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16 Travel Hacks To Make Your Vacation 16x Better

16 Travel Hacks To Make Your Vacation 16x Better

When’s the last time you daydreamed about your ideal vacation? I’m willing to bet that it wasn’t that long ago. Whether you’re toiling away at a 9-5 job or packing your bags to leave tomorrow, here are 16 travel hacks that are sure to serve you well.

1. Bring earplugs on the plane

Better yet, get yourself some noise cancelling headphones.

I used to be one of those travelers continually complaining about jetlag. I thought it was all to do with the time difference. But I’ve realized that the biggest killer on my energy was actually just the 12 hours of constant ambient airplane noise keeping my brain awake.

Now, my strategy is to have those earplugs and headphones locked and loaded before I walk on the plane. It makes for some funny moments when the flight attendants tries to ask you what you want to eat for dinner, but at the end of the day, I get off the plane feeling so much fresher than otherwise.

2. Try and sneak a free row or business class seat

It’s actually not that hard to sneak into Emirates First Class — I did it!

It’s true, another massive factor of jetlag is the mere fact that we generally don’t get much sleep on those long-haul flights during the times when we would otherwise be getting our 8 hours.

My solution: scout out a free row down in the back of the plane or get yourself a sneaky in-plane upgrade for that sleep you only ever dreamed of.

3. Bring a power board to cut down on adaptors

Ever been caught only being able to power one thing at a time because you only have one travel adaptor?

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Well, this is easily fixed. Grab yourself a travel power board to get all your appliances going at once and in your local socket.

4. Get the right credit card

Getting the right credit card can not only ELIMINATE your conversion fees, but it can also save you on the cost of insurance.

Regardless of the payment method you end up choosing, always remember to call your bank to make sure they know you are travelling before they freeze your card on your first attempted transaction.

5. Bring photos of all your important ID info

When we travel, we are always on our toes in new environments.

For me, this leads to just generally forgetting stuff and leaving things on chairs to never be seen again, like the time I left my wallet with $1,000 in it in the Dubai airport.

A lot of people suggest printing off copies of your ID. This is all well and good, however I suggest taking photos of them all on your phone so you have a better chance of accessing them when you need them.

6. Bring a case for your Smartphone

I’m not sure about you, but I need a case. I drop my iPhone all the time, and that’s when I’m in my hometown.

When travelling, we are always in new environments, out hiking, wearing different clothes with different pockets, swimming etc. Getting a case like the one from LifeProof has saved my phone and my cash balance many times!

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7. Use Dry Bags, not plastic bags

In the good ol’ days I would always pack some big garbage bags to put my shoes or dirty clothes in.

These days, I’ve gone a little heavier duty and better on the environment by stocking up on these bad boys. Dry bags are the way of the future. Not only are they made from really good quality material, they can be rolled up to squeeze all the air out and keep everything inside waterproof. Perfect for a day out rafting or just to keep things airtight in your luggage.

8. Bring an empty pillowcase and stuff it with a jacket

I remember on my first few holidays actually packing a full pillow in my suitcase just to be sure I had a good night sleep.

Yes, I agree, this was ridiculous.

So these days, instead of packing the whole pillow, I just bring a pillow case and stuff it with my puffy jacket if I never need an emergency pillow on a night bus or in a hostel dorm.

9. Roll your clothes, don’t fold

Better yet, get some packing cubes.

If you really want to be efficient about how much you pack, as well as how long it takes to find stuff, packing cubes will do the job. It makes it so much easier for me to swap things around on the go.

10. Check out Airbnb and HostelWorld

If you’re want to stay in a hotel, then by all means hotelscombined.com is the best site for you to find the cheapest deal. Take my word.

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But if you want to be a little less conventional, you can use Airbnb or HostelWorld for the most comprehensive list of hostels around the world. Your pick.

11. Always mark your luggage as fragile

This one is a little crafty, but it works every time.

For no reason other than to just get a one-up on the world, mark your bags as fragile at the check-in counter.

This will have the handlers treat your luggage with a little extra care, and also have your bag coming out first on the carousel because it was generally the last thing to be loaded in the first place.

12. Bring your own water bottle everywhere

Be environmentally conscious!

Not only will getting around with your own reusable bottle save the environment from the scourge of plastic bottles filling our landfills and oceans, but you’ll also save a tonne of cash by not buying fresh bottles every day.

If you’re worried about the quality of the water in the country you’re in, consider investing in a water purifier as well.

13. Download Duolingo and Dict.cc to get yourself around foreign languages

There is nothing more frustrating for me than getting to a new city and having zero idea what the symbol translates to in English. Some languages are just too hard to read for me.

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But, at the very least, apps like Duolingo will help with the basic pronunciations and directives to get you to your hotel and out of paying $200 for an apple.

For a big list of the best travel apps, check this out!

14. Use TSA approved locks

If you’re travelling in the US, this is mandatory. If you don’t, you’ll end up losing your locks and having TSA guys sniff through your delicates.

Regardless, getting a good TSA-approved retractable lock is my suggestion. It works just like a normal lock, but can be extended to also keep your bag secured to a bed leg or seat on a bus while you sleep.

15. Set your browser to private browsing when booking tickets

When you’re booking your flights, you might be interested to know that airlines actually set the prices for you based on your home location and how often you check the prices. It’s their way of keeping the prices as high as you’ll possibly pay.

To get around this, clear your cookies before searching and set your browser to “private browsing” so that the sites don’t know where you are searching from.

16. Remember to keep your carryon toiletries below 100 ml

This one is simply about saving some cash. If you want to bring your hairspray or personal items on the plane, that’s fine. Just remember to keep them in small containers, otherwise the customs officers will confiscate them. Otherwise, just keep your toiletries in your checked in luggage.

Do you have any tips of your own to share? What do you do to make your travels as hassle-free as possible?

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Last Updated on August 13, 2020

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

2. What is the purpose of meditation?

The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

Less Physical, More Psychological

Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

The First Benefit of Meditation

The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

  1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
  2. Relaxation of the body

Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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This benefit takes you to the second one.

The Second Benefit of Meditation

While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

  1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
  2. Observance
  3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
  4. Patience

Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

1. Energy

Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

2. Observance

The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

3. Peacefulness

Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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4. Patience

The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

  • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
  • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
  • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
  • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
  • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
  • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

Final Thoughts

Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

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Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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