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12 Common Travel Mistakes People Make

12 Common Travel Mistakes People Make

Taking a holiday should be stress free and relaxing. At least, that’s how we see it in our heads when we’re dreaming up a trip.

There are several things that could go wrong before and during a trip and it has happened to the best of us. Here is a quick list of 12 common travel mistakes that everyone makes at one point in their lives.

1. Lack of a budget and an emergency fund.

When it comes to traveling, most people only save up for the actual trip itself. The places to see, the plane tickets and the rental cars are all taken into consideration when creating the budget.

What most people miss is the emergency fund. If you are going around the world, make sure you have enough money in the bank to get you from where you are to your home safe and sound in case of emergency.

Making a budget is incredibly important, because let’s face it, no one wants to run out of money before their trip is over.

2. Thinking that getting your passport will be a quick process.

Although there are expectations set in terms of when you apply for your passport, plan for extra wiggle room when awaiting its arrival. To be safe, try to make sure you get it about three to four months before your trip.

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This gives you extra time to provide any more documentation to the agency if they need it and trust us, it happens.

3. Paying extra for packing.

Most airlines charge for the weight of your luggage, so try to keep everything simple. There is no way you are going to wear all six pairs of those shoes that you packed.

And jeans can be worn more than once, so there is no need to pack 20 pairs for your week-long trip.

4. Taking too many photos and not living in the moment.

We are all familiar with the knowledge that the digital world is at the touch of our fingertips. We can snap photos of our food, our drinks, what we see and who we are with.

We can also all admit that we take too many photos of everything. Take some time away from the camera and live in the moment for a little while, and create some memories in your brain for yourself and just take photos if you have time.

The social media world will be okay if they don’t get a play-by-play of your trip. You are in a different place, take it all in and come back with more than photos – come back with stories to tell.

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5. Forgetting to let your bank know where you’re going.

Most banks have a security precaution that will freeze your account if it is being used in an unfamiliar place, so make things easier on yourself and notify your local bank so they can put a note in the system.

Nothing is worse than needing to use your card to pay for your hotel and have it declined in a foreign country.

6. Relying on the tour book you bought at the airport.

Take some time away from the generic tour book that you can buy in the book store and walk around a bit. In Rome, we walked the streets at night and just explored.

It was the best feeling to just find your way and discover things using a simple map. Sometimes there are things other than the monuments to see. We ended up stumbling onto a church that was not in our book that was breathtaking.

And had we not set aside the generic guide book, we would have never experienced such a sight.

7. Being unaware of the culture and not having an open mind.

When traveling, this is a must! Make sure you do some research on customs and courtesies of the country you are visiting.

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What is acceptable in your country may be rude in another. For example, in the United States, we are told not to stare growing up as a child. In Germany, it’s like a contest on who can keep eye contact the longest.

It isn’t rude whatsoever, it’s just a normal thing. Also, have an open mind, as you are in a new place, so try the food before you judge it (unless you’re allergic, in which case you should go with what is safe).

8. Bringing too many gadgets.

Bringing all your high tech gadgets will put an automatic target on your back for pick pockets. Leave your huge tablet back at the hotel (or home, even) and just bring your phone.

There isn’t a really big need for you to carry a cell phone, a tablet, an iPad and your camera all at once. Pick one, maybe two if you must, and enjoy your holiday.

9. Giving up on trying a new language.

Most people appreciate when you try to speak their language. You may not be a professional at it, but that is okay. It is better than being that person that automatically assumes everyone understands English.

10. Putting comfort over experience.

There is an amazing little hotel in Rome called the Hotel Grifo. We could have easily booked another hotel with a larger room and bigger showers, but the reviews for the hotel were more than enough to decide to book.

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The experience we had there was amazing. They pulled out a map, showed us all of the tips and tricks and were all together great people. In addition, staying in hostels (though some may be open bay) can open up different opportunities to meet amazing friends and travel buddies.

Typically, you pay less and have a lot more fun when you leave the need for a high class hotel out of the equation.

11. Dining in front of the monuments.

You may see a large amount of people (tourists) dining outside of these places, but we can tell you, the food is much better from a mom and pop shop a couple of blocks away.

That is not to say that the places outside of the monuments are bad by any means, but the places a bit further away are better and tend to be more affordable (by a lot).

12. Packing too much into a small amount of time.

Trying to rush through things to make sure all the activities on your checklist get done can be hectic. It can even ruin a trip, if you let it.

Sometimes, packing your agenda with too many things and with too little time will make your trip feel rushed. Plan activities if you must, but with a lot of wiggle room in case it gets extra fun.

Featured photo credit: Road Trip- Chuck Domitrovich via flickr.com

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Margielyn Musser

Event And Volunteer Coordinator / World Traveler

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Last Updated on January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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