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7 steps to starting your travels

Starting a trip can be pretty daunting. Not sure where to start, where to look first, what to book.

I get tons of questions from first time travelers or even just people unsure on where to start when booking the next big trip.

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I am going to make it short, sweet and simple.

Here are my 7 steps to getting that trip sorted.

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My first week in Bangkok

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Research & decide.

Where is it you want to go? What do you really want to see and do? Looking to work or just explore?

There are so many fabulous destinations and I know the feeling of wanting to go to them all, nevertheless, find out the places that fit your personal criteria and make a decision on where you will be going.

Maybe it’s exploring the wildlife in Africa, Interrailing around Europe or backpacking India. Driving around Vietnam, Camping in Australia or even skiing in Canada, the decision is yours.

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Find out if you need to apply for a visa or need to apply/pay for any entry requirments. Depending on where you are from and how long you want to stay in a country, there may be various costs. Take into consideration the time of year and weather seasons and conditions and current affairs around the world.

Book a flight

The first big step you should take is getting that first flight booked. This will really trigger the excitment and reality of you pursuing the trip.

Flights can be pretty pricey but once this is out the way, just focus on living costs/ spending money for the trip. I normally only book a flight and leave the rest for once I arrive.

Get saving

This is where you need to be strict. Start cutting down on unnecessary spending, think about the amount of money you are going to need. I never sacrificed too much to travel, I still wanted to live my life and do certain things however I barely drink, don’t buy myself new clothes and shoes and despite a rich life in the places I go and the people I meet, my outgoings are minimal. It’s all priorities, you just need to decide on yours.

If you know you are leaving to travel, you don’t need to be buying new shoes and clothes. Cut down the booze and put the money towards your trip.

I normally try and set a goal each month of how much I try and put away depending on my income. Work hard, play harder type thing..

Groups. Blogs. Pages.

If you are wanting to find out more about the places you are going too, If you’re traveling solo and want to chat to a few people, even if you want to read other peoples journeys, join the facebook groups and pages, read peoples blogs, just like you’re doing now! They are here to help.

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Vaccinations/Injections

Depending on the countries you’ll be visiting, you may need vaccinations. It can get pricey but check what you can get any on your local healthcare. For Asia I needed a Hep A booster, Rabies jab, Enchafilatus and Malaria tablets (Which I never even took). This did unfortunatley take a chunk out my travel funds including basic first aid bits.

Detatch yourself

If you really want that sense of freedom, you really want to get lost in the that real travel vibe, detach yourself from a lot of things. Slower the better but get rid of that phone contract, don’t have constant outgoings with the bank. Don’t attatch yourself to un-needed contracts, or even relationships. Be prepared to not have too many contracts or unnecesary bits. Certain friendships will fade and certain feelings may fizzle out, this is totally normal.

I ended my phone contract as soon as I could and stopped any direct debits for whatever I had.

Final preparations

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This is it. We are getting close now. Checked your healthcare, got any prescriptions, any visas needed beforehand? Got any copies of passports, important information? Got your camera sorted, currency changed? Any perticular equiptment you may need?

Think about the last people you need to catch up with, the last places you want to eat out and don’t hesitate to do everything you know you will miss.

Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

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Behind my top 16 favourite Instagram snaps – Thailand

I recently spent two months backpacking solo through Thailand before carrying on around South East Asia.

Probably more of a personal post, the kind of thing I can look back on. I wanted to share a little behind what you see on my fave photos.

All taken anytime between 27th November 2015 – to 25th January 2016.

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A hammock on the tip of the mountain. Time to hang out after the climb up! #kotao #travel #gopro #freedomviewpoint

A hammock on the tip of the mountain. Time to hang out after the climb up! #kotao #travel #gopro #freedomviewpoint

Ko Tao. Freedom viewpoint. Over the last few days before this photo was taken, I had met an awesome group of lads and ended up spending loads of time together. It was my last final day and we decided to go on an adventure. A hot and humid day, we finally all got ready and headed for breakfast. Waffles, coffee, full english, smoothies, pancakes, tea and more, it felt like something out of friends. We all had our own mopeds and a full day to explore.

This photo was taken early evening after it had rained that morning. We climbed up a pretty dangerous rock climb to finally reach the top.  What an incredible view it was and was totally worth it, but I defiantley had to relax in the hammock before treking down. On the complete tip of the mountain with the most sensational view of Ko Tao. Taken with my GoPro.

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Cat Cafe. Bangkok. Thailand. Oh my god, I was only a few days in my trip and I heard about the cat cafes around Bangkok. I posted on the Thailand backpackers facebook page to see if anyone wanted to go.

I soon had a few responses and a guy from England came with my for the afternoon! There was all different shapes, sizes and breeds of Cat. We drank coffee, ate cake and sat playing with cats. The whole enviroment was pretty clean for Asia and a great place for the cats! The staff were all so lovely, the coffee was good and the experiance was defiantely something new! Click here to read more about my time at the Cat Cafe!

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Sunset, smoke, smoothie

Sunset, smoke, smoothie

Koh Phangan. South of Thailand. What an unforgettabe place. A drive and a little climb up this jungle reggae bar is so worth it. Everyone chilling out with the perfect view for the sunset on the ocean, selling smoothies, food, weed and playing the best tunes. This was taken watching the sunset with friends from Australia and America I had met in my hostel. Smoothie ordered, joint bought pre rolled and perfectly done before spending the whole evening chilling with this view. Eventually the stars all came out and covered the entire sky, it was such a magical experiance. Also taken on my GoPro!

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No presents under my tree but happiest I've been #feelingthankful ☀️✈️

No presents under my tree but happiest I’ve been #feelingthankful ☀️✈️

Phi Phi. South of Thailand.
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laughs* Oh dear. This photo was taken just before I got carried out by sea to open water and pretty much got stranded. I was in Phi Phi over Christmas. As a huge sunset fan and a secret mermaid I had to go watch the sunset from the middle of the ocean but one problem. No one seemed to want to join so being the silly adventurer I think I am, I decided to go alone. This wasnt my best idea. Paddling out on my own watching the world go by I realise I had drited out and it was getting dark. The current was stronger out in open water and didnt seem to be getting anywhere. I luckily managed to paddle to a tiny little beach next to a lagoon around the island where a couple thankfully had a water taxi coming to collect them shortly. I managed to catch a lift back ruining one of the couplies most romantic moments. Ooops. I managed to take this on my GoPro holding a floater.

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Got sent this that someone took of me without realising. That was one sunset

Got sent this that someone took of me without realising. That was one sunset

Phi Phi. Thailand.
This is definatley one of my favourites! I had no idea my friend Dave was taking this. There is nothing fake about this photo and yes this is me! I went on a boat trip that day with a few other backpackers. It involved one speed boat, two paddle boards, beers, weed, food, snorkeling, swimming, visiting lagoons and of course watching the sunset. The ocean was warm and still and the sky was magical. This moment was unforgetable. A few days after Christmas finishing living my life on the beaches on Thailand.

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Wish I was a mermaid. Floating in the sea watching the sun go down #perfect #Thailand #sunset

Wish I was a mermaid. Floating in the sea watching the sun go down #perfect #Thailand #sunset

Phi Phi. Thailand. Another shot from watching the sunset from the paddle board. I remember feeling so alive and real. It like a moment I could have only dreamt of. It was so calm and warm, the sky was so colourful reflecting on the water. Just an average evening in Thailand.

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Canyon at sunset #pai #thailand #gopro #travel

Canyon at sunset #pai #thailand #gopro #travel

Pai. North of Thailand. Pai was and still is my favourite place in Thailand. There is so much to do and see with the best vibes. Maybe missing the beach but situated up in the mountains, a small village with the most unbeliavable surroundings! We ventured on our motobikes to find Pai Canyon for sunset. The place was huge and the whole evening was golden. It was such a breaktaking view over the moutains. This was also taken on my GoPro Hero.

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Koh Phangan. What a day this was. I volunteered at the Phangan Animal Sanctuary with no idea what to expect. Not only was I blown away by the incredible staff working endlessy to help the stray animals on the island and the talented vets from around the world who also came to volunteer but the progress of the animals. This gorgeous little doggy was totally blind but nothing seemed to bother him. He wanted to be loved and cared and got on with his day slowly walking around waiting to be fed and washed. He is currently undergoing treatment for his fur to grow back and making massive improvements. Such a beautiful organization helping the stray animals on Koh Phangan!

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Climbed the waterfalls, smoked a J, drank a beer, slided down the waterfalls with the locals.

Climbed the waterfalls, smoked a J, drank a beer, slided down the waterfalls with the locals.

Pai. Thailand. Ah this is an interesting one. We drove to go and explore a waterfall we could swim in with two Hawaiin brothers I had met in Chiang Mai. The water was cold but fresh and not many people wanted to really swim. We walked further up and back and found a group of local guys smoking a joint with a few beers. We simply joined them. How funky do they look? They spoke little English but we still managed to have a laugh.

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Everything I could have asked for #chiangmai

Everything I could have asked for #chiangmai

Chiang Mai. North Thailand What an amazing day. One I will never forget. Up high in the jungle of North Thailand lay a local home with a family of elephants. They held two treks a day, one in the morning and one at night. There were no chains, bats, chains, abuse or toture in any many. The love and respect the staff gave not only us but the elephants. The care they gave the animals was amazing. We got to meet our elephant, including a baby of one of the mommas who came with. I went with a family of 3 hawaiin guys from my hostel. We had met the previous few days.

We got to meet, bathe, play and learn to walk ontop of the giant animal. The local male owners walked along with us to make sure everything was okay and help quide the elephants. There was no harm in any of this, inlcuding feeding them hundreds of bananas!

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Today I got blessed by a monk. ie, he splashed me in the face with water and gave me a friendship bracelet. Interesting!

Today I got blessed by a monk. ie, he splashed me in the face with water and gave me a friendship bracelet. Interesting!

Koh Samui. South Thailand. It was coming to end of the two months I had spent in Thailand and I was gutted. I had hired a moped for my time on Koh Samui which is highly recomended! I met a guy who fancied doing some exploring. We went to visit the big buddha temple where I go blessed by a monk. He gave me a bracelet and splashed me with water. I think he thought me and my friends where together as he tried blessing us together like some engagment buisness. Who knows, maybe I got engaged.

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I'm now a qualified open water diver I can now dive anywhere in the world up to 18 metres. Excited to now explore the fascinating world down under #diver #ocean #scubadive

I’m now a qualified open water diver I can now dive anywhere in the world up to 18 metres. Excited to now explore the fascinating world down under #diver #ocean #scubadive

Koh Tao. South Thailand. Ah I did it! I learnt to dive and it was totally awesome! Something difficult to explain to others who have never been down in the ocean like that but such a phenomal experiance. This was the day before I passed, currently in between two very early morning dives with my buddy and insructor. It was only about 10am here and I had been out into the middle of the ocean with a 51 minute dive going down to 18m. I was totally in love with the whole experiance despite the 5am starts! My buddy took this photo on my phone as we were not allowed to take photos while diving.

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6am dives. #ocean #kotao #morning #diving #gopro

6am dives. #ocean #kotao #morning #diving #gopro

Another shot from diving. It has just gone 6.30am and we were the first ones out in sea that morning. It was little chilly as the sun was coming up but the ocean was almost completletly flat. It smelt so fresh and looked so calm, crazy knowing what else is going on below the ocean!

I felt so calm and ready for a full day of diving!

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Beach. Sun. Sea. Sand. Jungle. Nature. What a beautiful sunset on such a fabulous & crazy island! #kohphangan

Beach. Sun. Sea. Sand. Jungle. Nature. What a beautiful sunset on such a fabulous & crazy island! #kohphangan

Koh  Phangan. South Thailand. *sighs* What a day. I had volunteered at the Phangan Animal Sanctuary. It was such a beautiful and crazy day leaving me feeling massively emotional. I was driving back to my hostel during the sunset and felt a little weak from my emotions and the fact I had not eaten all day. I was tired and hungry and had to stop and watch the sunset. I had no idea where I really was but it was stunning. A little local buisness by the side of the road with this beautiful sunset. I remember facetiming my Dad to chat. He always makes me feel a millions times better and is a huge part of my life whever I may be in the world. This was taken on a GoPro Hero 3+.

 

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Who needs adults #hotsprings #thailand #pai #water #swim #nature

Who needs adults #hotsprings #thailand #pai #water #swim #nature

Finally managing to find this place after driving way out of Pai for hours. We got completly confused by the map and where the hot springs we were looking for actually were. Exploring with a german guy who was in my hostel room, we finally found the place as we had given up and drove back. As we drove back past here my gut told me to check it out. It had been the place we wanted all along, only 10 minutes from the centre of Pai! I managed to haggle the price for half the normal and enjoyed the last hour and half they were open. Some where so hot and it was magical. It was around 5pm I made friends with some local thai children from the village. They didnt speak a word of enlglish but they still knew how to climb on me and pose for a selfie or two!

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#gopro #slipnfly #goproworld #thailand #goprogirl #slide #flying

#gopro #slipnfly #goproworld #thailand #goprogirl #slide #flying

Koh Phangan. South Thailand. I had to post this on here, purely for my own satisfaction. It was the last day of 2015 and I was in Koh Phangan, famous for the Full Moon parties.

I had heard of a place out in the jungle with two huge slides! Recently meeting three guys from Birmingham we all drove here around lunch time for a full day of slipping and slidding.

I got straight into it literally launching myself in the air. I managed to get an awesome video of me throwing myself around and this was actually a screen crab from the video! It was taken on  GoPro which was really tough as I was sliding down exstremly fast. It was a little rainy and cold that day but we had such a blast before getting ready for the Full Moon party on  Haad Rin beach!

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Why I blog.

Why do you do this? What’s it for? What do you get for it?

No I don’t get paid. Yes I love it. I don’t have to do it and I gain a lot from it. simple.

It’s more a question of, why wouldn’t I blog?

 

It all started when a very good group of friends mentioned starting a blog one evening and decided to look into. Now here I am.

Getting paid.

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Number one. I think I can speak for a lot of travel bloggers out there but it doesn’t really start like that. I’m not in the mindset with the ambition to get paid for this, however it would be utterly fabulous to have a career from it or even be able to earn some pocket money, however it’s not why I do it.

I write for myself.

It started when I was receiving a volume of questions about where I travelled and how. I was one of the few people in my area who flew off to work a season at 18 and I guess it stemmed from there.

 

One of the biggest reasons is purely for my own satisfaction.

I love being able to write and then take a step back and look at what i’ve done. I am able to view my stories and experiences in a different way. It’s like a little reminder of what i’ve been doing. I can piece it all back together in such a lovely way and its an easy way to share my stories.

It allows me to document my travels, easily share with friends and family and whoever else is interested. Think of it almost like a travel diary.

There is a huge bloggers, backpackers and travel comunity out there! From forums, groups, meetings all over the world. It’s so fun to be part of this awesome community which helps me understand more about traveling the world in all sorts of ways.

Time consuming.

It did surprise me how much time it took to do everything. From the writing to the coding, the format, the promotion of the site etc! It all takes time and effort and I can now see why successful bloggers get a lot of help! Thank you to my lovely friend Chris for all the help for my site!!

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I feel as though it’s quite a positive way or socialising, connecting with a passion of mine. I try and remain a very positive person and will do my best to never put any negativity on other people. I find I don’t portray my life in a bad way despite on what may go on. Again, this is a positive blog on real life travelling from myself.

A fishhhhhh

A fishhhhhh

My aim is for this blog to help me understand more about travel, the world and me as a person. To also connect better with other backpackers and travelers all over the world with the same passion we all share. My biggest aim is to show, help and explain how easy traveling can be. Many thoughts and perceptions of this planet and backpacking, hostel living, modes of transport and affordability are wrong.

Despite this remaining a positive blog I will be writing about real life situations and experiances.

Interested in my not so positive experiance. Want to know how I almost died and the ocean almost got me. Click here to read more!

 

Feedback!

One of the most positive and rewarding things I get from the blog is helping others. I’ve had so much incredible feedback about certain blogs that have helped people to book interrail tickets, flights, hostels and just to get up and go travel.

The amount of comments I get in a positive light helping other people with tips, advice and genuine talks of travelling and working abroad has been amazing. Ive had some incredible feedback from all types of people and by the looks of things, already helped people go off and travel. When I receive comments and responses like this, it really makes me want to work harder on the blog and help others.

I learn a lot from other bloggers, my readers and it really helps me see more of what goes on between backpackers and other travellers.

Any feedback is welcome and it means a lot to get responses from friends, family, fellow backpackers and other readers!

Socialise

As those who know me know I’m a huge social buttery. Having lots of different friends is important to me, meeting other people is a huge part of my life.

Blogging is just another great way to socialise. Especially with whatever category you blog about. I have already interacted with some awesome travellers around the world and if it can help me meet others while travelling then why the heck not! Since creating a twitter account, it looks like I might already have some new friends to meet the other side of the world!

Who needs adults #hotsprings #thailand #pai #water #swim #nature

Follow me on Instagram, twitter and Facebook by clicking here! If you are ever in the same city as me, wherever that may be, make sure to give me a shout and grab a beer with me!

Facebook   Instagram   Twitter

Facebook-Instagram-Twitter

 

Having a travel blog has also improved my hurrendous english skills, shown me more in regards to writing, photography, blogging and opened up my knowledge to reviewing, WordPress, social networking and more!

 

I mean who doesn’t want their own site. haha, ok maybe not everyone but who knows where it’ll take me!!

I am determind to put the work into this site and have good hopes for the future!

29*c and lying in a hammock listening to soft jazz, going through all my photos and spending the day blogging. I have a Dalmatian dog to one side and a iced tea thai coffee the other. It's the little things

29*c and lying in a hammock listening to soft jazz, going through all my photos and spending the day blogging. I have a Dalmatian dog to one side and a iced tea thai coffee the other. It’s the little things

 

Like the blog? Make sure to check out Am I scared? Click here.

 

 

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GoPro Hero review

After thinking what I could get, without blowing too much cash, to capture photos & videos a little better than an Iphone, I came across the magnificent world of GoPro.

The last couple of years GoPro has now found it’s way into most travellers backpacks. Known for being a small, easy, wide lense, fast paced action camera, we are all loving it.

With some great promotions and a wide fan based around the world it’s hard to miss the updates in the GoPro world.

I wanted one.

I felt as though I needed one, however, which? I was pretty new to the whole lense crap and megapixles and footage editing malarky.

After research online, which ended up confusing me more,

I ended up going for the GoPro Hero 3+ silver. Price: £230-£270

The Hero 3 is now split into three different colours — starting with the White Edition,the Silver Edition, and with the black edition at the top of the range.

goprohero3plusI felt this was suitable for me. I wasn’t exactly planning on depending my career on these photos and videos. I wasn’t even 100% sure what I was going to be using it for exactly but I knew if I wanted to capture some great footage while travelling. I had to get my hands on one.

This particular model was pretty up to date, the new wifi feature (without remote) and improved lense sitting between the entry-level White and top-of-the-range Black Editions.

So far, I love it! I have been unfortuantley let down by certain feautures however pleasently suprised by others.

So, a little bit about the GoPro Hero 3+ silver..

Details:

  • Pro-Sumer grade low light performance
  • 1080p Video Resolution
  • 11MP Camera
  • Wifi

Click here to shop GoPro Cameras.

What I love about it..

The wide lense is just incredible. It managers to capture everything! If you want a close up of something, you literally have to take the photo directly infront and right up close to the person/object.

Without the waterproof casing the camera is little and light and perfect just to pop in your pocket or bag. The waterproof case adds a little bit of size but still remains pretty small and light for such a camera.

70mph over the Mediterranean ⚓️

70mph over the Mediterranean ⚓️

 

Example Live

Example Live

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The biggest thing I want to highlight for those who don’t know, for this camera and the hero 2 + 3, you cannot see through the lens. Everyone is used to being able to see what photos you’re taking. You don’t really need to know with the GoPro. It will more then likely capture what you need, if anything you need to be even closer to what you think. You just need to play around to know what types of angles to take things as the tiniest change in slant can make a difference in the photo. If you connect the camera to the GoPro app you can see what the camera is taking through the app.

My biggest let down is the battery life and ease of managing memory. battery life photo

The battery is relativley decent but considering this is an action camera with most buyers needing lots of footage at events, day outs and backpacking, I find the battery life was not as good as I expected. Battery can die pretty quickly considering the price and quality of camera. Especially if your wifi button is on and your camera is constantly in use I would say you have about 2.5/3 hours of use.

 

The battery (the same one used for the Hero3) is accessed through the back panel, which is also where you’ll find an input for use with GoPro’s LCD Touch BacPac or Battery BacPac. GoProHero3BlackEditionThe camera’s left side has Micro-HDMI and Mini-USB ports and a microSDXC card slot that supports capacities up to 64GB. There is no 3.5mm audio-in for an external mic, but a Mini-USB-to-3.5mm-audio-in cable is available.

There is no charger included for the camera, just a Mini-USB cable for charging via computer or USB wall adapter if you have one. GoPro offers a two-battery external charger, but again, you’ll need a USB wall adapter or a computer to supply the power. Otherwise, since you’re charging in-camera, you’ll need to plan ahead if you want to carry additional batteries. You’ll also need a microSD card up to 64GB for storage.

 

Managing the memory is a little more difficult then I hoped. You can only delete the last photo or video taken or all of them. Luckily this GoPro has the wifi device, which means I can connect my phone to the camera which is fucking awesome. I can manage a lot more on my phone and see the lense, including deleting whatever I want. The wifi is simple to use, all you need to do is download the GoPro app. I can even manage the camera while the camera is out of my hands. Never the less, this isn’t always possible while jet skiing over the mediterian sea or jumping out of a plane at 5,000 feet.

I get numerous comments on the quality of the camera. I actually do change the colour and contrast before I upload them, sometimes on my phone or instagram just to intensify the colour and shadows.

I don’t know how people travel without them. Beautiful wide lense camera managing to capture the moment perfectly. They are small and easy to use and has some great equipment to buy extra helping you capture the photos and videos suitable for you. The biggest decision is deciding how much money you want to spend on the camera as it can vary on price as they go from £100-£500.

I recommend doing plenty of research and getting one before you travel. Even if you don’t travel these cameras are a great piece of equipment to have!

Mumford and sons. Insane. #leedsfestival #randl2015

Diving-Scuba-Mask-with-GoPro-Hero-3-Mount-0

 

There is so much equiptment you can buy for them, some sillier then others. Some just damn right clever. Click here to view extra equipment you can buy!

I am looking to purchase the wrist strap and selfie stick before I go away. Let me know what you have or what you recommend and comment at the bottom of the page!

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The camera comes in a waterproof housing that goes to depths of 131 feet (40 meters); the Hero3’s dive housing was good to 197 feet (60 meters). If you don’t need the camera to be dust- or waterproof and would like a bit more audio to reach the built-in mono mic, you can swap out the standard backdoor for the skeleton backdoor case.

 

 

I actually think that the camera takes better photos underwater!

GoPro hero 3+. I love you. #water #GoPro #greece

GoPro hero 3+. I love you. #water #GoPro #greece

 

Some of my favourite photos taken by this fabulous little camera

Instagram: leahcolex

I have the best job in the world. @maliaboozecruise

⚓️⛵️ #greece #travel

Venturing into the sea with my GoPro at sunset.

My friend Jordan and I venturing to a quite beach for a swim during sunset.

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Perfect evening in the sun drinking beer, listening to Alt-J live. Loving life #leedsfestival

Like this? Make sure to check out ‘My top 8 travel tips’