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Make Every Vacation Count: How You Can Travel Around The World Without Quitting Your Job

Make Every Vacation Count: How You Can Travel Around The World Without Quitting Your Job

Fulfilling your daydreams of traveling the world may seem impossible now that you have obligations like a full-time job. Luckily, your travel daydreams can become a reality with careful planning and creative thinking. Gunnar Garfors did exactly that when he accomplished his lifelong dream of visiting all 198 countries by the time he was 37, on top of being employed full-time back in his home country of Norway.

Feel inspired by this intrepid traveler? Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your vacation time:

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Make use of holidays and three-day weekends

In countries like the USA, we are not fortunate in having long paid vacations like those available in some European countries, like Norway. What is the next best thing?

Take advantage of three-day weekends or longer holiday breaks like those that occur during Thanksgiving or Christmas. If you live in the USA, for a three-day weekend you can easily plan a trip abroad to a nearby country like Canada or Mexico. Depending on where you live, places like Curaçao are a short plane ride away from the East Coast. It is important to think of all the possibilities available to you during these holiday breaks, because usually you’ll be surprised by how many options there are once you do some serious brainstorming.

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Tag a few extra days onto a business trip

Going abroad to discuss a new marketing strategy with clients in Japan? Add a few extra days to sightsee. Business trips are notorious for being short, and for being so busy that you barely get to see anything outside of the conference room and your hotel. Ask your boss if you can add a few extra days onto your trip to explore. A bonus is that it will help you to gain a deeper understanding of the culture of the people you are working with- and how could your boss say no to that?

Take advantage of your vacation time

You may only have 2 weeks of vacation time, but if you use it wisely you can plan a big trip abroad each year that will allow you to see the world bit by bit. Since you have limited time, focus on 1 or 2 new cities within a country and really get to know your new destination. It may be tempting to see 3 or 4 cities, or 2 countries within this short time span, but in order to have a memorable trip it is important to take it all in slowly.

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Learn to budget wisely

Traveling is not cheap. That does not mean that it is impossible to save up for, though. Instead of buying lunch out a few times a week, make your own at home instead. Instead of getting that morning latte, brew it at home instead. There are numerous ways to save- and even saving a few dollars here and there will add up in the long run. There are also numerous budgeting apps available, like Mint, that help you to put away some money towards a travel fund.

Avoid the peak travel seasons

It might seem like summer is synonymous with travel, but if you travel during off-seasons you are more likely to find cheap airfares, hotel deals and discounted local activities. Winter is a budget-friendly time to travel and you can enjoy your destination without the crowds. There are also shoulder seasons, which are time periods that fall between the high and low travel seasons associated with a particular destination. The crowds from the peak season have usually gone home by this time and the weather is ideal. Say you have had your eye on Mexico for awhile, but want to avoid the crowds and high prices. Mid-November is a great time to go, because it is long after hurricane season, but right before the madness of when the holiday crowds arrive.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 14, 2019

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

1. Take the scenic route.

Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

2. Distract yourself.

No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

3. Listen to music or podcasts.

There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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4. Bring a friend.

Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

5. Accessorize.

There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

6. Compete.

A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

7. Relax.

The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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