We know a lot of our users are avid travel photographers, so we asked one of our pros to give us his insight into what makes the best trip. These tips have been compiled by a travel photographer who has been all over the world, so these tips will definitely change the way you travel.
— The SlickPic Team
As a long term married couple, we are very lucky to be able to travel and go on long haul holidays at least eight weeks each year. In recent years, the way people travel has very much changed and the days of leafing through those brand new travel brochures to get over the post-Christmas blues are long gone, thanks to the Internet.
Today’s travelers have so many destinations available to them as well as so many different types of properties to choose from, it can be a minefield trying to find the right holiday for you. Here are my top ten tips for finding the right trip without all the headaches.
1. Always do your research.
Use as many different sites as you can – do not succumb to the belief that just because a property is listed in the Top 10 on TripAdvisor it will be the right one for you. And vice versa: if it is listed lower down the ratings, it doesn’t mean that it will not be the right one for you.
2. Look at all the photos.
They tell you so much more than words—which is one of the reasons I love posting my destination photos to SlickPic.
3. Contact people who have posted reviews/photos.
Most people are very willing to share information and try to help others have a dream trip. Don’t be shy.
4. Be loyal to a travel agency.
Way back in 2007 we stumbled across a Travel Agent online called Blue Bay Travel/Caribbean Warehouse who at the time were very small indeed. After due diligence on their company, we booked our trip because they were nice and easy to talk to, treated me well, and were very knowledgeable. Since then, we have witnessed them grow into a multi award-winning company and we continue to book 95% of our trips through them to this day. Our loyalty has been rewarded with some great deals and second-to-none service.
5. Practice brand loyalty.
Over the years we have been lucky enough to have found several brands of properties that we have liked so much that we tend to stick within those groups, and this allows us to travel to many properties in Mexico and the Caribbean islands. Our loyalty has been rewarded with some very welcome upgrades and occasionally preferential rates with us being repeat guests.
6. Be flexible.
If you can, avoid main public and school holidays as the prices and airfare is more likely to go up then. If you can be flexible on your dates of travel, research all the flight operator dates and times and if you have a choice of airport, factor all that in. Sometimes flying on a Monday can be much cheaper than flying on say a Saturday—as can the price of accommodation. Try and book well in advance as prices are normally cheaper and you have the best choice of seats on the plane. The next two trips we are going on were booked 12 months in advance and both were fantastic deals.
7. Stay at multiple properties.
When we started to travel for leisure, we always booked one destination for a straight 14 nights. Then a few years ago, we started splitting our trip and staying at two properties during the 14 nights as this allowed us to explore two different properties and experience twice the dining options, etc. We now normally travel for 21 nights and take in at least three different properties so that we can mix and match different styles and sizes of property. Mixing and matching combined with a longer length of trip can drive down the overall rate per night. Long gone are the days when we used to buy an off-the-shelf holiday package. Nowadays we are able to use a travel agent we trust to package together what we select.
8. Book the best you can afford.
As the old adage goes “you get what you pay for.” Consider whether it’s better to stay seven nights in upgraded accommodation with some nice perks than 10 nights in a standard room or vice versa – again, be flexible.
9. Be wary about the price.
If something looks too cheap there is most likely a catch. Brand new properties normally offer heavily discounted rates, but you need to take into account that there will most likely be teething problems – again, you get what you pay for.
10. Take everyone into account.
Remember that regardless of whether it is just a couple’s trip or a family trip—the trip must work for everyone! Some of the best trips we have ever enjoyed have had a degree of compromise so that everyone got something they wanted out of it.
If you come back from a trip but don’t upload your photos to a gallery, did you even go?
A gallery isn’t just to have something tangible to show your friends and family, it’s a way to document your trips, relive the fun again and again, and track your progress in photography. All travelers need a gallery.