I took well over 1500 shots and to be honest out of that lot only a small handful would be images that I'd say were better than average although a number of these were taken as your standard family snaps and not to be used for any other purpose. That said, I certainly learnt a lot more about photography in those few weeks coupled with all the reading that I have done lately. It's very very true that you will improve the more you shoot and I must be getting close to the 10000 mark now so hopefully my images are getting better!
Once you put yourself in many different scenarios in a given day you soon realise when snapping away what works and what doesn't. I actively tried to use spot metering and thought more about when it was a good idea to use centred-weighted and matrix however a lot of the time I did stick with matrix to help but equipped with my new 35mm 1.8 prime lens I was constantly switching to manual mode to contend with the bright light that I was presented with on a daily basis. A polarising filter that I had picked up from 7 dayshop also proved invaluable at times although it does seem to soften the images slightly and sharpness can lack at times. I also realised that taking and 18-55 kit lens, a 70-300 and the 35mm was not a good plan....big tip, if you want to vary your shots and are going to do a lot of travel photography buy or hire a good quality zoom lens like 18-300 or similar. I very rarely went out with much more than the 35mm lens because lugging all the other gear around on days one and two was enough for me. I did bring a flashgun as well but again it never got much use so unless you have something specific in mind or know you're going to use it consistently it's another one to leave at home!
On that note, here's one the wife captured whilst in action! This was on an extremely hot day at the Valley of Fire just outside Las Vegas, breathtaking scenery.