I am lost for words. I met Caitlin in the Annapolis, MD photographer’s circle a few years back. Her smile, energy, and lust for exploring have always been apparent. NOW even more than ever. She has been on fire traveling all over the world the last couple years chasing her dreams, amazing clients, and finding the most EPIC of waterfalls and views. With her future plans to move to Australia in the end of 2016, you should hire her soon for photographs. She’s incredibly gifted. If you haven’t followed her on social, you might just have to by the end of this post! I am so honored she sat down and shared some hot tips and words of wisdom for planning your next trip and just getting out their and exploring. “Let’s do it.”
Caitlin Kellagher below at one of the most breath taking images I’ve seen all year.
1. How did you get started traveling?
The first time I ever traveled out of the country, it was actually to photograph one of my beautiful friends and fellow photographer, Renee Hollingshead’s, wedding in Mexico! This was in 2013, and I had to get a passport specifically for this wedding. About a year later, I traveled to Europe to visit my best friend and do my first backpacking trip. It’s essentially non-stop travel ever since that spring of 2014! I’ve always loved planning trips, so being able to plan longer, most international trips has been so much fun.
2. What is your process when you decide to travel to a new city?
Honestly, about half my trips start by seeing a random deal or doing a quick “Kayak Explore” or Skyscanner search for “everywhere” to see where’s the cheapest place to travel to at a specific time. I have a list of places I’d love to see, and every now and then I’ll do a search on weeks I know I’m not working or shooting a wedding to see if it’d be a possibility to travel there. One of my more recent trips to South Africa just started off with a screen shot of a airplane ticket cost to Renee (former bride and current photog friend mentioned above) with a response from her saying, “Let’s do it.”
3. What are tips to decrease stress traveling?
I find that having a good balance of just enough planning, but also some leeway in your schedule make for a stress free trip. You don’t want to over plan so much that, if something goes wrong, your whole schedule is thrown off. However, you don’t want to under plan so much that you arrive in a city and don’t make the most of your time because you don’t know where to start with activities, food, and so on! I suggest booking accommodation, flights, and checking transportation options to and from your accommodation. Also research restaurants and fun activities to do in each city, how early these activities book up, and have a list of options to choose from once you arrive. Sleep is also incredibly important, so don’t feel bad if you need to get to bed early your first or second night in a new city.
4. Who is your ideal client during your travels?
My ideal client while I travel is a couple or individual who is like minded in the whole “travel” mentality! Do they love to travel, have conversations with nice strangers, disconnect from social media, and just live life for a bit? Then you’re my favorite client ever and new best friend.
5. Where is your favorite place to recharge or get inspired?
I’ve never felt as inspired, recharged, and disconnected as I did when I was in Iceland. I traveled there on my own and drove around the island over a 9 day trip. Although tourism is really picking up quickly, it is still so lush and uninhabited. The sites aren’t overrun with people just yet, and at times you can literally have a waterfall to yourself. It felt so amazing to be completely alone with your thoughts and these amazing sites.
6. What would you want to share with prospective clients about traveling to new places?
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.
7. Do you have any websites you visit before traveling or to research?
Some of my favorite websites/apps are listed below:
8. What are your favorite parts of traveling to new sites?
My favorite thing about traveling to new sites is being able to be completely present at that moment. Often when I’m with a friend, we’ll find ourselves saying, “I can’t believe we’re here. Like, actually, standing right here, right now!” It’s kind of like an out of body experience for a bit and it’s just such a happy feeling.
I’ll list some of my favorite places below I’ve been based on activities, food, general atmosphere, etc!
Most Fun Cities:
Budapest, Hungary (Go to a Sparty!)
Berlin, Germany (Kruezberg is too cool)
Koh Phagnan, Thailand (Try going during a Full or Half Moon Party!)
Lake Como, Italy
Cape Town, South Africa
Favorite US Cities:
New Orleans, LA
San Diego, CA
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe/Zambia (Do the Devil’s Pool dip!)
Queenstown, New Zealand (The most beautiful flight in and out, ever)
Iceland (Absolutely gorgeous, untouched nature)
Favorite International Cities:
New York, NY
Places I’m Dreaming of Going!
10. What’s your favorite place you have traveled to so far?
It’s really hard to pick a favorite, so I’d just refer to the list above :). I do, however, have a sweet spot in my heart for Australia, so I’ll be moving there at the end of 2016! There’s just something about the lifestyle that drew me in immediately. Outdoorsy, happy, friendly, welcoming people with awesome accents- yes please <3, Caitlin Kellagher