Travel Photography – Make the Best of Your Upcoming Holidays | Holidays and Vacations

With winter finally over, people are already making their travel plans for the summer holidays. Travel photography is an important aspect of it since it is with these pictures that our holiday and vacation memories are kept alive for many years to come. This is why taking great photos during the holidays with your digital camera is so important nowadays. With all the modern cameras that are in existence today there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to take those exquisite photos that your family will look at and discuss every single year from now on.Some of the most successful photos during travels have been made due to visiting interesting places and locations and from a thorough planning of the entire experience. Of course it does help if your have photography as passion and you enjoy what you are doing.

If you see something interesting and you feel that you want to take a shot at it, do it now. Tomorrow the light might be different, the opportunity might no longer be there or you might not be in the mood anymore, which means that you’ve just lost the chance at a great shot.Depending on where you go, you might come across cultures where photography is not allowed. Make sure to get to know the culture well enough in order to avoid any serious issues that might arise otherwise. In some places if you ask, they let you take your pictures. Make your due diligence and act accordingly. And no matter where you are, avoid taking pictures of military bases, government buildings and off the limits places. Usually there is a sign with a camera crossed over where you know that you can’t take pics while you’re around.Also learning about the various cultures will allow you to find the best spots that you can take photos of, so before going on your trip, check out various guides about the place and search them online to see what is worthwhile visiting while you’re in the area.

When you find a nice place that you think might be worth photographing, first have a look around, enjoy the view and let you motivation and insight, and even the flash of genius show through. Trust me, these pictures are much more valuable than simply taking your camera and shooting aimlessly at everything that you have in view. Have your camera with you at all times, so you never miss an opportunity to get a nice pic.

Thrifty Retirement – Downsize the Holidays | Holidays and Vacations

The economy is not looking much better as we approach the holidays this season. The stock market has posted only the shakiest of recoveries, our retirement CDs and savings accounts still pay almost nothing in interest, and the largest spending season of the year is on our doorstep. This year you’ll want to make best use of your retirement dollars as you search for holiday gifts in your thrifty retirement.Getting the family together for a big dinner is a holiday tradition shared by nearly everyone. If you, as the parents, have always footed the responsibility for that, this might be a good year to initiate a new potluck tradition. Assign a dish to everyone so each cook can shine with his or her own special creation. If you have dishes that are a tradition in your family, whether a spectacular mince pie or a luscious casserole, this is the year to share the recipe with grown children and let them learn the secrets.For generations, it seems that we have been over-indulgent parents and grandparents, showering our children and grandchildren with toys and gifts. Their rooms overflowed and they often lost interest in a toy as soon as the next one was opened. Nearly every grandparent in thrifty retirement has fretted over what to buy that the grandchildren would treasure and appreciate for more than a few days. Many have resorted to handing over cash and letting the kids decide for themselves. Do you wonder if that’s all it has come down to? As we learn how to retire on the cheap, we find holiday savings in new ways to celebrate.

This year, think about taking the path less chosen. Consider giving a share or two of venerable stock that can appreciate as the child grows. Start or contribute to a college fund. If you are strapped for cash and want to spend less, start a family history. Assemble all those old snapshots of family holidays and vacations and make a scrapbook for each child. It’s easy to make copies of old photos, or if you were a real shutterbug, you might be able to make each book unique, with different pictures that would interest each individual child.For grown children, assemble a book of favorite family recipes, or have old family movies or slides converted to a DVD. Pass on a family heirloom before you pass on. If your grown children have the hectic lifestyle that is so common today, give the promise of fixing dinner for them once a month by sending over a favorite family meal. Save your money, and theirs, by offering your handyman services to fix their broken light switch or their leaky faucet.Even better, buy a tape recorder and create an oral history of your family. Talk about your childhood, your parents, and your grandparents. Talk about long-lost cousins or estranged siblings. Recite the history of the family treasures. Explain why the antique bed is important, describe living next door to the artist who painted that picture, and tell why your grandma loved the little doll so much. Even if your family acts tired of hearing the same story now, someday they will appreciate this treasure more than imagined.

If you have a massive gift exchange with extended family, downsize giving by drawing names–separately among children and adults–and give only one gift rather than ten, twenty, or more. This custom makes the season easier and more enjoyable for everyone. Gift buying is doubly difficult for relatives you might see only once a year. If you exchange gifts with your card club or bowling league, give something homemade instead of another dust-catcher or gag gift to clutter up their homes. Share some of your favorite holiday treats, such as tangy cranberry-orange relish, fresh crunchy cookies, or mini-loaves of yummy pumpkin bread, and be sure to include the recipe.Holidays don’t have to bankrupt your savings or turn family pleasures into stress or panic. In your thrifty retirement, you can give meaningful gifts and save money too.Copyright 2009 by L. Manley.