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Ranking The Best Shopping Cities In The World

Ranking The Best Shopping Cities In The World

With a new year comes a new start, as well as the opportunity to refresh that wardrobe and invigorate your home with exciting new purchases.

However, if the January blues are getting you down, and your local shopping center feels like an uninspiring prospect, why not book an escape to one of the world’s finest shopping destinations? Whatever your budget or taste, there’s a city out there for you, packed with the designer names you love and the hidden gems you’ve yet to fall for.

Travel experts Expedia know better than most what the world’s best cities have to offer keen shoppers. They’ve put together their top 25 ultimate destinations. This rundown of the finest shopping capitals to visit in 2016 includes top tips from local experts. It’s the ultimate resource for bargain-hunting globetrotters.

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Expedia have developed their ranking based on three key factors: value for money, friendliness, and each city’s comparative popularity. Whilst these are unquestionably vital, there are many other important elements to consider when choosing the right city for your shopping adventure.

So, what are some of the most important components of a world-class shopping city? Let’s take a look at some choice examples.

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Getting About

How you get about within a city is important. In well-connected centers, public transport means you can see the sights while not missing out on the best deals. Old cities like London can seem complicated to navigate, but the comprehensiveness of the Underground network means that it’s easy to skip between the best shopping districts – as long as you know where you’re going.

Smaller, characterful cities like Singapore offer a more concise, but equally eclectic experience. In this busy Thailand city, neighborhoods often mix modern shopping malls with quaint traditional markets. Meanwhile, modern metropolises like Hong Kong pride themselves on the efficient simplicity of their public transport network.

Escaping the Crowds

Whilst global stars like New York and London draw millions of shoppers every year, there are many other wonderful shopping cities to discover. There are thriving boutiques and high street cultures just waiting for you to discover. These underrated locales are ideal for avoiding the crowds and grabbing a bargain.

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For example, Melbourne is ranked a modest 21st in Expedia’s ranking; however, it’s one of the friendliest cities on Earth. It combines a wonderfully warm welcome with a quirky and progressive fashion scene that combines the best of the high street with vintage treasures and innovative local designers.

Many popular European capitals are also emerging as quietly unique shopping destinations. The imperial grandeur of Vienna is increasingly complemented by the very finest of international fashion. Meanwhile, Amsterdam offers a stellar combination of cosy bookshops, diverse department stores, and lovingly curated vintage emporiums. So there’s no need to fixate on New York and the like. Walk the road less traveled to find your own shopping paradise.

Discovering Something New

Shopping in another country can be daunting. Persuading a market trader to part with their goods for a great price can be hard enough (let alone whilst speaking another language entirely), but a hesitant approach won’t help you find the treasures and make the memories that will leave you smiling all the way home. Cities that offer the opportunity of the unknown – that give you the chance to find something unique to that location – are wonderful places to choose for a shopping trip.

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Destinations like the marvels of Marrakech thrive on their street market culture. Around each corner is a unique expression of the character and color of these vibrant cities. In the city’s wonderful Souks, haggling is almost expected. Don’t be afraid to dive right in and see how much money you can save on a variety of handmade wonders!

Let us know what your favorite shopping city is in the comments section below. What are your priorities when choosing a shopping destination?

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system”.

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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The power of habit

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being six hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The wonderful thing about triggers (reminders)

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to make a reminder works for you

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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