I’m spreading Irish Kerry Gold Butter on my toast this morning as I get ready to leave for the airport to Dublin to explore my Irish roots. Not sure how much Irish blood runs through my veins but regardless we’re excited for an opportunity to travel to the ‘Emerald Isle’ for a fortnight.
Preparing for an international trip might seem overwhelming at first but with a little practice things tend to go smoothly.
1. First select a desirable location out of the endless possibilities
This is the fun part, no drama, just hours and hours of web searches and introspection. If this is your first international trip, pick someplace that speaks your language and drives on the same side of the street.
Another criteria is what is the current political climate. You won’t enjoy an exotic location if your safety is a concern. We photograph at the edge of the day when most areas are void of people and protection. There’s never a gauruntee but many locations remove that concern.
Finally, you’ll enjoy scouring photography and social media sites scoping locations and subjects.
2. When to visit:
If you goat peak travel times, you’ll be frustrated getting good looks and spend top dollar as well. Better to travel just off season than to battle the crowds.
Something I will always do during trip planning is search for a workshop. Sometimes it’s better to go with a group and if you prefer shooting alone it will give you an idea of dates that are productive for photography.
On our first trip to Italy, we joined Jim and Magrit Nilsen’s wonderful tours of Tuscany and Venice. Jim was great about accomodating our needs as professional photographers while providing invaluable information on the area.
You can also consider a local guide. They know the area and best times to photograph. They also releive you from language, culture and safety concerns. Most are more affordable than you would think and make sure you don’t book yourself into a dive.
3. Visa requirements are always a concern
Make sure you can get into the country before booking tickets and accommodations.
4. Arrange your tickets and accommodations early
A year in advance gives you all kinds of options but can lock you in. Consider trip insurance if you are concerned your availability may change. An option to cancel for any reason costs a little more but gives you flexibility for the unseen.
While I prefer to book my own trip, travel agents can be a valuable resource and have access to discount packages that may not be available to you as an individual traveler.
My flight is boarding, next stop Dublin!