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10 Must-Do Things to Prepare for an Awesome Road Trip

10 Must-Do Things to Prepare for an Awesome Road Trip

Road trips are fun. You get to explore new places, meet new people, try new things, and maybe even do a little soul searching.

This is the perfect time to plan a road trip, what with the summer coming up. However, preparation is the key to a fun, hassle-free road trip. If you do your prep work right, you can be as spontaneous as you want to be once you’re on the road.

Here are some things you should remember before venturing out on an adventure of a lifetime.

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Don’t cut too far into your budget, you might have an emergency

Always have something extra for a rainy day, and this isn’t about bringing an umbrella! Although…But we digress, even if you are on a strict budget, you always, always need to have some money on hand in cash. Many unexpected things can happen while you’re on your road trip. Your car might break down, you might need to stay an extra night, and so on. You should also bring a credit card in case your cash is not going to cut it. Make sure the card will be honored wherever you’re going.

Important tip: If you are going to buy souvenirs or be taking a stroll in a busy marketplace, keep your wallet in a safe place, and have small amounts of cash in your breast pocket to discourage pickpockets. A belt bag might be a good idea, but keep it in front of you instead of fashionably slung over your butt.

Rent a campervan/travel vehicle for a long trip with your friends

You might think to save money by bringing your own car, but if you’re bringing friends along, you will soon chafe at the close confines. Divvy up the cost to rent a campervan if you want to be comfortable in your travels. In Australia, you can even hire a motorhome on campervanfinder online for lengthy trips. You can offset the cost by not having to pay for accommodation.

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Bring some toys and kits when you are bringing kids on your trip

Going on a road trip with small children is a challenge for many parents. They get tetchy and cranky, and they always want to know if you’re there yet. You can keep them entertained by bringing along their favorite toys and some board games. Bring along inexpensive bubble tubes, they’re good for hours of fun for the whole family.

You should also have a kit for cleaning their Sippy cups when running water is not an option (denture tablets) and a well-stocked first aid kit for those cuts and scratches. Have a couple of carabiners and a bungee cord handy so you can keep a leash your active five-year-old when you’re in crowded places.

Be friendly to your fellow travelers, to the locals, and well, to everybody

Leave your sense of entitlement back home. Carrying around an attitude can land you in trouble when you’re outside your territory. Be friendly to everyone you meet—within reason, of course—as you may need to be in their good graces at some point. Observe how the locals act and follow their lead. Be unfailingly polite, and keep your opinions to yourself. You never know what might offend the people you meet.

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Bring key accessories with you

Since you’re on a road trip, travelling light is not as applicable as when you travel by air. You can afford to bring essential accessories such as a tote bag, sun block, water bottles, universal adapter, flashlights, batteries, portable steam iron, laptop, and a portable gas stove. Have a good supply of handy wipes and toilet paper, and don’t forget an ample supply of any prescription medications.

Be sure to bring all essentials

Make sure to bring necessary items. Arrange for the appropriate insurance and make sure you have all your travel documents in a waterproof bag. Have a duplicate in the glove compartment. Choose wrinkle-free clothes carefully, and make sure you can mix and match them. Depending on where you are going, bring just two sets of footwear, sandals being one of them. Have enough blankets and travel pillows for everyone, and make sure you bring your chargers.

Prepare your body and mind before going on a trip

Be sure to have plenty of rest so that you are at peak physical condition. A road trip is fun, but it is also tiring. You don’t want to set off with a compromised immune system and get sick, which can ruin the whole thing. Have a complete physical check up prior to a long road trip, and get the green light from your doctor, especially if you have a medical condition. If you plan on engaging in rigorous activities such as surfing, tone your body several weeks before your trip.

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If you are travelling by plane, be on time at the airport, and bring your tickets with you

This might sound obvious, but if you have to travel by plane to get to the start point of your road trip, make sure you don’t miss your flight. Pack your bags the night before and give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport. Don’t forget your tickets!

Look for an affordable but pleasant hotel, and you should know its reputation

Book your accommodation for each of your planned stops in advance to get the best deals. You will have the opportunity to check online reviews so you avoid doing the funky chicken with the cockroaches. If you rent a caravan or motorhome, it would be a good idea to find likely campsites. You can save a bundle if you can spend a couple of nights under the stars!

Have fun, and leave your problems behind

Plan your trip carefully to make the most of what is available along your route. However, don’t be too obsessive about following a schedule. You might have missed something in the planning stage, so allow enough time for unexpected detours if you find something interesting along the way. Allow yourself the freedom to relax, forget all your worries, and just have fun.

Conclusion

A road trip is fun because it is rife with possibilities. However, that doesn’t mean you should leave everything to chance. Expect the best, but be ready for the worst. That way, it will be a road trip to remember for all the right reasons.

Featured photo credit: Sem Vandekerckhove via flickr.com

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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