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Here's a quick guideline and summary for you to understand the difference between visas, reciprocity fees and tourist cards before you book your travels. You don't want to be in a position where your bags are all packed, only to find out that you can't fly at the airport because need a VISA. Or that your budget is suddenly through the roof because you have to pay $160USD in visa fees. To find out if the country you are visiting needs a visa, tourist card or fee click HERE on my Countries page. You can click on each country to see more information. 

VISA (some countries, not all require a visa)-

A visa is a document that states a noncitizen's entry has been approved for a certain amount of time and/or visits. Visitors can NOT enter said country prior to entry date on the visa. Each country has different restrictions, so not all will require one and fees will differ depending on what country you are a citizen of. Generally, you'll have to visit the embassy to fulfill paperwork before your trip and show proof of your flight, address of where you are staying, income and include a passport picture and money order to pay for the fee. Sometimes you have to make appointments weeks in advance, and the visa will be sent to you in the weeks afterwards. Brazilian visas are notoriously hard to get and you will need to leave your passport with the embassy for a few days. 

**For the sake of this article, I am talking about tourist visas for American citizens. There are also student, business and other sorts of visas that you could apply for. Cuba, for example does not accept tourist visas from US citizens, but you could always apply to for a journalist visa to get in.


 (Bear with me this can get a bit heady here) A fee charged by a country to visitors that is in direct response to the charges that the passport holder's country charges the other country's citizens to enter. Argentina's $160USD reciprocity fee for US citizens is equal to the USA charging Argentineans a $160USD visa fee to enter the US. The difference between the visa and the reciprocity fee is that you can pay for the fee online or at the airport upon arrival instead of having to visit the embassy. 


Simply a small tax fee that you have to pay upon arrival. There is no need to go to the embassy, one can purchase these online, at the border at the airport or it may come included. Mexico charges American tourists $20USD for a tourist card that is generally included in your flight cost or can be paid at the border crossing. 


A small fee the country will charge you that is usually included in your flight ticket or paid at the airport. 

*Generally, if you are on a layover and staying in the airport, you will NOT need to get a visa or pay any of the fees as mentioned above. 

Questions? Comment below! If it all makes sense to  you then in the words of my third grade teacher, Mr. Morano..."Got it, Get it? Goooooooooood."


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The only thing worse than losing your phone is losing your phone AND your pictures. The ultimate question is then, what are the best ways to backup your pictures?

Here are the best (and cheapest) ways to get storage for your phone and laptop.

1. The GOOD NEWS is that Amazon Prime has just unleashed the newest feature to their customers. Amazon Prime is now offering UNLIMITED PHOTO STORAGE to customers who pay the annual $99 fee. This includes an app that you can download to your phone that will AUTOMATICALLY BACK UP YOUR PHOTOS when connected to WIFI. This is direct competition to Apple's iCloud feature. You can also upload pictures via the website with a pretty cool looking UI. (That means user interface - I learned it from reddit)

Amazon Prime Interface - Pics from my recent trip to Puerto Rico

Amazon Prime Interface - Pics from my recent trip to Puerto Rico

This is wild because DROPBOX only offers 2GB for free. An upgrade will cost you $9.99 per month for 1TB of space.

 2. Apple iCloud has just come up with an upgrade to curtail this - and have increased their monthly 99cent plan from 20GB to 50GB. If you'd like more space, you'll have to hawk up $2.99 per month for 200GB and $9.99 per month for 1TB. 

iCLOUD saved my pictures after I lost my phone in Paris earlier this year

Either way, the world of photo storage is changing. If you don't have access to AmazonPrime, then MOOCH off your friend or family. Members are able to add one adult to their account FOR FREE and have access to all the amazon video, 2 day shipping and the UNLIMITED PHOTO STORAGE.

Don't have an iPhone OR AmazonPrime?

3. GOOGLE also unveiled UNLIMITED PHOTO STORAGE system earlier this year called GOOGLE PHOTOS. It's basically the same option as Amazon Prime except that high resolution photos (over 16mp) will be capped at 15GB. Compressed pictures can be unlimited. If you're already signed into your gmail account - then it will automatically link to your account. 

Clean, basic Google interface

All three options include apps and options that can automatically upload your photos to the CLOUD when connected to wifi so you can....


Personally, I use iCLOUD's 50GB storage and Amazon Prime's unlimited storage to clear up some space on my phone and laptop. So far, so good. ICLOUD saved all my photos from my travels when I lost my phone earlier this year - so I DO recommend getting some back up. 

So there, three ways to keep all your photos from your trips safe, and all for less than the price of a McDonald's Cheeseburger. 





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