Passport Photos

Everything You Need to Know About U.S. Passport Photos

Getting a passport is a good thing! It means lot’s of fun in the future, but dealing with the technicalities of passport photos can be a little confusing. We’ve put together this guide to help answer all your passport photo related questions. If you are looking for a quick way to make sure your passport photo is okay check out the State Department’s examples of acceptable passport photos.

General Passport Photo Requirements and Information

How many passport photos do I need?
You only need to submit one passport photo with your application.

It’s a good idea to get extra passport photos taken to bring with you on your trip. If you lose your passport while traveling, you will need passport photos to apply for a replacement passport and having them on hand will simplify the process.

How old can my passport photo be?
You should take or have your photo taken within 6 months of your application submission. The reason for this is to ensure that your appearance in the photo reflects your current appearance.

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Hotel Tipping

Hotel Tipping Etiquette – When & How Much to Tip For Hotel Services in the United States

Hotel tipping is something that can confuse even the most experienced travelers. While tipping at hotels is not mandatory In the United States,  it typically is a good idea to tip if you are happy with the quality of service.  So how do you know what to tip?

The amount you tip for services really depends on the level of the hotel. For self-service hotels where travelers typically bring their own suitcases up to their rooms tipping is less of an expectation.  At more upscale hotels, it is customary to tip for certain services. If you want great service it never hurts to be generous, especially if you plan on coming back and we are a big fan of including a tip budget when you are doing your travel planning. Read More

50 Essential Phrases and Words You Need to Know When Traveling Abroad

A few key words and phrases are all you need to learn in order to travel easily in a foreign country.  We’ve always thought that you could get by with just the words hello, this, and sorry, but that  would be taking the hard road and we don’t want that for you!

If you want to travel better, learn this list of 50 key words and phrases that will help you travel with ease in a foreign country.


  • Hello
  • Goodbye

Basic Phrases

  • Thank You
  • I’m Sorry
  • Excuse me
  • I need help
  • I do not speak (language)
  • My name is _________
  • I am looking for _________ (restaurant, building, landmark, etc)
  • I want to go to __________
  • The bill please
  • I don’t understand
  • I don’t know
  • I need a doctor

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How to Accurately Estimate the Weight of Your Luggage

Want to save money while traveling?  Make sure you don’t bring an overweight bag on your next trip!  Fees on airlines can be incredibly high if you go over the allowed weight limit for luggage.  As of writing this, your oversized bag could cost you between $100 to $200 dollars on an American or United flight and on Delta you are looking at $90 to $175.

So what is the best way to estimate the weight of your luggage?  Here are two options that can help:

1. The DIY Luggage Weighing Method

It might be tempting to just put your luggage on a scale, but depending on the size and structure of your luggage, you might end up with inaccurate results.  The best way to estimate the weight of your luggage using a personal scale is:

  1. Weigh yourself
  2. Weigh yourself holding your luggage
  3. Subtract your weight from your weight holding the luggage

The one con of this method is that it really only works before your trip.  Unless you have access to a scale while traveling, you will have to guess what your take home luggage weight is and depending on how much you bring back, this can vary a lot.

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The Man Who Loved Snowflakes & Places To Visit If You Love Them Too

Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated., When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.

– Wilson  Bentley

Magic. How could you describe snowflakes as anything else? Falling from winter skies they seem to bring a stillness and simplicity to the world.  Hush now, here they come, thousands upon thousands of little masterpieces, each wondrously unique and sublimely beautiful.





wbentleyIt is no wonder that a young Wilson Bentley, growing up in Jericho Vermont, where the annual snowfall is around 82 inches, became transfixed with snow crystals after receiving a microscope for his 15th birthday.  He tried drawing what he saw through the microscope but the snow always melted before he could finish.  This led to years of work trying to capture a snowflake through photography. Following many failed attempts, Wilson became the first person to successfully photograph snow crystals in 1885.

The day that I developed the first negative made by this method, and found it good, I felt almost like falling on my knees beside that apparatus and worshipping it! It was the greatest moment of my life. 

– Wilson  Bentley

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Relive the Magic of Christmas Past in Paradise Pennsylvania

Photo by Jim the Photographer:
Original Photo by Jim the Photographer:


Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale

In the small town of Paradise, Pennsylvania is a not so small museum that celebrates the spirit of Christmas. With over 20,000 square feet of indoor exhibits, the National Christmas Center allows visitors to step into a Christmas themed fantasy land.

Photo by Jim the Photographer:
Photo by Jim the Photographer:
Photo by Jim the Photographer
Photo by Jim the Photographer

While the Center celebrates both Christmas present and Christmas past, it really shines in it’s ability to transport visitors to holiday’s past. Exhibits include a replica Woolworth’s store all decked out for the holiday season with authentic merchandise, signage and fixtures, a life size recreation of a 1950’s Christmas morning (oh how I would love to go back in time), and a walkable “street” of shop windows designed to bring back memories of the 1940’s and 1950’s. Read More

Favorite Places: Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

Click here to get the Favorite Places e-book – free instant inspiration for your next vacation.

Today’s favorite place is from Jamee Doherty of Fly The Coop

Jamee’s Favorite Place: Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

Deserted Beach Vietnam

Why She Loves Phu Quoc Island

“Located on the Cambodian/ Vietnamese boarder, its well worth the effort it takes to get there. White stretches of beach, interrupted by palm trees and restaurants located on the sand, its Vietnams answer to Cambodia’s Sihanoukville and Malaysia’s Perhentian Islands. With endless sunshine and breath taking sunsets, this place won’t stay a place wont stay a secret for much longer.”
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Favorite Places: La Palma, Canary Islands

Click here to get the Favorite Places e-book – free instant inspiration for your next vacation.

Today’s favorite place is from Ariane Colenbrander of

Ariane’s Favorite Place: La Palma, Canary Islands


Why She Loves La Palma

“The sheer lack of light pollution, coupled with the delicious locally caught and grown food, outgoing locals, winding roads that lead you to the top of the world and back down again, and black sandy beaches. My husband and I went the year before we married (’99), and had a casita to ourselves. The surrounding vegetation (including our own banana plantation) made for an especially unique vacation.”
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Favorite Places | Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Click here to get the Favorite Places e-book – free instant inspiration for your next vacation.

Today’s favorite place is from Justine Williams from Dancing Traveller

Justine’s Favorite Place: Mauna Kea, Hawaii


Why She Loves Mauna Kea

“No place else in the world can you go and see the sky and the stars so clear, as if you could reach out and grab them. 9,000 feet up, you can park in the visitors centre parking lot and jump from telescope to telescope as professionals tell you about the specific stars you can see through their lenses. The constant shooting stars make you feel like you’re a little farther from earth and closer to the heavens.”
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