Five Steps to ‘Picture Perfect’ Photos

No holiday is ever complete without the photos capturing the memories of your trip. It has become an imperative for any traveller to take pictures when on the road, since these serve as proofs of how the adventure went on a first hand basis. Taking pictures has also become way easier these days thanks to smartphones and photo editing apps, so take advantage of these whenever you’re on vacation.

But not all travel photos look ‘picture perfect’. Some are mediocre while others are artsy, while there are those that really worth sharing on your Facebook and Instagram! Hence, if you are aiming to make the snapshots of your next adventure into a travelogue, then here are five steps to snap them right:

1. Pick a theme

To compose a great photograph, you need to have a solid concept. Think of the subject that you want to capture in a picture. Is it about the family time on the beach or the exhilaration of reaching the mountain peak? A sweet smile on your partner’s face or a lovely sunset? Photographs are not just mere illustrations but memories and evidence of times past. Even during photo-op (photo opportunity) sessions, a central theme is still needed to bring out the message the pictures want to say, no matter how informal the photography was conducted.

2. Know your props

Here’s the thing: the stunning travel photos you see on Instagram are not always candid. In fact, most of them were strategically positioned, from the angle of the camera to the way the background objects were placed. You should then learn to find objects that work well with each other, since these make the picture more alive. Using the right props enables your pictures to look, especially when you are at a pretty common destination.

Knowing your props also helps you in making your photos look more picturesque. There are instances when less is more, so you can do away with noisy backgrounds and rather focus on your subject using just a few adornments.

3. Find a good location

A good location works hand in hand with a central theme. It sets the mood of the shot and boosts of the message of the overall picture. A young lady standing on the streets of New York during rush hour depicts the busy life of yuppies, while a landscape shot of a guy on top of a mountain means adventure.

A good location doesn’t always have to be some place unique; indeed a lot of pictures have already been taken at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, but by finding a specific spot to take pictures of the landmark, the more capable you are in producing shots that represent your own perspective.

4. Lighting

Anyone can get away with a good picture as long as there is good lighting. Lighting creates the “drama” in the photograph. Natural light during the day gives a more relaxed and spontaneous feel on photos, while the rays of the sunset add romance to the picture. As you are travelling, bright studio lights are out unless you don’t mind the extra baggage. Learn to make do with natural lighting.

5. Have an eye for detail

This is the most essential tool of all. Yes, a great camera is an investment but having “the eye” takes skill and talent. Not everyone is born with the talent of taking pictures, but it is a skill that can be learned. There were plenty of experiments wherein notable photographers are given basic cameras and yet they still capture amazing photos.

Hence, it is important to learn which angle works best and what elements work well. It’s all up to you how you’d practice it. So yes, if you want to flourish, go outside, explore and capture awesome moments!

Are you all set for your next trip? If yes, then it’s best that you have a reliable travel insurance partner so you can roam around your chosen destination with no worries.

If you’re looking for the best value travel insurance in your next destination like Singapore then check out some travel insurance online. With various coverage packages for travellers of all types, you will definitely find an international travel insurance plan for your upcoming trip.

Things to see and do on Samosir Island in Sumatra, Indonesia

Samosir Island is a quiet and peaceful Island within Sumatra’s Lake Toba, Indonesia; the world’s largest volcanic lake in the world. Samosir island was formed by a cone of a new volcano pushing up through the Lake Toba’s volcanic craters. The island has some of the most spectacular views, fresh air, offers great relaxation, freshwater swimming and many thrilling adventure experiences.

Lake Toba

Apart from the allure of swimming in the pleasant, natural water, Samosir island is home to the fascinating ancient people known as Bataks. The Batak tribe is very friendly and they even have impromptu guitar jams and singing parties all around the island. Lets now take a look at some of the things to do and see on this amazing island;

1. Visit Lake Toba
As mentioned earlier, Lake Toba, also called Danau Toba, is the planet’s largest volcanic lake and measures at about 1,707 square feet. It was formed by a massive volcanic eruption about 70,000 years ago. With a serene and quiet beauty, it’s much loved by tourist as nice a place to relax and unwind. You can chill by the calm lakeside or even swim in the pleasant, mineral rich fresh waters. This is the best place to relax and enjoy great pristine scenery and the peaceful nature and culture of Lake Toba.

2. Tuk Tuk
You can go to Tuk Tuk, which is a rather popular place for tourists. Tuk Tuk offers picturesque views of the magnificent Lake Toba. You can also do your shopping here and buy books from the numerous bookshops available. Tuk Tuk is actually the center of Samosir’s Island tourism. It is a great place to explore by walking around and enjoying the fantastic views it has to offer.

Batak Houses

3. Tomok
Tomok is about 5km from Tuk Tuk and is a rather quite place which offers a variety of delicious Indonesian foods. You can also get to bask in its’ rich culture and check out the burial place for King Sidabutur. There are several stalls where you can find gorgeous souvenirs.

4. Ambarita Stone Chairs
Ambarita is famous for its’ stone chairs. The stone chairs are about 300 years old, and are said to be the remnants of a criminal court where criminals were beheaded and their bodies tossed into lake Toba. If you are okay exploring morbid parts of Samosir’s history, you can find a guide and get to explore and learn the chilling and shocking history.

5. Museum Huta Solon Simanindo
The museum is a must see for any tourist who wants to learn more about the interesting Batak tradition and culture. You will see great examples of the traditional Batak homes and you will also get to enjoy watching a Batak dancing performance; that is if you happen to go early in the afternoon.

7. Swim in the Waterfall and Relax in the Hot Springs
Just above Tuk Tuk, you will find a great waterfall where you can take a refreshing, rejuvenating swim. You can also enjoy relaxing by the hot springs which are on the western side of Samosir island. The water is pretty hot so you probably will not be able to swim, but you can just relax by the pool side.

Where To Stay
There are many guesthouses, hotels and restaurants in Samosir island, and one of the best accommodation options is Samosir Villa Resort. This magnificent resort offers uninterrupted gorgeous views of Lake Toba and has a wooded jungle as its’ backdrop. It is a truly beautiful, relaxing and welcoming resort.

Samosir Villa Resort

Best Time to Visit Samosir Island
The best time to visit Samosir Island is during the dry seasons; that is between May – September. May is probably the best time since that’s when Samosir Island’s weather is changing from cool to warm.

Smooth Sailing on the Chesapeake Bay

Havre de Grace sailing Chesapeake Bay

Heritage, beauty, and a satisfied palate are just the results of a summer’s day on the Chesapeake Bay. Here in North America’s largest estuary, you can create a dream vacation with an Annapolis boat charter, exploring habitats both human and animal, spending days in quiet contemplation on serene waters, and enjoying fantastic food.

In 1608, Captain John Smith set out from what is now the historic Jamestowne fort, looking for a route to the Pacific. He hardly found that, but he did encounter thriving indigenous communities and one of the world’s richest sources of marine life. For centuries the wealth of oysters, crab, and fish meant the region was a major supplier of seafood. Today, the waterman’s way of life on the Chesapeake has ebbed but can still be seen in many places.

Annapolis makes the best starting point. This gracefully designed city is the site of one of the earliest English settlements. By the time of the whites’ arrival in 1649, at a point south of the current city, the native Algonquin community had moved to avoid Susquehanna raids. By the late 1600s, Annapolis already had 25,000 residents; having grown to only about 39,000 residents now, it has retained loads of charm. St. Anne’s Cathedral is a focal point of the city, and while the area along the waterfront has a lot of typical touristy shops and such, a wander back from the water will reward you with some pleasant walks.

Sailing around Annapolis Bay can get crowded in the summer, and you’ll surely want to find a little quietude. Fortunately, that’s easy to do. Cruise out from Annapolis and head north toward Havre de Grace. One of the advantages of sailing the Chesapeake is that you’ll never lack for delicious options for any meal. You can easily provision your boat to eat mostly on board, but don’t just stay there – you’d be missing out on regional specialties. Havre de Grace is home to a lovely waterfront park and town and boasts the Laurrapin Grille, a highly regarded restaurant with a focus on sustainably sourced local ingredients.

Continuing around this corner of the bay, you’ll come upon many small towns built on the watermen’s way of life. Rock Hall is a favorite for its picturesque looks, but because it is still a working marina; it isn’t just a tourist attraction. Deep waters and sheltered anchorages make it a great stop on your itinerary. If you’re longing to be even closer to the water, rent a kayak and commune with the birds and the trees for a day. Then treat yourself to dinner at Waterman’s Crab House, where you can admire the beautiful views while indulging in a classic Chesapeake crab meal.

This is just a taste of the exploration to be had sailing the Chesapeake Bay. A boat charter from Annapolis will launch you on a summer’s dream.

Sustainability and Luxury Travel: The Next Big Trend?

Sustainability and Luxury Travel: The Next Big Trend?

For a long time, luxury travel has been defined by overt indulgence. High-end hotels distinguish themselves by providing the most exclusive and luxurious experiences possible, sometimes using conspicuous consumption as their unique selling point. This isn’t something that’s likely to change any time soon, but travel providers are increasingly having to adapt to changing attitudes. As a new focus on authentic experience grows, and concern over the environment becomes a major consideration for some luxury travellers, sustainability is beginning to cement itself as a mainstay of the luxury travel industry.

Sustainable luxury can feel like something of an oxymoron. This is especially true as the most expensive hotels import white sand, own private jets and cater to their visitors every whim, relying on extravagance to set themselves apart. However, those with large amounts of expendable wealth are getting ever younger, and have different priorities and tastes to the generations that came before them. Four billion dollars was spent on adventure travel by America’s wealthy in 2013, and high net worth individuals are becoming ever more interested in exciting, novel and “real” experiences.

Inside many luxury hotels customers would be hard-pressed to say which part of the world they were in. This is something that may well start to work against them. People now want to try local food, get to know the community and be involved in something more authentic. With this desire for authenticity has come a heightened awareness of social responsibility, where travellers want to know that their enjoyment isn’t coming at the expense of the local community, or the stunning environment that drew them to an area.

This shift in tastes means that the luxury travel industry has had to find more creative ways to engage its potential customers. This is evident in how the industry has diversified, for example in the emergence of property investment funds that provide luxury house sharing. The travel industry in the past has focused on second home ownership, but large and poorly planned developments of second homes have had a negative impact on beautiful and sensitive areas. Now wealthy people have the option of using property which isn’t wastefully left empty for much of the year.

With the world facing mounting environmental issues, many of the wealthy want to know that their travel provider is taking action on sustainability. Many care about people, wildlife and conservation, and feel that contributing to the care of these things is part of the enjoyment they derive from travel. The travel industry has also recognised that sustainability can open the doors to creating unique and innovative experiences, such as the planned Beijing hotel that will house a rainforest, and private resorts where you can stay in woodland cabins.

By promising “luxury that treads lightly”, savvy travel providers are outdoing the traditional industry methods in both both inventiveness and upscale living. Consumer demands will always drive theindustry, and as people increasingly choose the “green tourism” option they will further push luxury travel into being more environmentally aware. As wealthy consumers reject irresponsible and damaging customs within the travel industry, and what’s seen as “eco-tourism” transforms into generalised good practise, the future of luxury travel may just be a sustainable one.

Test your Aussie knowledge with the Austravel Austrivia Quiz

Austravel Austrivia Quiz

If you’re thinking about visiting Australia for the first time or dreaming of a return visit, see how much you know about the Land Down Under with the Austrivia Quiz. Austravel are the leading experts in travel to Australia (as well as New Zealand and South Pacific) from the UK, so they know a thing or two about Australia.

This quiz covers geography, wildlife, and funny facts, and are in multiple choice format. They start off easy enough but there are some tough ones in there too.

Take a 5 minute break and see if you’re an Aussie expert!

Top 5 Sights To See In Australia

Planning a trip to the Land Down Under, but don’t have a clue as where to go? Try these top 5 sights in Australia:

1. Sydney Opera House

Just the mere mention of Sydney brings the image of the great and iconic Opera House, with its huge, billowing sail-like structures and grand, sprawling magnificence into the minds of many. This epic architectural icon has been hailed as one of UNESCO’s heritage sites, and the location is absolutely stunning to say the least. Visitors can roam around and marvel at the beauty of it all, or dine in at one of the restaurants dotting the landscape. Afterwards, they can sit back and watch a spectacular performance played within the building.

2. The Great Barrier Reef

How about seeing one of the seven wonders of the natural world? The Great Barrier Reef stands among the best ecosystems in the world, housing more than three thousand coral reefs, inshore mangrove islands, three hundred coral cays and about six hundred continental islands. The massive reef stretches out to about 2,300 kilometers along Queensland and on the East Coast. Visitors can experience the Great Barrier Reef by snorkeling and seeing the various sea life pass them by- turtles, dolphins, rays, tropical fish, sharks, and more!

3. Ayers Rock in Uluru

Head on over to the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park and you’ll catch a glimpse of the world-famous Ayers Rock, a massive monolith that has a peculiar behavior you’ll need to witness with your own two eyes!

The sandstone formation has a height of approximately 340 meters and the rock changes its colors when the sunset comes. It changes from terra cotta, to blue, then violet and finally to a shade of red as the last sunlight leaves its surface. Visitors can record the miracle using their mobile phones and take a guided tour by the aboriginal tribes called the Anangu, who sees the site as something very sacred.

4. Bondi Beach

Who doesn’t love to laze around on beaches, drinking cool beverages while their bodies get warmed up by the sun? While you’re in Sydney, it’s best to set a day for visiting Bondi Beach. Visitors can pack an outdoor picnic or take a stroll on the soft sandy beach. They may also visit the numerous cafes and shops that dot the street along the coast. Of course, you may also settle for a dip in the inviting waters, but make sure to stay within the flags to be safe.

5. Melbourne

Melbourne is considered Australia’s most cosmopolitan city, with its grand Victorian-era architecture reminiscent of cities in Europe. There’s a lot parks and gardens here as well, and shops and restaurants that cater to every taste. See the spectacle of Australian Rules Football at Australia’s largest stadium, go shopping at the Royal Arcade, or go to the National Gallery or the Royal Botanical Gardens for a refreshing change of pace.

Worried about missing your favorite TV show while seeing the sights around Australia? You can be close to civilization and get netflix while still enjoying what this remarkable country has to offer.

5 Must-Know Tips for Smoother Train Travel in Europe

Europe is quite a bit different than America in many ways, and one of the big ones is in how people get around. While riding a train might seem like a novelty in the U.S., it’s one of the top ways people travel within their own country, and also from country-to-country in Europe.

Rail rides are convenient, cost-effective, and they make a great travel option because it gives you a unique chance to view scenery during your trip.

However, if you’re new to train travel, it can be intimidating at first, so below are must-know tips to make it a less anxiety-producing experience.

Consider a Eurail Pass
If you’re going to be traveling to multiple destinations on your trip, you’re often going to benefit the most from purchasing a Eurail pass. This pass can be purchased ahead of time through sites like GoEuro, and it provides you with affordability and flexibility. The Eurail Global Pass lets you explore up to 28 countries in Europe by train, and you can select between first or second class seats. This is the most highly recommended train ticket for anyone who plans on doing quite a bit of traveling within Europe.

Book In Advance
Try not to wait until the last minute to book any train tickets, whether you’re going throughout several countries or just point-to-point. Often the sooner you book, and the further out from your trip you are, the better the prices you’re going to get.

Seat Reservations
While you might not want to spend the extra money on a first class ticket, something worth spending more on is a seat reservation. If you don’t reserve a seat, you’re not guaranteed a spot and you might not find one in the area you like. For example, if you reserve a seat ahead of time you can pick a window so you can maximize the views on your journey. If you do happen to find an empty seat, you might have to give it up at another stop if someone gets on who’s already claimed it as a reservation.

Familiarize Yourself with the Train Layout
Train travel can be a bit confusing for people who haven’t done it before, particularly when everything is in a foreign language. To make it easier, learn about the seating and platforms of the trains you’ll be taking. This is offered in a map at most stations, and it will show you the best place to stand for the specific seat you’ve reserved. That way, you don’t have to walk through the train searching for your spot.

Don’t Count On a Huge Selection of Food
Trains in Europe can vary quite a bit in the availability of food and refreshments they offer. Some may have a full dining car while on others there might just be a few snacks to purchase. Regardless, food on trains tend to be pricey, so try to bring your own food, particularly if it’s a long trip.
Undoubtedly, most experienced travelers would agree the railways are the best way to see all of the distinctive countries that make up Europe, and with planning and tips like the ones above, you can ensure it’s all smooth travels.

Colorful Hong Kong: 5 things you should visit there to see the best the city has

Hong Kong is one of the largest cities in China, located in the south of the country. So many people live here that it is hard to talk about this town as a city – in some cases it is more like a country! So naturally, a place where millions of people live has no shortage of attractions for tourists.
The diversity of activities you can choose from might be head spinning. So now I am going to tell you all about what needs to be done once you are in this never sleeping city!

1. Admire the views from the ancient funicular

Victoria Peak

The Victoria Hill is the highest point in Hong Kong. 552 meters reaching the top of the hill lets you observe the districts of the city as if it’s on your palm. You can see not only skyscrapers but also ships calmly returning to the port from here. Although the image looks very nice at any time of the day, night light illumination of the city is breathtaking and worth seeing even more. Go up the top of the hill in an unusual way too – using more than 100-year-old funicular railway!

2. Pray for the success in the exam

Man Mo Temple

Man Mo Temple is like a calm oasis in a constantly rushing Hong Kong. Located in the shade of massive skyscrapers, the house of worship is difficult to see, but you will never misstep it by following the smell of incense. Although temple’s exterior is modest, the inside is impressive. The walls here are painted in bright red while the ceiling holds dozens of bells hanging in reminiscence of holders of incense. The temple is dedicated to the gods of war and literature, so do not be surprised to meet a lot of students praying before exams.

3. See Mickey Mouse

Disneyland

The Chinese like to copy, so it is not surprising that Asian Disneyland looks like it was brought from Paris. It is an authentic fairyland here, and it is actually not worse than the same one in Paris. The moment you go through the gates, you will be met with the same convivial characters – Mickey Mouse and Cinderella. In the Amusement Park established theater, time after time beautiful Walt Disney stories come alive as well. Here you can indeed feel like in a fairytale which can be enjoyed both by families with children or sole travelers.

4. Buy low-priced Chinese souvenirs

Temple Street Market

Temple Street Market comes to life only after sundown. Vendors lines inexpensive spangles on the stalls and shamans place the cards and offer to read your future from a palm. In addition to the many stereos and T-shirts which can be found here, the market can be an attractive place to dig some antiques and unique items which can be quite a nice souvenir for someone back at home. Furthermore, do not miss the chance to taste the seafood sold here too, which taste as good as in luxurious restaurants!

5. Climb to the Buddha standing in a forest

Tian Tan

Anyone who considers himself being a Buddhist just has to visit Hong Kong located Tian Tan – a 34-meter-high bronze statue of Buddha.

In order to achieve the sculpture, you will have to go throughout a small pilgrim trek and climb 268 steps. 

Although the peak offers splendid views of the surrounding forest, it is also worth visiting nearby located Po Lin Monastery. Here friendly monks will present the amazing collection of Buddhist icons!
The article was created with the help of Travel Ticker team – a website where you can always find the best cheap hotels in a second! 

Best European Campsites

A Great Alternative to a Hotel

Camping isn’t just leaky tents or a rickety caravan. In the past few years, it’s become a really great way to see the world.

If you’ve never given camping a try, then you really are missing out. It allows you to get up close and personal with some of the most stunning scenery in the world; and gives travellers a great deal of independence. There are some world-class camp-sites in Europe, offering tourists a holiday that’s not only hugely enjoyable, but often a lot cheaper than a stay in a hotel as well. So if you’re thinking about pitching a tent or parking up your caravan somewhere in Europe this summer, read on to find out where you should be doing so.

Lando Resort, Croatia

If it’s a small, family orientated camp-site you’re looking for, then give the Lando Resort a try. This new four-star camp-site is located in Kampor on the island of Rab, Croatia. There are two swimming pools for the kids to splash around in, including a toddler’s pool. The Dundo forest is close by and is perfect for an afternoon hike, while the medieval town of Rab is worth exploring. There are always plenty of activities being held too, so there’s no danger of you getting bored.

Otro Mundo, Spain

Is Spain where you usually travel to for your summer holiday? How about changing things up a little this year by visiting the Otro Mundo camp-site in the stunning countryside of Andalucía? Guests stay in domes that sit on a plot big enough to house more tents if you want to bring more people along – and it’s this sense of community that runs through the whole camp. There’s a big communal kitchen where guests can dine together, open-air movie nights and excursions into the surrounding countryside.

Finca de Arrieta, Spain

Another Spanish camp-site is Finca de Arrieta in Lanzarote. Here you can stay in roomy yurts that come with bathroom huts, kitchens, shaded dining areas, music docks, day beds, hammocks and BBQs that can be enjoyed in a walled & gated garden. You’ll also get to sleep in big, comfy beds too – a rarity on some camp-sites back home! If you want to splash out, go for the Eco Lodge Royale. It’s unbelievably luxurious, and just a stone’s throw from the beach.

L’Anse du Brick, France

Just across the channel you’ll find many exceptional French camp-sites. One of the best is L’Anse du Brick in Normandy. This site has panoramic views of the French coast, and is situated next to a 300-hectare protected area of woodland, river and waterfalls. If you’re a cycling fan, the Tour de France is set to stop in nearby Cherbourg on the 3rd of July. You can also play tennis, take part in woodland trails and rent mountain bikes and kayaks.

Become a happy camper

Now you know where the best camp-sites in Europe are to be found, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t book a holiday! Remember to take out some European cover for your trip too – it’ll offer you complete peace of mind during your stay. Once you’ve taken care of that, there’s nothing standing between you and the trip of a lifetime. Once you’ve caught the camping bug, nothing else will do.

The Best Sights To See Around Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour is definitely one of Australia’s best spots to visit – it’s the gem in the city’s crown and it serves as a wonderful exclamation point in any holiday.

Port Jackson is where the first European settlement was set, and has long since played many key roles throughout history and in Sydney’s progression. Port Jackson is made up of several parts, namely the Sydney Harbour, North Harbour, Middle Harbour, the Parramatta Rivers and Lane Cove.

As such, there’s loads of things to see around Sydney Harbour, and the best way to do it is by a boat hire Sydney. Why? Take a gander at the top sights below:

Sydney Opera House

The distinguished opera house is given the title of one of the most distinctive buildings in the 20th century because of its outstanding architectural design. This multi-venue centre for performing arts gets visited by more than a million people per year, and seeing it from the water is a perspective not to be missed.

The National Park at Sydney Harbour

The National Park is vanguard to arguably the world’s most exquisite harbours, including South Head, Nielsen Park, Harbour Islands, Bradley’s Head, Middle Head, and North Head. It opens its doors to visitors who wish to see Sydney’s rich cultural heritage and natural wonders. 

The Islands

There are several stunning islands located within the Sydney Harbour. Hire a boat and ready yourself for a quick trip to Rodd Island, Snapper Island, Spectacle Island, Cockatoo Island, Goat Island, Clark and Shark Island and enjoy the many sights to see here. The shore holds some reclaimed islands such as Berry Island, Garden and Bennelong Island, and if you stay on low tide, you get to view the fantastic Sow and Pig’s Reef.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Characterized by modern architecture that passes across the waters of Sydney Harbour, the Sydney Harbour Bridge ferries vehicles of all sizes and shapes, pedestrians and bicycles in-between the North Shore and the Sydney Central Business District. The Sydney Bridge, Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour make up many a postcard that sums up Sydney, Australia. The unusual arch shape earns it the nickname “The Coathanger”.

Sydney Event Cruises

Cruising around Sydney means a barrage of spectacular lightshows, the Vivid Festival, and year-end celebrations such as Sydney NYE Fireworks. There’s a lot of options to see Sydney Harbour on many different recreational cruises available all year round.

What better way to experience the beauty and sights of Sydney Harbour than to rent your very own boat hire? It’s a great way to unwind, plus it is an excellent option should you want to see Sydney and all her notable landmarks, waterfront sceneries and view the spectacular skyline. It’s no wonder cruises are some of the most sought after activity when people come to Sydney Harbour, due to the fact that they offer a uniquely different way in exploring the city by water. A day to explore Sydney’s watery wonders should be on any sightseer’s itinerary!