Bart Lapers

Bart Lapers is an event photographer, IT pro and travel consultant based in Brussels, Belgium. In March 2011 he started his blog to share his passion for luxury travel. By tweaking hotel and airline loyalty programs he manages to experience luxury travel on a limited budget.

In your opinion, which three things does a holiday destination need?

Depends what kind of vacation I'm looking for. A luxury vacation has different requirements from a 'authentic' holiday. I'm always looking for 'unique' experiences and challenges, from visiting places untouched by tourism to enjoying ultimate luxury on a budget.

Do you prefer to take pictures of landscapes or people?

No particular preference. Each type of picture comes with it's own challenges. Right now, my favorite subject is luxury hotel resorts.

When you travel, how do you keep your photo gear safe?

Safeguarding expensive photography equipment while traveling solo is a continuous challenge. I've visited more than 50 countries and only got robbed once, in my own home country Belgium!

When returning from a short trip to Paris, I had to take a domestic train from Brussels South station. A common 'trick' has been going on for years at this station. The 'bad guys' work in teams and board trains just before they are leaving the station. One will distract you, while another one takes your laptop or photography bag, after which they leave the train. By the time you realize your stuff is gone, the train is moving and the doors are closed. I was lucky to react quickly, left my big suitcase on the departing train and jumped off to pursue the robbers. I managed to recover my photography backpack with more than €6,000 worth of camera gear!

I also remember being very nervous when transporting my equipment to and from the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival. More than 50% of the guests at my Santa Teresa guesthouse had been mugged during Carnival, something I absolutely wanted to avoid while carrying so much equipment. It all went well, as I used a taxi to transport me as close as possible to the venue. My general recommendation: use common sense, always be alert and don't carry your expensive equipment if not required. Use a cheaper camera for high-risk assignments.

Do locals ever ask you to receive a copy of your pictures?

Yes. It mainly happens when visiting remote villages in places like Myanmar or Cambodia. Reminds me I still need to return to Koh Ker in Cambodia to provide the locals with printed copies of their pictures. It also happens locals (or domestic tourists) want to be in the picture with me. A typical one is Tiananmen Square in Beijng. Caucasians visiting the square are continuously being asked to be on the picture with domestic Chinese tourists.

What is the most breathtaking place you have ever taken pictures of?

Very hard to pick just one. The Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert.

Tagged as: Belgium

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