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18 helpful tips to traveling alone

Traveling alone is my favourite way to travel. It’s freedom, independancy and courage.

It isn’t for everyone but it’s sure one heck of an experience.

Exploring the Tomb Raider Jungle Temple at Ankor Wat


1.Stay in big mixed dorms

First thing first, they’re always cheaper. Large mixed dorms are normally filled with a diverse load of backpackers. It pushes you to meet other people and an easy way to start a conversation, after all, you are sleeping in the same room.

I find the types of people who book these types of room are more on the same trip as me so it’s great to meet people doing the exact same as you.

Privacy is low and it’s not for everyone but the best way to meet people!

I normally opt for the biggest mixed dorms. There are many places that also provide female rooms.

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Click here to check out what hostels are where! #Hostelworld

2. Make friends

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As daft as that may sound, make genuine friends. I don’t mean small talk and just having company around hostels.

Spend time with people, go out on adventures with others and actually keep in contact. These guys will become some of your closest friends, and sometimes the most helpful. Some of the people you meet are sharing once in a lifetime experiences. These people are important.

3. Do things on your own

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Traveling on your own means you have the freedom to do what the f**k you want. Make the most of it. I enjoy my own company and really don’t mind spending time alone

Spend time doing what you want to do. Trust yourself and learn about yourself.

Magnetic Island / Australia

5km weekly run through the banana paddocks / Queensland

4. Don’t be afraid to tag along

Don’t be too shy to just tag along. There’s millions of times you’ll have to ask and theres so many people in the same boat. Get over it.

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Backpackers are always keen for getting together a good group. There’s other solo travelers looking to hang out together.

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5. Eating alone is absolutely fine

When traveling on your own there will countless times you will eat out alone. Maybe start going out for some lunch by yourself. This is one of my favourite things to do.

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Tons of travelers are out solo. Go places you enjoy. You’ll meet people who enjoy the same thing.

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6. Keep something comforting with you

Have something with you that may remind you of home or have some sort of comforting belonging.

After 9 weeks working and living in the middle of nowhere, We are escaping for the weekend! No normality, tough graft, bush life and basic living, I am free to explore Cairns for the first time! Now for the 4 hour drive back to the real world!! #Travel #Queensland

A pillow, photo, blanket are great. Any belonging is great, aslong as you can travel with it. Sorry guys, your pet probably wont work.

I have Grumpy. My favourite, old, dirty, funny looking Grumpy from Snow white and the seven drwarfs. Anyone who know’s me will know of him. He has traveled over 33 countries with me.

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7. Let someone know where you are

There will be times when you’re on your own, you’ll go off radar a tad. It happens however it’s important to send over details over long journeys, and places you’re staying. Even just keeping up to date with facebook and contacting with family & friends is great for everyones benefit.

8. Self timer is genius

I get so many comments on my photos and I really couldn’t get so many of them if it wasn’t for self timer. I have to grab some of these amazing moments and there isn’t a person in sight.

I use GoPro Hero3+ for my timed images.

Not a fan of them myself but selfie sticks are great to use when on your own. Others don’t mind taking a few photos for you, if you say please of course.

9. Listen to your gut

You have to listen to yourself. This is the time in your life when you can actually learn about yourself. Simple as. Trust yourself, you need too.

10. Stay in sociable hostels

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Pai Circus Hostel / North Thailand

If you need to a push to mingle, head to sociable places. Get ideas of places to stay when talking to other travelers. See what the reviews are. I’m not a massive boozer wanting to go out every night, I prefer chilling in hammocks and jamming any day however they are an ideal place to get chatting. They don’t all mean its constant partying, but give some busier places a go.

Sometimes smaller hostels are easier to meet people as there are less people to approach.

11. Take responsibility

I am not going to sit here and tell you to take responsibility, but I’m going to remind you that you’ll have to make decisions that will carry large responsibility, just for yourself. Things may not be the same then at back home.

12. Tours on your own are fine

I tend to avoid tours when away. A lot of tours are things you can do yourself, that just save the hassle of the research and resources you may need for an extra financial cost. Saying that, there are numerous trips that are totally worth it.

Someone double booked and ended up giving me a day out in Queenlands rainforest, I joined a big group and loved every second!

13. Have some sort of back up map

Remember you won’t get internet everywhere. Even if its a drawing, noted down address or directions. A screen shot maybe, have some back up if you’re arriving somewhere completely new.

Even having an adress in the local language can help you if lost.

 

14. Know the place of where you’re staying.

When you’re alone you don’t have many looking out for you. Like mentioned earlier, you need to take responsibility so therefore it’s best to know where you’re staying. In any situation, if you get lost or really don’t know where you are, at least you know where you need to get back too!

15. Leave details at home

I always leave a copy of my passport, any insurance details and random bits like my visa documents, National insurance numbers and even important passwords and personal files I may need. It’s helpful to keep copies back with people you trust.

16. Be respectful to the locals

Wherever you travel its important to be respectful to the locals. You’re entering there local towns and communities. Immerse yourself into there traditions and live within there cultures. It helps to meet people and can really keep you out of trouble.

17. Not everyone needs to know you’re alone

One tip my mum mentioned to me once, not everyone needs to know. If you’re uncomfortable, occasionally mention a boyfriend. family member thats traveling with you. Don’t always draw too much attention that you literally don’t know anyone, because sometimes, you don’t.

18.Drink in moderation

Im 22 and really not trying to sound like a Grandma, for those who know me, I love going out. I’ve partied, a lot, worked three seasons abroad and worked in the nightlife of Leeds city centre since I was 16 and work within cocktail bars however, I rarely drink.

When traveling on your own, you just need to be a little more aware of where you are when drinking.

 I get other enjoyments from the places I go and things I can go and do!

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My 8 biggest travel tips..

There aren’t really any secrets. No myths or hidden meanings. Taking these things traveling simply entitled me to the best travel..

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1.Give yourself as much time as possible.

I had no end date,  little at home that I had to go back for, other then friends and family of course. I detached myself from most things meaning I had all the time in the world. Literally.

So many travellers do 2/3 months which is sweet but the opportunities you’ll miss out on is crazy.
The less time you have, the more you’ll feel you want to plan. Wanting to fit everything in leads to not letting go as much. My favourite thing is turning up somewhere and staying for however long I feel. I understand we have to make the most with the time we have but try to just go with the flow.

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2. – Don’t plan anything.

Maybe a train ticket or a busy hostel but most things you really don’t have to plan.
It’s great to have some idea of things, especially if your on my own however planning less leaves less room for an adventure of the unknown.

I turn up in cities with no idea where I’m sleeping, I don’t plan most activities and like to get myself ‘lost’. Things and people are popping up in all places, new adventures and random memories will happen if you just go with the flow. Trust me. It works.

3.Don’t expect anything.

I mean nothing. Easier said than done sometimes. I get it, if you’re paying 20 dollars for your own room, you will have expectations of value. It’s a difficult one to grasp, rather then have little expectations, have none.

Let things surprise you, let it blow your mind more then you thought it could.

I feel I grasped this and my satisfaction and experiences have hugely improved. I’m not feeling let down, I’m not wishing it was something else.

I know when something isn’t substantial, I’m not saying settle for something you shouldn’t but in regards to travel, it could be a beach, a hostel, a meal, a tour, an adventure, expect nothing.

4.Stay open minded.

It’s easier said then done.
Try not to close off options or even have too much of an opinion. Stay strong to your beliefs and keep your passions strong but don’t restrict yourself. Embrace the cultures, the traditions, the odd foods and different ways of living. Immerse in different experiences and talk to people from all different backgrounds and countries. It’s part of the fun.

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5.Speak to people.

Okay, Everyone speaks but really go out your way, speak to people from all around the world. Chat to the locals, get to know the staff in your accommodation and of course, all the other backpackers.DSC_3296Made friends with these two little ones in Kampot, Cambodia.

Backpackers are your biggest help while traveling, they offer advice, support and most importantly, tips on where to go and what to do. I never looked at lonely planet. That’s a secret I guess?

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You’ll find most backpackers are chatty, friendly and also want company. Sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know. Hostels are the best places to meet people so get out your comfort zone and just say hello.

6.Don’t ever say what if.

Well, maybe if you’re about to launch yourself of a building.. Not literally, but 90% of the things we do when we travel has some element of risk. Everything we do has risks but travel is here to take us out of our comfort zones.

If I said what if, I’d still be sat in my bedroom in England rather then be in the middle of South East Asia having the time of my life. I’m alive and free and loving every single second.

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– which leads me onto my next one.

7.Enjoy the bad times. You’re having the trip of a lifetime.
I’m doing more things in South East Asia over 6 months then people do in their entire lives, let alone the seasons abroad and other travels however everything doesn’t go perfect. Despite the happy travel photos and wonderful check ins, we do have down days and things arent all sunshine and daisies.

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£3.00 a night for a shared hut on the beach, with no fan but I was living in paradise.

It’s about memories and experiences we make building us passionate personalities.
Even the random long journeys or the stuffy accommodation.

Life isn’t perfect, backpacking isn’t about luxuries. We have to embrace and just enjoy every second. Live in the present. Even when things don’t go to plan or something may not work out, one day you’ll be thinking back to that time and wishing you were back.

Don’t take anything for granted.

8. Life isn’t too short. It’s what you do with it that makes it short.
I’ve just reached my 6 month point and it feels like yesterday I left my home in England and boarded that plane to Bangkok. Time flies when you’re having fun but that’s the thing, for every second you have, you won’t get it back. There are 6o seconds in a minute. 60 minutes in an hour. 24 hours a day. That’s 1440 minutes in 24 hours. Enough with the bullshit. Don’t waste your time away.

8. Say yes as much as possible.

Hold up. Don’t go buying meth from the dodgy Tuk Tuk man or purchasing bloody everything on Khao San. It’s easy to hold back due to finances or avoided situations but sometimes you should try saying yes even when you really don’t feel like it. You never know where it could lead you, who you’ll meet and new oppurtunities.

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A very emotional day volunteering at the KohPhangan Stray Animal Care.

Your travels are the best time of your life.

Enjoy it & embrace it! IMG_9997

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What traveling does to the mind. Part 1.

The mind.

The powerful seat of human consciousness. In control of our likes, dislikes, passions, worries.

It’s can do odd things, some we enjoy, some we dont. It’s just as important to keep the mind as healthy as the body.

Our brains determine the way we think, how we act and define who we really are.

I’m no doctor, no scientist and no one to tell anyone how they should think or what mindset to be in.

What I can tell you is that when you travel, see the world, leave your comfort zone and experience once in a lifetime opportunities and make unbelievably beautiful memories… That gives you one happy and positive mindset.

Whatever we do throughout are life, the experiences we build give us our intelligence and humour. Our faith and belief, our likes and dislikes and even our worries and problems. Most of us want to be the best person we can be. Some more to their chosen career, to their partner, their family, some to their faith and religion.

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During my current trip I have a lot of time to think, to appreciate, the take in and to explore different emotions. I’ve already met so many fascinating and different individuals from all over the world.

Thanks to these awesome guys for coming on the trek with me. All staying in the same dorm in the city, we just decided one morning to all go together. A farther and two sons from Hawaii and 5 elephants including a one year old baby running along with us. Glad I shared the experience with such humble and down to earth guys.

From locals living in small Thai villages with hardly any running warm water and just a small hut for the family. I’ve met business men from America, students from Ireland, doctors from Germany, bartenders from Australia, firefighters from Hawaii, crazy yoga guys from Canada and backpackers from all over.

Everyone I met has their own reasons to travels, their own stories, different backgrounds and exciting adventures ahead. There seems to be certain things that we all have in common. The mindset that travelling gives you.

Exploring the jungle in Chiang Mai. First time I've actually been alone since doing the trip. Watched the sunset up in the mountains and swam in the waterfall. Felt perfect

Where do I start?

The feeling of freedom, relaxation, appreciation, survival, positivity, strength, passion and of course wunderlust.

I knew I wanted to travel for years. It’s my parents I have to thank for the travel bug. My beautiful mother and farther. I was 9 when they took us for our first real travelling experience. Funnily enough it was too Thailand, where I’m currently writing this blog post. They took my younger sister and I backpacking around the beautiful country. Being a little girl left with only memories and experiences. We later did 4 weeks in Canada and also done a couple of weeks in all sorts of places from India -France. They gave me the travel bug.image

 

As as mentioned in other blogs I flew off for my first season abroad when I was 18 and this only enchanced my passion to see the rest of the world. I decided to start with Europe. My first big solo trip. Doing only 5 weeks around the continent was enough for me to realise
this is what I had to do. I wanted to visit everywhere, you name it, it would appeal to me on some way.

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So, back to basics. The mindset of leaving.

When you leave your hometown with a backpack and no real plans. It’s a strange feeling.

Personally, I felt excitement, hope, anxiety and strength.

No one wants to leave loved ones for a crazy amount of time. All of us want to keep our favourite comforts, whether it’s our bed, our pets, our car etc..

You have to leave everything behind and go.

It’s a pretty scary time, and majority of people who I speak to tell me they get nervous, they get homesick sometimes and question what life would be like if they just stayed at home continuing with there daily way of living.

Funnily enough this lasts till you get on that plane. Your survival mode kicks in, the excitement that this is really happening, the realisation you’re one of the few people at home who is actually pursuing there dreams. Your mind is strong. You need to keep this up.

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For those traveling solo like myself. You ask yourself whether you made the right choice going alone. Are you ready for this.

Let me tell you, regardless of where you go, who or what you leave behind, the worry and determination your experiencing. You’ll be fine. If you can get into the correct mindset or the feeling I’ve been mentioning. If you stay positive, calm, strong and healthy.. You can do anything.

During this trip my faith in humanity has been increased. Meeting people from all over the world in major capital cities, to tiny local communities up in the mountains. They want to talk, meet, help and get to know you. Watching locals work so hard to feed there loved ones despretatly working to cook or sell. I know risks and what can happen but I’ve actually felt pretty safe and comftable my entire trip. It feels like there is always someone to help you. No ones angry, no ones stressed or worried.photo_mind

Almost every single person I’ve met including the locals has been happy, relaxed and positive. They look at the better side of things, they tell you honest opinions with a lovely kind nature. People are going on with their lives doing what needs to be done. Deep down people just want to help and do what needs to be done. For me, this reminds me to be appreciative of my journey.

It gives me the mindset I want to have.

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Like this post? Check out ‘The truth about solo travel’ by clicking here!

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The truth about solo travel

Solo travel?

Impossible.

We live in a world with billions of people.

8/10 people are travelling completely alone. Exactly the same as me. One rucksack and a passion to explore. Some for less then a month, and some for as long as they can.

Travelling isn’t something you do. It’s a lifestyle.

When you’re at home preparing for the day you leave, sitting on that plane travelling to the other side of the world with no one but yourself. Reality sinks in, oh shit.

Am I really doing this?

There is a difference between feeling lonely and being alone.

Despite travelling ‘alone’ I’ve not once felt lonely the entire time. If anything, I feel like I’ve made so many brilliant friends and I’m constantly surrounded by outgoing and positive people.

I’ve travelled to different cities with guys I’ve met in my room that morning. I’ve gone trekking through the jungle with someone I met in a coffee shop. I went out with 17 people in Bangkok also solo in my hostel and it felt like we all knew each other for years. I am always with people and if im not, it’s out of choice.

Lady boy cabaret night with the family. #chiangmai #cabaret #hostelliving

There is something about the nature and social side of backpackers, either solo or in a group that is pretty magical. You just start a conversation and everyone is so friendly and open. I’ve met such incredible and interesting people who I get on with so well and the best thing is, i’ll end up seeing them again. Whether it’s some random street in a different city or even in the same dorm in my hostel in a different country. It’s so easy to bump into people in the most random
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Traveling isn’t for everyone, especially backpacking. Like I said before, it’s a lifestyle. A way of living. It takes you out of your comfort zone and devolves certain skills you can only gain from doing such trips. Living your life, with all your belongings out of one bag.

The mindset to travel is a different game altogether. You have to overcome the fear of being too shy to say hello. You have to get over the fact you’ll sometimes eat lunch or dinner by yourself. Learn that sleeping in a dorm with 15 other people that may not speak English isn’t too bad. Or where I’m currently writing this blog, on a tiny mini van heading from Pai to Chiang Mai, North Thailand, down a mental twisted and very bumpy 3.5 hour journey squashed in the back with a girl asleep on you isn’t all that bad. So I keep trying to tell myself.

A big one for me is that you learn not to judge. Travelling solo leaves you making new friends with everyone and anyone. It’s quite strange how such an natural feeling for any human being, quite a negative quality 99% of us have, somewhat disappears. Some of us more then others but we all automatically judge. What they wear, their style, the way they walk and talk. It’s natural, we all do it. We try not too and it might not be much of an assumption but part of using are eyes and brains together is ‘judging’ someone else.

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

For me and I can see many others, while travelling solo, let this go. We don’t have time to assume or create an idea of who might be in the bed above or who’s sitting next to you on your train through Vietnam, you’re more interested in their stories, their experiences. Where have they travelled and where to next. You meet them as them, for who they are without all the excess baggage home life can string along.

Some people love being solo and others hate it but one of the best things about travelling on your own is the fact you can do whatever the hell you want. No waiting around, no taking into consideration what everyone else wants to do. As selfish as it sounds, you only have to worry about yourself and when there’s so much to do in such incredible cities it can get pretty frustrating having to wait around and miss out certain things you want to do.

There are downsides to travelling solo however situations people expressed concern about, have not been an issue. Everyone is so friendly that anytime I’ve ever needed help or wanted some kind of advice or answers, someone’s always been there. Don’t get me wrong, I realize it won’t always be like this and I won’t always find helpful people. The disadvantages can sometimes suck, even just asking someone to take a photo or keep an eye on your stuff when you go to the toilet. You just want someone’s second opinion or need some advice from someone you know never the less they are such minor things.

45p to take me to Khao San from the river taxi

Most people travelling are here to have a good time, a fun time, a positive time and a real time.

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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

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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’