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Top 6 Tips for Stress-Free Travel

Summer may be nothing but a distant memory due to these long winter months, but that’s exactly why we should be looking to get away and travel. Some travel mishaps can be avoided, some you can even plan around, however some are simply just a part of traveling. That said, there are a few important things to keep in mind, before and during your travels, so you want to plan your trip thoroughly. Make sure you pick the right luggage, purchase your essentials, and read these six tips to help ensure a smooth vacation.

Ways To Make Your Vacation Stress-Freetips for stress free travelRoyalty Free Photo

Make Photocopies of Important Documents

What happens when you get to the airport of your destination and you can’t find your passport, you can’t get back home and you can’t go forward? If you have a photocopy of your passport, along with extra photos, officials are more than likely to let you travel; you may need to take a trip to your country’s embassy within the country you’re visiting but other than that you’ll be able to travel. This will save you stress, money, and a ruined trip.

Pre-Plan Your Outfits

Don’t be a last minute packer; make sure you pre-plan your outfits. Otherwise you may end up with mismatched outfits that look horrible in holiday photos! By pre planning, you not only ensure that you look good, but you can make sure that the night before a flight you can relax as you have either already packed or you will know what you need to pack!

What To Pack In Your Carry-On

There are a few very important items that you should always pack in your carry-on. Make sure you pack electronics, such as your phone, laptop and chargers, medications, a toothbrush and a pair of extra underwear. Now, even if your hold luggage gets lost, you’ll have all the essentials with you until the rest of your luggage arrives.

Bring Noise Cancelling Headphones

Noise cancelling headphones are the perfect investment when trying to drown out the loud crying baby, or the snoring guy next to you. Especially when you’re in for the long haul, you want to make sure take you can relax and have a stress free flight. The price tags on these bad boys may be hefty, but trust me they’ll be worth it.

Talk to the Locals

When visiting a foreign country, it’s always a good idea to learn the lingo, even if it is just a small amount. You also want to talk to the locals if you can, ask them to point you in the direction of the best restaurants, sights, cafés and shops. The locals will know all the best places that you’ll never find in your sightseeing guide!

Take Lots of Photos

Photos make the best souvenirs, so make sure you take plenty so you can reminisce on the great time you had on your travels. However, don’t get too caught up in getting the perfect picture that you forget to admire the amazing scenery you’re visiting.

 

Hopefully with these tips your travels will go a lot smoother and you will have a stress free vacation!

 

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New Year’s Eve Date Night Ideas For Couples

New Years is a time of hope. A day filled with the promise of new opportunities and experiences, of plans and dreams and goals. It is also a time best spent with the one you love, enjoying eachother’s company as you ring in the New Year together with thoughts of the two of you and times to come. But with all the hype surrounding New Year’s Eve and the plans to be made, it can be tricky figuring out exactly what to do when you just want to spend a romantic evening together. We’ve put together a list of some great ideas for celebrating New Year’s Eve as a couple that will help take the stress of planning out of the equation and give you some amazing new memories to start off the new year right!

Romantic Ideas For Celebrating New Year’s Eve

Whether you want the intimacy of a night with just the two of you or want to get out and celebrate together with the crowds, we’ve got some great ideas that will have you enjoying yourself well after the clock strikes midnight

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Enjoy A Unique Airbnb Experience

Imagine it: a romantic evening in a luxury treehouse, curling up in front of the warmth of the fireplace and enjoying each other and the calm and quiet of the surrounding nature in South Carolina.

Or how about staying on a 70 foot luxury yacht in Vancouver, walking to the seafront restaurants for dinner before returning and spending the evening on the water. You may also want to try the night in a ’71 VW Bus in Toronto for an extra cozy, extremely intimate and totally fun evening as you turn up the radio and join in on the countdown to midnight.

Whether you go for something crazy and unique or something more sedate, whether you stay local or venture further away, renting an Airbnb for New Year’s Eve is a great way to spice things up, make the evening romantic and have time for just the two of you.

Don’t have an Airbnb account yet? Sign up with our link here and get $40 CAD ($30 USD) credit!

Dance The Night Away

One of the the most popular ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve is at a party, either at a friend’s house or at a venue such as a club. Perhaps this doesn’t sound romantic. After all, we’re talking about spending the evening surrounded by others, with loud music pumping and more movement than conversation.

But finding a local restaurant or club that offers a New Year’s Eve dinner and dance can turn a party from a social event, to an intimate date night. Don’t go with friends. Don’t find a group to purchase tickets with. Grab two tickets, or make a reservation for two, and head out for a special night spent making eye contact across the dinner table and in each other’s arms on the dance floor. You’ll have all the fun of a social event but with the romance of an evening alone.outdoor ice skating as a couple

Ice Skate Your Way In To The New Year

Though it’s a common pastime in colder destinations during the winter, going ice skating is an exceptionally romantic activity on a special evening like New Year’s Eve.

Many cities with outdoor skating rinks are open on New Year’s and some even have music and other entertainment leading up to the countdown. What better way to spend time with the one you love as you start a new year than holding hands and chatting as you glide around the ice, under the lights and the night sky?

Grab a meal before, some hot chocolate in-between and, of course, warm up under the sheets after!

Camp Out Under The Stars

If you’re not from colder climes, an outdoor skating rink may not be an option. Instead, spend New Year’s Eve under the stars by camping. Whether it’s in your backyard or a campsite of your choice, this is a great way to enjoy each other’s company and put a spark into the evening’s festivities.

If you do decide to camp, make sure to keep the focus on the two of you and all the potential the new year brings. This means detaching from the rest of the world, putting technology away and finding ways to make it quality time spent together: listen to a radio and chat, play cards or a board game, roast marshmallows and cook other food if a campfire is possible but most importantly, just be together in the moment.

If a camp out is exactly what you want to do together but the weather is just not right, consider popping up a tent indoors, roasting marshmallows in the oven and making it a whole different kind of experience. You can even have fun building a fort together instead of a tent and don’t forget: pillow fights are always allowed… you never know what romantic activities may result!

Cook Together & Have Movie Marathon

If you’re looking for something more laidback and relaxing, one of the best ideas for celebrating New Year’s Eve is taking time together to create a romantic date night at home. Cook together and make a special meal for two. Put away the phones, work together to make the meal, set the table and the atmosphere and dig in.

After dinner, cozy up on the couch and spend the time until midnight watching movies (favourites and new ones), talking and enjoying your time together. It’s a great way to work together to create something special and make the evening one of romance. It’s also a great time to talk about your hopes for the new year, the future and your goals as individuals and as a couple.

Ring in The New Year in Bed

Nothing says a romantic New Year like hours of undivided attention under the covers. If you really want to start the year off with a bang (excuse the pun) then an evening in bed is the way to go. Whether it’s some hanky-panky or conversation, watching TV or playing cards, there’s a lot to do in bed to countdown the hours until midnight.

You’ll want to have everything ready before hand so you don’t have to leave the bed other than for bathroom breaks – have drinks and food ready and on hand, cards or games nearby, remotes and other necessary gadgets within reach and settle in for the night. You can even plan for a breakfast in bed and extend the romantic celebrations well into the morning.

 

No matter how you choose to spend your New Year’s Eve together, finding ways to concentrate on each other is key. It’s hard to disconnect from all that goes on in the world around us but what better day to try to do so, and focus on romance, than the day that celebrates all the possibilities the future may bring.

 

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8 Clever Ways to Make Travel Memories Last Forever

By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective

Many souvenirs start off as good ideas and end up collecting dust or being given away to someone who may appreciate them more. The point of a keepsake is for it to trigger wonderful memories of your travel adventures for years to come, and perhaps become something to pass down.

Unique Souvenir Ideas For Travel Memories

Make your travel memories last forever with these clever ways of collecting:

1 Collect Found Objects

unique souvenir ideas

Fill a time capsule, antique travel trunk or scrapbook with found objects you collect from every place you visit. The object doesn’t have to be a souvenir in the traditional sense or cost money. The most treasured objects have a mystery surrounding them and several stories to tell. The found objects could be small and random or have something in common, even though they originate from different places:

  • Pick up a stone from the ground from wherever you visit.
  • Collect a leaf or flower from an interesting plant that catches your eye.
  • Save bottle caps from local breweries in different cities, states and countries.
  • Bring home napkins with logos or copies of menus (with permission) from restaurants.
  • Collect quotes in a journal from random people you meet on the street.

When picking up found objects from nature, collect these in a sustainable way. Do not pick up feathers from birds of prey, which are also protected and an illegal action in many places. Don’t overharvest plants. Leave nature intact as you collect your memories.

2 Collect Stamps

Stamp collecting isn’t only a hobby to share with a grandparent, it also makes a wonderful international map and memento record of your wayfaring. Find interesting stamps in museums, philatelic libraries, and in regular postal offices and small shops that sell stamps. Imagine having a story to tell about purchasing the stamp for your collection and then artfully placing it in a keepsake notebook to pass down for generations!

Once retrieved, collectors would glue a stamp into an album, but now archival methods and tools have turned philately pursuits into an artform. Many beginning collectors focus on topicals (topics, such as horses or flowers) or forming a collection of stamps from the lands of their ancestors:

“A lot of travelers, especially stamp collectors, enhance their travel experience and travel memories by creating philatelic passports of their travels,” says John Apfelbaum, President & CEO of Apfelbaum, Inc.

“Using a small notebook, they purchase stamps at foreign post offices where they travel and ask the post office workers to cancel the stamps affixed in their little notebook. That way when they come home they have a memory of their trip along with an interesting local stamp and cancellation.”

3 Keep a Travel Journal

keeping a travel journal

There’s no way you could forget your latest trip, right? The mind works in amazing ways and memories have a way of blending together over the years. You will remember beautiful and strange details, while others will be foggy but still touching. Record those details now in a travel journal:

  • Write down the best moments.
  • Record snippets of overheard conversations.
  • Inscribe those found quotes from strangers.
  • Sketch those details.
  • Make a collage in the pages.

Your travel journal will need to be portable and doesn’t have to necessarily be in physical form. A journal you’re able to hold has a special quality that a digital one won’t, yet a travel blog is easy to take with you wherever you go as it doesn’t need to be packed and transported.

4 Make a Global Spice Rack

While on the road, collect the flavors of the world. What spice or spice mix is an area famous for? While in New Orleans, track down the best southeastern Creole flavor combination, for example.

Add each selection to your spice rack at home, or build a test tube spice rack that makes you feel like you’re cooking in a laboratory. Every time you make a dish, you’ll taste a travel memory.

5 Make Magnets from Travel Photos

SNS Instax SHARE SP-2

There are many ways to make travel photo magnets. You could use a service to produce them, such as Social Print Studio (uses your Instagram photos) or Fox Print. You can also instantly print out your photos with Fuji Instax SP-2 Printer and all you need to do is attach them to a magnet strip with a sticky surface. Turn any magnetic surface into a display board for your travel memorabilia magnets.

6 Build a Library of Area Authors

Build a global library of living authors from around the world. Attend book signings in the area you’re visiting, if any, and obtain a signed copy from the author. Peruse book shops and ask about local authors. Whether it’s science fiction, romance, poetry or a haunted destinations book, your library will be diverse and extra special when it reflects the places you have visited.

You will be able to say something personal about nearly every author, and if nothing else, talk about that time the bookstore owner of this quaint shop in Croatia pointed you toward the best wine you’ve ever tasted.

7 Make a Video

Think of it as a highlight reel of your favorite travel moments. Take a few minutes of video on your trip, and when you get home, condense your media files into a single video. Continue to add onto this video as you travel.

To ensure that it doesn’t get overwhelming, set a time limit for the footage you take and add on to your single video. You don’t have to download any complicated software to edit the video, if you don’t want, because Google Photos will edit for you.

8 Curate a Collection of Modern Art

The beauty of this idea is to target regional artist works from the area of your visit to collect. Ask a student artist sketching if he or she will make something quick for you for a generous tip or cup of coffee. Visit local galleries and support them by purchasing prints or original works.

Artists will often paint popular tourist spots but also create art around places that are personally special. Make your curated collection of art all the more unique by visiting the destinations that are depicted, whenever possible.

 

Make your memories transcend time with a little creativity. Focusing on collecting particular items or building upon how you display those souvenirs at home will ensure you don’t break your suitcase zipper by overstuffing with random knickknacks. When you collect, gather touchstones of experience, and the travel stories you share will be even more powerful.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture & the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations & cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing & inspiring posts. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.


 

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Tips To Get Through Airport Security Quickly During The Holidays!

This Winter, Get Your Family Through Airport Security Quickly

Travelling with the family can be challenging, especially when you get to airport security. Following these tips from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) will not only help bring the stress level down, but also get you through the checkpoint faster and easier.

Download CATSA’s App

CATSA mobile app

Go to CATSA’s website (catsa.gc.ca) and download their “Breeze through security” mobile app. In addition to wait times, you’ll find information on what you can and can’t bring through security and helpful tips about the screening process.

Remember The 100ml Rule

Put large containers of liquids, aerosols and gels in your checked baggage. Only amounts less than 100 ml, placed in a 1 L clear, re-sealable plastic bag, are permitted in your carry-on baggage. This includes beverages and non-solid food (e.g. yogurt, pudding and peanut butter). However, beverages and food for children under the age of two are exempt from these restrictions (e.g. breast milk, formula, juice and purees). Keep these items within reach as they need to be inspected separately.

Leave Gifts Unwrapped

How to take gifts through airport securityIf you’re bringing gifts, leave them unwrapped in case their contents may need to be inspected. Some airports have gift-wrapping services located past security during the holiday season.

How to Pack Your Electronics For Airport Security

Bringing your children’s electronic games is a good way to keep them busy at the airport. To save time leave small electronic devices like tablets, e-books, cameras and handheld video games in their cases or in your carry-on baggage for screening, then simply place the case or baggage in the bin. If you travel with large electronic items like laptops, DVD players, netbooks, notebooks or game consoles (Xbox, PlayStation, etc.) you need to remove them from your carry-on baggage and place them separately in a bin. Make sure there are no other items on top or underneath.

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Choose Easy-to-Remove Outerwear

Make sure the little ones can easily remove winter jackets, boots and hats. These items must be placed in bins for screening.

Look For the Family/Special Needs Lane

If you need help at the checkpoint, look for the Family/Special Needs lane. It features screening equipment that can accommodate larger items, like car seats and strollers, and screening officers who offer additional assistance.

Have Your Boarding Passes Ready

Remember to have all family members’ boarding passes ready for inspection.

Looking For More Information?

If you have more questions about the screening process,  you can find answers online at catsa.gc.ca, on the go with CATSA’s mobile app or on social media via Twitter or Pinterest). You can also watch short info videos, like the one below, on CATSA’s YouTube channel. Bon voyage!

 

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Fuji Instax SP-2 & The Changing Meaning of Capturing Memories

We’ve both loved cameras and taking photos since we were young. Back then though, we took photos, had them developed and kept them because they meant something. They brought to life, in some tangible way, the memory of people, places and things we loved. We kept them and cherished them but they have become as much of a memory of the past as the images themselves.

Past Photos, Presently Forgotten

old black and white photos

The two of us have a different experience with photos and our families. On one side there is an overabundance of photo albums (seriously, it’s a bit ridiculous) and a desire to document, record and treasure the events and people in our lives. On the other there is a more moderate approach with important photos of loved ones decorating the walls and fewer albums at the ready. Both of us have found a strong link to our past through these photos and a disparate situation in the present when it comes to how we capture and preserve our memories and experiences.

Sure we’ve got a whole lot of photos… and we mean A LOT. We’ve got terabytes worth of photos stored actually. Digital storage – the photo albums of the modern world… except, it’s not really a photo album, is it?

We probably see a tiny fraction of these photos ever again and we’re almost desensitized to the feelings of nostalgia they create should we decide to flick through the endless quantities we’ve amassed.

And we know we’re not alone.

Log onto any social media platform, snoop through anyone’s phone or just ask how many people need to store their photos online with a third-party. Photos are plentiful in the digital universe.

All this accessible photography makes it seem as though the way we collect memories and photos today is emotionless and sterile and seemingly lacking a human component. We post on Instagram for likes, we share on Facebook with a simple ‘post and forget’ attitude. We experience the world behind a lens, behind a phone, behind a screen. Wherever you are in the world, whether at home or abroad, we often have experiences that are void of a true connection.

The goal is to snap a photo, but to what end?

Capturing More Than Pictures

Instax SP-2 Printing Time

That’s why when we heard about the Fuji Instax, and had the opportunity to try it out thanks to FujiFilm, we were absolutely ecstatic. After trying it out, and having a ton of fun while we did, we’re upset we didn’t get in on the action when Fuji released their first Instax printer.

Here, finally, is a way to preserve those memories and digital photos in a tangible and enjoyable way. A way to bring that enthusiasm and connection back to the moments in our lives we choose to document, capture and preserve. Here, is a way to bring back what a photo used to represent – a connection to the past, a cherishing of memories and a joy of all things photography.

We’ve already written our review of the Fuji Instax SP-2 Printer but what it comes down to for us is not just how easy the app is to use (and it’s pretty darn user friendly) or how quickly we can print a photo (10 seconds to be exact) but how the printer has given us back something we didn’t acknowledge we had lost – the ability to bring back meaning to the way we capture our memories and a way to keep them visible and tangible in our minds and hearts.

Disclosure: I am participating in the FujiFilm campaign managed by SJ Consulting. I received compensation in exchange for my participation in this campaign. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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The Best Way To Save On Travel – Fare Comparison

If there’s something we’ve learned to do throughout all of our travels, it’s to find ways to save money when possible. With the abundance of costs to take into consideration, the price of a trip can add up quickly. There are meals to buy, and snacks if you are feeling hungry in between. There are accommodation costs and entrance fees to attractions. Then there is the transportation cost to and from a destination, as well as within. The amount of money you can spend on travel is endless but if you’re savvy enough, you can find some great ways to save. With extra money you can put it back in the bank or put it towards other aspects of the trip you may want to spend more on (we usually up our food game… but that’s just us)!

Since one of the biggest expenses of a trip is usually transportation to and from a destination, it’s no surprise we often focus our money saving energy here. What is the key to our travel savings for transportation? Comparing fares. Now it may sound like a no-brainer, something most people do anyway, but to actually find the best deals and maximize on the savings requires extensive time researching and calculating costs. You’ve got to price out each airline and option and figure out which offers the best deal with the best itinerary and you can spend hours doing so… or it can be as simple as knowing some very effective online tools and cutting the time and energy required to find great deals, drastically.

Creating Travel Memories Without The Huge Bills

Keep reading to find out how liligo.com wants to help you make the best travel memories by offering a chance to win one of 15 Insta360 cameras OR a Mavic Pro Drone!

luggage

For us, we absolutely love it when we find a fantastic fare comparison website and that’s why we got excited when we learned about liligo.com a travel comparison search engine AND app that offers features that are hugely helpful for finding the best prices when researching transportation. It is estimated that using comparison websites saves approximately $6.7 billion dollars for travelers every year and we’re not surprised. It is amazing how much difference you can find between airlines, itineraries and dates when you take a deeper look and using a website that consolidates all this information for you is priceless. You can spend the time you’d normally use to research, getting excited and preparing for the actual trip.

With 2017 right around the corner, it’s a perfect time for making travel plans for the New Year and it only makes sense you’ll want to find the right fit for your next trips. With our love of comparing prices, having all the options laid out is why we like liligo.com so much – it is unique and unlike other sites as it doesn’t only compare flights, it also compares buses, trains and car offers at the same time leaving you to choose which method is the best for you in price and style. Being able to see all possibilities allows you to focus on the travel memories you want to create rather than the planning process itself.

liligo.com Features To Know When Planning 2017 Travelnighttime airplane

Since the best way to save on travel and create amazing memories is using fare comparison to find the best options, we wanted to introduce you to liligo.comand show you some of the features that we love and think will greatly help in your effort to fit to your own budget and get the most out of your next trips!

Alternate Modes of Transportation To Compare

This is something incredibly unique and a feature we can’t get enough of. Since it is the only free travel comparison site that allows you to search and compare a whole host of travel options it makes it a great choice for those who are flexible enough to choose whichever mode – train, plane, bus or rental car – proves the best for cost and time.

In fact, much of our travels through the US could have greatly benefited from the comparisons found as often times a flight just doesn’t make sense in terms of budget or distance. Being able to compare it all is a huge help when deciding on how you are going to get from one destination to another.

Saving Money On Spontaneous Tripsspontaneous trips map

If you know us, you know we tend to be spontaneous with our travel plans and often play roulette when it comes to where we go next. It’s because of this that the “Where To Go” feature is hugely appealing. By using this section on the site, you are able to find the destinations that you can travel to, within the budget you desire for the dates you are looking to travel. It is a fantastic way to decide on a destination and can be a great way to create some interesting memories should you decide to have some fun with it – why not pick the first place you see, or the destination with the lowest fare, or even close your eyes and point? Even if you’re not into being quite so spontaneous, it’s still a great way to determine where to go for a trip!

The Android App

Having an app at the ready is always something we appreciate as we’re always on the go and this app makes it super easy to compare options no matter where we are. What we also really like is the added feature called “Sweet Spot” which helps you find the, well, sweet spot between the quickest and cheapest form of transportation. It really helps narrow down the options and find the ideal journey for you!

Putting It All Together

With all this talk about how to save money and how to find the best travel options, you’re probably ready to start checking it out and taking a look at all the features we just mentioned. We don’t blame you! It’s amazing how much the planning process of a trip can set the tone for the experience itself and having ways to cut down on the stress and hassle of it all is always great!

liligo.com Sweepstakes!liligo.com sweepstakes

Getting excited for travel in 2017? Not only can you find the best price and travel options for your trips they also want to help make those travel memories amazing by offering you a chance to win one of 15 Insta360 cameras or a Mavic Pro Drone! Definitely some must-have items for your 2017 travels!

The sweepstakes can be entered multiple times so be sure to start entering early!

The sweepstakes is open to all US residents and will close on December 26th, 5pm EST.

To participate, click here – good luck!!

 


Disclaimer: The sweepstakes is run through liligo.com and we are in no way responsible for the management of the sweepstakes, the selection of winners or prize distribution.

ALWAYS be sure to do your research whenever booking for travel – know the reputation of the airlines, hotels and companies you are travelling with/to and the booking agents and sites you use to book. Reviews are hugely helpful and can help navigate you towards reliable and trustworthy brands and companies. 


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Bringing Photos To Life With The Fujifilm Instax SP-2

Why The Fuji Instax SP-2 Has Topped Our Must-Have Gift List

It’s the holiday season and there isn’t a better time to think about creating, and capturing, wonderful memories. It’s what the season is all about. Add to that a strong gift-giving component and you’ll find the Instax SP-2 pretty much screams “the perfect gift” for this time of year. It’s with this printer that people can make tangible, those memories locked away on cameras, phones and memory cards and preserve them in a very real way.

It’s now become a piece of our travel story as well. We’ve created a collage with Instax photos of some of our favourite moments: dancing on the Swarovski stairs of a cruise ship in the Caribbean, meeting up with a friend in Germany after not seeing her for a year, making ‘snowballs’ of sand while on a beach in Thailand in the middle of December. All of these most likely to have lived out their lives on a timeline on social media channels and in a folder on the computer to be brought up when the memory struck or when we accidentally passed it by. Now, we’ve been able to take those important and happy memories, print the moment we’ve captured and be reminded of them often.

Instax SP-2 Printer REview

The printer also brings back something we seem to have lost somewhere amidst this whirlwind of technological advancement – the joy and wonder of photos. Sure a smile blooms on our faces when we sort through the photos on our phone to choose which one to print, it makes us happy to see those images, but when you click print and watch as the photo comes out of the printer and then get to stare in fascination as the picture materializes on the film before you, the level of excitement and joy is taken to new levels. This is what was meant to be experienced when George Eastman strove to make the camera accessible to the masses. It’s the exhilaration of taking an instance in your life that you feel is valuable and preserving it for all time that the Instax SP-2 offers and it’s that exhilaration that is ultimately the gift you are giving.

As George Eastman said:

“Photography is thus brought within reach of every human being who desires to preserve a record of what he sees and enables the fortunate possessor to go back by the light of his own fireside to scenes which would otherwise fade from memory and be lost.”

Instax SHARE SP-2 Printer & Features

We are a bit obsessed with the Instax SHARE SP-2 and haven’t stopped printing photos since we got it, but not only does it bring us joy to use, it is also a pretty fantastic product on the whole.

Instax Share SP-2 Printer REview

The Printer

The printer itself is lightweight, sleek and compact. Not only is it easy to handle and can sit pretty much anywhere you want it to, it’s also extremely easy to pack up and travel with. Between the printer, the film and the charging cord, you’ll hardly be using up any space and it will allow you to print and share photos with whomever you meet, wherever you go.

reprint on INstax SP-2

The reprint button on the printer itself is also great for this, as you can print multiple copies of a photo to share with however many people you need without having to resend a photo to the printer. There’s also an easy to see power light and lights to notify you of battery levels. The style of the printer itself is classy and modern and with two different colours to choose from- gold or silver – you can coordinate with your decor, tech gear or anything you want!

Instax Power and battery lights

The printer uses WiFi connectivity to connect to your phone which is turned on at the same time the printer is. This provides a seamless and easy way to transfer the photos you want directly to the Instax Sp-2 where it will immediately be printed. Quick and easy.

The Film

Back in the day, a camera required you to shoot a whole roll of film. Taking this roll to be developed meant you’d pay for the whole gamut and hope for the best in terms of what you got and how good the shots were. Printing photos on your computer printer usually means full-size paper, glossy if you want a nice look, and a whole lot of ink that really doesn’t ever sit right no matter the paper used.

How to load film for Instax SP-2

With the Instax, you can choose what photo you’ve taken to develop and it prints on film – it’s a wonderful modern way to capture and share a photo, easily and attractively. All you have to do is press a button on the printer to open a door in the back, pop in the film (be careful to only open it for the loading as opening it with unused film still inside will expose them and render them useless) and you’re ready to print. One of our favourite parts of the whole process is choosing a photo, watching the film print and then waiting for the image to fully develop!

The film can also be purchased with a variety of different themes in addition to the familiar white border. For instance, since it’s the holiday season, we’ve got some holiday themed film that really makes our photos fun!

If you’re really up for some spontaneous photo taking, the Fuji Mini 8 will give you all the excitement of snapping and printing a photo in the moment and the surprise of seeing what results!

The App

We knew as soon as we downloaded the app that we would like using the printer – it was easy to download and easy to use which is something we value on any additional app we put on our phones.

The first thing we noticed was that there weren’t (and still haven’t been) any issues connecting the phone to the printer through WiFi. It’s a strong connection that hasn’t failed which is a huge positive for us as we’re used to signals dropping regularly from products and WiFi providers.

Instax Share App

The app is also easy to navigate and very user friendly. On the main screen, you’ll see very clearly all the options you have – select a photo from your gallery, take a new photo, edit settings, etc. It allows you to follow through the process naturally and we’ve yet to find any issues or have any confusion result due to the app.

The capabilities of the app are amazing which brings us to the photo editing possibilities of the SP-2,

Photo Editing Abilities

This is one thing we absolutely love about the printer and the app. Not only are you able to print out already edited photos, you can also do some editing and filtering straight from the app itself and get pretty creative with what you are printing.

The template options are great with different collage layouts to choose from that are easy to edit and select. There’s also some unique features like the Limited template which creates limited edition style prints with title, caption and the number designation (1 of 3, 2 of 3, etc). If you’re looking to create something for a special occasion but don’t have corresponding film for it, you can select a seasonal design for various holidays and events and add a little extra to the photo! There’s one feature we’ve yet to use but are excited to do so – the split image option where you can take one image and create two halves – it looks really neat and there are so many landscape shots that would look fantastic in our collage as two parts!

 screenshot_2016-12-08-14-31-29screenshot_2016-12-08-14-53-24  screenshot_2016-12-08-14-52-17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since much of our photo sharing occurs online on social media platforms, having the ability to pull photos directly from those channels would be fantastic… and it’s possible with the Instax SP-2. You can easily print Facebook or Instagram photos with a corresponding caption, date stamp and even likes! Although sometimes spontaneity and originality is desired and so a real time feature enables you to capture a photo through the app and print immediately with the date, location. weather and temperature details right on the photo – there’ll only ever be one like it and we are already thinking of how many cool destinations we can date stamp our visit with using this feature.

SNS Instax SHARE SP-2

If you’re looking to keep things as they are but would like to filter for colour, you also have the option of choosing between colour, black and white or sepia filters. We usually shoot and share colour photos but there’s something to be said for the emotion a good black and white photo can evoke.

filters on Instax SP-2

Though many people edit photos on their phone or computer and have them already fixed before they sstore it, the SHARE app allows you some editing capabilities whether it’s your first round or just a final tweak.  We found we could easily change brightness, contrast and saturation or just allow the app to do it for us with the Intelligence Filter.

screenshot_2016-12-08-14-51-30  screenshot_2016-12-08-14-51-21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Quality

This is something that really surprised us. We remember back in the day when instant photos had a faded and duller appearance to them. Not the case with the Instax Sp-2. The photos are clear and crisp, the colours are bright and vibrant and with the editing on the app, nevermind on your own, the images are quite stellar.

Image quality of the Instax Sp-2

Within seconds the image can be seen on the film and it doesn’t take long for the full picture to be visible and, if in colour, bright. It’s fantastic quality and really impressive when compared to the images on your phone screen as the resolution of the photos is great.

Battery

The battery is not only rechargeable, it lasts a long time. We mean really long. We’ve printed out a ton of photos already and haven’t yet needed to recharge it.

Instax SP-2 Battery Charging

According to the product specs, we shouldn’t need to do so until we’ve printed roughly 100 photos! That’s quite a lot of power and with lights on the front display to indicate battery levels, it’s got everything you need to keep it primed and ready to print.

Printing & Developing Time

It is amazing how fast the printing takes. Roughly 10 seconds by our count. That’s 10 seconds from the time you send the photo to the printer to the time it finishes printing and it’s also 10 seconds you get to experience that exhilaration and joy we were mentioning before.

Instax SP-2 Printing Time

Once it’s printed you can almost immediately start to see the image developing on the film. It’s not much longer after this that a full image is displayed and within a minute or so, you’ll have a strongly developed, clear photo to save or share.

Travelling & Sharing With The Instax SP-2

Though we’ve been using the printer to bring back to life our old photos, we can definitely see ourselves travelling with it too. It may sound strange as we’re not ones to overpack, but even in our 13 months of straight travel we can think back on times we wish we had this printer with us. Friends we’ve met along the way would have been perfect recipients of these photos and it would have been a wonderful piece of ourselves and our time with them to leave behind. Then too, there are those random encounters and connections made that have not extended to a long-term friendship, like people we’ve met in more secluded areas of the world. Having something tangible to offer them in memory of that moment of friendship forged would have been lovely.

Though it may not be feasible to bring along with us for all trips, we’re certain this printer is going to be a huge part of how we save and share memories and moments at home and abroad. It’s compact, light and rechargeable and it’s an addition to our tech equipment and gear that connects us more deeply with the experiences we have and the memories we cherish.

instax sp-2 printer with photos

The Instax SP-2 is not only a fantastic gift idea for the holidays, it’s a great gift idea anytime of the year and is something we’d recommend as a purchase for anyone looking to do more with their photos than store them away to get “dusty” in whatever online storage they’ve purchased. It’s easy and fun, it’s personal and interactive and it’s a way to get creative with the moments you capture.

Fuji talks about creating “a photo renaissance that reintroduces the joy of photography in all aspects of peoples’ lives”, and with products like the Instax SP-2, we can see that it promises to be a modern movement – one that is part revival of the past and part original creations of the present – to increase the enjoyment of photography. One we’re only happy to be a part of!

Disclosure: I am participating in the FujiFilm campaign managed by SJ Consulting. I received compensation in exchange for my participation in this campaign. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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7 of the Most Beautiful Coastal Towns in Maine

By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective
It’s easy to see that Maine has an incredibly beautiful coastline. It’s not as easy to decide which city along that coastline to visit. That’s because there are so many viable options where you’ll find great food, cozy inns and unforgettable scenery. It makes it difficult to choose just one of the beautiful towns in Maine.

Beautiful Towns in Maine To Visit

The following are just seven of the candidates to put on your short list before you decide where to take your next vacation.

Bar Harbor

bar harbor maine

Bar Harbor has more than just a beach. It sits at the base of Acadia National Park, which woos hikers with its granite peaks and bikers who want to ride down the old carriage roads.

The area trails can also take you to coastal overlooks, although you might want to hit up the sandy beaches, too.

Camden

Welcome to your next vacation spot, sailors. Camden, Maine, sits on Penobscot Bay, from which you and your sailing crew can take off and into the picturesque waters. It really is beautiful here: the locals even call it the “Jewel of the Coast.”

Speaking of locals, less than 5,000 people call Camden home. Clearly, that means you can expect a homey, cozy experience on your trip.

Kennebunkport

beautiful coastal towns in maine

Any presidential history buff will know that the Bush family has made Kennebunkport their go-to vacation spot: they have their very own holiday compound, which tourists sometimes go to see on their trips to the area.

Of course, a former President has to have good taste in locations for his vacations — who needs relaxation more than a former commander-in-chief? The slow-paced town will definitely ease you into a similar state of serenity, as will the quirky shops, museums and clams. If you need a bit more excitement, hop onto a lobster-trapping or dolphin-watching tour.

Cutler

Bird watching will get a whole lot cuter if you choose to book your trip to Cutler. That’s because the area is home to an adorable puffin community that takes to the water and perches on the coastline’s grey rocks. All members of your family will be charmed by the little guys, we promise.

Of course, there’s more to a holiday than just a bird-watching expedition. Cutler has its beautiful coastline and quaint lighthouse, of course, but it also comes with a promise of tourist trap-free shopping and dining. Really, there aren’t any souvenir shops in this tiny town.

Portland

portland maine beautiful towns in maine

Most coastal towns appeal to tourists in the summer, but not Portland: most locals will tell you that the best time to visit is fall, when the changing leaves paint the seaside in burnt oranges, fiery reds and golden yellows.

Of course, any season will show you the warm hospitality for which Portland is famous. The locals strive to be as friendly and welcoming to tourists as they are to each other, a vibe you won’t soon forget after you head home from your holiday.

Rockport

Here’s another of Maine’s coastal cities that’s rumored to be the most beautiful — even though it’s clearly impossible to decide. And, like many others on this list, it offers surf and turf, at least as far as activities go.

You can traipse through the Rockport Marine Park — or lie on the sandy beach there, of course. The Beech Hill Reserve offers stunning views, too. And then, there’s the bay, which is ripe for kayaking trips, which local tour companies lead.

Castine 

lighthouse in coastal maine

Castine is so beautiful that it’s been a destination for artists for decades. They come to paint a piece of that classic New England scenery — exactly what you seek on your trip, too. Along with like-a-painting views, you’ll find a bit of history at the Fort George and Fort Madison State Parks.

You can also check out a sandy-hued lighthouse, a local art gallery and, of course, an incredibly quaint Main Street.

 

You won’t find any hustle-and-bustle along the coast of Maine. You won’t find clubs or fancy restaurants or beach cabanas where you’re served fancy cocktails.

What you will find, no matter where you go, is a wealth of natural beauty. The beaches, parks, mountains and wildlife will be just as striking. And, with your loved ones along for the trip, you’ll realize you don’t need more than what’s right in front of you in any one of these seven towns.  


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. You can follow her on Twitter and Pinterest!


 

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