Monday, October 22, 2012

Using Smaller Memory Cards

 I consider this topic so important that I have written several posts on it. Here's one of them: Digital Cameras: What size memory card should you buy?

And now, here is another.

The largest memory card I carry for my point and shoot camera is 4 GB. Most of my cards are 2 GB and I even have a couple of 1 GB cards. Generally when traveling I go through my 2 GB cards first. Then I'll use my 1 GB card and save the 4 GB for last. I suspect this is contrary to what most people do but I have two (what I believe) very good reasons for doing it this way.

Damage: It is not hard to damage a memory card. You can accidentally turn your camera off before a picture is completely saved. The card can get wet. It could come in contact with something magnetic. And if you have taken only one 8 GB or 16 GB card on vacation, ALL of your pictures could be gone.

Loss: This just happened to a friend of mine. Literally. She is still away and it was info in an email she sent out. She had to take a taxi back to her hotel because she was ill and, not thinking right, she left her camera in the taxi. To say she was upset was putting it mildly. At this point I don't know what size card she was using or if she had only one card with her on the trip but based on past conversations, my guess is she had all her pictures on one large card. (I sure hope I'm wrong about this but probably won't find out until she gets home.)

So my recommendation, if anyone asks, is to take several smaller cards instead of one large one. Today cards are very inexpensive, and so are SD card holders, like the one shown below. Another idea for protecting those valuable once-in-a-lifetime pictures: a portable back up device.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Heading to Machu Picchu?

If you will be going to Machu Picchu as an independent traveler, be sure to get your tickets early. Since mid-2011, the number of visitors at Machu Picchu has been capped at 2,500 per day and Peru requires tickets to be purchased in advance. While tour operators will handle that for their clients, independent traveler will need to make their own arrangements.

However, the official ticket website of the Peruvian Ministerio de Cultura, is difficult to navigate and currently does not accept payments by credit cards. Reservations can still be made on the website, but payments for the tickets must be made in country at one of Several Banco de la Nacion de Peru locations.

Travelers can also purchase tickets through tour operators in Lima, Cuzco and the Sacred Valley. Expect to be charged a small service fee.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Chip and Pin Credit Cards

I wrote about chip and pin cards about a year and a half ago. Finally, years after counterparts in most of the world, some U.S. banks are finally issuing credit cards that have, in addition to the usual magnetic strip, the chip and pin technology.

Bank of America is leading the way. All of its new Travel Rewards, Privileges, Virgin Atlantic and Merrill Lynch credit cards will have the chip and pin. Upon request, B of A will replace several other cards with the technology including affinity cards from Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Chase is making the technology available right now only to their Palladium cardholders.

And Wells Fargo has invited 15,000 customers to they have identified as frequent international travelers to take part in a test program.