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Best Products and Services For Traveling When Gathering Inspiration

One of the most overly romanticized genres in the photo industry has to be Travel Photography. There are a lot of people out there that think travel photographers simply get paid to travel to beautiful places all over the world and that our lives are simply a cake walk. However in reality, most of us have to hustle just like any other entrepreneur…and do so while dealing with jet lag, food poisoning and increasingly hostile airlines when it comes to bag fees and weight restrictions ? That being said, I wouldn’t trade my career for any other, especially after doing this for the last 12 years. Over that time, I have learned the value in finding products and services that make my life easier and more enjoyable as a travel photographer, which is why I wrote this blog post. Here you won’t find advice on what camera or lenses to purchase, but rather a mix of some of the most helpful tools I find myself using on a daily basis while I travel all over the globe. I hope you enjoy! My Favorite Apps for Booking Travel Logistics One of the biggest expenses for any trip usually comes down to the cost of airfare, hotel, and vehicle rentals. It can cost thousands of dollars to travel around the world, depending on where you are flying from, where you are flying to and when you want to travel. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few of my favorite Apps/Websites that constantly help me save money when I am booking flights. Kayak As one of the longest running online travel services, Kayak is a great way to compare flights, check out hotels and rent vehicles for your adventures. You can research various different itineraries and save them to your account so that you are notified of price fluctuations. While other apps tend to do this better, it is a nice addition to what is probably the most well-rounded option available. Hipmonk As an alternative to Kayak, Hipmonk is one of the best ways to not only find the best prices for a flight, but also the flight that is the least stressful. You can sort flights by “Agony” where the service helps you balance finding the cheapest flight with the ratings of the airlines, the duration of your layovers and much more. In addition, price alerts for saved flights are more aggressive and accurate than Kayak, letting you know when you should buy a specific flight. At times it has told me to wait a few days and low and behold prices dropped. Can’t recommend it enough! Booking.com While there are many options for you to choose from when it comes to booking hotel rooms, one of my favorites is Booking.com. The more you use them the more discounts you get when booking a room. They have solid IOS & Android apps, great customer service and tend to find the best deals for me when I am looking to book a trip. My “Genius” discount for booking so much with them is usually 10-15% off the lowest prices I find other places, which adds up over time. Project Fi/T-Mobile Easily one of the best services I use as a travel photographer is wrapped around my cell provider. These days I use Google’s Profect Fi cell service that uses a mix of T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular networks when I am home in the US, but switches purely to T-Mobile’s international partnerships when I travel abroad. In most countries (170 to be exact), I simply turn off airplane mode when I land and instantly connect to the local cell provider via T-Mobile’s business partnerships. No buying local sim cards or paying extra for international data as it comes right out of your standard data allotment each month…the service just works! Currently, Project Fi is only available to people that use Google’s own cell phones (such as the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL) but at some point, they will probably expand. For everyone else, you can sign up with T-Mobile and get this same international travel service, with one caveat. Project Fi doesn’t regulate the speeds you get when traveling internationally, so LTE means LTE. With T-Mobile I believed you are capped somewhere between 2g and 3g speeds. Headphones and Ear Plugs One of the most important things every traveler, let alone travel photographer, needs in their carry on bag is a good pair of noise-canceling headphones. Nothing can make a long flight, train ride or even car ride more enjoyable. While the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 has historically been a favorite among travelers, the new Sony WH1000 XM2 is the new king of comfort, sound quality and battery life (30 hrs via a rechargeable battery). Technophiles and casual travelers alike have been giving this pair of headphones rave reviews, so feel free to do a Google search to back up my findings. My pair has been in my bag with me ever since I picked them up, replacing last year’s model, the Sony MDR-1000X. Can’t recommend these enough! Speaking of noise, a crappy night of sleep can easily ruin a day on the road, which can be a big deal if you only have a few days in a new location. You already have to deal with an unknown bed and pillow, why add noise to the mix? My sure-fire solution is two-fold… LeCrut Portable White Noise Machine At home, I have an awesome white noise machine that helps me sleep at night, but it is way too big to bring with me on the road to help drown out a noisy hotel neighbor. Luckily I recently found a super portable white noise machine from LectroFan that has a battery life of 16 hours (rechargeable via micro USB) and even doubles as a portable blue tooth speaker. It is so small that it easily fit into a pants pocket if needed. Soft...