angle lenses are ideal here and normal focal point to make the mountain appear bigger. Avoid the crowd on the west side of the big lake, instead go to the furthest parking lot and climb down towards the lake – There’s plenty of still and calm waters here that can reflect the mountain.

Check out my guide for the Best Full Frame Cameras to capture the grandeur of Mount Rainier or check out The Top 10 Best Lenses for Sony E Mount.

How to Get to Reflection Lakes

If you’re coming North from Seattle or similar, I recommend you take the longer scenic route through SR 410 (Chinook Pass). Make a slight detour to take visit Tipsoo Lake. From there head back down on SR 410 and make a left onto SR 123. Follow it all the way until you see Stevens Canyon Road. From here, make a right and follow it all the way up to Reflection Lakes. There are signs everywhere so you can’t miss it.

Here’s the map you can punch into Google. Here are WSDOT road alerts. Make sure you check before your trip as road closures are in effect in the winter.

Best Time to Go to Reflection Lakes

Wildflowers still blooming in September over Reflection Lakes

Wildflowers still blooming in September over Reflection Lakes

While each season varies, the beginning of August usually marks the start of the wildflowers bloom. This is the best time to go to Reflection Lakes as the flowers will blanket the meadows. This will last until about the begging of September when fall will start creeping. For berries, mid-September is prime time to go – It’s also not too shabby for photography.

Check out the official Mount Rainier website for Alerts, Weather, and road conditions.

Accommodations

There are various campsites throughout the park but if you prefer something a little more comfortable check HERE.

Other Attractions Nearby

Once you got your fill at Reflection Lakes head over to Paradies and check out Myrtle Falls and Creek. You can also head down to the base of the mountain and explore the Nisqually River; there are lots of opportunities for a photoshoot there as well.

There are also a couple of roadside stops along Paradise Valley Road ideal for a sunset should you have the chance. If coming from Paradise do complete the loop by taking the Chinook Pass towards Tipsoo Lake, there are also notable stops along the way and drive is fantastic.

HAVE YOU BEEN TO MOUNT RAINIER?

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Picture Lake & Mt. Shuksan – A Photographic Day Trip https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/picture-lake-mount-shuksan/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/picture-lake-mount-shuksan/#comments Fri, 19 Oct 2018 21:55:24 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=21230 I have resided in Washington State for almost a year and I’ve always wanted to check out Picture Lake along the Mt. Baker Highway. But, for some reason or another, I’ve never ended up making the 3-hour trip there from Seattle. When I did make the plan to have a trip the weather would become sour. Finally, on one weekend the forecast looked decent enough for Picture Lake with a slight chance of showers later in the evening. The weather in the Pacific Northwest is conducive to creating the most colorful sunsets in the world. It also is one of the most unpredictable in the world. It was early in the fall and I figured, bad weather or not permitting, it was as good a time as any to finally make my way to the lake. As you can imagine, the lake gets its moniker from the serendipitous way it reflects…Continue Reading

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I have resided in Washington State for almost a year and I’ve always wanted to check out Picture Lake along the Mt. Baker Highway. But, for some reason or another, I’ve never ended up making the 3-hour trip there from Seattle. When I did make the plan to have a trip the weather would become sour.

Picture Lake and Mount Shuksan

Picture Lake and Mount Shuksan at the peak of at this day’s sunset

Finally, on one weekend the forecast looked decent enough for Picture Lake with a slight chance of showers later in the evening. The weather in the Pacific Northwest is conducive to creating the most colorful sunsets in the world. It also is one of the most unpredictable in the world. It was early in the fall and I figured, bad weather or not permitting, it was as good a time as any to finally make my way to the lake.

As you can imagine, the lake gets its moniker from the serendipitous way it reflects Mount Shuksan. Mt. Baker Highway also happens to be one of the most picturesque mountainous landscapes in North America.

Lucky the Corgi in Picture Lake

Lucky the Corgi in Picture Lake

The lake’s location, relative to Mt. Shuksan, is probably more ideal for sunrise if you wanted a more dramatic composition. To be honest, I rarely get up that early unless I was car or tent camping. Maybe another day, I’ll do an overnighter and shoot the Milky Way and a sunrise over Picture Lake.

For this day, however, I will be shooting strictly for fall foliage and sunset.

Heading out towards the lake from Seattle, you will eventually see the majestic glacier-covered peak, Mt. Shuksan. Right under it is the world-renowned Mt. Baker Ski resort. I hope to snowboard here on the upcoming winter season and get a feel for the famed powder for myself. The highway climbs and then winds itself slowly around the bend and eventually loops around a parking lot with across a chalet.

Mount Baker Ski Area

Once you find a parking spot, you can meander over towards an ADA-accessible loop trail that has various platforms for viewing Mt. Shuksan and Picture Lake. At the time I was there, you couldn’t wander off the trail because the fragile meadows are currently under repair.

Mt. Shuskan and Mt. Baker Ski Resort

Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker Ski Resort

While on this loop, keep an eye out for wild mountain blueberries, it was all over the place when I was there and still ripe (October). It’s quite tasty – A caveat, Washington State Law requires that you have a permit when harvesting wild fruits.

Once you are done with the loop trail you can continue across the road and end up on another lake, called Highwood Lake. It’s a much smaller lake, more like a pond than Picture Lake but equally, photo worthy. This lake also reflects Mt. Shuskan like a mirror. If Picture Lake is crowded with photographers, head down to this spot. You can probably get better and more unique photos than the more popular Picture Lake.

Mirror mirror on the wall. Who's the prettiest of them all? It's you Highwood Lake!

Mirror mirror on the wall. Who’s the prettiest of them all? It’s you Highwood Lake!

It took me about 3 hours to get to Picture Lake from Bellevue, Washington so I didn’t have an entire day to devote to the area. However, Picture Lake and Highwood Lake are very small and the interpretive trail looping the two is barely even half a mile. I had a little over an hour before sunset so I took drove a little further up to see where the Mount Baker highway would go.

I got far up to a roadside stop and took several more photos along the ridge. If I followed this road all the way up, it would eventually take me to the Artist Point trail which would have been a cool adventure. But, I decided I’ll save this hike for another day so I went back down the Picture Lake parking lot and decided to wait for the sunset.

You can get an awesome view of Heather Meadows if you continue to drive up the Mt. Baker Highway

You can get an awesome view of Heather Meadows if you continue to drive up the Mt. Baker Highway

The most iconic spot is the one with the stone platform, which can be found after passing a wooden one. Here a wide angle and normal lens are ideal. A Superwide-angle lens might be a bit much unless you have a lot of details in the sky like clouds or if you can include some details in the foreground. You can use a polarizer if you wanted to see the bottom of the lake, but having clouds reflections is probably better.

The sunset that day wasn’t amazing by any stretch of the imagination but the clouds enveloping Mt. Shuskan created a dramatic effect. The skies never turned red, a slight orange with yellow was all it gave near the mountain. That was good enough for me. The next time I’m here I will probably car camp somewhere and get to Picture Lake at the crack of dawn, camera gear in tow.

If you want to shoot with a superwide-angle lens like this at 15mm, you have must include some foreground interests to make the composition interesting.

If you want to shoot with a super wide-angle lens like this at 15mm, you have must include some foreground interests to make the composition interesting.

Photography Tips

Be sure to check the weather forecast before coming here. If you see scattered clouds or partially cloudy go. If you see scattered showers forecasted that’s also a good time to go – it’s a toss up but great lighting often comes right after a storm or sometimes during. A camera with built-in anti-shake technology like the Sony A7III is great for hand holding shots with the lake reflection – if not bring a decent tripod. Use a polarizer when you can, it’s great for bringing out the blue of the sky!

The meadow around Picture Lake is under repair

The meadow around Picture Lake is under repair

For sunrise or sunsets, you’ll need a Graduated Neutral Density filter to balance the contrast. That is unless you’re not familiar with exposure blending. I personally prefer the latter as the result seems more natural to me. I’ve used it in the last two photos above. It’s a matter of preference, some like the GND effect some don’t.

Read MoreThe Best Travel Cameras & Top 10 Sony E Mount Lenses

The Best Time To Go

For wildflowers in the spring, you would want to be there in July. For fall and autumn colors, around Mid-October.

Getting To Picture Lake

picture lake

Picture Lake

It’s roughly a 3-hour drive from Seattle so give yourself time to enjoy the scenic byway. From the town of Bellingham, drive towards exit 255 following signs to Mt. Baker. Turn right on Sunset Drive and continue on WA-542 East. You will pass a couple of roundabouts but go straight on WA 542 East and you will eventually see Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker Ski Area. Go on for a couple miles and eventually you will reach the Heather Meadows parking area.

 

There is a $5 a day parking fee unless you have a Northwest Forest Pass and there is no potable water, so bring your own.

Map – Google Map directions and locations

External Source – https://www.fs.usda.gov

Weather Forecast – http://forecast.weather.gov

READY TO TAKE A PICTURE OF PICTURE LAKE?

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Top 10 Best Sony E Mount Lenses (Full-frame) For Travel https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/sony-e-mount-lenses/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/sony-e-mount-lenses/#comments Tue, 16 Oct 2018 18:07:02 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=20889 Sony’s A7 Series full-frame mirrorless cameras are an instant hit amongst travel photographers who need the quality imagery that full-frame DSLRs produce minus the bulk associated with it. The only limiting factor it had when it was released in 2013 was the selection of lenses it needed to compete with already established brands such as Canon and Nikon. The limited variety of FE lenses made it a deal breaker for most travel photographers who need the versatility and coverage of various zoom and prime lenses. However, it didn’t take long for Sony to come up with a wide selection of optics for the A7 Series such as the Alpha A7R III (and the venerable Sony A7 III) to win the hearts of many travel photographers, myself included. Here we will cover the best travel lenses for the Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras. Several factors go into our picks. Resolving power and resolution…Continue Reading

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Sony’s A7 Series full-frame mirrorless cameras are an instant hit amongst travel photographers who need the quality imagery that full-frame DSLRs produce minus the bulk associated with it. The only limiting factor it had when it was released in 2013 was the selection of lenses it needed to compete with already established brands such as Canon and Nikon.

The limited variety of FE lenses made it a deal breaker for most travel photographers who need the versatility and coverage of various zoom and prime lenses. However, it didn’t take long for Sony to come up with a wide selection of optics for the A7 Series such as the Alpha A7R III (and the venerable Sony A7 III) to win the hearts of many travel photographers, myself included.

Here we will cover the best travel lenses for the Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras. Several factors go into our picks. Resolving power and resolution isn’t the only and main factor we use to determine the best “travel” lens. Things like weight, price (especially if you’re a budget traveler), and how convenient it is to use the lens should be taken into greater account. So, with that in mind, let’s get to it.


The Best Sony E Mount Lenses for Full-frame Cameras


Sony FE 24-240 mm f/3.5-6.3

Sony FE 24-205mm

MSRP: $900
Type: Wide-Telephoto
Weight: 27.6 oz.
Filter thread: 72 mm
Pros: Huge coverage for travel and can be your one and only lens
Cons: Not the sharpest lens

Most professionals will balk at this lens. Regarding optical performance, it’s not the best in the market. There are some distortions at certain focal points, and the auto-focus isn’t the fastest. That’s not the fault of the manufacturer or the engineers that designed the lens, it’s just the laws of physics that optics such as these can’t break. What you’re gaining in weight savings and convenience you are going to sacrifice some quality.

How much of a sacrifice? Not so much! The majority of my top selling stock photos are shot with the 24-240 mm, and it’s the lens I pick up most to compose a shot before switching to a different lens (if I do). This lens will allow you to travel light and shave off lots of weight from having to carry multiple lenses. You would have to pixel peep a lot to tell a shot taken from this lens vs. a shot that was made from a $3,000 prime lens. In most, if not all, situations this lens is more than adequate enough. The no-frills and functional use of this lens make it a favorite and top choice for travel photography.

Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3

Image Quality 3
Weight and Size 5
Convenience 5
Autofocus 3
Ergonomics 4
Where To Buy: Amazon | B&H Photo

Sony FE 24-105 mm f/4

Sony FE 24-105 mm f/4

MSRP: $1,398
Type: Wide-Telephoto
Weight: 23.4 oz.
Filter thread: 77 mm
Pros: Huge coverage, an all-in-one lens with a constant f/4 aperture that is sharp at all corners
Cons: Doesn’t cover as much as the 24-240 mm

This lens will make a perfect one and only lens in your bag if you want to go ultralight travel with decent coverage. It’s not the fastest lens, but the constant f/4 aperture means you can retain the same brightness and speed across all focal points. The optics on this lens isn’t too shabby either, and it keeps the sharpness on all four corners.

You’ll be torn between this and the Sony 24-70 mm below or the Sony 24-240 mm above. As it stands, it’s the one in the middle and rightly so – it’s sharper than the 24-240 mm but slower than the 24-70 mm below. If you can’t see yourself shooting above 100 mm and don’t need the extra stop then this lens is a no-brainer – It can quickly become your one and only go to lens for travel.

Sony FE 24-105 mm f/4

Image Quality 4
Weight and Size 5
Convenience 4
Autofocus 4
Ergonomics 5
Where To Buy: Amazon | B&H Photo

Sony FE 24-70 mm f/2.8 GM

Sony 24-70mm f2.8

MSRP: $2,199
Type: Wide-normal/Portrait
Weight: 31.25 oz.
Filter thread: 82 mm
Pros: Very sharp images for a zoom lens and great for videos
Cons: Limited coverage, heavy, and expensive

If image sharpness is the top criteria you’re looking for in a travel lens, then look no further. A wide-normal zoom in the 24-70 mm range with sharp optics is a standard option among Canon and Nikon DSLRs. Sony tried with the Sony 28-70 mm f/2.5-5.6 and the slower Sony 24-70 mm f/4, but both aren’t up to snuff with the any of Canon or Nikon’s offerings.

With the Sony 24-70 mm f/2.8, Sony has upped the ante on the important focal range of standard zooms. Such high-quality glass also comes with a high price tag associated with it. It’s about $600 more than Nikon’s 24-70 mm f/2.8 ($1,797) or Canon’s 24-70 mm f/2.8 and also more massive at 31.3 oz. You will have to judge for yourself if the slight advantage in sharpness is worth the weight and extra costs. It is also worth noting that you can use Nikon and Canon lens through the use of an adapter on Sony full-frame cameras.

Sony FE 24-70 mm f/2.8 GM

Image Quality 5
Weight and Size 3
Convenience 4
Autofocus 5
Ergonomics 5
Where To Buy: Amazon | B&H Photo

Sony FE 16–35 mm f4 ZA OSS

Sony FE 16–35 mm F4

 

MSRP: $1,349
Type: Super Wide-Telephoto
Weight: 18.3 oz.
Filter thread: 72 mm
Pros: Great wide angle coverage and reasonably lightweight
Cons: Some distortions and slower than the optically superior f/2.8 version

The Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35 mm f/4 Zeiss Lens is a great choice for a wide-angle zoom lens. It’s getting heavy competition from the new kid on the block, the Sony FE 16-35 mm f/2.8 GM, but it’s much lighter and less expensive than its new brethren. If you’re not shooting the Milky Way at night or don’t need the extra stop at f/2.8, then you can’t go wrong with the standard f/4.

The lens is sharp at all corners with a little bit of distortion – as what comes typically with super-wide angle zoom lenses like these. You would be hard pressed to find the Sony f/4 lacking in performance – It can efficiently produce professional quality images. If you’re hand-holding with your camera, you might do better with the f/2.8 version – which is an optically superior lens. However, you would have to be willing to fork an extra $800 or so and put some extra weight in your luggage.

Sony FE 16–35 mm f4 ZA OSS

Image Quality 4
Weight and Size 5
Convenience 3
Autofocus 4
Ergonomics 4
Where To Buy: Amazon | B&H Photo

Sony FE 16-35 mm f/2.8 GM

 

Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM

MSRP: $2,198
Type: Wide-Telephoto
Weight: 24 oz.
Filter thread: 82 mm
Pros: A flagship super-wide angle lens with superior optics
Cons: Heavy and expensive

The Sony  16-35 mm f/2.8 is the best super wide-angle zoom in existence. If you have an extra $2,000 to spare and don’t mind the carrying a behemoth, then you can’t go wrong with this optic. It offers consistent performance across its constant f/2.8 aperture. As part of Sony’s G Master series, the 16-35 mm f/2.8 is the top of its class with fast and quiet autofocus and weather sealing. It’s perfect for lowlight and astrophotography, with excellent coma performance.

Would you take this lens versus the smaller f/4 version above? Indeed, you’ll be torn apart fussing at all the minute details and differences. The f/2.8 is a sharper lens and gives you an extra stop. But, it will cost you an additional $800, weights you down more and will take over more space in your bag. You would also need to fork up for bigger filters as the thread mount is at 82  mm. For travel, I would say the f/4 is good enough but if you can fork up the extra money go for the f/2.8 – Being able to shoot astrophotography is a bonus.

Sony FE 16-35 mm f/2.8 GM

Image Quality 5
Weight and Size 3
Convenience 4
Autofocus 5
Ergonomics 5
Where To Buy: Amazon | B&H Photo

Sony FE 50mm f/1.8

 

Sony FE 50mm f/1.8

MSRP: $249
Type: Normal Prime
Weight: 6.6 oz
Filter thread: 49 mm
Pros: Very sharp, very fast, very light, and very cheap
Cons: Limited in its use and coverage

Everyone should have an affordable, reliable, and fast lens like the Sony FE 50 mm f/1.8. A 50 mm f/1.8 is cheap to produce, and all the major camera manufacturer has one. This is Sony’s version, and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s great for capturing normal everyday things like a stroll down a street in Paris or capturing fast-moving street scenes in New York’s Central Park.

This tiny lens delivers massive performance for a fraction of the price. The autofocus is fast and very quiet, allowing you to capture scenes in silence and obscurity. There’s no degradation in performance regarding contrast and sharpness when you shoot wide-open at f/1.8. There’s some slight vignetting unless you stop it down to f/2.8, but it’s not an adverse effect. This would make a perfect companion lens for travel as it fast, quiet, and very compact.

Sony FE 50 mm f/1.8

Image Quality 5
Weight and Size 5
Convenience 3
Autofocus 5
Ergonomics 5
Where To Buy: Amazon | B&H Photo

Tamron 28-75 mm f/2.8 Di III RXD

MSRP: $799
Type: Wide-Telephoto
Weight: 19.4 oz.
Filter thread: 67 mm
Pros: An inexpensive lens with superior optics, fast, good wide angle and regular coverage
Cons: Doesn’t bear the Sony G brand name and limited coverage for travel

You might have some hesitation with using third-party lenses, but you owe it to yourself to check out the competition. I’m a Tamron convert. The brand has consistently delivered excellent optics at a fraction of the costs vs. brand names. Before Sony’s release of their flagship 16-35 mm f/2.8, I’ve been using the Tamron A-mount SP 15-30 mm f/2.8 Di USD Lens with an integrated electronic adapter. The lens is sharp and considerable cheaper than its brand name counterpart. The Tamron 28-75 mm f/2.8 is no different here compared to the 24-70 mm Sony.

The lens features a constant f/2.8 across all focal range making it great for low light situations. It’s also got a quite autofocus motor. While the Tamron 28-75 mm f/2.8 is explicitly made for Sony E mount cameras, it can fit cropped APC-S cameras with a 42-112.5 mm equivalent focal length range. The lens is also built for the rigors of travel with moisture-resistant fluorine coating to protect against dust, dirt, smearing, and weather sealed. The under $800 price tag means you’ll have more money for travel.

Tamron 28-75 mm f/2.8 Di III RXD

Image Quality 5
Weight and Size 5
Convenience 4
Autofocus 4
Ergonomics 4
Where To Buy: Amazon | B&H Photo

Sony Distagon T* FE 35 mm f/1.4 ZA

Sony Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA

MSRP: $1,599
Type: Prime Wide-Angle
Weight: 22.3 oz
Filter thread: 72 mm
Pros: Sharp and very fast
Cons: A heavy prime lens that’s a little limited in its coverage and use

If you like fast and super sharp primes, look no further than the Sony Distagon T* FE 35 mm f/1.4. ZA. This Zeiss branded optics is very sharp across all corners even shot wide open. Furthermore, It’s designed so that the aspherical elements ensure minimum aberrations. The lens has a quite and high-speed internal motor for the focusing system and has a manual aperture ring made for photographers who shoot videos.

It’s tough to come up with something bad to say about the Sony Distagon T* FE 35 mm f/1.4 ZA. It’s a loaded lens that’s made for professionals and serious hobbyists alike. However, it’s a little on the heavy side due to it being 2 stops faster than the lens it replaced, the Sony Sonnar T FE 35 mm f/2.8 ZA lens below. Besides that, at 35 mm the lens might be a little limited in its use for travel compared to a zoom lens like the Sony FE 24-70 mm f/2.8 GM. It’s also a behemoth, but if you have a spare room in your compartment, it’s a worthy addition to your arsenal.

 

Sony Distagon T* FE 35 mm f/1.4 ZA

Image Quality 5
Weight and Size 3
Convenience 3
Autofocus 5
Ergonomics 5
Where To Buy: Amazon | B&H Photo

Sony 35 mm f/2.8 Sonnar T FE ZA 

 

Sony 35 mm f/2.8 Sonnar T FE ZA

MSRP: $799
Type: Prime Wide-Angle
Weight: 4.2 oz.
Filter thread: 49 mm
Pros: Very portable and lightweight without sacrificing optics
Cons: Limited coverage and not as fast as the f/1.4 version

Manufactured by esteemed optics maker, Carl Zeiss, the Sony 35mm f/2.8 Sonnar T FE is an outstanding performer even with its miniature size. This lens can fit anywhere, it’s lightweight and fast without sacrificing the optics. It comes with three double-sided aspherical elements the minimize aberration. Fantastic contrast and resolution are sustained throughout all the image corners and at all apertures.

You will have a hard time picking not picking this lens over the heavier but much faster Sony Distagon T* FE 35mm lens above over this one. For travel, you might just enjoy this lens more for its light and very compact design even though it’s limited in its application due to it being a prime. If you’re in a big crowded city, this lens knows no bounds and just fun to shoot with.

Sony 35 mm f/2.8 Sonnar T FE ZA 

Image Quality 5
Weight and Size 5
Convenience 3
Autofocus 5
Ergonomics 5
Where To Buy: Amazon | B&H Photo

 Sony 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 GM

Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM

MSRP: $2,498
Type: Super Telephoto
Weight: 49.3 oz
Filter thread: 77 mm
Pros: Huge telephoto coverage and reasonably light
Cons: The bulk and coverage may be only ideal for specific occasions

The Sony FE 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 bears the “GM” G Master line-up from Sony. This lens fills the missing gap that professional sports and action photographers have been clamoring for. Unlike most lenses of these type in the DSLR domain, the stabilization motor is built inside the camera body, not the lens itself which is a huge bonus. If you pair it with teleconverters like the Sony 1.4x or 2.0x you can get even more reach.

For travel, you may not need such a long lens in your arsenal, but if you shoot wildlife and are often far away from your subject, this lens would be a serious addition. It will open up more framing and composition options for you. If you happen to have the Sony 24-105 mm, then the Sony FE 100-400 mm would be perfect for your line-up. An addition of a super wide-angle like the Sony 12-24 mm f4 G lens below would make it complete.

 Sony 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 GM

Image Quality 5
Weight and Size 3
Convenience 4
Autofocus 5
Ergonomics 4
Where To Buy: Amazon | B&H Photo

Considerations For A Travel Lens

Prime vs. Zoom

It’s a matter of preference and what kind of subjects you shoot. Zooms are very convenient and can take on a variety of focal lengths that prime lenses can’t. However, zoom lenses tend to be slower, bulkier, and heavier than primes. If you find yourself shooting at a specific focal point than any other then perhaps a prime is ideal since you get the added benefit of a few stops in speed and likely much more superior optics. For travel, it would be hard to beat a nice zoom lens with massive coverage.

Brand Name vs. Third Party

Tamron and Sigma are the most well known third-party lens manufacturer. They’ve been in business for many years, and it’s the testament to the fact that they give Brand Name optics like Sony a run for their money. They tend to be cheaper with the same features and optics. With that in mind, don’t just blindly assume that Brand Names are always going to be superior.

Adapters

The mirrorless design of the A7 cameras allows a short flange distance between the sensor and the rear lens element. This means that adapters can be created to allow almost a limitless line up of lenses, both from Sony and other manufacturers, are adaptable on the A7 series. I’ve used Canon, Nikon, and Sony A-Mount lenses using adapters with great results. If you already have a line of lenses from other mounts, you should consider going the adapter route.

The Future for Sony Lenses

There are still a few things that Sony needs to fill-in, such perspective correcting (tilt/shift) lenses category – I know it’s very specialized, but T/S lenses are something I truly enjoyed using in Canon and Nikon’s systems. One can use such lenses in travel architecture and composing panoramic and composite images.

Perhaps in time, Sony will plug up those missing holes but for everything else. Sony got it covered with its growing selection of super-wide zooms, standard and telephoto zoom, and quality prime Zeiss lenses. Using adapters with full Auto capabilities also add various line up from other camera systems into the mix.

Now that you know which lens to get check out my guide on the Best Full Frame Travel Cameras.

 


Full Disclosure: I am part of the Amazon and Adorama B&H affiliate. I earn a small commision if you use my links to purchase a product at no extra cost to you.


 

 

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The Chinook Pass in The Fall https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/chinook-pass/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/chinook-pass/#respond Sun, 14 Oct 2018 17:01:41 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=21224 The Chinook Pass in The Fall The Chinook Pass, SR 410, cuts through Mount Rainier and Mount Baker in Washington State. This spot is along one of the main stops in the scenic byway – near Tipsoo Lake. Spectacular views of Mount Rainier await if you’re willing to step off the downtrodden road just a little. I’ve visited Rainier National Park several times already and this area is by far my favorite. Dense forest with towering peaks and river canyons meander down to lush subalpine meadows towards the little town of Enumclaw. The pass gets around 15 feet of snow in the winter so your opportunity to check this place out is closing fast – Check WSDOT for road closures to be sure. Tipsoo Lake is the main draw here and is the most photographed lake in Washington State. The parking lot is often full and just along the route…Continue Reading

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chinook pass

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The Chinook Pass in The Fall

The Chinook Pass, SR 410, cuts through Mount Rainier and Mount Baker in Washington State. This spot is along one of the main stops in the scenic byway – near Tipsoo Lake. Spectacular views of Mount Rainier await if you’re willing to step off the downtrodden road just a little. I’ve visited Rainier National Park several times already and this area is by far my favorite. Dense forest with towering peaks and river canyons meander down to lush subalpine meadows towards the little town of Enumclaw.

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

The pass gets around 15 feet of snow in the winter so your opportunity to check this place out is closing fast – Check WSDOT for road closures to be sure. Tipsoo Lake is the main draw here and is the most photographed lake in Washington State. The parking lot is often full and just along the route above the lake you’ll see a paved area specially constructed to allow dozens of photographers to frame Tipsoo with Mount Rainier.

What most people don’t notice is that another smaller lake above SR 410 – I’ve discovered it by accident when looking for a parking. I ended up parking about 1/2 mile up from Tipsoo Lake and decided to walk a trail instead of the road. Alternatively, you can just take the Natches Peak Loop for an easy 3-mile round-trip hike and see amazing fall colors. While Tipsoo Lake was crawling with visitors, I had this place to myself.

Best Time To Go

The peak fall colors vary but it’s good till mid to the end of October. After that it can vary, when the first major storm dumps a few feet of snow on the Pass the road will be closed for the season and you won’t be able to drive back up until May.

Photography Tips

This place is ideal for sunrise as the sun rises just behind Tipsoo Lake. Ideally, you want to be here in early spring, which is around late July-August for the wildflowers. Mid-October for the autumn colors. If you come early around late June the lake will still be covered with melting snow. Telephoto and normal lens can frame the lake and the mountain up on a platform on the Chinook Pass as it goes up above Tipsoo Lake. Wide Angle is great if you’re down walking around Tipsoo Lake.

How To Get Here

Punch this on Google and follow directions.

Essentials

Hiking Shoes, bottle with water, sunscreen, tripod, and camera – Check out my guide: The Best Travel Camera. & The Best Travel Lenses for Sony E Mount.

Category Nature
Exposure Various, ISO 100
Camera Sony A7III
Lens Sony FE 24-240mm
Filter Polarizer
Location Rainer, Washington

WANT TO SEE THE FALL COLORS IN CHINOOK PASS?

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7 Pros And Cons Of Long-Term Travel https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/long-term-travel/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/long-term-travel/#comments Sat, 13 Oct 2018 16:11:29 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=21211 Long-term travel is a wonderful thing. Having the freedom of going where you want to go, experiencing the faraway places you’ve been dreaming of and overall, just living by your own clock. The world you once know, and the routine you were accustomed to vanishes. A new path and world lay before you. Sound great doesn’t it? As great as it sounds we’re here to give you the 7 pros and cons of long-term travel. Let’s begin. Long-Term Travel Pros: Like we said above, long-term travel is a wonderful thing. You get to live by your own rules, by your own clock. You get to take a break from whatever it may have been…a job, a relationship or to perhaps fulfill a dream or maybe, just get a little clarity on life. Whatever reason you decide to roam, there is no better feeling than setting foot on the plane that…Continue Reading

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Long-term travel is a wonderful thing. Having the freedom of going where you want to go, experiencing the faraway places you’ve been dreaming of and overall, just living by your own clock. The world you once know, and the routine you were accustomed to vanishes. A new path and world lay before you. Sound great doesn’t it? As great as it sounds we’re here to give you the 7 pros and cons of long-term travel.

Let’s begin.

7 Pro’s And Con’s Of Long Term Travel

Hoi An, Vietnam – Old Quarter With The Famous Lanterns

Long-Term Travel Pros:

Like we said above, long-term travel is a wonderful thing. You get to live by your own rules, by your own clock. You get to take a break from whatever it may have been…a job, a relationship or to perhaps fulfill a dream or maybe, just get a little clarity on life. Whatever reason you decide to roam, there is no better feeling than setting foot on the plane that is taking you to the place you’ve been dreaming of.

We spent 8 months aboard and we will say, it was the best decision we’ve ever made. Without a doubt, without hesitation, we’d do it all over again…and for longer. Alright, let’s get to listing the pros of long-term travel

You’ll Be In Awe

Ha, like every day. Your senses will be on overdrive. From new sights to new smells, everything will be new, exciting first experiences. The beauty you’ll see, whether its scenery or human kindness, will blow you away.

You Will Be Humbled

You’ll meet people and have experiences that will humble you to the core. You will see people with barely anything, happy. Like so happy it doesn’t make sense. You’ll learn how resilient the human spirit is and what you really need in life to be happy.

You’ll Learn That We’re Not So Different

The world isn’t as scary or as dangerous as the media makes it out to be. Sure, things happen and there are crazy people everywhere, regardless of what their skin color or who they pray to. Traveling slams stereotypes. You’ll see how beautifully amazing our world is and the people that inhabit are. You will learn that we’re not so different after all and we have more in common than you once thought.

You’ll Get A New Perspective

You thought you knew about the world, boooooy are you wrong! Travel challenges your thinking. It challenges your perceptions. It opens your eyes to things you never knew existed and lets you have experiences you never know you wanted or needed. It’s a welcome and honestly much-needed slap in the face.

You’ll Learn To Live In The Now

It’s easy to get caught up in the grind of routine and being at home. If traveling long term teaches you anything, it teaches you to live now. It forces you to slow down and to concentrate on the moment at hand. It makes you appreciate what’s in front of you. And most of all, it forces you to appreciate the small things in life. Think about it, on a short vacation, you appreciate the sound of the waves crashing or that amazing sunset. You notice it more than being at home. Now, imagine feeling that sense of appreciation every day. It’s just…well…indescribable.

You’ll Learn Things Are Out Of Your Control

Travel shows you just because you plan and want something to happen doesn’t mean it will. Hiccups happen while traveling – just like in life. There is no point in getting worked up over something you can’t change. Travel teaches you to be adaptable and rolls with the punches. It teaches you that certain things are beyond your control and you know what, it’s ok!

You’ll Learn One Path Doesn’t Fit Everyone

In life, there is not one path to success or happiness. People thought we were crazy for quitting our jobs and hitting the road. We’re proof that there isn’t one single path to happiness or success. Travel puts people of all different backgrounds in front of you to learn from and grow from. At the end of it all, there are a bazillion paths that lead to success. Concentrate on the one that’s for you.

 

Koh Tao, Thailand – Viewpoint Hike long term travel

Koh Tao, Thailand – Viewpoint Hike

 Long-Term Travel Cons:

Now, don’t get us wrong, lounging by the beach for months on end or hopping from city to city taking in some of the best sites on earth is amazing, but it’s not all sunshine and laughs. Travel can be testing and tiring. It can be infuriating and defeating. We encountered plenty of these moments, but it’s all about dealing with what’s in front of you, adjusting and learning. Alright, here are our 7 cons of long-term travel.

You’ll Get Scammed

Without a doubt, you’ll get screwed on your travels. You’ll overpay for food, excursions, accommodations, and transportation. You’ll soon learn there is what locals pay and then there is what you, “the foreigner with money”, pays.

You will Have Your Heart Broken

You’ll see poverty and hardship as you’ve never seen before. It’ll be in your face every day and it can be hard to swallow or look away from. People scrumming for food, kids begging for money and mangled animals walking down the street.

You will Lose Faith In Humanity

The world can show you its ugly face. Be it past museums or memorials that show you the atrocities of the past or current refugee camps, you’ll question who the good guys really are. Why did this happen or why is it currently happen? It seems like no one cares about the lives that are being affected. The world you thought you understood, flips in front of you.

You’ll Miss Out

Your friends and family continue to live their lives while you’re away…rightfully so. While your gallivanting around, life back home goes on. You’re away from home from lengths of time and you are bound to miss out on important events. Be it a friend’s wedding, the birth of a child, a grandparent’s birthday or just your average Sunday dinner with family, you’re going to miss it. You’ll miss milestones and you’ll miss your average celebrations and those simple or large events you wish you could be there you can’t and that sucks.

You’ll Experience Loss

Realize that having a friend or family member pass away while you are away is a very real possibility. Not being able to get home to say goodbye, in person, is something that will weigh on you.

You’ll Be Unrelatable

After spending so much time away, learning from and experience different customs and cultures, you’ll have all these profound and life-altering experiences….that no one back home will understand. It is hard to share something with someone or try and talk to them about it when they can’t relate or comprehend. It’s almost as if you left home and time stopped and once you return is playing again. You come back to all the familiar things but you, you have changed so much.

You’ll Miss It Like Crazy

The place that was once so far away, feels like another home. You’ll miss it, every day and can’t wait to return.

 

Kathmandu, Nepal – Monkey Temple

Kathmandu, Nepal – Monkey Temple

 Regardless of the 7 pros and cons of long-term travel, long-term travel is amazing. You learn and grow in ways you can’t possibly imagine. Your outlook on life changes and in general, you change. We hope everyone gets a chance to leave the world and lifestyle they know. It was some of the best and some of the most uncomfortable times we’ve had, and we wouldn’t change or trade a single moment. So, what are you waiting for?!

PIN IT FOR LATER!

7 Pro’s And Con’s Of Long-Term Travel
This article was contributed by The Wandering Stus


About The Wandering Stus:

Hi! We’re Lauren & Jesse. A traveling couple who quit our corporate jobs in 2016 in order to fulfill a dream. The dream of making time for ourselves, living in the now and exploring the beautiful people and places Mother Earth has to offer. You know, all that good stuff. We’re here to give you travel tips, epic itineraries & overall travel inspiration to help you plan your next adventure!

For more travel tips, guides and awesome travel shots, be sure to poke around our website, follow us on Instagram, Pinterest and on Facebook.

Happy Travels,

– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stus)

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Nusfjord – Exploring A Rustic Fishing Village in Lofoten https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/nusfjord-fishing-village-lofoten/ https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/nusfjord-fishing-village-lofoten/#respond Fri, 12 Oct 2018 02:44:51 +0000 https://www.alwayswanderlust.com/?p=21161 During my time in Europe, none was more memorable than the times I’ve spent driving around and exploring the Lofoten Islands in Norway. I’ve scaled a couple peaks on multi-day treks such as the Reinebringen Peak and the Hermannsdalstinden Summit. Since I had a car, I also managed to explore the villages and various localities in the area. This part of Norway is not short on amazing vistas. Complete with soaring granite peaks and rustic fishing villages along its coast. One such village is called Nusfjord and it is one of the oldest and well-preserved fishing villages in the Lofoten Islands. Most buildings in the village date all the way back from the 1800s and early 1900s. Uncovered by archaeologist are also early traces of industrial fishing in Norway – Indeed, this fishing harbor has been in use for centuries. Today, Nusfjord village is an open-air museum, complete with a cod…Continue Reading

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During my time in Europe, none was more memorable than the times I’ve spent driving around and exploring the Lofoten Islands in Norway. I’ve scaled a couple peaks on multi-day treks such as the Reinebringen Peak and the Hermannsdalstinden Summit. Since I had a car, I also managed to explore the villages and various localities in the area. This part of Norway is not short on amazing vistas. Complete with soaring granite peaks and rustic fishing villages along its coast.

One such village is called Nusfjord and it is one of the oldest and well-preserved fishing villages in the Lofoten Islands. Most buildings in the village date all the way back from the 1800s and early 1900s. Uncovered by archaeologist are also early traces of industrial fishing in Norway – Indeed, this fishing harbor has been in use for centuries. Today, Nusfjord village is an open-air museum, complete with a cod liver refinery, fish market, and stores that sell various collections of historical artifacts.

Nusfjord, A Blast From The Past

The Village was once a busy fishing harbor where the cod liver factory was producing oil that was used for medicine and paint. There’s also a smokehouse where Salmon and other fish were smoked. There’s a bakery that’s still baking bread since its inception in 1877.

A red boathouse, also built in 1877, was utilized for storing fishing equipment like nets and tanning vessels – now also part of the museum. Up the hill aways is powerhouse built in 1905 that once provided power for the village and other fishing operations machinery

nusfjord rorbuer

How would you like to have a patio like this?

I knew nothing of this fishing village and by curiosity stumbled upon it from my adventures in Norway. During my stay in one of the hostels in Ålesund, I met a German traveler, Andreas who eventually led me to Nusfjord. He found out that I was going to drive my way to the Lofoten Islands.

Andreas was on route to ride his motorcycle all the way to the Nordkapp (near Lofoten) which is the furthest most tip of the European continent. Of course, being an avid motorcycle fan myself we had a lot to talk about. When it was time to part ways we exchanged numbers. Just in case we would run into each other in the Lofoten Islands.

Andreas and I in Nusfjord

Andreas and I in Nusfjord, remember bootcut jeans? Rockin’ it back then!

Lo and behold, Andreas and I ran into each other again in the fishing village of Reine. Andreas had planned to ride to another fishing village, Nusfjord, and asked if I’d like to check it out myself as well.

I said, why not?

So I followed him all the way to the Village and that’s how I discovered this little gem in the Lofoten Archipelago. For most people who do their research, this place is probably thought of as a tourist trap. The village does seem to really cater to tourist with all the modern amenities you can find and many tours and gift shops offering their wares.

Most tourist who visitsNusfjord is probably staying at one of the “Rorbuer” which is one of the red cabins you see all over the bay. The “Rorbu” were once used as seasonal houses by fishermen.  Some can be cheap but vary in price depending on the what modern comforts the cabin offers. Some are very old and basic which won’t have running water.

I’m personally content on staying at cheaper hostels and sleeping on a bunk bed with other travelers. Most of the time, I’ve slept in my car parked along one of the many rest stops on the highways. If I so chose, I could have pitched my tent just about anywhere (including private property) by invoking the right to roam.

Rorbruers "cabins" in Nusfjord

Rorbuer “cabins” in Nusfjord

Sheer and rugged Granite cliffs surround the village with the skyline busy with fat and noisy seagulls, no doubt feasting on the rich bounty offered by the sea. The air is clean and smells fresh with the occasional vile scent of drying cod heads. There was a perpetual sun during my visit and it’s awesome to see a blazing sunset at 11:45 pm only to see a sunrise moments later.

You can eat out on one of the few restaurants in town or try one of the popular activities like fishing, filleting your own catch or go row boating. I was more than content to just walking around and exploring along the edges of the village.

Drying Cod Heads in Nusfjord

Drying Cod Heads in Nusfjord

You do not need a car, or motorcycle for that matter, to explore Nusfjord. However, to get the sense and feel of the whole Lofoten Archipelago I highly recommend you do. You could also hitchhike your way there as it seems to be a popular mode of transit in Norway (and Europe!) – I’ve personally picked up a few hitchhikers while I was there.

The village sits between Svolvær and Å via the E10 route. FYI, this route is very narrow compared to the roads in the U.S. and often filled with cyclists (take caution). I don’t remember paying to walk around the village but apparently, it cost 50kr for adults (children free). Free or not, Nusfjord is well worth your time and visit! It has a fascinating history and the natural beauty of the location is more than worth the price of entry.

Tips & Recommendations

Nusfjord countryside

You don’t need a car to explore Lofoten but you would be missing out on scenery like this (near Nusfjord)

Invoke the right to roam. This Scandinavian law allows you to put up your tent and sleep under the stars as anywhere you wish. As long as you keep at a minimum 500 feet away from closest inhabited house or cabin. You are free to stay and camp there. If you stay for more than two nights in the area you can ask for the landowner’s permission to stay longer. That’s all there is to it. Go camp outdoors, it’s much more enjoyable. If roughing it out in the wilderness is not your thing then stay at one of the Rorbuer.

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Drive or ride. Seriously, it’s the best way to explore the Lofoten Islands.

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It’s expensive to eat out or go to restaurants in Norway! If you’re in a shoestring budget, it’s better if you bought food at a grocery store from a nearby town.

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> SKYSCANNER

Bring a great camera to capture and preserve all your precious moments, read my guide on which one is right for you.

> THE BEST TRAVEL CAMERA

The weather can change on you very quickly.

> Bring a good waterproof jacket and good hiking shoes

READY TO EXPLORE NUSFJORD?

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