Category Archives: Trips

Turn a picture into a memory with 3D printing



How to make your own souvenirs with CGI and 3d Printing

Traveling is a great way in which to embrace and see the world. Likewise, the souvenirs which are gained from such trips are our way of holding onto the memory of that place. And where there are gifts and trinkets which are available at every turn, many of these lack the personal touch and the specifics of the memory. With the advances in 3D modeling and 3D printing, travelers can use their photographs to have custom unique models printed to really showcase the memorable spots they visit. Here is how to do it.

Take pictures of the spot from multiple angles

If you are visiting a native temple and want to have it modeled out, then take pictures from as many angles as you can with your camera. This will allow the 3D modeler to have the right perspectives of the space so that it can be modeled out in 3d for printing. The more detail that you can give the more detail can be integrated into the design. Don’t be overly concerned with capturing the perfect shot or the perfect angle, a skilled CGI artist can generally find photographs of the area to use as reference when you don’t have that specific angle. The only time in which you will want to be concerned with the capturing the area in high detail is when:

  • You are in a remote location that does not have a lot of technology
  • You are capturing something totally unique to that area and not available online
  • You are capturing something organic (such as a person’s face, an animal, or a really nice plant)

What if you do not have any pictures?

The easiest way to find the model that you are looking for is to look for a 3d model which has already been created for that area. 3D models can be found in abundance and it is usually only a matter of typing in the location or the name of what you are looking for to get a selection. Remember when picking a model that the more details and polys a model has the harder it will be to print.

Have the pictures made into a model

Use a computer animator and a multimedia artist to model out your photographic image. This can be done in a number of programs. However, 3ds max and Maya are the most common for 3D Printing. Ensure that the modeler of the photographs can output to .stl format and that they can deliver the model file to you. Print according to the function of the souvenir. For example, you can print a model to make the following:

  • Inserts for snow globes
  • Necklaces and earrings
  • Custom cell phone case (such as having the tower of London extruding from the back face of the case)
  • Shelf Statues
  • Models for your Travel blog or journal (which would not require 3d printing but just the model)
  • Custom toys for gifts (such as a 3D model of a unique car, bus, or train)

For the best results and the least amount of impact on your wallet, look for a freelancer or a 3d artist which offers 3D printing services. This cuts out having to use two different artist to get your souvenirs made.

Paint your model

Unfortunately, 3D printers are limited to the exterior detail that they can add to your custom printed souvenir. You will have to paint the model yourself. There are solid color options and various materials available which could bypass this need. Yet, for those which want to have a bit more detail, painting will be a must.

Is 3D printing worth the time and effort to the traveler

If you think of the amount of pictures and various media that you collect on a trip, and couple this with the over priced merchandise that is available in most locations then the answer is yes it is worth it. Pre-made 3D models can be purchased from a number of sites for as low as $10 if not found for free. The 3D printing is a bit more expensive and I would advise anyone that is going to print a great deal of their souvenirs to consider purchasing their own hobby style 3d Printer (which is about $300). Financially the souvenir made in this way is beneficial. If you use your photographic images to have a custom model made, then that is priceless.


Doing Bali like a flashpacker


Photo by CC user drew~commonswiki on Wikimedia Commons

Bali: it’s one of the world’s most fabulous destinations, as its temples, lavish resorts, and amazing beaches has drawn people from around the world for generations.

While you can certainly do this place on a budget, the real rewards of this destination are saved for those that are willing to spend just a little bit more.

Indeed, Bali makes a mid-range budget stretch like no other place on Earth, and there’s excellent value at the top end as well. If you got some cash to spend, you can live like a king doing Bali like a flashpacker…

Stay in a fancy resort

When it comes to staying on Bali, there is no better way to experience the extravagance that is available here than to stay in a higher end hotel, resort or a villa.

Whether you are seeking to stay on the beaches of Seminyak, or retreat to the rice fields of Ubud, there is a special place just waiting for you.

A personal favorite of ours is the Inaya Putri Bali; located within the secure confines of Nusa Dua, its multiple restaurants, beautiful gardens, spectacular white sand beaches, soothing spas and marvelous infinity pools will have you excited from the second that you set foot on their property.

If you are looking for something else, or want to stay in a different part of Bali, browse a bit on, and you will be sure to find exactly what you are looking for.

Sample Indonesian cuisine in inspired surroundings

Photo by CC user 70957207@N00 on Flickr

There are many warungs, or local Indonesian eateries where one can get an accurate depiction of Balinese cuisine, but some restaurants do this style of food a level of justice that is of great interest to flashpackers.

Those that want to seek out the very best that Bali has to offer should make their way to the town of Karangasem.

It is here, far away from the busy streets of Kuta Beach, where one can dine on amazing delicacies at Bali Asli restaurant.

From Babi Guling to Nasi Goreng to Sates, you will be in a state of bliss from the first bite you take.

Fill your days with amazing activities

Photo by CC user Michael Sterling Eaton of Michael Sterling Eaton Photography

Bali is filled from top to bottom with activities and things to do for people of all interests. Like culture? If you cannot get enough of temples, you will be constantly traveling from one corner of the island to the other.

From the ocean side temple of Tanah Lot, to the simple beauty that awaits you at the mountain top pagoda found at Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, you’ll be overloaded with things to see.

If you are more attracted to the outdoors, Bali has you covered here as well. The breakers that roll across the southern coast of Bali have long been famed to be among the best in the world alongside the likes of Hawaii, making it the perfect place to take up surfing.

If climbing mountains is more your thing, the volcanoes that make up the interior of Bali will be calling your name.

Set out on a pre-dawn trip to the base of Mount Batur, and with the assistance of a headlamp, you’ll make it to the peak just in time for a sunrise that you’ll never forget.

How to holiday like a flashpacker on the Big Island of Hawaii


Photo by CC user butsky on Flickr

Looking to get to Hawaii for the first time ever this year? Be sure to do it properly, as those that are willing to spend a little bit more can have a peak experience that far surpasses living small in this amazing place.

If you are looking to holiday like a flashpacker on the Big Island of Hawaii, the tips listed below will help you sample some of the finer things in life as they exist here…

Rent a proper villa

An experience in Hawaii that is flash starts with having the right home base. While there are hotels, guest houses, and bed and breakfasts scattered across the island, the best possible way to enjoy your time here is to rent your own villa.

This way, you will have all the comforts of home at your fingertips while not having to contend with a neighbor that snores like a chainsaw at night.

There are many Big Island home rentals that are at your disposal that boast features such as Playstations for the kids, locations on golf courses, and all the latest furnishings that are fashion forward.

With all of this available for a price that is not as expensive as you might imagine, you and your friends can have a holiday that is several levels above any other trip that you’ve done in your life to this point.

Visit a coffee plantation

When it comes to the first outing that you do on the Big Island, any coffee drinker owes it to themselves to go on a plantation tour in the Kona area.

On the misty mountainside above the villages of Kona and Kailua, rows upon rows of trees containing the fruit from which coffee beans are harvested are farmed.

Tours of the fields and the mills on site will give you an idea of how the beans go from the field to ending up as part of one of your favorite morning rituals.

Go on a helicopter tour

The mountains, beaches, and the coastline of the Big Island of Hawaii are responsible for some of the most dramatic natural scenery on the planet.

While this is apparent from the ground, it can only truly be appreciated by taking to the air. Around the island, there are numerous operators that will take you up in one of their helicopters, giving you a bird’s-eye view of the volcanoes, valleys, cliff faces and other points of interest that look much more awe-inspiring from thousands of feet in the air than from the ground.

Snorkel some of the best reefs off the coast

Another aspect of Hawaii that cannot be not properly appreciated from land is the amount of marine diversity that can be found beneath its waters just offshore.

The west coast is a particularly popular place to go snorkeling, as the mountains of the interior block the east-blowing trade winds from disturbing the waters off the coast of Kona. The volcanic rock that can be found everywhere off the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii makes for ideal growing ground for coral reefs.

This in turn provides an environment where tropical fish can thrive, and it is also a great place to see the graceful manta ray float by as they feed on plankton.

5 Wonderful Wildlife Holidays Around the World 



Whether it is elephants, leopards, cheetahs, birds, or any other animal, there is something fascinating about wildlife, especially if you do not get to see it often from your home country. With this, there is no wonder why the bucket list of many people often involve visiting places where there is diverse wildlife, including those that will be mentioned below.

Safari in Zambia 

While Victoria Falls is one of the treasures that made Zambia popular, it has also been well-recognized because of its wildlife. It has a ton of national parks, although it is not as popular as its neighboring countries. The latter can indeed be beneficial as it means that the place is less touristy. Aside from traditional safaris in Zambia, you might want to take the adventure to the next level by trying night safari or walking safaris, which will provide you with the opportunity to have a closer encounter with the animals.

Bird Watching in Bhutan

If you are looking for the most enigmatic and elusive birds, a luxury holiday to Bhutan should definitely be on your list. Whether it is in swamps, forests, or grasslands, you can see a diverse species of birds, many of which are hard to find anywhere else. Some of the most popular places for bird watching in Bhutan are Kaziranga, Phobjikha Valley, and Nameri National Park. It is also home to exotic birds, like in the case of Pallas’ Fish Eagle and White-bellied Heron.

Whale Watching in Ecuador 

While Ecuador is famed for its beaches, many would be unaware, but it is also an excellent place for whale watching. In fact, it is believed that annually, at least two thousand Humpback whales depart from Antarctica and go to Colombia and Ecuador. In Ecuador, even from the shore, you can already see whales. The best time to go whale watching in the country is from June to September. Head to Manabi where you can see tour and boat companies offering whale watching services.

Elephant Ride in Thailand 

Especially in Northern Thailand, you can see a lot of companies offering rides on the back of an elephant. It has received a negative reputation in the past, primarily because some people assert that the elephants were trained in a manner that is cruel. Thailand offers a number of great wildlife holiday experiences. With such, to avoid feeling guilty about the experience, make sure to research thoroughly and book your tours only from those that that are situated in actual elephant camps where business is conducted in a manner that is ethical.

See Orangutans in Borneo 

Orangutans are not often seen in many countries. If you want to see them in the wild, you should head to Borneo. At Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, you can see injured orangutans being rehabilitated before they are released in the wild. Other places where you can have a personal encounter with orangutans include Batang Ai National Park, Danum Valley, Gunung Leuser National Park, and Rasa Ria Nature Reserve. Aside from just seeing orangutans up-close, there are also travel companies offering photography tours.

5 Places to Visit for Movie Lovers



Who doesn’t love watching movies? Everybody does, and everybody has a favorite movie (or two). If you are someone who loves watching movies, you must be interested in visiting the shooting locations of some of your favorite ones. Here are 5 exciting places to visit for movie lovers…

Tunisia – Star Wars

If you are a Star Wars fan, you will already know that parts of the movie were filmed in Tunisia. The exact places in Tunisia where the movie was filmed include Djerba, Medenine, Tataouine, Matmata and Tozeur or Nefta. Djerba is the place where you will find Tosche Station and “Ben’s hermitage” from the movie. In Medenine, you will find home of Anakin Skywalker. The name of the village both in the film and real life is Tataouine (although different spellings). The hotel Sidi Driss in Matmata is the home of Luke Skywalker from the film. Lars homestead and Mos Espa set will be found in Tozeur desert oasis.

New Zealand – Lord of the Rings

You have to go to New Zealand to behold the shooting locations from the famous movie franchise, The Lord of the Rings. The entire The Lord of the Rings movie was filmed in New Zealand and you can find the stunning shooting locations North Island (Matamata), Wellington (Paths of the Dead, Osgiliath Wood, Rivendell, the River Anduin, and Gardens of Isengard), Nelson (Dimrill Dale, Chetwood Forest and the The rings), Canterbury (Edoras), Mackenzie Country (Pelennor Fields), Southern Lakes (Middle-earth panorama, Gandalf’s ride and Ford of Bruinen). With so much to see across this magnificent country, why not hire a campervan to tour the country and make up your own itinerary as you go along!

Greece – Mamma Mia

Although there are plenty of reasons to visit the beautiful Greek islands, if you are a movie lover, you will be more interested as the movie Mamma Mia was filmed in the Pelion Region – Damouchari (part of the beginning of the movie was filmed here); a big portion of the movie was filmed on the luxury holiday destination of Skopelos. The locations include Kastani Bay and beach (“Does Your Mother Know” was performed here), the beach and cliffs above Glisteri, Nisi, Amarantos and Agios Ioannis Prodromos Monastery for the wedding chapel. The beautiful island of Corfu too was the location for several scenes.

Great Britain – Harry Potter Series

If you loved every movie of Harry Potter series, Great Britain is the place you should go to see the real filming locations of the movies. With the exception of London, all other locations in the movies are fictional. But the actual filming locations are London, Bath, Oxford, Durham and Northeast England, medieval town of Lavenham, Liverpool’s Queensway Tunnel, Wales and Scotland.

North & South Carolina – The Hunger Games

Although the Hunger Games Series is not considered as popular as the above movies, there is every chance you are someone who loved every bit of it. If so, you need to explore South Carolina for this very reason. Major parts of the movies were filmed in Asheville and the beautiful mountains to the west of North Carolina.

These are wonderful movies and you should love visiting these places and feel many scenes from the movies when you discover the exact locations, maybe even reenacting a few scenes along the way! Almost certainly, you can will have some exciting experiences and make some great memories.

Stunning seaside national parks in the American Southeast


photo by CC user BrianDBell  on wikimedia

While the front porch to the American South offers much in the way of hospitality and soul satisfying cuisine, its outdoor spaces are similarly inviting as well.

While the Appalachian Mountains are an obvious draw, the coastline of the states of the Southeast have a subtle beauty that will speak to you and your traveling companions.

If you are looking for some stunning seaside national parks in the American Southeast, the following spots will make your trip a fulfilling one indeed.

1) Assateague Island National Seashore

Situated on a series of barrier islands spread across Maryland and Virginia’s frontage on the Atlantic Ocean, Assateague Island National Seashore’s salt marshes, oceanic forests and wild beaches is an excellent place for the outdoors enthusiast that loves coastal environments.

Join region residents fishing in the surf for species that swim close to shore, or walk the park’s many trails in search of a pack of feral Chincoteague ponies, as they have roamed this sandy isle for centuries since their introduction to the wild.

2) Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Positioned well out into the turbulent expanse of the Atlantic, Cape Hatteras National Seashore experiences its fair share of storms over the course of a year.

Even when the weather is good, the winds are blowing at a stiff and decent clip, making it a spot that is ideal for those that draw energy from nature’s rawest places.

The constant and consistent wind swell here has created a mecca for area’s surfers, while those looking for something more tame to do will love the fact that this portion of the Eastern Seaboard is a haven for waterfowl on their way north or south when the seasons are changing.

3) Cumberland Island National Seashore

Georgia’s biggest barrier island, Cumberland National Seashore is located in the southern portions of the state, giving it a long warm season throughout the course of the year.

While it might be lamentable that many seaside getaways in the Southeast can get unbearably crowded throughout the summer, access to Cumberland Island is restricted to no more than 300 visitors at a time by the national park service, which maintains its serene nature even during the peak of high season.

In addition to the outdoor activities available here (which include hiking, biking and camping), there is a long human history here as well, which involved the long existence of the Timucua Indians and plantation owners during the Antebellum period.

Those into culture will love the museum on site that is dedicated to the backstory of this pristine island.

Going on a Hong Kong food safari: don’t miss these dishes


photo by CC user Morsesp3  on wikimedia

Heading to Asia’s answer to New York City anytime soon? Those that adore the food of this region owe it to themselves to go on a Hong Kong food safari. If you decide to search for the best dishes that this place has to offer on its sidewalks and in its alleys, be sure to hunt the following treats down…

1) Stinky Tofu

Out of all the foods available on the streets of Hong Kong, this pungent staple gets the most attention due to its uncompromising name. While you might be tempted to skip this smelly treat, take one for the team and buy it just once. It tastes way better than it smells, and actually going through with seeking it out and consuming it will earn much respect from native Hong Kongers.

2) Cha Siu Bao

Those looking for something far more appealing will want to snack on Cha Siu Bao, which is a pastry that is the stuff of dreams for many locals and visitors alike.

A steamed bun filled with pork tenderloin that has been slow roasted in a sweet sauce, it is a universal favorite in dim sum restaurants on this island territory, so be sure to show up early before they run out!

3) Yuk Song Bao

Another savory pastry that you should have on your radar when wandering the streets of Hong Kong is Yuk Song Bao, or the pork floss bun. A roll that is coated with extremely fine shredded pork that has been soaked in a mayonnaise batter, it is an excellent protein-filled way to begin your morning before heading out to explore this massive metropolis.

4) Ngau Lam Tong

While Hong Kong tends to be a warm place, it can get a little bit chilly during the winter months. On days where the weather is less than inviting, or if you are looking for a meal that is lighter than other available options, Ngau Lam Tong is a lovely choice that will have you going back for seconds.

A beef brisket stew that is jam packed full of seasonings and spices, the flavor filled spoonfuls you’ll enjoy will bear witness to the many hours of painstaking preparation it takes to bring a pot of this hotly sought out soup to completion.

5) Gai Daan Jai

Looking for a dessert to finish off your day in Hong Kong? Gai Daan Jai, or the egg waffle will tantalize your taste buds with a sweetness that strikes the right balance between being too bland and overdoing it.

So named for the shape they take on after sizzling in one of many street side grills located citywide, you too will find yourself impatiently waiting in line with locals for a serving that will bring your day to a successful close.