First, sorry that the postings have been spotty lately, I'm in the last few weeks of finishing up a new book and the last few weeks of a book are always the panic time when all of loose ends have to (miraculously, sometimes) come together--and everyone involved has to agree on what's left to be done. I'm also in the midst of doing the first major revision of the Joy of Digital Photography. Both of these books are due out in September, so the pressure is on! In the meantime, back to the tips...
As I write this it's 19-degrees outside and with the windchill factor it's easily in the single digits. That's another reason that I haven't been posting much--I'm not brave enough to go out there and shoot! Tomorrow, in fact, I'll be shooting some indoor pictures in my impromptu studio and can't wait to do that. (Almost any day shooting pictures is a great day compared to sitting at a computer all day.) The other thing I've been doing, of course, is daydreaming about traveling and taking pictures in the coming spring and summer months. One of the places I'd really like to get to this year is Yellowstone Park and based on my past experiences at trying to get reservations in the lodges there, the time to start making plans and reservations is now.
I think that is probably true of any popular summer destination--unless you start to make plans and hotel room reservations at least by early spring, you may find out that it's impossible to do. In my experience the best time to see any popular destination (like Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, for example) is just prior to and soon after the peak summer season. Probably the best months to travel (in the United States or Europe) are May, June and September (and early October if you're willing to risk a few chilly days). The great thing about these months is that rooms tend to be cheaper and easier to get, the crowds are way down and flights are usually cheaper.
Also be careful in planning your vacation schedule to avoid any kind of holidays or school vacations. Again, by traveling before school is out for the summer you'll have far less competition for rooms, cars, flights, etc. Last week, in fact, I tried making reservations to go to Florida in February and the airline prices were just outrageous--largely because of school vacations no doubt. My mistake for choosing that week without doing more research.
Getting more info on destinations is pretty easy these days and tomorrow I'll talk about some clever ways to find and research interesting and lesser known places. In the meantime, start thinking about your spring trips now--you'll not only save money and have more fun, but the daydreaming will get you through these cold winter days!