Twelve Travel Questions with Chris Raney

At the Beach in Nazare Portugal

Name: Chris Raney – Yellow Productions Travel Guides
Home Base: Sunny Southern California
Last Trip: Portugal
Next Trip: Japan

1.What are three things you take on every trip? 

1. An umbrella, because if I don’t bring one, it’s sure to be rainy the whole time! 2. My stuffed animal traveling companion, Topher the panda. 3. Of course my video camera! Because if I didn’t make a video of the trip, then it didn’t happen! :)

2. What is your best remedy for jet lag? 

Taking a long long walk outside when I get to my destination. The fresh air, and the walking forces me to stay up… and tires me out so that I can fall fast asleep once I finally get to my hotel. I also make it a point to stay awake until 8 p.m. at the destination I’m going to… if I go to sleep too early, then I’ll wake up at 4 a.m., and nothing is open for breakfast that early!

3. What is the first thing you do when you get to a new place? 

Usually my first day in a new place I spend a considerable amount of time just wandering around, with no destination in particular. I feel the best way to feel the “vibe” of a place is to explore it on foot, and be “OK” with getting lost. Exploration and the discovery of new things happens best when you’re lost!

London Tower Bridge

4. What place has the best food? The worst food? 

Best food — Singapore. I love the Hawker Centres in Singapore… 100 food stalls in one location with everything from noodles to meat on a stick.. woo! Everything at the Hawker Centres in Singapore is delicious, and cheap!

Worst food — train stations in Europe. Seriously — you’d think with all the people that go through European train stations every day that they could have some tasty food. But most European train station food is worst than airport food!

5. What is one place that changed your outlook on life? 

Hawaii! The people in Hawaii are always so relaxed and friendly. Whenever I’m in Hawaii it adjusts my life perspective to slow down and enjoy life a little more.

6. What is your favorite travel quote? 

Travel isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey!

Macau China - Ruins of St Pauls Church

7. Is there any music that inspires you to travel?

Hula or Ukulele! It makes me want to go to Hawaii!

8. What is your craziest true travel story?

Doing a “mileage run” to Singapore. I needed 15,000 more United Airlines miles to re-qualify for 1K elite status. I looked on United’s website to see where I could go that was at least 15,000 miles round trip from Southern California for the cheapest amount of money. And it turned out to be Singapore — $800 round trip from Los Angeles! I left LAX on Friday, returned on Monday, a total of 50 hours of travel time (airplane and airport), with 30 hours in Singapore in the middle! While I was in Singapore, I hiked the Singapore Southern Ridges trail, ate lots of noodles, and made three travel videos from this mileage run trip!

9. How do you think that travel videos can be useful to travelers, even if they aren’t filmmakers themselves?

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words.. I’d say a travel video is worth 1,000 pictures. Watching a travel video before going on a trip allows you to really “see” the destinations and attractions at that locale. And by seeing your destination, it allows you to spend more time enjoying the highlights, instead of trying to figure out what to do, or doing things that you don’t like.

10. What is the goal/philosophy of your videos?

To be fun, entertaining, and informative! My videos typically come in two varieties, either a city overview, or focused on a single attraction. In my city overviews I try to highlight the major attractions in a city in under 10 minutes. In my detailed single attraction videos I focus on more tips and useful things to know about visiting that particular destination.

Feeding the Deer in Nara Japan

11. What advice do you have for someone who wants to make travel videos?

Just do it! Grab your camera, camcorder, DSLR, GoPro, or phone and start recording!

Once you’ve gotten started, some of my tips are making your travel videos even better are:

1. Think about what you want the final video to be BEFORE you start shooting video. Shoot scenes and narration that supports what you want in the final video.

2.  Don’t be shy. Shooting travel videos in front of popular tourist destinations will often draw a crowd. It’s OK… they want to see what you’re doing because they think it’s cool. Make it entertaining for them :).

3.  Hold the camera steady. You don’t want to make your viewers seasick. Use a tripod or Gorillapod to help steady the camera.

4.  Use a wireless microphone. Since travel destinations are typically outside or with a lot of tourists, there is often a significant amount of noise. If you are using an on-camera microphone, you’ll be limited to staying close to the camera so the microphone can hear you. With a wireless microphone you’ll get better audio and be free to stand more than three feet away from the camera.

5. Share your videos with the internet! What good is your video if nobody gets to see it? Share it with the world so somebody else can gain from your knowledge and experience.

6.  Ignore the critics.. Yes… there will be people that will tell you that your video stinks, the video quality is bad, the audio is awful, the image is shaky…. ignore those people. They’ve never made a travel video in their life so they have no idea what goes in to it. For every one person that leaves you a negative comment, there were probably 1,000 that really enjoyed your content but didn’t say a thing.

12. What is your best travel tip?

Take advantage of airline and hotel loyalty programs. Airline and hotels treat their “loyal” customers much better. Elite members of airlines get perks like free checked bags, and early boarding. Elite members of hotels get perks like free breakfast and free internet access. For the airlines and hotels that I stay at the most, I have their co-branded credit cards which often give elite status for a small annual fee. You can get Hilton Gold with the Citibank Hilton credit card. Yes, there’s an annual fee of $70 — but you get free breakfast. So if you stay at a Hilton more than a couple of nights, you break even just on the breakfast perk.

Watch travel videos by Chris Raney here.

Singapore Gardens by the Bay