The Eurail is an easy, accessible way to access trains across twenty-eight countries in Europe (and even some ferries and buses). The Eurail is a one-ticket pass that you use to basically jump on and off any train as you make your way across a few countries or across Europe. There are different Eurail passes depending on where you are traveling and for how long. You can choose a pass for one – four countries, the select pass, or the global pass. They range in price depending on how many countries you choose, days, and class (first or second).
Somewhere on the train in Switzerland
Why would you want a Eurail pass when you can buy tickets at the station along the way? With your Eurail pass it is your ticket for all of the rails in the participating countries with Eurail. Every time you want to go somewhere else for the day or for the next part of your journey, you just jump on the train and go.
The Twenty-Eight Countries part of the Eurail are:
Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey
So it all sounds great and dandy right? But why is it worth it? I honestly could not think of a better way to travel other than trains. Sounds silly, right? But there is less time wasted in getting to the train station, less time getting through security (less people), you can walk around on the train, multiple bathrooms, usually an outlet to plug your phone in, you can bring food on the train with you or buy something in the café car, and the views never disappoint. It is more relaxing and less stressful than flying; plus it is a more eco-friendly way to travel.
Here is a Crash Course to a few Tips to Managing the Eurail:
In the Alps
xx A Traveler's Bliss
One of the best parts of traveling around the world - or even on an adventure a few hours away - is all of the memories you make while on the journey. It is all about the experience you have and what you can learn from it. It is easier than ever now to record our travels and those experiences to show anyone while you are still traveling (thank you, internet). And when you return show even more of what you saw and experienced. With Instagram and Pinterest people are taking traveling to a whole new level of style and people are upping their photography game. So even if photography is not you niche, don't panic. There are tricks to the trade that every traveler can use to learn the secrets to photography that will make your travel photographs stand out from the crowd.
Be that Person:
You know that person that photographs everything? Like the person you can see in a crowd and go, ‘that’s for Instagram.’ Yep. That will be you. Photograph everything. Literally. It will probably drive you crazy, but it is one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences that you will be able go back once you have returned home and go ‘we did all that!?’. Some examples of the everything and anything in between to photograph are:
Food, Your Hotel/Hostel/AirBnB, Transportation, The Sights/Architecture, Nature & Animals, Anything Colorful & Wonderful, Shops, Window Displays, Sidewalks, Signs & Lettering, People Passing By, Yourself in Your Environment, Weather, Souvenirs, Movie Locations, Etc.
Picture for a Picture:
Ever feel like you can’t get a group picture? Or solo traveling and never seem to get a good picture of yourself? Do the “Picture for a picture” trick. When you are somewhere you want to take a picture and you see others taking photos as well, ask them if you take their picture they will take yours in return. No one has ever said no when either a friend or I made this offer and people tend to like this better. They don’t feel as rushed to take and quick picture and are more willing to take another one for you because they want a good picture too.
The Take Two:
If you’re like me and you struggle to make posed pictures look effortless, try the take two approach. Find a pose that you really like and that works for you and make that your go-to first. (It will also make a really nice series of photographs over a period of time). Then right off the bat, you are starting off with a picture you will love and other poses will come more naturally. Do a few other poses at the same location and you will have a variety of pictures to choose from later rather than just one.
Corny or ingenious, props can really add character to your photos and make taking them all the more fun. Using props to represent the city or country you’re visiting while getting souvenir shopping done at the same time, or better yet, feeding your stomach and your soul.
Some examples for some specific destinations and generic props are:
Venice: Venetian Mask & Gondolier Hat
Spain: Sangria & Folding Fan
Paris: Wine, Baguette & Barrette
Amsterdam: Clogs & Tulips
Generic Props: Flags, Jewelry, Postcards, Ticket Stubs, Fashion to Match a Destination, Camera, Food & Beverages
Don’t Just ‘Point and Shoot’ Your Camera:
If being ‘that person’ taking pictures of everything doesn’t seem like your thing, then take a different approach to photographing your travels. Instead of just pointing your camera and photographing everything around you, look for patterns, designs, reflections, and dimensions in the world around you to photograph. You will spend less time photographing, but spend more time seeing the places you travel in a whole new light.
Are You Series-ous?:
Series are probably one of my favorite things to do while photographing and traveling. They are a great way to show all of the places you have traveled, how far you have come, and so much fun to watch build and watch them grow over time. Make a series that is meaningful to you, you want to create, and can see yourself doing for a long period of time. Even though some vacations or trips only last a week or few at a time, think long term. Think of a series that you would want to do every time you travel.
These are just a few travel photography inspirations tricks that I hope will inspire you the next time you are traveling and want to photograph something more. I realized a while ago that I had yet to write about something photography related and I thought this would be a nice starting point. No matter where in the world you are or where in the world you are going, there is always inspiration around you just waiting for you to see it and photograph it.
xx A Traveler's Bliss
There are so many lists giving advice for the do’s while traveling, but what are things that should be warranted for? What should be avoided? Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the moment of planning the perfect adventure that we can get distracted by overpacking, over planning, and not taking it easy. In all of the chaos, here are five 'do nots' to help keep your travel plans under control and running smoothly.
1. Don’t Buy Your Tickets at the Door
As often as you can, aim to buy your tickets online and bring a printed or digital copy with you. Usually there are better online rates then there are when you arrive at the attractions, museums, historic sites, etc. Buying your tickets online will also save you time. You will be able to skip the ticket line and go straight in, join the ticket queue, or make a reservation for a time to go in depending on the popularity of the destination (you still get to skip the queue!).
2. Don’t Over Plan Your Schedule
If you plan every minute of your day you will feel rundown, overrun, and like your travel plans are running you. It will leave you feeling like you are squeezing in too many activities and not taking in enough experience. Plan time for your activities and make a list of a few other activities you would want to do if you have time left over. Once you get there as well you will probably see something that you didn’t know of and want to try, as well. And never be afraid to have some free time to wander and explore with no destination in mind. Some of the best finds are when you are looking for anything at all.
3. Don’t Sleep In
You’re only traveling for a short period of time, so get up early everyday to see those magical sunrises or get out a beat the crowds. You can sleep all you want on the way home and when you crash home.
4. Don’t Forget Traveler Over Tourist
While experience all your travels and everything it has to offer, don’t forget to remember that while you are being a “traveler” you can still been seen by the locals as a “tourist”. While you are diving into a new environment, culture, and experience it can be overwhelming and occasional hard to remember to always be a safe traveler, as well. Although it can sometimes be tacky and take more time, always take precaution and trust your gut. Take that extra time to get yourself ready in the morning and keep your belongings safe so your trip can go as smoothly as possible.
5. Don’t Pack for “What-If” Scenarios
Don’t over pack, thinking about all of your what ifs. What if we go here, what if we do this, what if, what if, what if. Nowadays, everyone has the perfect outfit packed and ready for any moment to take the best instagram picture. But to be honest, there isn’t always room your suitcase for multiple costume changes. Go with two of your favorite outfits for pictures and then pack clothes that you can interchange and wear with everything.
xx A Traveler's Bliss
Moving to another country, even for a short period of time like a study abroad, is exciting, challenging, and even scary at time. Its new and completely different than anything you have ever experienced. No matter how many times you tell yourself that, you may not realize just how true that really is until you arrive. Culture shock is the real deal and can be very stressful to manage at first, but with a few tips and tricks you will be strutting down every street like local (no map needed).
(Most important and comforting tip to settling in, find your nearest grocery store or mini mart! Food is the most essential and you will spend a lot of time frequenting them so it is always a comfort to know the nearest ones.)
So whether you are going abroad for a semester, moving abroad for a longer period of time, or just a vacation for a shorter period of time, don't let culture shock get you down! Use these tricks to your advantage and conquer culture shock like a boss to have the best experience abroad possible.
xx A Traveler's Bliss
Happy New Year, 2017! To ring in the new year, and to top off a two week break, I decided to start off the year with a more personal post: My ultimate travel bucket list. It is a pretty long list filled with trips and destinations, different activities I want to do in certain cities or places, and all I want to photograph along the way.
To write every destination on my list would consist of me listing everywhere I haven’t been yet, and then going back to al of the places I have been. I decided to narrow it down to major trips that I would love to plan out one day and then see through. Writing this list has been incredibly inspiring, because it has no budget and no strings attached. This is my list-in-progresses of my dream travels and future plans. I can add to it, take away, and add check marks on the side as I accomplish as I go.
-See the New Seven Wonders of the World:
The Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt; The Great Wall of China; Petra, Jordan; The Colosseum, Italy; Chichen Itza, Mexico; Machu Picchu, Peru; Taj Mahal, India; Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
-Ultimate Road Trip Across the United States:
When I was living in London, I realized how little I have traveled in the states. I want to live out of a car for the end of a summer/fall and drive from coast to coast and see everything in-between.
-Michigan Road Trip
-Alaska Cruise. Ice and northern lights? Am I right?!
-Go to all Six Disney Parks:
Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland, Disneyland Tokyo, Disneyland Shanghai, Disneyland Hong Kong
(Okay, I have been to two, but how cool would it be to plan a trip around the world and go to one park after another? Or just go to all of the parks eventually. That works too.)
-Tour of Morocco
-South Asia Adventure: Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam
-Easter Island Heads
-Travel to all Seven Continents and all 196 countries
Activity Must Dos
-Hot Air Balloon Ride in Arizona/Utah, Turkey, Austria, or Myanmar.
-Helicopter Ride over a City or National Park… Anywhere Really. That would be the coolest photo experience.
-Hike the PCT ... or part of it.
-Bungee Jump in New Zealand or South Africa
-Horseback riding through the Scottish Highlands
-Descend inside an Egyptian Tomb and learn its secrets
-Experience the Northern Lights in Canada or Alaska
-Walk the Great Wall of China
-Tour Havana, Cuba in a 1950s Chevy
-Go Whale Watching in Maine
-Attended India’s Holi Festival
-Release a floating lantern into the night sky during the Chiang Mai Yi Peng Festival
-Hike in the Alps
-Elephant Conservatory in Thailand
-Skydiving in Hawaii, Arizona, Switzerland, or New Zealand
-Shrivel up in a Dead Sea bath in Jordan
-Go wild on an African Safari
-Scuba Dive in the Great Barrier Reef
-Party all night at Mardi Gras
-Soak in a Blue-Lagoon Hot Spring in Iceland
-Hike to the top of a Volcano
-Do the Eurail again
-Spend the night in a Castle
-Live abroad for a period of time
I hope some of these wonderfully, crazy travel ideas inspire your 2017 travel year!
xx A Traveler's Bliss
(hey - hey you. click the bliss above... do it.)