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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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