Shahriar Ekbatani on Preparing for a Travel Photography Journey

Shahriar Ekbatani on Preparing for a Travel Photography Journey

Travel photography is interesting for both amateurs and professionals alike. However, Shahriar Ekbatani knows like no other how hard it is to travel while also bringing your camera equipment. This is why it is so important to know what everything does, so that you can bring the things that matter, and leave the things you don’t really need at home.

Shahriar Ekbatani on Packing

If you have ever been on a photography trip before, you will know how hectic it is. You probably have a huge list of equipment that you want to bring. This is why you need to start by thinking of a few key things:

  1. What you expect in terms of the type of photographs you want to take.
  2. What the climate will be like where you are.
  3. How long you will be going for.

Equipment Protection

The second thing you need to consider is your protection. You must have a high quality bag in which you can hold your lens, your memory cards, your battery, and your camera. If you can afford it, buy a hard case. They cost a little more, but you can use them again and again and they can withstand harsh climates.

Optional and Not So Optional Extras

There are always a couple of extras you need as a backup. This is where things get complicated, however, because you don’t want to waste space packing things you won need anyway. Usually, your backup will compromise of memory cards, filters, and batteries, but you do need to know how many you need. As such:

  1. Find out how many pictures you can take on one battery and how long it takes you to shoot that much. This will tell you how many batteries you need for one day.
  2. Have two cases with memory cards, one with empty ones and one with used ones. Memory cards don’t take up much space, so you shouldn’t compromise on the quality of your images just so you can shoot more pictures.

Cleaning

You should also have a few cleaning products with you. It is all too easy to have your equipment damaged by moisture, smudges, finger prints, dust, and more. Hence, you must carry:

  • A brush to remove small debris.
  • A hurricane blower to get rid of larger particles.
  • Lens cleaning solution and microfiber cloth to polish the lens.

Shahriar Ekbatani’s Final Tip

While this may not be possible for most people, if you can carry an extra camera, you should. Your camera may be your most expensive piece of equipment, it is also your most expensive one. You can buy extra batteries and memory cards pretty much anywhere. You can even have your equipment cleaned somewhere. But if you’re in the middle of nowhere and your camera suddenly breaks, then your entire trip will be ruined. Investing in an extra camera, even if it is one of slightly less good quality, is always a good idea.

Traveling Before and After the Internet

Traveling Before and After the Internet

Charles Nucci is someone who lives for traveling. Several decades ago, he started traveling, using his thumb and, later, an old banger of a vehicle. He tried Greyhound buses and trains. Eventually, he was able to take some flights as well, but they continued to be few and far between. In those days, it was all about saving money by looking at different modes of transportation. If a local flight was too expensive, there would be a train or a bus as an alternative. Before the internet, traveling was about speaking to kind truckers and asking for a lift, or speaking to other backpackers for tips and tricks. Times have changed significantly, although some things will always remain the same – namely, it is always about saving money.

Traveling Since the Internet

Today, finding a good deal is a lot easier, and a lot less time consuming. Thanks to the internet, and the thousands of price comparison websites, it is easier than ever to find a cheap mode of travel. Everything can be booked online, from your transfer taxi to your train ticket, and from your plane journey to the bus. Thanks to the competition between the different websites, you can also find a variety of discounts and special offers. This means that the same mode of travel through one website can cost substantially less than if you were to go through a different website. And with the widespread availability of coupons and other such options, travel really doesn’t have to cost all that much anymore.

Has Something Been Lost?

Today, people still share a good deal with each other. They post it on social media and tell the world about the fact that they are able to get from A to B at a seriously reduced cost. Some of that is about hoping that others can benefit from the deal as well, but a lot of it is actually about showing off – showing the world that you were able to get this deal whereas others weren’t. And while social media is meant to be social, it does miss that real human touch.

According to Charles Nucci, we have lost something because of the internet. We have lost those late night chats in the hostel, or those exciting moments sitting on a beach hoping for a place to stay the night. We have lost the thing that brings travelers together. Today, those late night chats still happen, but everybody has their cellphone with them to check how they can easily get to their next location the next day. At the same time, however, Nucci knows just how important the internet is, and how it has facilitated so many people’s ability to travel. It has also made people safer and it has ensured young people can stay in touch with their family members and friends back home. That is something to be loved and embraced. But at the same time, it is important to not forget that traveling is about being social, and that is about real human contact.

Be Your Own Tour Guide: Why Walking a City Works Best

Be Your Own Tour Guide: Why Walking a City Works Best

Want to see the best of a city? You could try an open-top bus tour or a coach tour. You could get in a car and drive around. You could hire a bicycle and pedal through highways and byways. But if you really want to get the feel of the place, the unchallenged winner is to walk. Boston is a good example of a city that is best discovered on foot.

Be Organized

If you are in a historic city like Boston, there are many must-sees, whether your interest is in history, culture, or nature. It pays to plan your walks in advance if there are things that you would regret missing. Spend a happy 30 minutes with a map and guidebook, marking the places you want to see and sorting out your route. Or use one of the ready-made routes that are available. For Boston, the classic route is the Freedom Trail around the city center.

Be Spontaneous

Once you have ticked off the sights you cannot miss, you are free to wander a little more aimlessly. In many cities, you only need to step outside your hotel and walk in the general direction of interest. You could come out of the Marriott Boston hotel and within a few minutes be admiring the world-renowned campus of either Harvard University or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, before strolling along the Charles River waterfront.

Be Observant

Walking helps you to see things you would miss if you had to watch the traffic. You can look up (something we don’t do enough of) and see the city as it would have appeared to its residents a century ago before the street level was “cosmopolitanized.” You can look down and notice the plaques in the sidewalk which commemorate events of long ago at that very spot. You can look around and spot the side alleys leading to quirky little shops.

Be Expectant

When walking, you can be confident that you will find things that others will miss. It is much easier to take photographs while on a walking tour. You can just stop and take as long as you need to frame the picture, which on a bus or car would be gone before you turned on the camera.

You will be free to stop whenever you feel like eating or drinking. Coffee breaks and snacks are an important part of the city hike—there are so many opportunities and you always feel you deserve it. Yes, you can check out Tripadvisor for the best restaurants, but the ones that you will cherish, and tell your friends about for years, are the extraordinary local ones that you come across by accident.

All This and Fitness Too

There are so many reasons why walking is the best way to discover a city and to get a feel for its unique character. And all the time you are walking, you are looking after your body and mind. What more could you want?

Different Types of Hotels to Consider for Your Next Overnight Stay or Vacation

Different Types of Hotels to Consider for Your Next Overnight Stay or Vacation

Recently, there has been a marked increase in demand for hotels. This is due to two key reasons:

  1. People are more interested in tourism.
  2. Global tourism interest has increased.

Those who travel to different locations have a wealth of different types of hotels to choose from, meeting their personal interests and budgetary constraints. There are different styles and locations of hotels, and each attracts a different type of audience. It is important, therefore, that you learn about the different hotel classifications, so that you can choose the one that is right for you.

The Budget Hotel

These are no-frill hotels with basic services and amenities. They are clean and comfortable and don’t cost much. Most of the time, they are quite far from popular hotspots and they usually don’t have restaurants. Most of the time, a continental breakfast is included, however.

The Airport Hotel

Airport hotels tend to be geared towards the traveler, and some even offer rooms by the hour so that people waiting for their next flight can get a rest in comfort. They offer services to business people, including spas and gyms and conference facilities. They tend to be comfortable but not overly luxurious, and they are affordable although more expensive than budget hotels.

The Resort Hotel

Resort hotels are found in beautiful locations such as beaches and mountain edges, and have been designed to give people the full vacation experience. There tend to be numerous pools and restaurants to choose from, as well as a variety of other activities. Some are geared towards specific people, such as families or 18 to 25 year olds.

The Casino Hotel

Casino hotels like the Bicycle Casino Hotel aim to give people the opportunity to experience the thrill of the casino, while being surrounded by luxury and style. These types of hotels tend to have additional amenities such as restaurants, massage facilities, valet parking, and more. They are also situated near other interesting amenities.

The Commercial Hotel

These hotels tend to offer business facilities such as conference rooms and their associated technology. They also usually have an on-site restaurant and/or a catering service. They are designed for business meetings and conferences.

The Suite Hotel

The suite hotel is perfect for vacationing families, where people want a little more than a hotel room and have the opportunity to choose from the services they do and don’t want to use. Often, the rooms are fitted with multiple bedrooms, a sitting area, and a kitchenette, so that people can cook for themselves. On-site restaurants, pools, and entertainment options are also commonly included, but they are not as luxurious as the resort hotel.

Clearly, there are lots of options available for you to choose from should you want to book into a hotel. Make sure you think about what types of services and amenities you need, and what you are happy to pay for as well. A little bit of research should reveal the perfect hotel for your needs.

4 Guided NYC Tours You Should Take On Your Next Visit

4 Guided NYC Tours You Should Take On Your Next Visit

We all know traveling is fun. What’s even better? Getting to know a new place without having to walk everywhere and navigate the unfamiliar streets but, instead being able to just sit back and listen about the places you pass by is the dream of every tourist. Guided tours make this dream a reality.

This is especially true for places like NYC, where space is tight yet there is plenty to see. Which makes taking awesome NYC bus, helicopter, or boat touring a no brainer and definitely a worthy addition to your to do list next time you’re in town. You’ll surely not be at a loss as to what to do with this list of guided tours.

Now that you’re on board with taking a tour next time you’re in the Big Apple, let’s take a look at what tours are best in regards to what part of NY you want to see.

1. Take The Liberty Tour

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The Liberty tour is probably a favorite as you’ll get to jump on a boat for an affordable price and get a tour of The Statue of Liberty. Throughout, you’ll even get to learn interesting historical facts about the area as you circle around the harbor twice. You will be able to take all the pictures you want and get a good look at your surroundings.

While Lady Liberty is a highlight of the tour, you can even catch a glimpse of the Wall Street, the rebuilt Twin Tower monuments, the Battery Park, and The Manhattan Bridge. The Liberty Tour is one you wouldn’t want to miss.

2. Take A Helicopter Tour Of Manhattan

A helicopter tour might be a little pricier, but if you’d like to see Manhattan’s biggest attractions from way up, then a helicopter tour with a friend or two is the way to go. They’ll fly you all around so you can get breathtaking shots from on high. Though the helicopter route is much pricier, it does give you a chance to see the city from a vantage point that will be hard to forget.

3. Take a Double Decker Tour

Double Decker tours are also a great way to get your sightseeing in. They start off in the heart of Time Square and they go around to about fifteen stops all over the city. All you have to do is hop on a bus tour, take in the sights on your way there, and hop off the bus once you arrive at the destination you want to see up close.

A Double Decker Tour is awesome because you can choose to sit on the top open floor of the bus and see all the best attractions without anything standing in your sight. In case you were especially interested in museums, the bus tours go right by places like The Guggenheim, The Museum of the City of New York, and the American Museum of Natural History (among a long list of others).

To make sure they cater to your needs, you can either purchase all access for two days or even as long a 5 days. With bus tours, there is no excuse to not be able to get a good look and wholesome feel of the city of New York.

4. Take A Bike Tour

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And last but not least, if exercise sounds better to you than sitting around on a moving bus, then a bike tour will fulfill your touring needs just as well. There are plenty of NYC tour trails you can map out and ride on with your friends. You can even choose to bike around the Central Park on a designated route and choose landmarks to stop and see.

Best of all, bike rental is cheap, delivery is easy, and they’ll often throw in free safety gear to ensure you get the most out of your NYC adventures with your friends and family.

Time To Get The Travel Fun Started

Touring can be a great way to open up a new world of places and sights without having to do much of the work. And if you’re savvy, you can do it on a budget and seek out discount coupons for special holidays. While NYC isn’t the only place to visit, it’s definitely a perfect place to start. You can always venture out to neighboring cities if you’re feeling adventurous.

As we said in the beginning, tourism isn’t dead. And you don’t have to travel out of the country to get a magical travel experience. All it takes is some planning and some will. Now, where will your travel adventures take you next?

Reasons Why Seniors Should Travel the World

Reasons Why Seniors Should Travel the World

Travelling is often thought of as an activity that suits people of a much younger age. From the moment a traveller steps in the airport, they are already walking long distances to reach a certain place while carrying heavy bags. Then when they get to their destination, they continue walking, carrying heavy bags, plus getting in on the action by trying out all the activities. Those things require huge amounts of energy, which may be hard if a person is at a certain age.

But to tell you the truth, that is a total misconception. If anything, travelling revitalises and refreshes the mind and the body. It is actually a lot easier to travel when one is older. It is looking as if the age limit for travelling is just an excuse for some people not to try it at an older age.

Hesitations are understandable, and there will always be doubts when it comes to rigorous activities such as this. So in this article, let us rundown the reasons why seniors are the perfect travellers and a couple of tips on how they can be comfortable during their trip.

Advantages of Travelling in your Senior years

Expenses are not a big issue

Seniors are at an age where their kids already have jobs and managing households of their own. So the major expenses they are thinking about are just groceries and medications. If they have significant retirement savings, travelling would not be an issue. Important things like the travel insurance for seniors may seem to be more expensive because they are older. But a surplus in wealth means that they can afford this and add more to their budget to make sure that they are relaxed and worry-free during the trip.

Travel whenever they want

For the much younger people, one of the major things that hinders them from traveling for a long time is their job. As employees, there is a certain number of time-offs you can take, and going beyond it may have certain consequences. But as seniors, they do not have to worry about things like this. They can schedule their travel anytime they want, weather and health permitting of course. They can even stay in one place for as long as they want, and allow themselves to truly understand the cultures of the people around them.

Medical conditions are not too big of a problem

The major concern for seniors traveling are their medical conditions. This is a valid concern, but we do have to remember that they know their body better than us. They know their triggers and what needs to be done when something happens. However, we cannot just brush this aside, yes? So to give us a peace of mind, go with them to their doctor. Ask if they can be given a medical certificate which says that they are allowed to travel for the length of time they plan to go on the trip. Create a checklist of medications they need to bring for this trip and see if they have brought all of it with them.

A Guide for Senior Travelers

Look at the inclusions of your travel insurance carefully

Pay close attention to the medical inclusions. Make sure that you will not have problems with expenses when you go see a doctor during your trip.

Choose your preferred travel time

Choose a time that can allow you to rest while in transit. To do this, look at your routine at home. Do you like waking up early in the morning or are you the nocturnal type?

Plan activities ahead of time

You may have the budget and the time to travel wherever you want, but that does not exactly mean you need to do every activity you see. The best way to ensure that you remain safe during the trip is by pre-planning all the activities you can get involved in. You may not be able to do a bit of bouldering, but maybe you can go kayaking if the current is not too violent.

Do not pack too much

Avoid bringing big bags for your trip, especially if it is a long one. Pack only the essentials like your medication and climate-friendly clothes. Then just avail of laundry services when you are there.

Traveling is an activity that should be enjoyed by everyone, seniors included. Age should not be a hindrance to see at the world and appreciate how diverse and wonderful it is. So take advantage of every opportunity to travel, no matter how old you are.

How to Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip

How to Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip

Going on a road trip can be a rewarding and reinvigorating experience. Before you go, however, there are a number of things you need to do to prepare. Mainly, you need to prep your car for the long and rather grueling trip. If your car is mainly used for driving to and from work or school, then it will require some hefty preparation before hitting the long road. Here are several tips to get your car ready for an awesome road trip:

Get Your Vehicle Checked and Detailed

First of all, you need to take your vehicle to the nearest auto mechanic for a thorough checkup. There are several things to check before you hit the road. Some of these can be handled by car owners, such as checking the engine oil or examining the tire treads for wear and tear. But it’s highly recommended to have a professional mechanic take a good look at your vehicle. Tell the mechanic about your road trip and the terrain you intend to cover. Then the mechanic can examine your car and tell you if it’s ready for a road trip.

You can also get your vehicle detailed at this point, which would involve checking and cleaning the engine—a must before any road trip. You can ask your local mechanic for good car detailing options before you hit the road for weeks.

Lease a Larger Car if Needed

It’s worthwhile to stop and think if that Hyundai accent you are using to get to work every day is actually suited for a road trip across the country or in the mountains. The car you take should be able to accommodate all the people traveling. It should be spacious enough for one driver to nap while the other takes the wheel in turns. The car should be able to tackle the terrain you intend to travel. Considering these option, you might want to rent or lease a bigger vehicle just for the road trip.

Change the Tires and Pack a Spare

Ask your auto mechanic to change tires to suit the terrain you plan on traveling on. Tires should be checked for wear and tear, and also for inflation levels. The tires may require deflating for certain types of rough terrain. Before driving off, you must pack a spare tire in the trunk.

Install a GPS Navigation System

Even if you are very good with directions, it’s strongly recommended to install a GPS system in your car before you go on your trip if it already doesn’t have one. You will be traveling on strange and unfamiliar roads, so you will need all the help you can get. When you go off road, keep in mind that some route information will not be available on GPS. So pack a detailed road map for info on those side roads the digital maps don’t show.

When you hit the road, you must pack an emergency toolkit, extra fuel, and a first aid kit in the trunk. Pack more tools than you usually do for everyday transport to make sure you are not stranded in the middle of your road trip.

How to Help Your Kids Survive this Tucson Heat

How to Help Your Kids Survive this Tucson Heat

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Despite having lived in Tucson for 5 years now, I have still not quite got used to the insane heat when it comes and during those days I am the one doing all that I can to stay as cool as possible. I love the temperature throughout the fall and winter months but when that August sunshine starts burning down, evasive action is most definitely required.

I am always more protective of my kids during this time as well, ever since my buddy Michael Thomas Eckhardt told me about the amount of young children who are sent to hospital each year because of the heat and dehydration, I was intent on not being a father who could be accused of not doing enough to help my kids avoid their death in this extreme Tucson heat. If you want to keep your kids cool when the weather is punishing, here are some tips to follow.

Clothing Choices

Naturally you want to make sure that you are dressing your child in an appropriate way for the summer heat. There can be a temptation to put your child in some shorts and t-shirts but just bear in mind the exposure of their skin to the sun’s rays. If you do opt for this type of clothing then you will need to arm yourself with plenty of suncream to avoid them burning. The best course of action that I have found is clothing which covers them up, but is very light thus blocking the sun’s rays whilst still keeping them cool. Don’t forget to give your child a hat to wear as the sun can really blaze down on the top of their heads if you don’t.

Bedroom

Be careful with the air con in the child’s bedroom as it will keep the child cool but the air can also hurt their throat and lungs. Try turning the air con onto a timer so that it can come on intermittently throughout the night to keep your child nice and cool. You could also consider putting frozen water bottles in the child’s room at night, as they melt they will cool the air.

Limit Outdoors Time

When the sun is shining, all kids want to do is play outdoors and whilst it can be a difficult thing to tell your high energy child, you must restrict how much time they spend out in the sunshine. Especially try to avoid the midday sun as this is when things are at their hottest. Try to entertain your child indoors where it is cool and safe.

Fluids

Keeping your child cool is not just about their exterior but their interior too and you need to make sure that they are taking lots of water and cool drinks so that they can say hydrated and lower their core body temperature. Make sure that you are giving your child fluids at least every hour or two to ensure that they stay nice and cool.

How to Make Sure That Your Travel Plans Accommodate Your Wheelchair

How to Make Sure That Your Travel Plans Accommodate Your Wheelchair

If you are a wheelchair user you will already be more than aware of the fact that doing anything in your daily lives requires that little bit of extra planning than someone who does not use a wheelchair. Whatever handicap you happen to have, you always need to ensure that the places that you are going to will have sufficient support for your chair and traveling is no different.

In fact, through the years I have made some errors when it comes to planning my vacations and I wanted to share some tips with you that I have picked up as a result of these errors, without further ado then, here are my top wheelchair accessible travel tips.

Getting The Destination Right

The first challenge is to ensure that the destination which you choose for your vacation is just right and that you won’t face any unnecessary complications whilst you are away. When it comes to choosing your hotel, you will of course need to ensure that you pick one which has plenty of accessibility and even rooms which can accommodate both you and your wheelchair. Once you have found a great hotel, spend some time looking at the surrounding area to see what the landscape is like. I went to Greece a few years ago and didn’t check out the area which happened to be filled with hills and climbs, it is fair to say that I will not make that mistake again.

Travel Plans

Whether you are taking a plane, train or bus, or even a combination of these, you need to ensure that it is going to be able to accommodate you. Now, almost all transport companies have plans in place for those with disabilities but they very often rely on you to notify them of your condition or circumstance. Airlines for example are always great with wheelchair users and can offer specialist treatment for you when you fly, should you fail to notify them ahead of time however, this whole process becomes very difficult. Check out the terms first and then make sure that you notify the companies involved so that they can make special allowances for you and your chair.

Take Parts

Whilst it makes absolutely no sense at all to take a second chair away with you on your vacation, you should not overlook the fact that it is possible that your chair could break whilst you are away. For this reason I would advise that you take some small and important parts with you when you go away. Equally you should make sure that your destination has somewhere that you could go to either fix or replace your chair should the worst happen. This has happened to me before so don’t think that it can not happen to you because it most certainly could.

The key is to be aware of all aspects of your vacation destination before you leave so that you leave absolutely nothing to chance.

5 Places You Need to Visit to Get the Best Out of American History

5 Places You Need to Visit to Get the Best Out of American History

America isn’t just a beautiful country with some of the most well-known landmarks in the world, it’s also a country that has many cities based on some of the most interesting American history available. You should consider paying a visit to the below cities if you’re looking to better your knowledge of American History to help you obtain your masters of history online using an online MAH program.

1. New York

Of course, New York is a bustling city that never sleeps, but it’s also filled with much history and many landmarks to see. If you’re in New York, be sure to pay a visit to the 9/11 memorial & museum. Also, a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and a ferry to Ellis Island will give you the chance to take in the history of the place that served as the gateway to more than 12 million immigrants. New York offers plenty to do and see during your visit and American History won’t be hard to find.

2. San Francisco

Of course, San Francisco is well-known for the island and famous prison of Alcatraz. The prison is a must-see for any conspiracy theorists. Golden Gate Bridge also promises to provide excellent views for tourists and Chinatown is also a great visit for those interested in the Chinese culture and how thousands of Chinese gold-seekers immigrated to the town because they were pushed out of the gold mines by locals.

3. Philadelphia

Philadelphia was the first capital of the United States and it was there where Ben Franklin put pen to paper to sign the Declaration of Independence. You’ll see many museums in Philadelphia, as well as Ben Franklin’s name up in lights everywhere you go – which is still having a huge influence on the locals. If you finally get your full dose of American history in Philadelphia, the first capital city also offers an excellent nightlife and a bustling restaurant scene for visitors to take advantage of.

4. Washington D.C.

Why would you want to visit Washington D.C.? Apart from the fact it’s one of the most popular cities in America, it’s also home to the president and the famous Pentagon. There is an unlimited supply of American History in Washington D.C. America’s capital has the Washington Memorial, Capitol Building, White House, and the famous Lincoln Memorial. It’s a must-visit city for any tourist looking to gain extensive knowledge of political American history.

5. Boston

The city is well-known by tourists for its firsts. Boston was the home of America’s first public library, first public park, first public school, and of course the first subway system. The Museum of Fine Arts, Beacon Hill, and Paul Revere House are all American history-based sites.

The above cities are sure to help your studies when it comes to American History. Of course, there are many other places that can help you on your way – Charleston, Yosemite, and Savannah are just a few more worth mentioning.