I always knew that I wanted traveling to be a staple in my life, so I’ve pushed to make it a part of my business. I try to have a trip planned at least once every 4-6 weeks, no matter how big or small, to ensure that people know that I am interested and able to take on photography work in different countries and cities around the world. I’ve made these trips part of my business expenses, which has thankfully led to more international bookings and clients!
This summer, I’ll be heading to back to Iceland, England, and France, and then visiting Ireland and Belize for the first time ever. I’ll be in Iceland for a small photographer's adventure-type of workshop I put together earlier this year. I’ll be in England and France for an elopement, engagement, and anniversary shoot and finally finishing up in Belize for a beach-y trip with two of my good friends.
I do a lot of low budget traveling so that I can save money where it counts and spend money on the things that matter most to me. This requires lots of hostel stays, which I personally love. I’ve met so many amazing people and made lifelong friends and business relationships through my hostel stays. Because of the dorm-like accommodations, everyone is very social, friendly, and willing to hang out with complete strangers on a whim. Not only this, but hostels usually offer great tips on local activities and fun things, including free walking tours, excursions, and the best food spots.
Whenever I get to a new city, I always try to make the most of whatever kind of cuisine they are known for. If I’m in Greece, I’m going to eat as much seafood as possible; Italy, pig out on pasta; and Thailand...you get the idea. The only time eating local cuisine has ever backfired on me was in Morocco when I got food poisoning on Thanksgiving after eating a small salad.
It’s all about having common sense when it comes to eating locally- don’t eat something that’s washed in the water you can’t drink, don’t eat at a place that looks sketchy, and DO eat as much as you can because you’re traveling! I also love doing at least one or two things in each city that puts me out of my comfort zone- whether it’s a challenging hike, a mountain bike ride, bungee jumping, shark diving- anything that comes recommended by fellow travelers!
I have lost or broken my phone while traveling internationally TWO different times, once about a week before leaving Europe, and the second time about four days into a three week trip around Thailand. So if staying connected to the outside world (aka US friends + family) is important to you, take the following precautions:
If you’re not sure how to use your phone internationally, I generally go one of two directions: 1. depend on WiFi (aka keeping your phone in airplane mode + asking for WiFi passwords at every restaurant) or opt for a SIM card. SIM cards range from $10 for 2GB of data and 60 minutes of calls, to $60 for 6GB of data, unlimited calls, and so on. There are numerous types of plans depending on the country, but I’ve found the average cost for normal usage to be about $25. If I’m staying in a country for more than two weeks, I usually opt for a SIM card just for peace of mind, but I’ll still keep my phone on airplane mode most of my trip to make sure I’m making the most of my travels! If I can give any advice it’s to STAY OFF your phone and take in as much culture, food, activities, and memories as you can! iMessage, Facebook, and Instagram can always wait.
The one thing I want people to know is that traveling ALONE is safe and an incredible experience. It makes you appreciate yourself, your friends, family, nature, the world, EVERYTHING so much more than you had before. New places give you a new perspective on so many things, and experiencing these new places alone allows you and only you to make up your mind on how you feel about it all. It’s a growing experience, both personally and artistically.
Currently, I bring my Airport Commuter Think Tank backpack when traveling. Inside of this, I can fit my 15 inch MacBook Pro, Contax 645 kit, GoPro, Lumix GH4, Nikon D4, Sigma 50 + 35mm lenses, and smaller chargers, memory cards, and film. If I'm shooting a wedding abroad, I opt to bring a bigger suitcase with more lenses, flashes, and batteries.
Thank you, Caitlin!
Caitlin is a US and soon-to-be-Australia-based photographer specializing in commercial lifestyle, portrait, and wedding photography. In just two years, Caitlin has photographed editorials, weddings, and landscapes on six continents and more than 30 countries, including Thailand, Spain, Portugal, South Africa, Japan, and more. She is currently based in Washington, DC, but will be moving to Sydney, Australia before the New Year.
To view more of Caitlin's work, visit her here.
When I was in college, I had a friend who was a professional photographer. The first time I went to her home, I walked in to find stunning photographs of her children on the walls.
There was a huge canvas in their living room and a creative photo display in the main hallway. I remember being so moved by the beauty of those images, thinking to myself, “I want to create images like this!” I bought myself a DSLR as a graduation present, learned photography from online courses and started my photography business about a year later.