Middle Class Traveler

Adventures of the Middle Class

Tag: travel tips

Top Ski Accessories

Recently I had an amazing time going skiing and you can read all about it in my blog post Horseshoe Ski Resort. When we were there I thought how handy would a list of top ski accessories be right about now? When we were packing for the trip we packed everything or so we thought. So I am going to give you a list of the top ski accessories to bring next time you go skiing to a resort.

Top Ski Accessories

1) the most important thing to bring if you are a traveler and wanting to take amazing pictures while on the slopes is a camera. So this camera is one of the cameras I do suggest. I recently had a guest blogger recommend 3 cameras for travel phography. That blog post can be viewed here. One of those cameras which I read up on and recommend is this one.

The Sony 6000

 

2) Now you may be like me and not to keen on bringing a camera to the hill but you still want to take some pics. What I recommend is bringing your iPhone. So the problem with having an iPhone on the hill is the battery life gets severely limited due to the weather. For me it was -3 Celsius at the top of the hill so it was warm. Unfortunately my battery didn’t think so and my phone kept turning off. That’s why I recommend an external iPhone battery.

Anker Astro E1 5200mAh Candy bar-Sized Ultra Compact Portable Charger (External Battery Power Bank) with High-Speed Charging PowerIQ Technology (Black)

 

3) Now you will want to record some of those awesome slope runs or tricks in the freestyle park. To do that you will most definitely need a GoPro. When I was out on the slopes I had a Hero 3+ and it was suffiecent enough considering the price. You can view a complete run using the GoPro while in snow right here.

GoPro HERO3+: Silver Edition

 

4) You are going to want to mount your GoPro so you can get some great shots and not have to worry about losing it so I do recommend a head mount. I used a head mount and it works.

ProGear Adjustable Elastic Strap Head Mount With Anti-Slide For GoPro Hero 4/3+/3/2/1

 

5)When you are on the slopes the weather always plays a factor into the fun you will have so you are going to want a good set of goggles. Whether you are skiing or snowboarding goggles are a must!

Anon M1 Goggle, Black/Silver Solex, One Size

 

6) Lastly you are going to want a helmet. I know it doesn’t sound cool but everyone wears one and you will probably need to have one on if you want to go into the freestyle park. I remember back in my day we never wore them and never seen anyone with them but now they are everywhere.

Smith Holt Helmet Mens Sz M

 

This is is my list of must have ski or snowboarding accessories. They will make your day on the slopes more enjoyable and willing help provide memories to show your buddies for years to come. You can sign up for my newsletter at the bottom to receive amazing deals on travel. If you like check out my Instagram page, pinterest account, twitter account and like and share my Facebook page.

I Dreamed of Another World


A last glance at the Laguna Colorada in the early morning: this shallow salty lake has regained its serenity and lost its intense red color, but still offers striking reflections. We head toward the desert of Siloli in Southwestern Bolivia, a desert dominated by magnificent ocher colors and surrealist landscape. The Siloli desert features unusual natural sculptures. The most stunning rock formation is the must see Arbol del Piedra known as the stone tree. A fragile-looking geomorphological rock formation, it is an impressive 16 feet high. It marks the entrance to the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve established in 1953 in Sur Lipez Province in the far Southwestern region of Bolivia. From there we begin our journey along the “Ruta de Las Joyas,” crossing successively several lagoons: Honda, Chiar Kota, Hedionda, and Cañapa.

Starbucks

In a landscape surrounded by volcanoes in the distance, Laguna Honda, whose name means “deep lake”, is in fact only 2 inches deep. But this shallow lagoon is particularly calm, and the bright blue sky is reflected in this true natural mirror. Laguna Cañapa is an endorheic salt lake with a surface area of 1.4 km2 is also surrounded by volcanoes and home to significant wildlife such as flamingos. It is a breathtaking sight, especially when the colonies of pink flamingos take flight… Two flamingos (speaking Walloon together), dress in pink, gently shake a leg and hobble in steps hushed by the water of the lagoon. They peck at salt larva, then evaporate in a few strokes of feathers… magical!

005_laguna-canapa

Following the Las Joyas road, we reach the Salar de Chiguana (415 km2), at over 11,810 feet above sea level. The railway line connecting Uyuni to the Chilean coast crosses the Salar de Chiguana. After the War of the Pacific in 1884 with Chile, Bolivia lost the Atacama Desert, thereby becoming a landlocked country. Under the peace treaty of 1904, Chile guaranteed freedom of transit for Bolivian commerce to the ports of Angofasta and built the Arica-La Paz Railroad, connecting the Bolivian capital to the coast. In the Salar de Chiguana there are small boron mineral deposits that were mined in the early 1990s and exported to Europe. This amazing landscape of salt stretches endlessly to the horizon with the giant volcano Ollagüe looming in the background. The volcano is situated at the border between Chile and Bolivia (height 19,252 feet). It is one of the most active volcanoes in the entire Cordillera Occidental. Although the landscape recalls the Southwestern of the United States, the Salar de Chiguana has a strange omnipresent succulent, the Yareta, which resembles moss stuck on large stones. In fact, the plant is as hard as a rock and grows concentrically extremely slowly for centuries. Locals in remote villages of the Altiplano used this succulent, full of resin, to heat their homes.

008_yareta

Turning to the villages, we arrive at San Juan Rosarion, usually called San Juan, a tiny place, but a semblance of a return to civilization where travelers can spend the night in hotels or, more commonly, shelters built entirely of salt. Walls are made of salt bricks as are tables, chairs, and beds. The floors are grains of salt.

Virgin Atlantic

Up very early for another highlight of the trip: the sunrise over the Salar de Uyuni. The “White Ténéré” at 4,086 square miles is the world’s largest salt flat and lies near the crest of the Andes at 11,995 feet. “I dreamed of another world / Who remain a mystery / A landless mundane / Yes, I wanted to jump into the air” (Free translation of the lyrics by the French singer Téléphone – Je rêvais d’un autre monde). All limits fall away in this other world of extreme climatic conditions. It is a timeless and spaceless journey to discover the Salar de Uyuni. As Alphonse Lamartine wrote, “O time Suspend your flight, and you, propitious hours, suspend your course: Let us savor the fleeting delights / The most beautiful today!” The desert plains, desperately flat and blindingly white, stretches out as far as our eyes can see. The Salar de Uyuni is a unique show, a landscape both lunar and solar, cold and sparkling. Only passengers on the space shuttles can see the whole desert.

010_salar-uyuni_lever-de-soleil
This natural marvel of the end of the world is, like Titicaca, one of the remains of a vast inland sea that stretched between two mountain ranges and then evaporated. A brief geological history of the Salar tells us that tens of thousand years ago Lake Minchin covered the area. Instead, now we have a desert of salt composed of billions of salt crystals. But there is another version of the story, a charming local legend about the formation of the Salar de Uyuni is linked to the dormant Tunupa Volcano on the Northern side of the Salar de Uyuni rising to 17,457 feet above sea level. Legend says that the Altiplano’s volcanoes could speak and move. Only Tunupa was female. One day Tunupa became pregnant, but the child’s father was unknown. Male volcanoes talked all night and took the decision to remove the small volcano from his mother. This decision infuriated the gods, and they withdrew the right to move, talk and meet from the volcanoes. Tunupa volcano wept so much that her tears mixed with her milk spread on the dry ground; thus was born the Salar de Uyuni.

013_volcan-tunupa

Amid this white area stands the Isla Incahuasi Quechua “the Inca house.” It is also called “Isla de los Pescadores” in reference to the neighboring island “Isla del Pescado” featuring giant cacti on an area of 61 acres and forming a hilly and rocky projection in the middle of the Salar – salt flat. There are walking trails allowing tourists to hike easily to the summit for a superb view of the vast white Salar with Tunapa in the distance. In addition to cactus in bloom, the island is also inhabited by the Bolivian vizcacha, Andean rabbits of the Chinchillidae family.


The Salar is composed of 10,000 billion tons of salt of which more than 25,000 tons are extracted annually. It is also rich in minerals, and its crust covers a pool of brine, exceptionally rich in lithium, an estimated 140 million tons and a large part of the world’s reserve. The depth of this salt flat is 460 feet. It consists of 11 distinct layers of salt whose thicknesses varies between 2 and 10 meters. To be in the middle of the Salar is like being in the midst of an infinite mirror; visual perceptions will surprise you. Fresh and salt water rivers underlie the surface of the Salar. This water, which passes under the salt crust, carries with it air that will find a way out. Ojos de Agua are round holes forming small eyes in the heart of the Salar where air and water well up from under the salt crust.

021_altiplano_lever-aux-aurores

The train graveyard, the “cimenterio de los trenes”, Uyuni, is the last stop on this Bolivian journey. It is located 2 miles outside the city of Ulyni. A legacy of the age of steam, dozens of old steam locomotives from the early years of the last century peacefully end their lives in the middle of the Salar. From the late 19th century to Mid-twenty century, Bolivia knew a golden age as a result of silver mining. When the silver era dried up, there was no need for a train network. Uyuni, in Southwestern Bolivia, was a transportation hub for trains carrying silver and other minerals from the surrounding mines to the Pacific Ocean. Another early departure at dawn to enjoy a Bolivian landscape like no other !
Hasta pronto

This blog post was written for www.middleclasstraveler.com by http://www.c-ludik.fr/en/

Picking Your First Camera for Travel Photography



Picking Your First Camera for Travel Photography

 

By Ryan Ellis

 

I hear it all the time from people looking to start out in the photography world:

“There are so many cameras out there! How does a first time buyer know how to make the right choice?”

 

Well if you are reading this article on Middle Class Traveler, chances are you are in the same boat and you are probably looking for something to do a little travel photography with. For a lot of people, it comes down to balancing some key ingredients:

 

  1. Cost
  2. Performance
  3. Size and weight
  4. Objective

 

Not necessarily in that order but a good chance that cost is going to be at or near the top of the list for those just starting out. Let’s quickly take a look at each of those and then I have a couple of suggestions that could be right for you!

 

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Let’s work backwards and ask yourself “What is my objective here?” This question alone will lead you to exclude about half the field right off the bat. If your answer to this question doesn’t include professional wedding photography or publication in a major magazine or large format art gallery printing then you can and probably should exclude all the full format cameras.

 

But what is a full format camera? If at this stage in the game you don’t know, you probably don’t need one. It basically is a larger sensor to give you a larger frame similar to what 35 mm film would give you. Some cameras have a full frame sensor and other have a crop frame. This is a smaller frame size and is significantly cheaper, but that doesn’t mean it can’t produce some really fantastic images. An easy way to tell the difference is that full frame cameras will usually cost in the thousands of dollars. Crop frames cost in the hundreds. If by budget constrictions alone you have chosen the crop frame, you are in the right place!

 

Choosing a crop frame also takes care of size and weight because they are lighter and smaller. This is what you want if you are going to use it for travel. The last thing you need is to be trudging up the stairs of Cinque Terre lugging a 5 pound beast and all its accessories around.

 

Well we already have taken into account objective, cost, size and weight so let’s get to the meat of it. Performance. In the photography world, brand does matter. No two brands have dominated the space more than Nikon and Canon. You will find staunch supporters on both sides. I happen to shoot with Nikon. Usually whatever the brand you first purchase is, will be the brand you stick with out of these two forever.

 

Lately Sony has been making a big push with mirrorless cameras which can be even smaller and lighter than the DSLR cameras offered by Nikon and Canon. The mirrorless lack a view finder so everything is shot live off the screen. I am so used to shooting with a view finder I couldn’t imagine making the switch but you can’t argue with the results. They are really good.

 

Whatever brand you choose, you don’t have to shoot for the moon with your first purchase. I would argue that the right camera is only about 10 percent of the battle. Whatever brand you choose, your photography education is the most important thing that you can invest in to make your pictures look better. Throwing the camera into automatic and hitting the button isn’t going to get great results. Focus, ISO, shutter speed, aperature, lens type, and 1000 other things all matter more than the type of camera you are shooting with.

 

That being said here are the three cameras I think the travel photographer should first look into and all run in the $300-$400 range:

 

 

All of these will get you to where you want to be, with all the functions you will need. For now the kit lens will do just fine. I will outline the first lenses to buy in another post. If you have questions post them in the comments or email me at ryan@raleightraveler.com.

 

This article was written exclusively for Middle Class Traveler. You can find more of my work over at Raleigh Traveler or have more articles like this delivered to your inbox by signing up for our newsletter here!

Expert Travel Tips



Expert Travel Tips To Help You Find More Fun

Traveling is a really fun hobby for many people. Even though travelling to new places is a lot of fun, it can really be very stressful when trying to make travel plans. The following article has many useful tips on planning for a successful trip.

If you have to wear a suit on an overnight trip make sure it’s the right one. A wool suit will arrive fresher than one made of any other fiber. Hang it up in the bathroom when you arrive, turn the shower on hot, and close the door; let it steam for a while and all the wrinkles will drop out. It will look as good as new.

Selecting an aisle seat will always keep your options open. While a window seat offers a view, an aisle seat allows you easy access to restrooms, overhead baggage and flight attendants; in addition, you do not have a person crowding you on one side.


If you are collecting frequent flier miles from your travels, pay attention to the terms of use for those miles. In many cases, the miles expire just twelve to eighteen months after they’ve been earned, or they can only be used on certain dates and to a limited set of locations. Before selecting an airline based on miles, know the restrictions.

If you are traveling overnight or into the early morning, get your doctor’s permission to take a sleeping pill after you board. Eat your breakfast and then drift off to dreamland, and you’ll sleep comfortably through the whole flight. Wait until you are airborne to take your pill though, in case your flight is delayed or must return to the gate.


Try using a racing belt to discourage pickpockets. Getting robbed can ruin your entire vacation. To lessen the chances of this happening, consider investing in the storage belts that we use to store our keys, money, and such. This will keep your valuables close to your body where they are less likely to be stolen.

If you are finding it difficult to pick a place to travel you can ask friends and family. The people closest to you should have some insight on the type of person you are and the the kind of destinations you should like. Wherever you go just remember to have an open mind and make the best of your trip.

If you want to attempt to get an empty seat, there are some tricks to try. Ask for a seat near the back end of the plane, because these generally fill up last. If you are not comfortable with that, ask for an exit row seat. These seats come with extra responsibility, that not many are willing to accept.

When going on a cruise, wear your room key around your neck, on a lanyard or similar item. Losing your room key on a cruise ship can cost you greatly, not only in money, but in lost time. Keeping your key with you wherever you go can insure that you, and your belongings, will be safe.

Many people love traveling to different destinations. However, not many people like planning trips, because making those plans can be a source of stress. Use what you’ve learned here to take the stress of of making travel arrangements, and you’ll enjoy your trip that much more.

This blog was written for www.middleclasstraveler.com and you can find more of my work at www.traveldefinition.com

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