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BlogJuly 21, 2017

Expert Interview Series: Peggy Tee of Taking to the Open Road About Off-The-Beaten-Path Vacations

Drone photography

Peggy is a writer, photographer, traveler, and founder of Taking to the Open Road, a blog specializing in travel itineraries and inspiration. We recently caught up with Peggy to learn some tips on creating and enjoying vacations that are unique and unorthodox.

Tell us a little about yourself. Why did you decide to start a travel blog?

I have always loved writing and travel, and a travel blog was the perfect combination of the two. Friends and family were always asking for travel tips and suggested itineraries for their own journeys abroad, so that became the start of Taking to the Open Road, which is growing steadily.

When compared to other types of vacations, what are the advantages of “taking to the open road” to visit or explore a new destination?

To take to the open road means much more than taking a poolside vacation. To me, travel is about experiencing the newness of a place, exploring the history of its people, and eating my way through all the street food I can find! I like to immerse myself as much as possible into the local culture.

What types of restaurants or other dining establishments do you look for when you travel?

I love everything! From the immediacy and intimacy of street food, where you can see and smell the food being prepared fresh in front of you, to the high end, white linen restaurants with stars in their names. The only caveat: it has to be somewhere the locals also eat at!

Tell us about one of the most surprising travel experiences that you’ve had in your life.

We were in Morocco, and had gotten into two taxis – there were six of us and we couldn’t all fit into one. We’d asked the driver to take us to a restaurant in the old Medina; but unbeknownst to us, only the petit taxis were allowed in the winding, narrow streets, and the regular cars we’d hailed couldn’t get through. But because we insisted so strongly in our ignorance, our drivers took us! We squeezed through tiny alleyways, caused a minor traffic pileup with donkey carts having to back up in front of us, and watched lots of onlookers having to help our drivers navigate the narrow corners. What was unexpected was that the taxi drivers took us there at all, when we were clearly in the wrong, and that they were so gracious about it all. We eventually made it to the restaurant in one piece – and we made sure to tip them handsomely!

While on vacation in a foreign country, what is the etiquette for taking photos of other people?

Always, always, ask first and show them the shot after. And, if you commit to sending them the photo once you get home, please don’t forget!

What is the most common mistake that travelers make when they take travel photos?

For me, there is beauty in details. Often, travel photos are big, dramatic, landscape shots of a building (like the Eiffel Tower). But Parisien life is more than just the Eiffel; it’s the smell of coffee and baguettes, or a finely folded scarf, or the reflection of light on the Seine. Travelers often don’t capture these details in their photographs, but these are often the things that you remember when you think back on your travels.

How do you think using unmanned aerial vehicles (aka drones) to take photographs will impact the travel blogging industry?

I love some of the work that travel bloggers are doing with drones! The shift in perspective has opened up so many opportunities for some really amazing photos; but drone photos are, by their very nature, removed from their subject. I think there’ll always be a place for travel photos taken the traditional way: at ground level!

What advice do you have for someone who is embarking on an “open road” adventure in a foreign country for the first time?

Do as much research as you can before you go. Pack light. Keep an open mind and be flexible. The best travel stories are those that you’ll never find in a guidebook, so go off the beaten path and find your own adventures.

How are drones affecting travel photography? Check out our blog to find out.