Frugal Travel Tips For Rome, Italy

The entire city of Rome is like a free open air museum with historic buildings, sites, piazzas, every where the frugal traveler looks. There are some sights well worth the entrance fee such as the Sistine Chapel (in the Vatican City, a walled enclave within the city of Rome) but many of the not-to-be-missed sights are absolutely free.

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain is a Baroque masterpiece carved out of marble. Available to all, legend says that if visitors throw a coin over their shoulders, they will be sure to return to Rome.

St. Peter’s Basilica

Touted as perhaps the largest church in Christianity, travelers can’t say they’ve seen the religious sites of the world without paying St. Peter’s Basilica a visit. Most Papal ceremonies occur at St. Peter’s. And the frugal traveler will be pleased to note that there is no entrance fee. Highlights are the awe inspiring dome and Michelangelo’s Pietà.

Note: St. Peter’s has a strict dress code (when we attended, not even shorts were allowed) so dress modestly.

Pantheon

The Pantheon is a magnificent building complete with giant bronzed doors, a columned entrance, and a huge dome. It contains the tombs of Raphael and of a few Italian Kings. The Pantheon was built as a Roman Temple and later consecrated as a Catholic Church.

Admission is free.

Spanish Steps

I think there is nothing more pleasing than sitting on the stairs of the Spanish steps, and people watching. Years ago, I would have said eating gelato also but authorities have banned that much loved practice.

Linking two piazzas, the Piazza di Spagna at the base, and the Piazza Trinità dei Monti at the top, the 138 steps are known as one of the longest and widest staircases in all of Europe.

Colosseum

There is an entrance fee for the Colosseum but a tour around the outside of the ancient Roman amphitheatre is free (plus keen eyed frugal travelers can peak inside). It is truly like a scene out of the gladiator movies. I could almost hear the crowds roar.

Rome is a city so full of history that the free sights alone will take days to see (don’t do as I did the first trip and try to see Rome in a day). The historic buildings are so close together that the best way to see the city is on foot.

Photography Tips While Traveling

Whether you’re embarking on a family vacation or your family reunion, it’s going to be a special time. When we think of trips we’ve taken, we tend to remember them best with photographs. Here’s some ideas to enhance your vacation as well as your memories of them.

Location Preparation

1) Since you know where you’re going (that’s a minimum requirement), doesn’t it make sense to check out the location before you get there? Create a list of attractions, accommodations, special points of interest, amusement areas, shopping, etc. A good source to help you do this is: the Places and Travel section of msn.com ( [http://groups.msn.com/Browse?CatId=179])

2) Figure out the photo opportunities for each appropriate venue. Anyone can take a “that’s nice” picture of the kids at an amusement park. Wouldn’t you rather capture a “WOW” photo that could be hung over the mantle?

3) Depending on the location you’re traveling to, you can see what books are written about them that highlight the best photo opportunities for the entire area

4) If you’re cyber-savvy, start at http://www.google.com and search using different combinations of: your destination, best photography locations, for images of the location, scenic spots, etc. The options are endless.

5) If you’re off to a non-big city area, scout out the national parks in the area. The great thing about national parks is that the scenery is usually so breathtaking, that a so-so shot looks

outstanding, just because of the subject. Once in http://www.nps.gov, do a search on photos and you will be presented with terrific shots of all the parks

Photography Preparation

OK, you’re either traveling through or you’re at a wonderful location full of photo opportunities. You began this leg of your trip at the crack of dawn and as you’re pulling into the most scenic overlook for 400 miles, the sun is just starting to crack the horizon.

You instinctively pull the car over, grab your camera and your tripod, and look for the best spot to set up. Just one tiny little problem… YOU FORGOT YOUR TRIPOD! Rather than smack yourself on the forehead then, why not plan these things now, before you leave?

Your list should include AT LEAST the following consideration…

1) Do I need to repeat – BRING YOUR TRIPOD? It doesn’t take up much room, and as explained at http://www.best-family-photography-tips.com/tripod-photography.html, tripods allow you to capture entirely new categories of photographs that won’t be possible without one

2) Memory. Of course, bring all the memory you have, but also pack your portable storage device (explained at http://www.best-family-photography-tips.com/digital-photography-tutorial.html)

3) If your camera has a hot shoe, bring your external flash, and any additional equipment that can be used to help with bounce flash

4) Remember your external shutter release cable for those long exposures. How else are you going to get that “angel-hair” look of the waterfalls?

5) Don’t forget the basics like: batteries, battery charger, camera bag, and additional lenses and filters (if applicable on your camera)

6) And just in case you need it, bring the manuals for your equipment.

Finally, don’t get so wrapped up in taking perfect shots that you don’t enjoy the trip. Remember to use the tripod so that you’ll be in at least some of the photos.

Article courtesy of Best Family Photography Tips.com, where you can see some sample pictures including more photography tips.

Copyright 2005 Robert Bezman. All rights reserved.

Carribean Travel Tips

People have been taking Caribbean travel vacations since the colonial times. Today, millions of U.S. citizens visit the islands each year to experience the tropical extravaganza that a Caribbean travel usually has in store for all its visitors.

Below are some Caribbean travel tips to help you get the most out of your tropical excursion:

Get an early start.

If there’s anything you absolutely must do when you go on a Caribbean vacation that is to start early. There are a lot of things you need to take care of. Trip planning can be a tough nut to crack. Often, a passport may be required before you can enter the country you are planning to travel. One Caribbean travel tip you ought to consider is to prepare all your travel documents as early as now.

Choose an island.

Culture-shock. That is bound to happen if you don’t do your research beforehand. One thing you should remember about the Caribbean is that it has a culture that is as widely diverse as its people. So take this Caribbean travel tip: read up on the culture and people for the places you will travel.

Another thing, as you travel, keep abreast of local news coverage. If you are in an area experiencing civil unrest or a natural disaster, or if you are going to a place where communications is poor, register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for your own safety.

Registration at the State Department’s TravelRegistration.state.gov website takes only a few minutes, and certainly invaluable in case of emergency. In addition, you can also get up to date Caribbean travel tips and information on any country in the world by obtaining the Department of State’s Consular Information Sheet.

Entry.

Every island in the Caribbean has its own entry requirements. That is why your first Caribbean travel tip is to prepare all your documents before you leave home. If you can show proof that you are a U.S. citizen and a return or onward ticket, most countries will allow you to visit for up to two or three months.

Take this as both a Caribbean travel tip and caution: There are countries in the Caribbean with areas infected with yellow fever. If you come from any of these areas, you may be required to have a certificate of vaccination against yellow fever.

Also, some airports may require departure tax of up to $25.

Return.

There are some Caribbean countries that require only your birth certificate as an entry requirement. However, this should be reason for you to slack off on your travel documents. Remember that U.S. Immigration requires that you document both your U.S. citizenship and identity. Take this Caribbean travel tip and make sure you can return to the United States with both these documents.

But what is the best document that can prove your U.S. citizenship? The best proof is a valid U.S. passport. However, other travelers give these Caribbean travel tips as documents you can use besides that to prove U.S. citizenship:

Expired U.S. passport

Certified copy of birth certificate

Certificate of Naturalization

Certificate of Citizenship

Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen

Travel Tips That Will Help Make a Travel Trip Smoother

You finally have some vacation days, which means you can go somewhere for a few days and relax without having to worry about work. Are you excited? While people are excited about traveling, they also feel a bit apprehensive because it can also be a hassle. However, it is essential to remember that this only happens when you don’t plan properly and take advantage of the benefits that technology can offer you these days. If you want to make your trip as smooth as possible, here are some excellent travel tips that can come in handy:

Get organized early on

Staying organized is one of the best ways to prevent any last-minute problems and fiascos. When you have made up your mind to go somewhere, you should inform your credit card company or bank about it so that you don’t face any payment issues. The next step is to take a look at your travel documents before flying because you want to ensure everything is up to date. This includes checking to see if you have a valid visa for every destination that’s part of your flight itinerary. If you find a problem at the eleventh hour, you may have to cancel your plans.

Take advantage of the tech

There is no denying that technology has simplified everything, which includes traveling. Gone are the days when you had to go in blind to a new place because you can now check out everything beforehand thanks to technology. You can find a wide array of travel apps that can turn out to be immensely useful, which include maps that can help you in getting around the new city and finding places. Likewise, there are also apps that enable you to get real-time flight updates, weather conditions and even find your restaurants according to your dietary requirements.

Opt for pre-booking where possible

It is recommended that you tick off as many things as possible from your list to avoid any issues. Again, technology plays a role here because you can now check out vacation rental websites for booking your accommodation, car hiring websites to hire a car for picking you up from the airport and similar other tasks. This can enable you to save a lot of your valuable time and keep the pressure off so you can stay stress-free.

Avoid the rush

If you are going on a vacation instead of a business trip, you want to be as relaxed as possible in order to enjoy. This can only happen if you give yourself time to make it to the airport and go through security. You can make use of GPS in this situation for checking your estimated travel time and even mark the route that can get you there quickest.

Be ready for security

If you have traveled before, you know the ins and outs of security. It is best to place your keys, jewelry and small electronic devices in your carry-on luggage as it can save time. You don’t have to empty out your pockets and get through easily. It is also necessary to ensure you are complying with all the custom requirements when it comes to large electronic devices and liquids. Other than that, you should also be familiar with the number of pieces of baggage or the weight limit imposed. These requirements can differ for countries and airlines and you should be familiar with them beforehand to avoid any penalties or fines.

As long as you follow the tips mentioned, you will be able to enjoy a smooth and relaxing trip and face no hassles.