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Factors to Consider When Travelling to a Foreign Country

Factors to Consider When Travelling to a Foreign Country

When you daydream about taking a vacation, you probably envision yourself leaving work, heading to the airport, and flying away from all the drama and negativity you deal with on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, travelling to another country isn’t exactly that easy. There’s a lot of planning involved in taking a successful trip to exotic and foreign lands.

But that doesn’t mean it won’t be worth it in the end. In fact, the more prepared you are before your plane ever leaves the ground, the more you’ll enjoy your vacation from reality.

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Just make sure to take these factors into consideration before you go:

Documentation

If you remember to bring anything on your trip, make sure it’s your documentation. This goes beyond your passport and plane ticket. Make sure you have your license, identification for your children, and any receipts you’ll need for proof of purchase (such as the hotel you’ll be staying at).

Don’t just remember to bring these items, though. Take special care to ensure they are all up to date. It’s a big enough pain when you get pulled over in your hometown and don’t have an updated copy of your license or registration; if a similar situation arises overseas, it could ruin your entire vacation.

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Transportation

Considering you’ll be thousands of miles away from your family minivan, you’re going to need to figure out how to get around once you land at your destination.

When renting a car, be sure to take into consideration the cost of gas and insurance in addition to the baseline rental fees. Keep in mind logistics you don’t really think about when driving at home, like the rules of the road. And if you don’t know how to drive a stick shift, don’t fake it. Please.

Your other option, of course, is to rely on public transportation. This may be easier than renting a car – especially if you don’t exactly know where you’re going. But it’s also likely to be much more expensive. Do some cost-benefit analysis before you embark on your journey, and figure out what the best route to take – literally and metaphorically.

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Language and Cultural Barriers

If you’re heading to a country in which the language spoken by the majority of the population is not your native tongue, you need to do some work before you take off. Bring with you a dictionary, a physical map, and even pictures of specific locations you want to visit. Don’t rely on your phone to do all the work for you (we’ll get to that later).

Chances are you know some key phrases to help get you out of a jam. If you think you’re going to rely on a local citizen to help you out at some point, make sure you know what’s culturally and socially acceptable in the country you’re visiting. Certain innocuous hand gestures, for example, have totally different meanings in other countries. Don’t make a mistake that will end up hurting someone’s feelings – or worse.

Exchange Rate and Economy

The almighty dollar isn’t just accepted no matter where you are. In most other countries, you’ll have to do some exchanging at the border in order to make your money worth anything while on vacation. When doing so, make sure you know how much your hard-earned cash is worth.

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Not only should you understand how much it’s worth, but you should also pay attention to how far it’ll go. For example, a single US dollar is worth over 100 yen in Japan. Transferring a few hundred bucks into yen might make you feel like a millionaire, but the reality is many commodities, such as clothing, are much more expensive in the Far East than in the Western world. Be careful with your money while on vacation – you’ll need it in an emergency.

Electronics Policy

Most people know they’ll have to purchase a specific outlet adapter for their electronics when visiting a foreign country. But most of us likely haven’t taken the time to check out our host country’s policies on Internet and cellphone usage.

There might not be anything to worry about – but you’re better safe than sorry. Many countries have stringent regulations in place regarding what sites you can visit and what programs or services you can use. While there are ways around such regulations, you’re better off just following the laws of the country you’re in, and saving the Netflix for a rainy day when you’re back on your home turf.

Featured photo credit: Tourist / Ian T. McFarland / Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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