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Once settled in your accommodation you will probably want some local information before embarking on any photography. Hotel receptionists, taxi drivers, and waiters and waitresses in local restaurants are a good start. I have often picked up useful tips by striking up a short conversation over a first meal. General do's and don'ts, weather forecasts and a list of areas to avoid make good introductory chatter. Ask about local events and make contacts wherever possible. Give a tip or a small gift and you may be surprised by the generosity of the response.

In an unfamiliar location spend a little time walking the streets to get the feel of the place. Look at the postcards, calendars and maps to get a snapshot of interesting areas, and read posters for information on genuine local events. If you can cope with the language, buy a copy of a newspaper. It may contain all sorts of relevant advertisements and announcements. Taxi drivers often make very good, down-to-earth guides. It can therefore be cost-effective to hire taxis or cars with drivers by the day or week. Such arrangements cost more than public transport but may be comparable with that of a rental car. However, you don’t have to drive or find your way, and you get a local guide and all sorts of pointers on interesting events, where to eat and so on.

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