vagabondish http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8534/all en-US Passport Pictures for Under a Dollar http://www.wisebread.com/passport-pictures-for-under-a-dollar <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/passport-pictures-for-under-a-dollar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/passport pictures.jpg" alt="passport" title="passport" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText">As a traveler, very little irks me more than walking into a store and paying $7-12 for passport pictures. You need them not only for passports, but also visas, international driver&rsquo;s licenses, and other miscellaneous pieces of photo id.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">At about ten bucks a pop, this cost of traveling can add up. And ultimately all they do is sit you in front of a white background, take your picture with a digital camera, then crop and print out a few copies.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Ta-da: ten dollars please.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">The good news is that with your own digital camera, you can make your own passport pictures with your digital camera and print them out for pennies on the dollar. Literally.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">As a traveler, very little irks me more than walking into a store and paying $7-12 for passport pictures. You need them not only for passports, but also visas, international driver&rsquo;s licenses, and other miscellaneous pieces of photo id.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">At about ten bucks a pop, this cost of traveling can add up. And ultimately all they do is sit you in front of a white background, take your picture with a digital camera, then crop and print out a few copies.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Ta-da: ten dollars please.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">The good news is that with your own digital camera, you can make your own passport pictures with your digital camera and print them out for pennies on the dollar. Literally.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Step 1: Plain White Background</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">This is critically important. You can tweak the picture after the fact, but you must ensure you are starting with the closest thing to a plain white background you can find. Once, I went into a Long&rsquo;s Drugstore and got permission to use their passport photo background. Projector screens (often found in the boardroom of your office), whiteboards, as well as white doors can also suffice.</p> <h2>Step 2: Don&rsquo;t Use the Flash</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Ideally your ambient light will be enough to get away without a flash. Even lighting is important, so an indoor setting with fluorescent light is ideal. If you use a flash, you may find the picture to be unevenly lit and too overexposed to be acceptable.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">A flash might also create a shadow behind you, which is also unacceptable.</p> <h2>Step 3: No Hats, Hair Accessories, or Scarves</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Glasses are of course allowed, but only if they are prescription glasses and not tinted.</p> <h2>Step 4: Frame the Shot</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Passport pictures need to incorporate both shoulders, and require a little bit of space above the head. But you don&rsquo;t even really need to worry about taking the perfect passport shot: that&rsquo;s what photo editing is for.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2><img src="http://healthcarehacks.com/files/fruganomics/u290/passport_pictures_2.jpg" alt="photo kiosk" title="photo kiosk" width="244" height="183" align="left" /></h2> <h2>Step 5: Find a Photo Kiosk</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Photo kiosks where you can insert a camera memory card, USB memory stick, or CD to select, edit, and print pictures on a touch-screen are becoming more and more commonplace these days. You can find them in department stores, drug stores, and some camera shops too.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">And many of these kiosks even have an option to print <strong>&ldquo;id photos&rdquo;</strong>. This will produce a set of six 2x2 passport-sized photos on one convenient 4x6 print.</p> <h2>Step 6: Edit the Photo</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Using the kiosk features, now is your chance to edit the picture to make it appropriate for a passport. Be sure to crop the bottom to just below your shoulders, and leave &frac14; to &frac12; an inch of space above your head. Requirements are different in each country; your passport application will likely have the specifications you need to follow.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">If the background isn&rsquo;t absolutely white, then brighten the picture or add contrast to make it so.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">If the kiosk doesn&rsquo;t have an &ldquo;id photo&rdquo; feature, it gets trickier, but is not impossible. Simply crop and frame the shot to ensure that you can cut the finished picture down to a passport size after the fact.</p> <h2>Step 7: Print</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Some kiosks will print your pictures right in front of you, while others will send the information to the processor behind the counter for printing which can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days, depending on the option you choose and amenities available in your area.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Step 8: Pay</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">This is the best part. I recently took some passport id pictures for a visa application, international driver&rsquo;s license, and PADI scuba certification card. Five pictures were required in total. And for &ndash; get this &ndash; <strong>32 cents</strong>, I took care of all the above with one shot left over for good measure. I&rsquo;ll admit it took a few tries to get the shot right, and a little bit of editing time fiddling with the framing, brightness, and background, but the associate where I went was very helpful and assisted me in making the pictures acceptable, at no extra charge.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p><span>In fact, the associate who was helping me let me in on a little secret: this is exactly how they do it when you pay them to give you passport pictures. So with a little patience and a willingness to do it yourself, you can save big bucks and make your own passport photos for pennies on the dollar. Literally.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>DISCLOSURE: Use this technique at your own risk, especially when applying for your passport. Some passport applications require the picture to be stamped on the back by the photographer, who in effect &quot;certifies&quot; the photograph. I am not sure about the legality of producing your own photos and skipping this step; the reality is your guarantor will sign the pictures anyway, so it should be acceptable. However, at worst your passport application may be declined due to inappropriate pictures.</em> <br /> <em>However, I have indeed successfully used this technique for numerous other applications that require passport pictures. </em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fpassport-pictures-for-under-a-dollar&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FPassport%20Pictures%20for%20Under%20a%20Dollar.jpg&amp;description=Passport%20Pictures%20for%20Under%20a%20Dollar" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Passport%20Pictures%20for%20Under%20a%20Dollar.jpg" alt="Passport Pictures for Under a Dollar" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/passport-pictures-for-under-a-dollar">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taking-frugal-road-trips-even-when-gas-prices-are-high">Taking Frugal Road Trips (Even When Gas Prices Are High)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-travel-hacks-that-will-save-time-money-and-your-sanity">23 Travel Hacks That Will Save Time, Money, and Your Sanity</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-visit-europe-for-a-lot-cheaper-than-you-think-heres-how">You Can Visit Europe for a Lot Cheaper Than You Think — Here&#039;s How</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-to-keep-you-sane-on-a-plane">6 Things to Keep You Sane on a Plane</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-the-united-states-should-copy-from-other-countries">10 Things the United States Should Copy From Other Countries</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Travel passport pictures photo processing vagabondish visa pictures Tue, 26 Feb 2008 20:17:13 +0000 Nora Dunn 1850 at http://www.wisebread.com Frugal Ways to Stay in Touch on the Road http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-ways-to-stay-in-touch-on-the-road <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/frugal-ways-to-stay-in-touch-on-the-road" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/SIM card.JPG" alt="cellular phone" title="cellular phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>When I left &quot;home&quot; for a life of travel and adventure, I needed a way for family and friends to stay in touch (and despite the internet age we live in, I have some family members who refuse to venture into cyberspace). I had a smokin&#39; deal on my cellular service and was hesitant to give up my local cell phone number, but I also knew that roaming and long distance charges on the road would prohibit my ability to use that number while traveling. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>After speaking to many people and spending way too much time online researching, I discovered the perfect way to stay in touch on the cheap while on the road. </span></p> <p> <span> </span></p> <h2><span>1) Buy (or ensure you already own) a GSM Quad Band Phone. </span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Around the world cell phone network frequencies vary, and some phones have the ability to read these signals while others don&#39;t. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communications. (You will rarely see it referred to as anything other than GSM though). </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>The frequency bands available are 850 and 1900 Mhz (used mainly in the Americas), and 900 / 1800 Mhz (for Europe &amp; Asia). </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span><em>Beware:</em> Lots of phones claim to be quad band, but in fact are only tri band, omitting the GSM 900 band. <em>Make sure all four bands are available and open on your phone for it to work everywhere.</em> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h2><span>2) Unlock your GSM phone (or buy it unlocked already).</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Having an unlocked phone allows you to put any SIM card into it which in turn allows your one physical phone to be a portal to numerous telephone numbers and networks. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>If you already own your phone and it was sold to you by your cell phone provider, it is probably not unlocked. Depending on the phone you have, there are inexpensive kits available on the net (usually under $10) you can order to unlock your phone. Other phones simply need you to enter a &quot;secret&quot; set of numbers on your phone to unlock it. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Since I&#39;m not the most technologically savvy person, I chose to buy my phone unlocked already, from an independent cell phone seller. Ebay is a great resource for such things, as are places like Tiger Direct and <a href="&lt;a mce_thref=&quot;http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fs%2F%3F%25255Fencoding%3DUTF8%26index%3Dwireless-accessories%26field-browse%3D283273011&amp;tag=wisbre09-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&quot;&gt;Amazon&lt;/a&gt;&lt;img mce_tsrc=&quot;http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wisbre09-20&amp;amp;l=ur2&amp;amp;o=1&quot; width=&quot;1&quot; height=&quot;1&quot; border=&quot;0&quot; alt=&quot;&quot; style=&quot;border:none !important; margin:0px !important;&quot; /&gt;" target="_blank">Amazon</a>. </span></p> <p> <span> </span></p> <h2><span>3) Make sure your phone takes SIM Cards!</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><img src="http://healthcarehacks.com/files/fruganomics/u290/Sim_card_2.jpg" alt="sim card" title="sim card" width="200" height="183" align="left" /><span>There are some providers in North America I know of who don&#39;t employ the use of SIM cards. (SIM stands for Security Information Management, by the way). It is a small plastic card usually stored under the battery which stores the information for your phone number. Consequently these phones will be ultimately useless for global travel with no place for the SIM cards to be inserted.</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p> <span> </span></p> <h2><span>4) Hit the road and get a local SIM card.</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Once you&#39;re on the road and settled in a country or geographic region for any period of time such that you want the ease and accessibility of a local number, you&#39;ll want a local SIM card. Depending on the country you are in, SIM cards can be purchased in different places. Visiting a cellular store is usually the best bet, but in some places you can get SIM cards in convenience stores and the airport. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>You&#39;ll likely want to go with a pay-as-you-go service, and shouldn&#39;t have to pay much if anything for the SIM card itself. </span></p> <p> <span> </span></p> <h2><span>5) Purchase a Long Distance Phone Card for calls home.</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Since you have a local number now, you may want to get a long distance phone card to ensure any calls home are cheap. Again these can be bought in any number of places, and are quite prevalent all over the world. Be wary of the ones with expensive connection fees, and try to read the fine print before dropping a wad of cash on a card that may not be right for the types of calls you&#39;ll be making. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>And now you&#39;re ready to go! </span></p> <h3><strong><span>With this Five-Step system, you&#39;ll have the following advantages:</span></strong></h3> <ul> <li><span><strong>You will have a local phone number wherever you are</strong>, which will make it easy for local new friends and businesses to contact you during your stay.</span></li> <li><span>Your family and friends back home can call you to keep in touch, and <strong>you will only pay local charges</strong> (your family of course will pay long distance, but hopefully they have a good plan with their land line). </span></li> <li><span>You can <strong>make long distance calls home for a deep discount</strong> by using a local number and long distance phone card, instead of paying costly roaming charges with your original phone number. </span></li> <li><span>You can<strong> use the same cell phone for multiple phone numbers</strong> by simply switching out the SIM cards.</span></li> <li><span>You can <strong>maintain your original home cell number</strong> and pick up messages from the friends and family members you forgot (or didn&#39;t want) to give you new number to.</span></li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-ways-to-stay-in-touch-on-the-road">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-in-style-for-free">How to Travel in Style...For Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/introducing-an-amazing-suite-of-web-tools-for-creative-people">Introducing an Amazing Suite of Web Tools for Creative People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-off-the-grid-is-a-lot-harder-than-you-think">Going Off the Grid Is a Lot Harder Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-and-cheap-things-to-do-in-champaign-urbana">Free and cheap things to do in Champaign-Urbana</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Technology Art and Leisure GSM quad band SIM card traveling with a cell phone vagabondish Wed, 06 Feb 2008 01:49:01 +0000 Nora Dunn 1752 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Travel in Style...For Free http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-in-style-for-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-travel-in-style-for-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4660377431_94ac9dc555_z.jpg" alt="convertible" title="convertible" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Next time you book a hotel room, how would you like to stay in the presidential suite? Or drive that sleek convertible down the coast with the sun smiling down at you?</p> <p>And of course, how would you like it all for the cost of the most basic economy option? All you have to do is ask. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/negotiate-all-your-travel-the-ultimate-guide" title="Negotiate All Your Travel: The Ultimate Guide">Negotiate All Your Travel: The Ultimate Guide</a>)</p> <h2>Free Car Rental Upgrades</h2> <p>When you are renting a car, and they ask you if you want to pay an extra $20/day for the upgraded fancier version, <strong>say no</strong>. Then turn around and <strong><em>ask if they have any free upgrades available</em></strong>. Not only will they take the request in stride, but oftentimes they'll actually produce some amazing results.</p> <p>I recently reserved the smallest, cheapest car I could find. When I was at the counter, I did exactly what I outlined above. Without batting an eyelash, the woman checked to see what they have in stock, and for the same price as my cheap crappy compact car, she gave me a beautiful convertible Solara, with free gas to boot.</p> <p>The secret: Car rental agencies have a certain number of free upgrades available to give to customers&hellip;who ask. They won't advertise this little secret (because everybody will ask &mdash; duh!), but trust me &mdash; it works.</p> <h2>Free Hotel Upgrades</h2> <p>The premise above for car rental upgrades also applies to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/negotiate-your-own-hotel-deal" title="Negotiate Your Own Hotel Deal">hotel upgrades</a>. All you have to do is ask if they have any free upgrades available. At worst they will snigger and say no. Oops &mdash; nothing except possibly a little blush on your cheeks to show for it. At best, you will be relaxing in your king-sized hot tub in your full suite upgrade&hellip;for free.</p> <p>If you are checking in (especially later in the day), the hotel already has an idea of how many suites are booked. Larger suites are usually pre-booked in advance, so if the room is available, they may well upgrade you. It shows well for the hotel (hey, if you got a free upgrade, you'd be talking the hotel up too!), and it doesn't reflect any additional cost to them. They may say that you can't have access to the mini-bar, or that the fruit bowl won't be forthcoming, but since it's a gratis upgrade, I don't tend to complain.</p> <h2>First Class Airline Upgrades</h2> <p>Heck,&nbsp;it even works with airline seats. Sidle up to the boarding gate agent when the time is right (not when the flight is boarding, please!), and after simply asking, you too may be relaxing with three times the leg room of economy class&hellip;for free. I can attest to this too &mdash; <a href="http://www.vagabondish.com/exploring-the-other-side-of-the-first-class-curtain/">I've successfully been upgraded before</a>.</p> <p>So now that you are flying, driving, and sleeping in style, may your next trip be an epic one. Ask, and you just may receive.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-in-style-for-free">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-dirt-on-travel-insurance">The Dirt on Travel Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-ways-to-stay-in-touch-on-the-road">Frugal Ways to Stay in Touch on the Road</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-rules-of-budget-travel">The 7 Rules of Budget Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-and-cheap-things-to-do-in-champaign-urbana">Free and cheap things to do in Champaign-Urbana</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Lifestyle Art and Leisure car rental flight upgrades free upgrades hotel upgrades vagabondish Sat, 12 Jan 2008 01:12:37 +0000 Nora Dunn 1622 at http://www.wisebread.com