Gullfoss Iceland


I'm an expat whose goal is to visit every country in the world.

93 countries and counting!  

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6 Advantages of Selfie Sticks

When I first started traveling seriously in 2011, I had never heard of a selfie stick, nor had I ever seen one.  However, while I was living in South Korea, I started to see mainly college-aged Korean students using these sticks and taking pictures of themselves and their friends.  Admittedly, when I first saw them, I didn't know what they were and thought they looked silly, odd, and rather conspicuous.

One of the first times I used the selfie stick at Tikal in Guatemala

The selfie stick is now ubiquitous and widespread, and it is hard to go somewhere and not see people using them.  Even though I swore to myself that I would never be caught dead with one when I first saw them, I eventually folded.  I have now been the proud owner of a selfie stick since 2015 when I first used it at Tikal in Guatemala.  Since that time, it has proven to be quite a valuable asset, and now a selfie stick comes with me everywhere I go whenever I visit a new country.  It has very much become a part of my packing list.

If I have to be honest, I personally feel that the selfie stick, despite looking kind of silly and quite touristy, is a wonderful travel accessory and even a good photography tool.  It has certainly enriched my personal travel experiences and allowed to me take some really nice photos I might not have been able to get otherwise.  Of course, sometimes I do feel self-conscious when I'm walking around with it or taking pictures in crowded areas, but it was definitely a worthwhile investment. 

Here are 6 advantages of selfie sticks:

1. No Tripod Necessary

Many people enjoy taking group photos, and instead of asking a stranger to take a photo of your group, you can simply take out the selfie stick and take the photo without any problems.  Before, if you wanted a really nice group photo and didn't want to ask a stranger, a tripod would have been a necessity along with setting up a timer and hoping no one would walk in the shot.  Unfortunately, tripods are not particularly ideal travel accessories since they can be difficult to cart around all day, and many places also do not permit setting them up.  With a selfie stick, it is easy to carry around and might even fit in a deep pocket or backpack if it retracts.

2. No Asking Strangers for Photo Assistance

If you didn't bring a tripod, and you wanted a group photo or were traveling solo, then you needed to have someone take a picture of you.  Prior to purchasing a selfie stick, I often found myself in this situation since I usually travel solo, and I always hated having to ask people to take pictures of me.  However, with a selfie stick, I rarely have to do that nowadays, but there are admittedly times I will still ask.

3.  Get the Angle You Want

If you have to have someone take a picture of you and your group, there is always a definite possibility the person taking the picture does not have good photographic skills or care, so you might end up with a lopsided picture, heads cut off, blurriness, or incorrect framing.  Of course, there are photo editing programs to deal with those issues, but people have busy lives, so why spend more time on that than necessary?  With a selfie stick, you can frame the picture exactly how you want, and the only one who can mess it up is you.  Of course, you might have to do some some photo editing as well or retake the photo, but since you are the photographer, you know what you want.

4.  A Secure Camera

When a phone is attached to the selfie stick, it is pretty firmly attached.  The chance of the phone falling off the stick is unlikely unless you're waving the stick around with a lot of speed or hit it against something hard enough.  Without a selfie stick, it is very easy to drop a phone and crack a screen.  There have been several times when I saw people drop their phones either right before taking a selfie or right after.  Thankfully, I have never had this happen to me although I have dropped cameras before (Taiwan and Argentina).

Looking upward toward the Church of Sainte- Sulpice in Paris, France

Looking upward toward the Church of Sainte- Sulpice in Paris, France

5.  A Variety of Available Perspectives

Probably one of the best advantages of a selfie stick is the ability to have angles that would be more difficult to take if you're on your own.  For instance, it is much easier to have a photo of yourself standing under the Eiffel Tower with a selfie stick than trying to instruct someone exactly what you want or positioning the camera and yourself in such a way to show upward angles.  That can take time, and you might never get the shot you want.

6.  Easy to Pack

For the solo traveler who might be traveling into a remote area, a selfie stick is indispensable since you might not encounter very many other people on your journey.  Luckily, most selfie sticks can be easily extended and retracted into a small size, and this allows it to fit very easily into a backpack or maybe even a deep pocket.  In addition, selfie sticks are very light, so they hardly effect the weight of a person's luggage.  Plus, selfie sticks can be packed in either a carry-on or checked bag.

What are your thoughts on selfie sticks?  Do you know of any other benefits?  I'd love to hear them.

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