It went far better than expected…
Need to get away? Like really, really far away?
Let’s be real – one of the best things about escaping frosty mornings commuting to work to jet off on holiday is the fact that we get to brag about it on social media. And with a little help from full-time traveler, photographer and Cover-More Travel Insurance’s video blogger Dan Moore, you can take the sort of envy-inducing travel pics that will see the likes rolling in quicker than you can say, ‘Another margarita by the pool, please!’
The light stuff
Make sure any light source, sun or otherwise, is coming from behind you, and experiment with flash, but try not to use it indoors as it will wash out your shot.
“Don’t be afraid to try taking shots in all different types of light,” says Moore. “Sometimes dimly lit laneways with a hidden café can be as beautiful as a beach on a bright sunny day.”
Make close-ups count
With detailed shots, as opposed to landscapes, Moore says we shouldn’t be afraid to fill our frame. “Aim for a nice, simple, and tightly cropped photo of whatever it is you’re taking a picture of, whether a person or your latest foodie find.”
“Have some fun with your photo and get creative with your composition. See what it looks like to have the main subject of the photo positioned slightly off centre – people, food, or scenery, like temples or boats on the ocean, can give you a striking shot if you get close and get a little off centre.”
Sunny side up
You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t love the beauty of sunrise and sunset, and to be honest, it’s pretty hard to take a ‘bad’ photo of these magical times of day.
Moore suggests keeping an eye out for opportunities to use reflection or silhouettes to make your sunrise/set pic really stand out. “Objects, buildings and water that reflect the light can make for amazing shots.”
If you have waterproof equipment, taking underwater snaps can be great fun and can produce some truly breathtaking shots.
Moore’s favourite time to shoot underwater is bright afternoons. “Just under the surface of a pool or the ocean is a great place to capture sunbeams, reflections, and create texture.”
“If you are feeling adventurous, head out for a surf, snorkel or kayak with your camera and don’t forget not to waste rainy days on your holiday which can also produce some amazing watery holiday snaps.”
It wouldn’t be a holiday if you weren’t taking photos of your delicious food discoveries or beautiful cocktails by the pool.
Moore suggests thinking about the shape, texture and colour of what you’re taking a photo of, and says some dishes are going to look great when photographed from above, while others, like gorgeous cakes or drinks, will look better shot from a lower angle.
“And be quick,” Moore adds. “Grab the shot when your pho is piping hot or your granita still icy, and never underestimate the fun that can be had when posing with your food mid-scoff or slurp – it is a holiday after all!”
To celebrate their YouTube channel hitting 2 million views and over 1000 subscribers, Cover-More Travel Insurance, has launched the search to find the Ultimate Traveller. Record and share your video adventure for the chance to win a $10,000 travel adventure. There are also GoPro Hero4 and GoPro Hero3+ cameras up for grabs.
Thinking about jet-setting overseas this year? Well, ladies and gents, MasterCard has just revealed the ten most popular travel destinations on the planet for 2015 – and interestingly, the results aren’t exactly as you’d expect.
For the fifth time in seven years, London has been crowned the number one go-to destination in the world, with 18.82 million overnight international visitors expected to travel to the city this year. “I’m delighted that London has proudly held on to this coveted title, as we celebrate another triumphant and record-breaking year for tourism in the city,” mayor Borris Johnson told the Daily Mail.
“With its unrivalled mix of history, culture, culinary gems and cutting-edge creativity, I’m confident that these accolades will keep coming as the capital continues to surprise and excite visitors from all over the world.”
Bangkok came in at number two, with 18.24 million visitors predicted to flock to the Thailand capital this year, while the city of love – Paris – officially took third place with an estimated 16.06 million tourists.
Surprisingly, not all that dazzles, shines, with New York falling short of the top 5 this year after being bumped down to the sixth most popular travel destination. Instead, Dubai has taken preference coming in at number four, followed by a shock contender – Istanbul at number 5. Apparently the city, which is located in Turkey, has seen a rapid increase in the amount of visitors in recent years. Only fitting, considering it is the largest seaport and financial centre in the country.
To finally round out the top ten – drum roll please – Singapore ranked number 7 on the list, with Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and Hong Kong following. The Global Destinations Cities Index, provided by MasterCard, ranks the 132 most visited cities around the globe in terms of international overnight visitors, however they also provide insight into spending.
According to the report, travellers will fork out roughly $US265 billion while in transit this year, with around $US15 billion of that being spent in London alone – an estimated 2.3 per cent increase compared to 2014.
Ann Cairns, president of International Markets at MasterCard told the Daily Mail: “This year’s study helps us understand just how interconnected the world’s cities are and the significant role they play in connecting and empowering greater numbers of people than ever before.”
Which is your top city to visit?
Image via Daily Mail, voyage.gentside.com
During your working year, it’s so easy to become absorbed in your career diary; planning the meetings you’ll be in and the paperwork you have to fill out, and often holidays and time off are forgotten because work commitments seem more important. Many of us are guilty of bringing work home, checking emails and systems on our laptop after our other half has slipped into slumber.
Stop. Breathe. Relax. You need it. Employees are entitled to holidays every year, but many are not taken due to a dedication to the job and fear of what may happen while away. No one will think badly of you for loving your job and wanting to do well in your career, but not taking your annual leave and overworking yourself puts a strain on your health, your mindset and your relationships, which can counteract all the effort you’ve been putting in.
To excel in a working environment, it’s crucial to have a healthy and positive work-life balance. Striking a harmony between letting go of work and giving into holiday relaxation can often be the most difficult part, but is essential to allow yourself to recuperate and refresh.
Before we get onto the positive effects of taking a holiday, let’s sort out the negative effects of not taking a holiday, especially on your career. It has been found that not taking proper holidays actually makes you less productive and creative than your holidaying colleagues. Over working yourself also creates added stress and over-tiredness, which can affect your sleep, moods and thought processes. Living on coffee can’t sustain you forever, so take a week off and get on a plane to a fun destination.
Having mini breaks of 3-4 days are better than not having holidays at all, though it may not give your enough time to switch off. Taking longer holidays throughout the year, such as a two week break, is a better way to free yourself from work priorities, rather than just taking a long weekend. Two weeks not only allows for travel time, which equates two days of your holiday, but it gives you time to allow your mind to relax and slowly let go of career-related buzzing in your mind. It may take a couple of days to liberate yourself, to which a long weekend doesn’t allow.
Taking a holiday really does great things to your mind. It allows you to divert your mind from work to the cocktails at the Tiki Bar in front of you, your stress levels lower and it allows you to handle stress and priorities better when you do return to work. This is not only better for your heart, but also your mental health and sleeping patterns, especially if you get a few extra ZZZs while you’re away.
It also allows you time to reconnect with your partner and family, meaning better communication and interaction. You can make great memories and rediscover passions or try new things, depending on where your holiday takes you.
One positive aspect of taking a holiday, that many people overlook, is going somewhere new, experiencing a different culture and learning a different way of life. If you’ve been dreaming of a place, take that holiday and get over there to see what it’s like! Learning about a different country or state is great for your brain, and gives you excellent stories to tell your colleagues when you return.
What’s that? You’re already filling out your annual leave forms? Good for you!
Images via dareoutloud.com and prco.com
A quick weekend getaway might be just what the doctor ordered, but where exactly can you go? There are a number of wineries spread through the east and west coast of Australia which offer relaxation, impeccable wines and serenity. If you’re planning your next mini-getaway, take into consideration just a few of these amazing wineries to both relax and rejuvenate (and of course test wine).
Barossa Valley, South Australia
We can’t talk about wineries without mentioning the iconic Barossa Valley in South Australia, can we? Just over an hour drive from city-central Adelaide, this region is praised for it’s Shiraz and other popular red wines. Home to Jacob’s Creek, one of Australia’s most-loved wines since the first vineyard was planted by Johann Gramp in 1847. The friendly and experienced workers offer a taste from a large selection of wines, and how to easily pair them with food to create a delicious match.
Margaret River, Western Australia
The Margaret River is home to some of Australia’s best wines, and offers unique scenery and atmosphere for a one-of-a-kind experience to all visitors who pass through. With some vines only planted 45 years ago, this region is known for it’s popular red blends including cabernet sauvignon and equally delicious shiraz wines. The journey is just a 50 minute plane ride from Perth, or a short car ride if you’re feeling adventurous.
Hunter Valley, New South Wales
Now we can’t leave out the endless vineyards of Pokolbin can, we? The Hunter Valley is comprised of many small wineries which offer a huge variety of red, white and rosé wines for your tasting. Bus tours are available for visitors, which pick up passengers from eastern Sydney and guide them through the various wineries in a day or overnight trip of your their choice. Don’t forget to check out Tintilla Estate, which is a family run winery offering sweet rosé and dessert wines.
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
Located right on the coast, the Mornington Peninsula offers a coastal inspired experience which is unique and unlike any other in Australia. There are many local bars, restaurant’s and assorted cafés around the winery so there is always something to keep occupied. Do pass by the Monalto Cellar Door for a taste of their unique wines, and every Sunday catch an exclusive wine education at the cellar door.
Image via Visions of Johanna Dot Org
By Felicia Sapountzis