January 2012

Learn a Language: Travel Phrase Books

When I was in high school and college, I took several years of Spanish and thought that I had a pretty good grasp of the language. That was until I actually went to Mexico for a vacation and discovered that I had not only forgotten most of everything I learned, but also that I couldn't ask many simple questions.

That's why I decided that whatever country I visited, I would always bring a travel phrasebook for their native language. It's not worth hoping that most of the people, even in a tourist destination, will speak English. It's easy to get lost while on a sightseeing trip or to get cutoff from your tour group. A travel phrase book will insure that you will not only be able to find a bathroom or a restaurant, but also your hotel and call for a cab.

They have books for almost every language you might encounter, so don't be afraid to take more than one if your touring several countries. If you enjoy traveling abroad, but can't seem to grasp languages, then a travel phrase book can literally be a lifesaver.

Five places to publish your travel writing

Magazines, online and guidebooks.

With the increasing number of online travel magazines in addition to more traditional guidebooks and print magazines, there are plenty of sources for you to share your hints about how to have delicious culinary vacation through Vienna or your account of your seedy gambling weekend inTijuana. Here are five sources—traditional and non-traditional—where you can share your travel writing:

Travel Photography: A Complete Guide to How to Shoot and Sell

For most, the pictures taken during their travels are just for personal keepsakes, but there are some that aspire to see their photography in print. Whether you wish to contribute to magazines, books or calendars, there are rules to the game and certain pictures that have greater potential for selling. If you're interested into getting into professional travel photography, you'll need to know the ropes before jumping in. After all, travel is expensive and cameras, film, developing and equipment all carry considerable costs as well.

Just as in any endeavor, research is always the first step. Checking out different markets and what they're looking for from different locations, be it scenery or culture, is important. Also, finding out the ins and outs of legal responsibilities, like getting signed release from people captured in your photographic art is also important.

A great resource to begin with is Susan McCartney's Travel Photography: A Complete Guide to How to Shoot and Sell. She's very detailed and thorough about the process from start to finish and dishes out practical, straightforward advice that will save you a lot of time and frustration. She even includes model release forms in over 25 different languages. It's clear that McCartney is an experienced travel photographer and has spent a considerable amount of time thinking through and answering all the important questions a newbie would ask.

"Nectar in a Sieve"

A 1950's account of the effects of urbanized India on the rural people.

Published in 1954, Kamala Markandaya’s classic book, Nectar in a Sieve is a pseudo-autobiographical novel that tells the story of a rural Indian woman living amidst a swiftly-urbanizing India. Although her subjects live long ago and far away, Markandaya’s story is universally relatable and accessible, and is still popular assigned reading in high schools today.

Easy Spanish Phrase Book: Over 770 Basic Phrases for Everyday Use

There are over 20 Spanish speaking countries around the world just waiting to enrich your life with culture and beauty. If you're interested in visiting one of these amazing destinations, it's important to be able to communicate, even just a little, with those who live there. Sure, if you're going to a hot tourist spot or resort, the chances of being met with English-speaking employees is more likely, but if you want to get a real feel for the true essence of the culture, you have to be able to speak with the locals.

There's little worse than being in an unfamiliar place when you're in need of medical assistance, or heck, even a bathroom. When you're in an unfamiliar place and you can't ask anyone for help, that urgency and frustration can be multiplied exponentially.

If you're going to a Spanish-speaking nation, and aren't fluent in the language, you should bring along a couple types of books: a Spanish-English dictionary and an English-Spanish phrase book. Many travelers automatically bring the dictionary, which will get you by in a pinch for the little things, like getting to a restroom on time. It doesn't take more than a worried look and the word “baño” to get you where you need to go. But, if the thought, feeling or need you're trying to express goes deeper than that, having a phrase book can really help a great deal.

Does Ghost Adventures Belong On The Travel Channel

I am a big fan of traveling, as you can see, I have read many books on the subject. One of my favorite television channels is The Travel Channel. I am a big fan of Adam Richman and Anthony Bourdain and all the rest of the travelers who show me the world.

While many of the shows on the channel deal with things other than travel, they always provide plenty of information about where they are at. Adam Richman may be in New Orleans to eat a giant burrito, but he makes sure to tell everyone about the area and some local hot spots. The restaurant is also a destination for tourists as well.

I enjoy watching Ghost Adventures and think Zac Baggins and the rest of his crew are hilarious as they go to place to place hunting ghosts. My main issue is that the show doesn't belong on The Travel Channel. Occasionally, the go to a place that is open to the public, but many times where they go, normal people can't go into without special permission.