The five smartest vacation photos you've never taken

Courtesy ssh/Flickr

Use your digital camera as a "visual notebook" to record things you may find useful later on—not just for photos of your family at your destination. Here are some ideas:

"Return to owner" Take a photo of a sign you make that says "This camera belongs to..." and lists your name, contact information, and (perhaps) the promise of a reward. Set this image to "read-only" to make it difficult to erase. Keep it as the first picture on your memory card. If strangers find your lost camera and start looking at its photos, they'll know it belongs to you.

"Where was that again?" Snap the location of your parked car, or take a picture of your hotel door with the room number on it. At the end of your jetlagged day, whether you're in an Orlando parking garage or Las Vegas resort, you'll appreciate having the photo to remind you of where you need to go.

"See? My car was fine when I left the lot." Sometimes sneaky rental car companies will "ding" you for rental car damage you didn't cause. Avoid surprises on your bill by capturing "before" and "after" views of your vehicle. (Skip taking photos if an attendant walk arounds the vehicle with you and notes any damage on a form you both sign.)

"Which temple was that one again?" Let's say that on a vacation you see dozens of the same category of sights: a Madonnarama of paintings at European art galleries; a Buddhathon of temples in Cambodia. Be sure to record the context of what you're photographing by shooting up close the text of a street sign, historical plaque, or a relevant page of your guidebook.

"Darn it. I wish I could print out this webpage." Let's say you're using your hotel's computer to look up some information, such as a map for a museum's location, but you don't have access to a printer—or maybe don't want to pay a silly printing charge. Simply take a photo of the screen, and then use your camera's built-in LCD screen to view it as you walk.


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