Help Yourself to Faster Airport Security this Summer
Jun01

Help Yourself to Faster Airport Security this Summer

It’s summer, you’ve been planning your big vacation for a while, and all you can think about is getting to the lake/beach/mountain (select dream location here). But with your mind’s eye fixed on your destination it’s easy to forget about the journey, particularly security screening at the airport. The good news is that being prepared can help you breeze through the screening checkpoint, leaving you more time to shop, eat or just relax before your flight. The first step is doing your homework so you know what goes in your carry-on and what goes in your checked baggage. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has some handy tools on its website, including a searchable “What can I bring” list that lets you know where to pack your items and what can and can’t fly. It also has a travel-checklist generator (insert reminder to water plants here), and tips for all sorts of challenges – from what to do with large sports equipment and medical supplies to travelling with pets. According to CATSA, one of the biggest hold-ups at security is having too many liquids, aerosols and gels. Containers over 100 ml and 1 litre bags that are overstuffed with smaller containers (no seal; no deal) will need to be checked. As for that cup of java or water bottle in your hand – if it’s over 100 ml, be prepared to chug. There are some exceptions, like liquids for kids under two years old and medication. You can check out more here. In all cases, the containers should be taken out of your carry-on bag and ready to present to the screening officer for inspection. Once you hit the front of the line, it helps to have your boarding pass ready to show to the screening officer. You can also speed things up if you put any loose change, keys and small electronics (smart phones, cameras, tablets) in your carry-on bag so you can just drop it in the bin. If you’re travelling with a laptop or other large electronics (gaming console, DVD player) you’ll need to put them in a separate bin. For more information on what you can put in the bins at the checkpoint, you can find it here. If you’re still wondering what to do with an item or want more information about security screening, you can always send questions to CATSA on Twitter or Facebook. Lastly, travel is all about being mobile, so you should definitely download CATSA’s free mobile app. It’s available on Android, iOS and Blackberry, and can help you with all this and more, including wait times for security at...

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Finding Work as a Travel Photographer: ITB Round Up
Mar28

Finding Work as a Travel Photographer: ITB Round Up

I left The Philippines – quite sadly, I might add – and headed toward Berlin.  I had a conference in the city called ITB.  It’s essentially the biggest travel conference and trade fair on the planet.  It’s massive. Like, overwhelmingly massive.  And, it’s a great place to try to make contacts and for finding work as a travel photographer.  It’s also a great place to network and hang out with some industry friends. So, I was actually pretty stoked about ITB this year.  I had a lot of good meetings planned, and some parties with some old friends and colleagues.  This is basically how it went. Meeting Old Friends One of my favourite parts of ITB in Berlin is that it’s like an annual meet up of old friends.  In this industry, most of our friends are scattered around the world. So, conferences like this are where we kind of all come together once a year.  Some of the others in the travel industry see each other a lot. But, since I travel so much, I tend to miss out on seeing most of them. So, after arriving to Berlin, I headed out to a Travel Massive party and had some drinks with old friends. Selfies and Business Meetings One of the things I love about daily vlogging is that it kind of forces me to do something creative each and every day.  Like, in the vlog below, I was at a conference in business meetings all day, and it should have been a boring day.  But, since I was forced to create something for the vlog, I had to come up with an idea for something fun to do.  So, I grabbed Greg and Dave and we went around the conference halls taking selfies with all the people dressed up in their country’s outfits. It was a lot of fun. Of course, the fun was also mixed in with the business meetings.  My early meetings went pretty well. Some Insight into Finding Work as a Travel Photographer Finding work as a travel photographer almost seems like a bit of a dream.  And, the question I get asked all the time by people is “but, who is giving you the work?”  And, the truth is, there is almost an unlimited number of people who can look to hire travel photographers. Tourism Boards Travel Companies Websites and Blogs Magazines and Newspapers Clothing Brands Etc. The truth is, almost any company in the world might benefit from having a travel angle to their imagery. And, while a lot of people are talking about travel photography being a dying art, I think...

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Where to Stay? Jamaican Accommodation Guide
Mar28

Where to Stay? Jamaican Accommodation Guide

Honestly, most people who come from North America or Europe to Jamaica do so as some sort of a package.  They book complete trips that hook them up at all-inclusive resorts around the island.  Personally, I’m not much of a fan of the all-inclusive world.  It tends to leave tourists boxed in, and stuck in their particular resort.  And, yes, if you’re looking for a pure vacation where you don’t really have to think at all, it is a decent option. Still, I have some other ideas for you.  This is my quick guide to accommodation in Jamaica. Vacation Rentals I’m a huge fan of the vacation rentals world.  I think that rentals like this allow tourists a bit more freedom to explore, and maybe even a sense of living in a destination.  Moreover, one can find a wide spectrum of types of accommodation to stay in by using vacations rentals.  For example, you can often find fairly cheap apartments, or you can find beautiful luxury houses for rent in Jamaica.  So, regardless of what you’re after – or your budget – there’s an option for you. Boutique Hotels The boutique hotels are a great option in Jamaica as well.  Generally speaking, the boutique hotels you’ll find on the island have so much more character to them in comparison with the massive all-inclusive resorts. One of my favourite boutique hotels in Jamaica is a place called Rockhouse Hotel in Negril.  It’s rooms are cool, and the setting – out on a set of jagged rocks – is beyond incredible.  Some of the rooms even have their own private pools, others have ladders down into the calm bits of sea within the rocks.  It’s simply stunning here.  And, boutique hotels like Rockhouse are scattered all over the country. Hostels and Guesthouses If you’re on a bit of a budget, you can also find a bunch of hostels and guesthouses throughout Jamaica.  The guesthouses in particular are great value, and give you a nice insight into island life. The obvious downside to guesthouses is that for the most part they are fairly far from the beach or the tourist attractions.  The advantage is you’ll get a bit look at real Jamaican life.  It’s as close as you can get to renting a house in Jamaica.  Moreover, staying at the guesthouses is a nice way to get some interaction with the locals that you just don’t get at the all-inclusive resorts. If you’re really on a budget, you can actually find quite a few hostels in Jamaica as well.  Especially in bigger centers like Negril and Montego Bay, you’ll find some nice...

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Epic Photo Location: The Banaue Rice Terraces
Feb19

Epic Photo Location: The Banaue Rice Terraces

Of all the places in the Philippines, I think it was Banaue that I was most looking forward to. The images of the landscapes and rice terraces are all over the social media and marketing for The Philippines. I couldn’t wait to get my lens on them, and head out and explore them as well. But, as the jeepney I caught from Sagada rolled towards town it poured rain. At times, I’m sure the driver couldn’t see more than 10 meters in front of him because of the fog. But, somehow the ride was still a lot of fun. I should have known it would be a bit of foreshadowing for my next couple days in Banaue. The forecast was showers, with a chance of occasional brilliance. Wandering the Villages around Banaue With heavy fog in the air my first morning in Banaue, I slept in a little bit. Later in the morning, I headed out to do a village trek in the area. I started with a visit to a village called Tam-an. Just outside of Banaue, this little village is perched on a hill’s edge with incredible views of the valley. I stopped there, pulled out the drone, and took a flight to get an overview of the area. It was fun, not only because the views were beautiful, but because the drone served as such a nice ice-breaker into conversations with the locals. They all came out to chat. Then, I pushed on towards the village of Poitan. However, I managed to get totally lost on the way there and found myself wandering aimlessly through some rice terraces. By the time I found the trail down to Poitan, I was covered in mud all the way to my waist. Again, the hike down to Poitan was stunning. It cut across some rice terraces, but also carved along the cliff-side lending to some beautiful views of the area. By the afternoon, the rain rolled back in and cut into my dreams of shooting photos from the classic view of the rice terraces. No Batad, Bad Brendan! I had plans of catching a ride out to an area called Batad. The terraces out that way are meant to be the most beautiful in all The Philippines. However, it poured rain the whole day. And, if I’m being honest with you, I probably should have just fought through it anyways. Of course, the weather could have been better that way – although, to be fair to myself, it probably wasn’t. I hiked up to the viewpoint for sunrise, but struck out. Then, in the afternoon, I hiked up again...

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Beyond the beach, getting in touch with Dom Rep’s wild side
Feb15

Beyond the beach, getting in touch with Dom Rep’s wild side

It’s no secret to anyone that the Dominican Republic is mostly famous for its popular beach resorts, sprawling beaches and fine selection of all-inclusive resorts. Yet, that’s not all there is to a holiday in Dom Rep, neither should you stop at beach-basking and forgo the opportunity of immersing in the nation’s wildest side. If you’ve got a thirst for adventure and discovery, the Dominican Republic has plenty to offer, probably more than you imagined. Here we proceed to list five incredible adventures for experiencing the Dominican Republic’s rawest, most beautifully natural and wild side. For true nature lovers or adventurers at hearts, the places mentioned below will provide a fresh break from beachside monotony (and all-inclusive gluttony). So, if you can bear (or are desperate to) tear yourself away from the beach during your Dominican Republic holiday; these are your options. The last two attractions on this list are close to coastal towns, which means you can combine a relaxing stay on the beach, digging your toes in the fine Caribbean sands and working on your suntan before kicking it up a notch with some livelier, action-packed pursuits. Jarabacoa The first in our list is not a single attraction per se, but a variety of them contained in one single place – the beautiful town of Jarabacoa, the second largest municipality in the province of La Vega, surrounded by misty mountains in the heart of the Cordillera Central mountain range (also home to Pico Duarte, the next attraction in our list). It´s home to Dom Rep´s tallest peak (we´ll get to that one in a minute) and is the complete antithesis to the typical Caribbean holiday, the very reason that makes it a very special place to take a break from sun and sand. Take in the verdant countryside ambience, soak up the laidback charm and enjoy the scenic beauty of the “City of Eternal Spring”, one that has attracted hundreds of locals to set up holiday homes here. Choose from a variety of invigorating and engaging activities: hiking, canyoning, biking, river-rafting or horse riding. Or, take it easy and explore rural life at your own leisure. Pico Duarte This is not just Dominican Republic’s highest mountain, it is the Caribbean’s highest peak, simply no other mountain in the region quite compares in all of the region, making it a very special and challenging peak to climb for both advanced hikers and beginners alike. There are several routes to make your way to the top and conquer its admirable height, ranging in various levels of difficulty, from the most accessible, easier trails to follow to more strenuous (yet...

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