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Travel Tips

Travel Tips

Best Camera Bag for Travel

You’ve got a great camera, but which bag suits your needs best?

I spent years looking for the best camera bag for travel, and I finally found it!

For this type of purchase there are likely two style preferences, there are those that like backpacks (for carrying several lenses) and those that prefer shoulder bags (which fit less lenses, but allow easier access to them).  Lowepro offers some of the best bags on the market and they have a model that will suit nearly every photographer’s needs.  There are versions of the bags that even have slots for additional electronics such as a laptop or ipad.

Here are my favorites: 

 – the shoulder bag is extremely versatile, and can be worn on your front when you are wearing a larger pack on your back (in my case while I backpack around the world).  Inside the bag there are compartments for your extra batteries, SIM cards, cords, etc., a larger insert (that can be removed) which holds up to 3 lenses and a camera body, and a compression zipper that allows you to easily transform the bag between the two potential sizes.  Even when the camera carrying insert is inside the bag, you still have plenty of room to fit additional items, and there are three pockets on the exterior of the bag as well, so you can be creative with your organization.

If you are set on getting a backpack instead – I would opt for the backpack above. Again, extreme versatility, just this one has two shoulder straps and is on your back of course…

I’ve had my bag now for years and taken it to a few dozen countries, so I can additionally attest to its durability.  The bag shows almost no wear at all and it has kept my camera safe and secure in even the most unimaginable situations (I do travel to quite a few third world nations and when I am there opt for local transport).

Hope this helps you determine the best camera bag to bring with you on your next excursion, whether it be in a local park or on a journey to the other side of the world!

Do Not Miss Lists

Best things to see in Thailand – DNML

Thailand is a common tourist destination. You’re likely to run into many foreigners while visiting Thailand. We decided to compile a short list of the best things to see in Thailand.

Thailand is famous for its great natural beauty, with stunning beaches, amazing animals and beautiful historic sites/artifacts.

Here’s a list of things you must see if you’re making the trip to Thailand.
  1. Tigers – There’s a “Tiger Temple” near Chiang Mai where you can go and pet big friendly tigers. You’re put in a cage with them and you have the opportunity to pet and play with them… if you dare.
  2. Elephant Riding – There are many excursions from Chiang Mai that include elephant rides, you can even go to elephant school and train an elephant.
  3. Ayutthayah – Ayutthayah is a small city outside of Bangkok with tons of ancient temples and temple ruins. It’s fascinating to see some of the ways the old civilizations had lived and kept their temples as the most important thing in the city.
  4. Bangkok – A city not to be missed, and one you probably will not miss since most international flights will try to take you through Bangkok. While among international travelers Bangkok has a bit of a bad rep. it’s not a bad city at all. It’s inexpensive, with lots of places to eat full meals for less than $2 or $3. People in Bangkok are friendly and helpful. The city is a bit big and can be overwhelming. Try a Tuk Tuk ride to take you around and just explore the city.
  5. Chiang Mai – A beautiful village style city which is also not expensive, and gives you access to many of Thailand’s great sites, wilderness and attractions like the Tigers or Elephant rides.
  6. Cooking Class – We took a wonderful cooking class that taught us how to make 4 different Thai dishes (each). The food in Thailand is delicious and the class was a lot of fun. It was called Asia Scenic cooking class (Chiang Mai).
  7. At least one beach (Krabi) – If you’ve made it to Thailand, even if you’re not there for the beaches, it would be a shame not to see what all the rage is about. The beaches in Thailand are famous for their beauty, although now a day they may be a bit over crowded… We’d recommend, at the very least making it to Krabi (2hours south of Bangkok and still on the mainland.)
This list is short, but includes some of the highlights. Hope you find it helpful in planning your adventures!
Travel Tips

Tour Companies Can Make or Break a Trip

If you opt for a tour on your next trip, the company you choose could make or break it.

My close family and friends have heard me rave by now about my time in Egypt. I thought is was one of the most incredible places I’ve ever been. So incredible that I would choose to go back there over almost any of the 70 countries I’ve been to.

Since my time there dozens of people have asked me what my favorite travel spots are. Whenever I place Egypt on my list the response has been – oh really? They’ve always known someone that visited and didn’t have the same experience.

David and I got to thinking and while we knew the tour group we selected was excellent – we didn’t realize it could literally make or break your trip. Our itinerary was so well put together and we were treated with such care and respect (like royalty) during our entire stay. Our tour leaders literally bent over backwards for us and educated us on the sites in such a captivating manner.  We felt so welcomed in the country that I couldn’t possibly imagine anything else.

All that being said – I guess I will continue to describe my experience in Egypt to others and at the same time suggest they select Memphis Tours as their operator. No matter what your interests in Egypt, they will make your stay nothing short of spectacular. Their customer service is some of the best I’ve ever experienced and their tour guides/leaders are so knowledgable, you will have a much deeper appreciation for everything you see while you’re there. You will leave Egypt feeling the way I do, that every sight is a masterpiece and that there is so much to see, you’ll already look forward to another visit.

Outside of Egypt a tour company that I can recommend across the world with both their passion for sharing knowledge and leaving a minimal footprint on the environment is Intrepid Travel.  They operate all around the world and have a wide range of tour options to accommodate every interest and budget (just about).  I’ve been on a few overland safari tours with them in Africa and would go again in a heartbeat.

If for some reason these two options don’t offer something in the country you are interested in – check out Tour Radar, they aggregate all the tours along with reviews/ratings to help you make a sound decision.

As always – best of luck on your journey 🙂

Travel Tips

How to Stay Safe Traveling

We’ve compiled the top ten things you should be aware of to ensure safe traveling abroad:

  1. Check the State Department site for travel warnings before you make your bookings.  Alerts and Warnings can be found on the State Department website. Warnings are yellow and advise caution while traveling and alerts are red, which advise no travel at all to the country.  These warnings/alerts are based on things occurring within the country that you may or may not be able to access – trust these recommendations as they are intended to keep US citizens safe.
  2. Immunizations are often needed prior to international travel.  There is a list of current immunizations needed on the CDC Website, contact a local travel clinic and be sure to get the immunizations far enough in advance (some take time to go into effect). Contact your insurance company to see if any of the immunizations can be covered under your plan (these can be pricey depending on what is needed).
  3. Ask your doctor or a travel clinic for essential travel prescriptions: a Z pack, anti-diarrheal medication, such as Cipro, and Malarial medication/Deet spray or wipes if you are visiting a country known to have Malaria (a basic emergency kit for your time abroad).
  4. Make a color photocopy of your passport and put a copy in every single bag you have just in case your real passport is lost or stolen, this will help out on your visit to the local Embassy.
  5. Before departing you can enroll in the US Step program, which will give you alerts when you are traveling https://step.state.gov/step/.  Loved ones can additionally enroll from home to receive warnings and alerts for the regions you plan to visit.  If anything does happen while you are abroad, the US will know you are there and can assist you.
  6. When you are traveling keep some cash on your person, at least $100 US in case of emergency.
  7. Do be aware of pick pocketing, which is a very common petty crime in most touristy places – keep your bag zipped and close to you at all times. It is better to put your wallet in a front pocket and have a cross body bag if you are a woman.  If you are still concerned there are also belt bags that can be worn under clothing – see on Amazon here.
  8. Only exchange money at a physical establishment or bank, do not take part in casual exchanges that can be offered at borders or on the street, they are typically part of a scam.
  9. Stay alert at all times and be cautious about who you trust.  Police in many countries are not like the ones we are used to in the states.  There are bribery and scam concerns in many locations and you should not be naïve about their intentions.
  10. Get a copy of emergency phone numbers for the countries you are visiting – you can download the list of numbers here. In addition it can be helpful to know key phrases in the local language when asking for help.