Monthly Archives: November 2016

8 Safe Destinations for Solo Female Travelers

Wales

This country in the west of the United Kingdom has an amazing landscape and an even more amazing cultural history. If you’re interested in the King Arthur mythology, you’ll find a number of important sites from those texts. If you’re into outdoor sports, try a solo hike on the Pembrokeshire coast. Cardiff, the capitol, also offers a number of theaters (including the famous Millennium Center), museums, sports arenas, and shopping centers.

Costa Rica

This country is excellent for ecotourists and those looking to learn more about sustainability — also, those looking to enjoy some aquatic fun! Watch and help sea turtles at their nesting grounds in Tortugero National Park or surf amazing waves at Playa Bonita. Costa Rica is also quickly becoming known for its large number of thermal spas, hot springs, and yoga retreats. What’s better than a solo yoga retreat?

Bali

Though some of the other Indonesian islands can be more conservative, intercultural Bali is a great and accepting place to travel on one’s own. With amazing beaches and underwater exploration sites like the USS Liberty shipwreck, it makes a perfect place for snorkel and scuba adventures. There are many carved temple sites to explore, including the famous Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.

Nepal

For the intrepid female explorer, Nepal’s wide range of adventure tourism opportunities are perfect. Since adventure and ecotourism make up a large portion of Nepal’s economy, there are lots of opportunities to meet with an adventure tourism agency or hire a local Sherpa to bring you hiking up the Himalayans or exploring the wilderness.

Australia

The large backpacking culture here means hostels, bars, and restaurants are familiar with solo travelers — but if you’re looking for the opportunity to make other traveling friends, this is one of the best places to do so! Surfers will love the continent, but foodies too, especially on the wine trails. There are already several popular backpacking and campervan routes established, so go where the wind takes you!

Bonaire

Fresh fruit, bright sun, soft sand, and 60 to 100 foot underwater visibility: Bonaire is an amazing Caribbean destination. Along with its incredible beaches and dive sites, Bonaire is also known for its Karnival in February, a colorful, island-wide party that lasts almost two weeks!

Scandinavia

Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Sweden have some of the most progressive gender-equality policies in the world, but they also happen to have incredibly low crime rates. Visit the Fjords in Norway, hike and camp without reproach thanks to Sweden’s Right to Public Access, and make sure to book a hotel with skylights while in Lapland so you can enjoy the Northern Lights and glowing midnight sun.

Scotland

I explored the Inner and Outer Hebrides on a solo trip just a couple of years ago and loved every second of it. The locals are friendly and always up for a good time. I met so many people on this trip that I rarely ever felt alone.

Edinburg has a reputation for being a perfect place for sailing, surfing, and sea kayaking beginners to get their first taste of the water, thanks to its long-time history as a seaside destination in Great Britain. As Scotland’s capitol, it also hosts a number of cultural festivals like the Edinburgh International Performing Arts Festival.

The Most Beautiful Places in Alberta, Canada

1. Lake Louise

Lake Louise is one of the most photographed lakes in Canada, and for good reason! About an hour east of the town of Banff you’ll find yourself at this vibrant blue water lake, which comes about as close to a postcard picture as you can get.

Rent a canoe at the Lake Louise Boathouse, or hit the trails and take in the views from above. One of the most popular (and rewarding) hikes is the moderate “tea house hike” from the lake’s shores to Lake Agnes Tea House hidden in the mountains over the smaller – yet still beautiful – Lake Agnes.

2. Town of Banff

Banff has the historical charm of a small mountain town, with all the amenities you need to have a fun, lively stay. Authentic saloons with mechanical bull riding are a plus for visitors looking for a taste of the local culture, as are the many farm-fresh restaurants and cool shops downtown.

3. Maligne Lake

Maligne Lake has the best of everything: crystal clear water, towering glaciers, and picturesque Spirit Island. While you can always splurge a little on a cruise around the lake and to the island, we recommend renting a kayak and seeing the sights on your own. Visit early to avoid the crowds and for a better chance of catching a glimpse of wildlife!

4. Moraine Lake/Larch Valley

Moraine Lake is a surreal-blue lake backed by the Valley of the Ten Peaks. You can easily spend a day here, hiking around the lake or Canoeing through the glassy water — if visiting in warmer months. I also highly recommend a hike through Larch Valley. Fall is the best time to hike; the wildflowers and golden fall foliage amidst the evergreens is an exceptional view!

5. Athabasca Falls

Voted 2nd best waterfall in Canada by Reader’s Digest, Athabasca Falls might just be the crown jewel of Jasper National Park. The falls and limestone gorge it’s created are even more stunning before the Mount Kerkeslin backdrop!

There are many platforms to view the falls, but be sure to stay on the trails and never venture off to get a better look; the surrounds are slippery and often icy, making anything off the paved trails very dangerous.

6. Lake Minnewanka

This scenic glacial lake stretched beneath the Canadian Rockies is ideal for outdoor activities at any time of year — hiking and canoeing in summer, and snowshoeing in the winter. In warmer months you can even go scuba diving!

Try to plan your trip for winter months when the aurora borealis is at its peak; Lake Minnewanka is known to have the Northern Lights make an appearance in late winter through spring.

7. Johnston Canyon

Winter offers the most breathtaking views, as the catwalks through the canyon give you an up-close-and-personal look at the ice formations among the limestone cliffs. Book an ice walk if visiting during the winter — the frozen falls make for a spectacular experience!

Tips to Take Great Photos on Your Smartphone

Those of us old enough to have experienced the highs and lows of taking photos with actual film may recall, with much wistful nostalgia, what it was like in the “old days”.

You never really knew what you’d managed to capture and often it was weeks or even months until a) the film was completed and ready to develop, and b) you reached a place where it was possible, practical and economical to develop it. Then there was the period of sharpened anticipation, when you collected the envelope of processed photos, which you opened at the first possible moment.

These days, the ubiquity of high quality camera phones means that much of that drama and pathos have been removed. And while you naturally lose some of the quality a genuine camera affords, with a little practice and a few helpful tips, you can wow your friends, family, and even yourself with your spontaneous shots.

1.  The classic rule of thirds still apply to composition. When lining up your shot, the points of interest should be placed on the gridlines and their intersections. Adjust your settings to show gridlines on your screen.

2.  Let negative space enhance your shot. All that open sky/water/field can be used to form a striking backdrop for your subject. Getting up high or down low can change the entire feel of your shot. Consider a different vantage point, use reflections and leading lines such as train tracks or staircases to draw the eye, but don’t do anything silly or put yourself (or others) in danger just for the sake of capturing an image.

3.  Light is still a major consideration in the capture of a great shot. Some smartphone cameras allow you to mess around with shutter speeds, but sometimes just turning your flash on or off will make all the difference. Smart use of natural light or from other light sources such as illuminated signs can bring interesting results. Don’t use your flash excessively, as often it just makes your subject appear strangely lit and/or hued, plus there’s a high potential for “red eyes”.

4.  Save your editing for later. Instagram is a fun tool, but for truly great photos, forget the fancy filters and instead download your images to a photo editing app. You’ll achieve much clearer, sharper results by simply taking the shot and cropping to your desired composition later.

5.  Try changing the focal point of your image. Many smartphones allow you to refocus simply by touching an object in the foreground or background.

6.  Keep the lens clean! Chances are you don’t treat your phone with quite the same TCL as an actual camera.

7.  And finally, print your photos. Social media is great for letting others know what you’re up to, but your photos will be liked, shared and then, forgotten, even by you. Put them in an album or create a photobook to be re-enjoyed again and again.