We’ve compiled our favorite products & services to help improve your travels out in 2011. All are created by professional travelers specifically for intrepid travelers. What’s more, these guys are Masters of travel. So rather than trawling Google aimlessly, you’ll be learning directly from experts.
There’s one to help you travel cheaper, one product to help you master photography, and one product to help improve your creative travel writing. Enjoy.
Note: There are no affiliate links here. We have affiliate agreements, but left them out to show we’re genuine about these recommendations.
Chris Guillebeau’s Frequent Flyer Master
Frequent flyer programs are like card games: they’re designed to look as attractive as possible while hiding heavily stacked odds. If everyone won, the airline/casino would go broke. But if people realised the odds were so skewed, they wouldn’t play. That’s why airlines (and casinos) must be masters of manipulation.
However, in both cases, a handful of players learn how to beat the house at its own game. They become masters of unraveling and decoding the manipulation. The rest of us believe we’re winning too, but really we’re just funding the masters. So, how do you master the art of frequent flyer programs?
Well, you need to learn from another master. And that’s where Chris G’s Frequent Flyer eBook comes in. He’s on a mission to visit every country on the planet, and in the process, he’s mastered the strategy of Frequent Flyer Programs. I purchased the eBook earlier in 2010 and saved $1600 on my first flight. And savings like that help you travel much further and for longer.
- Blogger: Chris Guillebeau of The Art of Non-Conformity
- Link: http://frequentflyermaster.com/
- Price: US$49
ThePlanetD’s Photography Tour
Travel and photography go hand-in-hand, just like Brussels and sprouts. You’d think then, that us long-term travellers are photography experts. Unfortunately, we’re not. Why? Because photography is clicking a button like brain surgery is slice and dice. In each case, there’s art and science involved, and without studying both, well, the results don’t look so good.
I’m not suggesting we travel bloggers don’t have great photos, because we do. But my great photos are mostly thanks to lady luck. Sure, I can tell if a photo is under-exposed or over-exposed, but that’s not nearly enough to turn a butcher into a brain surgeon. So how do we make the transition from traveller-with-camera to travel photographer? Learn from an expert of course. And what better classroom than Rajasthan, India.
The guys from The Planet D are leading photography tours through India in 2011. I can’t imagine a better way to learn travel photography. And I’d be there in a heartbeat if I hadn’t already committed to another trip, coincidentally also in India.
Want a sample? Check out this comparison of Dave’s and NatGeo’s photos.
- Bloggers: Dave and Deb of The Planet D and Picture the Planet (photography site)
- Link: http://theplanetd.com/events-with-canadas-adventure-couple
- Price: Various
Matador’s Travel Writing Course
Lauren started the Matador writing course earlier this year, and I’ve become a permanent attachment looking over her shoulder. Before the course, I thought I had a pretty good command of English, you know, since I’ve spent most of my life reading and writing. But just like photography, ‘years spent’ doesn’t necessarily correlate with ‘lessons learned’.
I guess I always thought good writing was entirely off-the-cuff. But once I started with the Matador courseware, I realised it had structure and style and nuance like everything else. And that’s what I liked most about the course: it added some science into the mix (and I really do love science).
If you’re a travel writer without formal qualifications, I highly recommend the Matador course. Even better than a formal education, you get peer-reviewed by beginners all the way to Matador experts. That alone is priceless because few other people will provide such detailed, honest and constructive feedback. And not just about your content, but about your structure and style too. Also, they teach you the ins and outs of selling your work to media outlets.