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Archive for June, 2011

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Photographers’ rights and responsibilities: What to remember before snapping that picture

Some of my fondest memories are of my trips around the world. I love to take myself back to the sights, sounds, and smells of each place I’ve traveled by flipping through my photo albums.

So when I’m on the go, my camera is never far from my hands. That’s why Chris Elliott’s recent article in Frommer’s caught my eye: “Travel Photography: Don’t Shoot? But It’s a Public Space.”

Chris discusses the rights of travelers turned photojournalists, and the truth about where we are and aren’t allowed to shoot photos and video.

In all of the years that I’ve been traveling, I’ve never been asked to put down my camera. But Chris makes a good point that anyone heading off for a trip should remember: It’s important to be respectful if asked not to take photos, especially if you’re asked by a police officer, security guard, or other employee of a tourist site.

While you might technically have the right to fill your memory card with photos of a given place, is it worth the battle and the risk of ruining your trip? See Chris’ advice for travelers, and then read the simple rules I follow when I get the itch to be a shutterbug. I think they’ve kept me out of trouble all these years.

  1. Don’t be flashy. At some historic sites, using a flash is not permitted because it can damage delicate art. And at sites of religious significance, where people might be praying or otherwise quietly reflecting, constant camera flashes are also just annoying and distracting. Look for posted signs about rules surrounding photography and video before you point and shoot.
  2. Ask nicely. When photographing people in other countries, always ask first unless you are taking photos from a distance. Sometimes people will offer to pose for you, but then don’t be surprised if an extended hand is waiting for a tip!
  3. Consider your surroundings. Some public spaces, especially in countries that aren’t democracies, might be off limits. In such places, I ask my guide or I approach a police officer to ask if I can take a photo. If don’t see anyone to ask, I generally take the picture if it is really worthwhile.
Have you ever run into trouble when you were documenting a vacation? Do you think you were in the right or in the wrong?

Friday’s Friendly Funny

Friendly Planet Travel’s Taste of Vietnam tour in photos

Last week Sue Phillips of Solana Beach, Calif. told you the reasons why she keeps booking group tours with Friendly Planet Travel. After I published the post, Sue sent me some photos she took on Friendly Planet Travel’s Taste of Vietnam tour.

Scroll down to give them a gander. And if you have photos from any of our tours that you’d like featured on the blog, e-mail me or post them on Facebook and tag Friendly Planet Travel in them.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Outdoor market in Vietnam

Sue and Reed on Halong Bay, Vietnam

Sue and Reed in the South China Sea

Restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam

Sapa minorities embroidering 

School in North Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Time is almost up to win an autographed Pauline Frommer travel guidebook

There are only few days left to win a signed copy of “Pauline Frommer’s Italy: Spend Less, See More.” The contest ends on Friday, June 24 at 11:59 EST.

If you’re planning on visiting Italy or going back to the country again, Pauline’s guidebook is the one you want in your hand as you travel the narrow city streets or open countryside.

Here’s what you have to do to enter to win. Tell me about at least one place or site you want to see in Italy in a comment on the original post.

Head back to the post now to leave your comment, and find out what Pauline will help you discover in Italy.

Friday’s Friendly Funny

Why one traveler keeps coming back to Friendly Planet Travel

It’s the shout-outs of travelers like Sue Phillips of Solana Beach, Calif., who provide the motivation for me to continue to do my day job — designing extraordinary group tours to exotic destinations for adventue-seeking travelers like you.

She’s already been on three Friendly Planet Travel tours and has two more booked. Sue, I hope you’re taking advantage of our Refer-a-Friend program!

Sue came to my attention when she sent me an e-mail after returning from Friendly Planet Travel’s Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands tour. I copied it (verbatim) below.

“Fabulous trip! Can’t say enough for Friendly Planet tours. Everything is a shiny 5 stars! We’ve also been to China and Vietnam previously and they were amazing trips. We will be going to India with Friendly Planet in February and really looking forward to it. We are taking our 8 year old grandson in July to Mediterranean 3 Continents trip with Friendly Planet. He is very interested in Greek Mythology, so this will be a special trip!” — Sue Phillips, Solana Beach, Calif.

Sue, I’m delighted to hear that you keep returning to Friendly Planet Travel again and again! We work very hard to earn your trust, and everyone in the office sends you a huge thank you for your loyalty, and we promise to keep working hard every day to make your vacations special.

And be assured your grandson is going to be the star of his class when he returns to school in September. We’ll make sure of that. Thank you for your note, it certainly made my day.

What the 5 most annoying airline passengers look like

Last week I described the five most annoying passengers to sit next to on a flight. I just couldn’t get enough of these irritating neighbors. So today I’m showing you what they look like. Enjoy! And please, copy the permalink to share with friends.

(Click to enlarge)

Friday’s Friendly Funny

How to spend less in Italy: Win Pauline Frommer’s autographed travel guidebook

Guess what I found in the back of my bookshelf. More travel guidebooks autographed by Arthur and Pauline Frommer!

We got a handful of them signed after Melissa’s interview with Arthur and Pauline Frommer at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show.

They turned up as we were packing for our upcoming office move. And obviously, these books aren’t guiding any travelers by just sitting in my office. Instead, I’m going to give you a chance to win one!

Pauline was not only kind enough to chat with us, but she signed a copy of “Pauline Frommer’s Italy: Spend Less, See More.” If you want to come home with money still in your wallet, it’s the best guidebook to have with you when you travel to Italy. ;-)

It gives you all the advice you’ll need to discover where to enjoy the soft Mediterranean breeze along the boardwalks, indulge in the fragrant olive and lemon groves, and experience the art, fashion, music, and architecture that flourishes in the cities.

And I can’t forget to mention the food, which has been described as heavenly. I can personally vouch for that, having been to Italy many times. Pauline’s book is really great in that she helps you find some of the best spots in the country to savor the best Italian cuisine.

Here’s what you have to do to enter to win. Leave a comment on this post telling me about at least one place or site you want to see in Italy and why. To be eligible to win, you must include your first name and an e-mail address where we can contact you if you win in the comment. The commenting contest starts today and ends on Friday, June 24 at 11:59 p.m. EST. One winner will be randomly selected from the pool of comments and announced on the blog.

Buona fortuna!

Disability, wheelchair doesn’t stop traveler from experiencing a Taste of China

I can’t imagine a more glum situation than sustaining an injury, especially one that hinders you from walking, right before a vacation.

But that’s what happened to Dorothy Kellher from Palm Beach, Fla. right before she went on Friendly Planet Travel’s Taste of China tour.

However, two fractures in Dorothy’s hip didn’t slow her down. After weighing her options, she decided to use a wheelchair and go on the tour. And she doesn’t regret her decision for a second.

Friendly Planet Travel’s tour guides took excellent care of Dorothy and made sure she had just as great of an experience as everyone else in her group.

But enough of me telling you why Dorothy enjoyed Friendly Planet Travel’s Taste of China tour so much. I pasted the e-mail below (verbatim) she sent to me when she returned to tell you all about it herself.

“I was planning to cancel my participation in the tour, having recently sustained two fractures in my right hip. At the last minute, hoping I would not be a drag on the rest of the group, and being assured that a wheelchair would be made available, I made the trip. The accommodations, food and service at all the hotels were first-class. The optional tours were too good to miss. The guides did a fantastic job in keeping us informed as to what we were visiting, and, more importantly, in continually checking that we were enjoying every experience to the max. We were given excellent opportunities to indulge in shopping, but were never pressured to buy. All our guides made sure I was part of the group at all times, and my temporary disability proved no drawback. My use of the wheechair was discarded after I reached the top of the Great Wall with the help of my cane. You are fortunate to have Peter Pi as a national guide. Both he and Jon Wang went way beyond their duties to befriend every tour guest. For me the tour gave new meaning to ‘The Experience of a Lifetime!’ Thanks Friendly Planet.” — Dorothy Kelleher, Palm Beach, Fla.

Dorothy, I’m so happy that you had a wonderful time on your trip! I hope you recover quickly from your injuries and are able to join us on another tour in full health.

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About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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