Steps to get your passport-sized photos printed at an affordable price!

Steps to get your passport-sized photos printed at an affordable price!

Need a passport sized photo but find that the price of it is just too high? 

I recently needed a passport-sized photo and wanted to do it the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way.

While there are many pop-up photo booths scattered across town, each charges a minimum of $7 which I deem too costly for a single passport size photo! 

Here are the steps to get your passport photo printed cheap, and of decent quality (of course). 

  1. Download the Photo for Passport mobile application
  2. Dress up and get ready to take your photo. Ensure that your eyes and eyebrows are not blocked by your hair. If you have dark coloured hair, you may want to put on a lighter coloured shirt to ensure that your hair does not blend in too much with your shirt (or vice versa)
  3. Search for a white/light grey (depending on the requirement) background around your house or neighbourhood. Ideally, lighting should be ample – natural lighting is best
  4. Launch the mobile application you download in Step 1
  5. Select “New Photo” and choose the country to which the photo will be used. The recommended sizing and requirements will be shown for easy selection.
  6. Once selected, you will be prompted to “take a new photo” or “select an image from the gallery”


  7. If you select “take a new photo”, follow the guidelines on the camera for easy reference.

  8. Once photo is taken, you can proceed to edit it to the actual size. You will be prompted to upgrade to the premium option, but if you’re not too particular, you can just select “continue with ads”

  9. You can then edit your photo by scaling the size of the rectangle around the face. A guideline will be shown on where the top of the head and chin should be within the photo. Once satisfied, select “Crop”.

  10. The application will then alert you if the photo size and background colour is okay. For this example, the background colour wasn’t accurate, and if I select “change”, I’d be prompted to upgrade to get the background eraser option. However, as this is just an example, I did not bother too much and proceeded to “Save”.

  11. You can then proceed to save your image, and you will have the option of saving the photo as multiple copies on a single 4R (or whatever size your print is).

  12. You can then save the image and proceed to a photo printing shop to print this single image. Most photo shops allow you to print images directly from photo printing stations. Even the most costly form would be $2 per photo print. $2 for 6 photos vs $7 for 4 photos? You choose!

There are other alternatives online, but this was the quickest, most straight-forward, and free way of getting my passport photo printed.

Hope these tips will help you as you take your passport-sized photos!

Zumba-ing the calories away!

COVID-19 has driven almost everyone indoors – but other than work, and probably binge-watching Netflix, how can one keep active during this period? Just before our country went into circuit-breaker mode, my family and I purchased a Nintendo Switch (review on a later date), and the first game we bought was Zumba Burn it Up!

Out of the four members of our family, only one person had ever gone for a Zumba class – maybe it’s because of the excessive movements, or the idea of semi-dancing outdoors, Zumba wasn’t an activity we’d easily consider doing while out in public – however, it’s a totally different story when you’re in the comfort of your own home!

This game comes with 30 songs, and each song comes with various intensity levels – low, medium and high. The low-intensity ones have fewer jumping movements and are less aggressive. The high intensity ones really get your heart pumping with the fast movements and jumps. One can choose to do a single song at a time or take part in the classes available.

There are three kinds of classes – short, medium and long. A short class, consisting of four songs, lasts around 15 minutes. A medium class has eight songs and lasts around 30 min. The long class has 16 songs and last almost an hour. Let’s put it this way – a short class can already give one a good sweat!

While playing, each player will hold a controller in his/her right hand. The controller vibrates a little with each beat of the song (this helps you get a quick grasp of the beat of the song). Other than being able to move along to the beat, a fun part of this game is that it tracks your accuracy level as well – this is tracked by the movement of the right hand that is holding the controller. Your accuracy and movement streak also help determine your overall score.

Each class can be tracked with up to four players holding a controller each. While my family only owns two controllers, our other two members will just move along, without their movements tracked.

The songs in this game are fun, allows a lot of different actions and movement, and are good in getting us to burn some calories. You can purchase the game from the Nintendo E-store here.

Three things you can do on a daily basis while social distancing!

Three things you can do on a daily basis while social distancing!

Almost one-third of the world is currently under some form of ‘lockdown’, and here in Singapore, our Circuit Breaker measures are still in full force, which means many are currently working from home and have more time on our hands. Here are some of the things that I’ve come across in recent weeks that may be of interest to you for you to make full use of your time – the three activities mentioned below can be done on a daily basis (even on a workday!) –

Head to the kitchen and prepare a unique cup of coffee for yourself

You may be used to getting your morning dose of coffee outside, but the Dalgona coffee has been making many people learn how to prepare their coffee at home! The craze is still on, and if you’ve not made this wonderful, frothy drink for yourself (think inverted cappuccino – frothed coffee on milk instead of frothed milk on coffee!), why not try it out? Here’s a quick instructional video that has raked 10 million views!

My take on the Dalgona coffee – a simple and delicious recipe

Pick up a course or two online

I’ve posted on online sites where you can pick up courses before, but many do come at a cost. With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on, many organizations and schools have decided to provide free courses for those who want to learn – and the list of schools includes Harvard University.

Photo by Julia M Cameron  from Pexels

These courses are free, taken on audit – which means you have access to the materials, but will not be provided a certificate at the end of it (to link to your LinkedIn account or as a memento), but you can easily purchase one if you think it will be of value to you! Check over 60 free courses offered by Harvard here – the range is pretty wide and I’m sure you’ll find something that you’re interested in. There’s another site that has more than 1,500 free courses and can be found here.

Do a workout and sweat it out

From classes that help you with your flexibility to Tabata classes that make you ‘sweat it all out’, many classes are easily available online and these are great resources you may want to make use online.

Photo by Li Sun from Pexels

Something fun that can have technology involved is Just Dance Now – you can use your mobile phone as the game control that allows both you and your partner(s) to dance along to songs, it’s a fun and good way to work it out. Alternatively, if you also own a Nintendo Switch, you may want to check out Zumba Burn it Up! – it has full classes that range from 15 to 60 min! I’ve recommended this previously in a post, but it’s so good that I’d highly recommend it again!

#stayhome #staysafe #strongertogether

Breezing through COVID-19 with these online resources

Breezing through COVID-19 with these online resources

Regardless of where you are right now, I am sure that the COVID-19 situation is impacting you in one way or another right now. From countries going under lockdown, to various quarantine measures and working from home, I won’t be surprised if many of you are actively looking for activities for you, or for children.

Here’s a quick compilation on some of the sites I’ve come across that may be of interest to you, or those around you!

Videos and Shows

Photo by Lars Nissen from Pexels
  1. Netflix – original shows, TV series, documentaries and variety shows. You can try it out for a month for free, and a monthly subscription fee applies after.
  2. Prime Video – original shows, TV series and more, not as wide a range as Netflix but has some shows that Netflix doesn’t! It comes free for a month, and if you have an Amazon Prime membership, it’s free for you as well. Else, there’s a monthly subscription as well.
  3. Broadway Musicals – with theatres and musical halls closed during this period, why not watch some of them online? They are currently offering a seven-day free trial followed by a paid subscription.
  4. Virtual Disney World – this is a YouTube channel that has uploaded the different experiences in Disney World. From watching a Disney tour to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, you can experience it all here! If you have a VR headset, plug your phone in and experience Disney World easily!

Reading/ Audiobooks

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels
  1. Audible – an initiative by Amazon is allowing children and teens free access to Audible, an audiobook site that has titles ranging from Winnie the Pooh to C.S. Lewis’ Surprised by Joy. Through this period of school closure, the site is granting free access to its books! If you have an existing membership with them, they will pause the membership during this duration for you as well.
  2. SCRIBD – a platform that has books, magazines, audiobooks and documents. During this season, they have granted 30 days of free access to the site, and no credit card is required to enjoy this privilege.

Exercise

Photo by Valeria Ushakova from Pexels
  1. Zumba! Burn it up – if you own a Nintendo switch, you can get this game on the Nintendo eshop! It’s fun, and has short classes that you can follow easily.
  2. Ready Set Sweat Challenge – a series of HIIT classes that you can follow for free, in the comfort of your own home!

Thoughts

There are many more online resources available for free at this moment in time, and it is comforting to see how many companies are stepping up and providing access to others as we tide through this crisis.  Now, enjoy and let’s have some fun during this period!

#stayhome #staysafe

On damaged baggage and how to deal with the situation

On damaged baggage and how to deal with the situation

A missing wheel, a cracked bag, a burst zip with missing items – all these damages to your checked-in baggage can be claimed (subject to further assessment) – but do you know how to do it? 

Here’s to a series of fun facts on travel tips and what to do in times of need. 

Beginning last year, my family and I have had a series of broken and/or spoilt check-in baggage. These baggage are of decent quality (mostly under Antler) and prior to recent months, they did not give us any issues as they are polycarbonate baggage. However, on quite a number of our recent trips, our bags have been subject to poor handling and as such, we filed for claims for them. 

Every airline has its own partnership with a local company that deals with missing and damaged baggage in the local airport. Upon collecting your baggage from the carousel, always take a look at the condition of the baggage. Minor scratches and minor dents do not often fall under the damage baggage claim, but large ones should be evident to the eye and a claim should be filed before you leave the airport, and the claim should be made in person. 

To file a claim, you will need to have the baggage tag on the baggage itself, your passport, boarding pass (or e-ticket), as well as the baggage tag which was given to you upon check-in at your destination of boarding. Without these items, it may be difficult to submit a claim. Once you have located the baggage claims counter in the airport terminal, you will be required to fill in a form with your particulars – it is important to ensure that the information you’ve provided is accurate as the company will contact you via the information provided to ask for more details. The initial details on baggage condition, model of baggage and age of baggage will also be asked then (you will most probably be required to submit your receipt for the company to determine the value of compensation of your bag). Upon leaving the counter, you will be provided with an incident report with the details you have provided and will be advised on further actions you may have to take. 

For example, when my baggage got damaged during a Singapore Airlines flight from Adelaide back to Singapore, we filed the damaged baggage report and returned home. The bag was collected by the company staff from my provided address and it was further assessed. I received a call after from the company that told me that the baggage could not be repaired and was provided a monetary compensation which I collected from the airport counter a day later. On a different flight, also by Singapore Airlines, my baggage was damaged but could be repaired. The company staff collected the baggage from my provided address, assessed and repaired it, before delivering it back to my address. Communication was fairly simple for both cases and both were resolved easily. 

However, for my Etihad Airways experience on my latest trip to Switzerland, we had damaged baggage issues the moment we touched down in Zurich where our baggage was so badly damaged that we had to discard it at the airport. We filed a damaged baggage report, got the report ID and had to fill in an extensive form on Etihad Airways site with our receipts, baggage tags and photos (it was a pain). Similarly, another bag got damaged on the way back to Singapore and we had to go through the hassle of setting the claims. To date, our second claim has not been fully processed (almost two months from the incident). While I know that we’ll eventually get our money back, it is indeed a hassle. 

Every airline has its own operating procedures, but some are just more convenient than others. You may not always get your desired amount compensated to you so do not get your hopes high – but please always remember to check your baggage and make a damage claims report before you leave the airport! If possible, try to take a picture of your baggage at the check-in counter as evidence of how your baggage originally looked (in case the airline requests for it). 

No one likes to receive a damaged baggage but if you do, do take note on the steps described above!