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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 November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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