Category Archives: Travel by Sport

Top Tips on Best Travel Photography

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Awesome travel photography doesn’t happen overnight. Even the pros have had to work on improving their composition, equipment, and methods. Here are some of our best tips from decades in the travel business.

Note: I use the word camera here, but you can easily apply these same tips to smartphone cameras.

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Engage with your Subjects.

Don’t simply snap an image and walk away. Like you should get to know your destination, get to know the people there. Speak to them, and ask them about their day, their family, what they are doing. If you don’t speak the local language, try hand gestures, nodding, word of greeting, or smile. Open up, and you might find that people open up as well.

Ask people for portrait shots. The worst they can do is say no. Most people will likely smile in agreement. Make sure you thank them, and if you can, show them their own photo. You can even offer to send them a copy if they have email or postal address.

Talking to people even before you bring out your camera can also help you get a sense of place. Say hello to passersby. Ask for directions. Buy souvenirs. Use your interactions as inspiration for the mood and essence you want your photos to convey.

Be your true self, and engage with people authentically. Become part of the story that you tell.

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Travel Lightly.

Perhaps a difficult task if you have expensive photography gear, but traveling light is an important tool to learn. Pack only your camera, memory cards, lightweight mini tripod, portable storage unit, flash unit, selection of lenses—all in a supportive camera bag that protects from weather conditions and terrain.

As to whether lenses you take, choose a fast zoom like 18-200mm or 28-300m. If you have space, also grab a portrait prime lens, a wide angle lens and a telephoto.

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Research your location.

The best travel photography comes in part due to Research. Know your destination, the festivals, the scenic routes and panoramas. Consult your travel agent. Read guidebooks. Read articles online and blog posts from writers you admire. Scan through Instagram.

Know what other photographers have managed to capture in the region, and decide if you want to pursue similar shots or look for unique angles. Make sure you keep track of the light via an app—download The Photographer’s Ephemeris, which tells you what time the sun rises, sets, and the position of the moon to your location. You can also check the tides for access to cool shots and locations during low tides.

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Late to Bed, Early to Rise

I know, you’re on vacation, so you’d rather not wake up early! But some of the most fantastic light for your next iconic shot will be early in the morning. The soft, warm morning light is perfect for images—and plus you can beat the tourist crowds, too. Need that epic shot of the Taj Mahal—wake up before sunrise.

Make sure you’re outside for sunset, too. The golden hour and subsequent blue hour of photography bathe cities and landscapes in magical light. Time to make some forever memories.

Rule of Thirds

Maybe you’ve heard of this one—one of the basic tenants of photography. Understanding the Rule of Thirds will change the way you look through the camera lens. This is about composition. Imagine breaking down the image into thirds horizontally and vertically. Place important parts of the photos into those sections. This means, for example, positioning a person on the left grid line instead of the center. Shift the horizon on the bottom third, rather than straight down the middle. Remind yourself of the Rule of Thirds by switching on your camera’s “grid” feature.

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Travel Tripod

Many of the best travel photographers recommend a lightweight tripod fashioned specifically for travel. These will keep your images in a steady position and let you play with all types of tricks: video production, exposure, time-lapse, panorama. Tripods also let you shoot non-optimal subjects, like waterfalls or low-light stars, without that annoying shaking camera.

Did you know that some tour guides offer special photography tours? Our clients have done these special-interest tours in Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Norway, Iceland and more! Ask your Willamette Intl Travel agent about more of these incredible, eye-opening photography tours.

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Filed under Europe, Travel By, Travel by Sport, Travel by Taste

Club Med Ixtapa Pacific

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Club Med Ixtapa Pacific

Barb recently got back from travels in Mexico, where she stayed at Club Med Ixtapa Pacific for six days. Named as one of the world’s best family resorts by Trip Advisor, Ixtapa is an all-inclusive resort with glorious sandy beaches, the second largest coral reef in the world, and fun family activities like sailing and scuba diving. The resort offers kids’ clubs especially geared to specific age groups. It’s perfect for a family reunion, and our agents have booked a number of multigenerational trips to the Club Meds in the past. Located on the Riviera Maya, ancient Mayan ruins are just a short distance away, ready for your little explorers.

Club Med Ixtapa Pacific is located about 30-40 minutes from Zihuantanejo Airport, resting on a quiet, protected beach perfect for swimming. I’m told this area almost always has great weather due to their location close to the mountains, however it was more humid than I expected.  The resort is well laid out, with capacity for up to 800 guests, but spread out enough that it never feels overflowing when totally full. We had an Oceanview club room, which was very comfortable. — Barb B.

Restaurants

Keep the kids happy with 3-4 restaurants to choose from. The elegant Encanto enchants with its five themed lounges–the mirror room, mask room, indoor garden, aquarium and stargazing lounge. Head to the Miramar for all-day, laidback fare on an oceanfront terrace. The Luna Azul sparkles at dinnertime with delicious local Mexican cuisine, overlooking the beach and coconut palms. The kids will be able to show off their culinary talents at Sirena, where children ages 2-10 can be their own chef!

Club Med has two restaurants that stagger their opening times so that one can eat pretty much any time during the day and evening.  There is a “dress code” in the evening, these are more like theme nights – there is an optional color code for clothing, I’d say less than half of the guests followed the dress code, other than that dress for all meals is very casual, just no bathing suits!  There is nightly entertainment put on by the staff (GO’s), one night they had a trapeze show.  One night the kids of the resort performed, the kids are dressed in costumes and different age groups come and perform dances, it was so cute! — Barb B.

Activities

A stay at any Club Med includes dozens of fun sports, activities, and sports schools with excellent instructors. Brush up on your sailing skills, perfect your archery technique, or monkey around at the Flying Trapeze School. There’s also mini golf, table tennis, SUP–or if you want to try something a bit more challenging, book a special instructor for deep sea fishing, snuba, scuba or flyboarding.

Kids’ Clubs

Club Med Ixtapa is home to kids’ clubs of varying ages, including the Baby Club Med (4-23 months), Petit Club Med (2-3 years old), Mini Club Med (4-10 years old). Teens (11-17 years old) can enjoy an exclusive Juniors’ Club Med outdoor recreation area – no unsupervised adults allowed! For newborns, Club Med provides free baby-care materials and equipment, foods, and a special playground just for the little ones–plus baby-sitting on demand.

This resort is very focused on families and kids, with lots of children’s activities for kids of all ages.  The kids club is included in the cost of your stay, except for kids under 3, where there is a fee. There are activities for adults all day long too, the schedule is posted daily (like on a cruise ship), activities range from gentle 1 hour walk, water aerobics, tennis, canoeing, standup paddle boarding. They also offer, trapeze, Zumba and salsa lessons!  There is also a spa and 3 swimming pools. There is no pressure to participate or not participate in any of the activities.

The resort also has a great setup for family rooms – they have 2 room units which can accommodate parents, up to 3 kids plus a crib.  Each family with a little child has a stroller at their disposal during their stay. Their suites are located in a separate building with their own front desk and beach area.

— Barb B.

One can purchase excursions through Club Med – we went to a Turtle Hatchery, and helped release baby turtles back into the water, it was fun!  Ixtapa has a bicycle path, which goes along a lot of the town area, one can rent bicycles and they offer bicycle tours. Ixtapa is the modern resort area, with many high rise beachfront resorts, many are all-inclusive, and golf course.  Zihuantanejo is the old town, with a nice town square, good for local shopping and culture, located close to the beach, a pier, and a lovely old church. — Barb B.

Why book with Willamette Intl Travel?

Many of our agents have stayed at Club Meds and can give you firsthand tips and honest feedback. We have access to deals and perks through our connections with Club Med, and can arrange a whole package for you and your family to stay at a Club Med – with airfare, transportation, activities – so you don’t have to stress about any of it.

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Filed under Club Med, Family Travel, Mexico, Travel by Scuba, Travel by Sport, Travel by Taste

Solo Adventurers: Hit the Road with Backroads Active Travel

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Interested in Solo Travel?

Backroads is offering some great opportunities for solo adventurers!

Backroads Active Travel is a small adventure company that organizes walking, biking and multisport trips in all over the world. Join a small group of like-minded travelers and expert guides. Their mission is to truly immerse the traveler, exploring hidden corners usually inaccessible by car or tour bus. Explore Europe and beyond via the great outdoors. Clear your mind and challenge your senses.

Backroads offer almost 100 departures exclusively for solo travelers to 30+ destinations. Their experts accommodate solos by pairing them up with roommates or providing private rooms. PLUS If you’re one of the first five to sign up on a trip, you can save up to 50%!

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Some Sample Trips:

Discover the Hawaiian islands in a unique Multipart Adventure Tour on the Big Island, from Kilauea to the Kohala Coast. Hike to dramatic waterfalls, go snorkeling and sea kayaking, and bike around the volcanic landscape of Kilauea Iki crater.

Explore the Amalfi Coast by foot or boat, and wander around the colorful seaside towns and timeless villages with terraces.

  • Hiking the Cinque Terre & Tuscany
  • Biking from Parma to Verona Bike Tour
  • Hiking in the New Zealand mountains
  • Myanmar Bike Tour
  • Dalmatian Coast to Montenegro Multipart Adventure
  • Biking in the Dolomites
  • French Pyrenees & Spain’s Rioja Region
  • Hike the Canadian Rockies
  • California Wine Country Bike Tour

Stay in Touch with Solo Trips by joining our Solo Adventurers Email Blast today. Throughout the year, Wittravel receives notice from various travel partners offering special rates tailored just for you. Email frontdesk@wittravel.com to sign up today. We only send marketing information via email if you have signed up, and we never give away our client list.

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Filed under News, Travel by Sport

Acclaimed Golf Voyages with Azamara Club Cruises

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Does your perfect day involve playing a round of golf at the most prestigious courses in the world?

If it does, you’ve come to the right place! Azamara Club Cruises and Perry Golf have teamed up to bring you worldwide golf voyages to some of the most acclaimed courses on the planet.

Call your agent at Wittravel for more details: 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com Let us plan your perfect holiday from start to finish, so you can enjoy a vacation without any hassles!

The golf packages on Azamara’s 2016 & 2017 British Open voyages feature venues such as Royal Birkdale, Gleneagles, and Turnberry, and also include attendance at the final round of the British Open Championship to watch the world’s finest players compete for the coveted Claret Jug.

Their voyages to Australia & New Zealand, the Mediterranean, and the Baltic Sea offer golf packages as well, with an outstanding collection of courses including Barnbougle Dunes, Cape Kidnappers, Bro Hof Slott, Continental Europe’s #1 Valderrama, and many others.

AND if you book selected voyages by June 30, 2015, you’ll receive 50% OFF the cruise fare of the second guest!

Hurry! PerryGolf packages sell out quickly.

Sample 11-Night Golf Cruise: Screen shot 2015-06-24 at 2.30.37 PM

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Filed under Australia, Azamara, Cruises, Europe, New Zealand, Oceania, Travel by Ship, Travel by Sport

Super Bowl XLVIII – Exclusive Packages

JANUARY 30/31 TO FEBRUARY 3, 2014

 It’s a Super Bowl of historic firsts. The first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl. The first to take place in the region. The first to be hosted by two states. The first to be jointly hosted by two teams. Would you like to be part of this year of firsts with an exclusive Super Bowl package?

Our contact in New York City is the official travel provider for the NEW YORK GIANTS and their fan road trips. If they can arrange travel and special events for the Giants, imagine what they can do for you! They certainly know how to make football fans happy!!!

 Super Bowl Services:

 Three-Four and Five Star hotel accommodations in New York City

  • Super Bowl game tickets
  • Group seating blocks
  • On-site concierge service
  • Premium game-day hospitality
  • VIP red carpet access to the hottest parties & events
  • NFL player/celebrity appearances
  • Special Super Bowl gift bag
  • Full transportation services including limo, SUV’s and deluxe motor coaches
  • Dinners and private events at the hottest restaurants and venues in town
  • Shopping tours and spa treatment appointments
  • Meet and greet service
  • Broadway, sports and concert tickets during Super Bowl week
  • And much more

PLUS! Kick off your game day in style with this Super Sunday Tailgate Party hosted by Pro Football Players! Inclusive of all the things that make NY/NJ famous …gourmet food, premium bar, live music and a great atmosphere. Join us at this ultimate “see and be seen” game-day experience! We have your all access pass ready!

Pre-Game Super Bowl Party hosted at The Shannon Rose Restaurant, located 3 min. from the stadium

    • All inclusive pre-game Super Bowl Party, 12:30 P.M. – 4:30 P.M.
    • Gourmet food display catered by a top chef
    • Open Bar with specialty local drinks
    • Live music from the B Street Band (Voted best Springsteen Cover Band) and Slippery When Wet (Voted the best Bon Jovi cover band)
    • Local cuisine with an extensive menu
    • Celebrity guest appearances, including NFL Hall of Famers and celebrities from sports and entertainment (autographs and photo opportunities) VIP section capabilities
    • Large 360 degree wrap-around bar
    • Super Bowl pre-game game day coverage on large screen HDTVs
    • Company signage opportunities throughout the venue
    • This event is guest list only

 

Upon arrival in NY or NJ , during your stay and on game day we can arrange for private transfers for individuals, small parties or large groups via sedans, limos or luxury motor coaches.

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Filed under North America, SALES, Travel by Sport, USA

Tours: Special Events

Yesterday the United States was glued to their screens as the XLVII Super Bowl raged on! Did your team win? Did you know that many tour operators can arrange custom packages for you during major events? From the Super Bowl to the World Cup, there is a variety of special sport events, festivals, and races around which we can design your travel! Our travel partners can arrange exclusive travel experiences during these major events, so you’re right in the action!

And remember: if you aren’t attending the event, best to stay away from the destination during this time as there are sure to be enthusiastic crowds!

MASTERS IN AUGUSTA

Join the pros at the Augusta Golf Tournament, held in April at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Founded by Bobby Jones in 1933, it’s a dream for every avid golfer everywhere, and rival only to the Old Course at St. Andrews. Watch the greatest golfers in the world as they plan on the emerald green. Combine the event with a few relaxing days at the nearby Ritz-Carlton Lodge, with its gorgeous lake villas or Mediterranean style lodge villas around the stunning Lake Oconee. Put the ball on the famous Great Waters Course, a 7,073 yard, par-72 layout course that hosted the 41st PGA Professional National Championship in 2008.

Dates: April 11-14, 2013

THE KENTUCKY DERBY

Kensington Tours hosts guests during the Kentucky Derby in Louisville. Take your reserved seat in the most famous horse race in the United States, and root for your winning stallion amid the mighty roar of the crowd. Tours are tiered based on seats at Churchill Downs—from Clubhouse Seating, Grandstands, Grandstands Orange to the luxurious VIP Suites. Arrangements are full customizable, and can include transfers, shuttles, accommodation, upgraded tickets, bourbon distillery tours and horse farm tours.

Dates: May 4, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE BALLOON FIESTA

New Mexico hosts one of the world’s most photographed events in October. Join Collette or Globus on a tour of sound and color. Enjoy the incredible mass ascension and race as the colorful balloons take off. At night, the balloons burn fires during the Balloon Glow and follow up with a fireworks show. Go on a balloon ride yourself on the Sandia Peak Tram, the world’s longest aerial tramway. In addition to the main event, your hosts will take you through the unique markets and streets of Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Visit the International Balloon Museum, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and the beautiful Turquoise Trail.

Dates: October 5-13, 2013

TOURNAMENT OF ROSES

Pasadena holds their famous Tournament of Roses annually in winter. Be up-close and personal in the parade on a reserved seat and get a sneek-peek of final touches on the gargantuan floats. Celebrate the season with New Year’s Eve Gala dinner dance with live entertainment and champagne. Afterwards, enjoy a farewell dinner on board the RMS Queen Mary, or take a guided tour through the Getty Museum or the Ronald Regan Presidential Library.

Dates: December, 2013

BRAZIL WORLD CUP

The 20th FIFA World Cup will be a soccer (for our international readers, football) tournament hosted in Brazil in 2014. As the first World Cup held in South America since Argentina’s in 1978, the continent is understandably excited and already making plans. Kensington Tours have created an exclusive collection of customizable Brazil tours around your soccer experience that are based out of Rio de Janeiro. Transport yourself to the heart of history on Brazilian soil. Pair with a destination expert. Explore natural beaches, rainforest safaris and cultural highlights. Be part of football history. You can even follow your team around the country as they race to the championship.

Dates: June 13-20, 2014; June 20-27, 2014; June 27-July 5, July 7-14.

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Filed under Brazil, California, South America, Travel by Sport, USA