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Five Websites Solo Travelers Need To Connect With Locals and Other Travelers

Five Websites Solo Travelers Need To Connect With Locals and Other Travelers

Traveling solo is awesome. It’s why we do it. But those of us who travel solo don’t do it because we don’t like the company of others, we do it because we like the freedom to do anything we want to anytime we want to, or we need the break (from an overly social life…) or because none of our friends are ever available at that time.

Most of us who solo travel, love to meet new people. Some of us love to be social every day and every night. Others like more alone time, but appreciate a little company once a while, like a dinner partner or some hiking buddies. Regardless of how much or how little socializing you like to do as a solo traveler, finding unique ways to connect with other locals and travelers while you’re traveling, makes a trip infinitely more fun and rewarding.

Whether you’re looking to meet up with some fellow travelers for a hike or a pub night, eat traditional food prepared by a local in their home, or mix and mingle at a cocktail party with an international crowd, these five sites will hook up you with something just your style:

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1. Withlocals.com

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    Connects you with locals for experiences ranging from wine tastings at local vineyards to things like architectural or history focused city tours or a cooking class in someone’s home. Though this site is relatively new, it’s grown significantly over the past year to include more and more local hosts in more locations. Guests rate and leave comments about their experiences.

    2. Homestays.com

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      Connects you with accommodation in local hosts’ homes. This is a great way for solo travelers to save money while also getting a more unique cultural experience and a personal connection with a host (versus other travelers/tourists). For example, a private bedroom in a nice Porto or Lisbon apartment including breakfast provided by your local host can cost you as little as 18-25 Euros a night. Talk about a bargain.

      3. Vizeat.com

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        Connects you with home-cooked meals in locals’ homes. Options range from experiences such as simple tapas and wine on a secret rooftop in Spain, to full on five course meals cooked by a French chef, to outdoor ‘al fresco’ dining at someone’s villa in Italy. Take a look, your mouth will start watering just looking at some of the pictures.

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        4. Meetup.com  

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          Of course Meetup has been huge in the U.S for a while now, but it turns out it’s also gone seriously global. More and more meetup groups pop up in European cities every day. Just like in the U.S, this is a great way to connect with people who have similar interests, in a place where you might not know many people yet. From language exchange groups (very popular), to artist and writer and hiker’s groups, Meetup has got something for almost everyone. Groups are often a mix between travelers/expats and locals.

          5. Internations.org 

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            Connects travelers with the local expat communities in cities. This is an invaluable resource for solo travelers who are less backpacker and hostel type travelers. Solo travelers who are perhaps simply looking to stay longer in a city or working towards relocation and want to get some networking or socializing in. If you have ever thought about re-locating or moving abroad, this is the community you want to connect with. And even if not, it’s a thriving international community of people who can help you with finding accommodation, social, educational, or networking events to attend or just helping you deal with culture shock. Remember to check out their housing forum which boasts of quite a few short term and sublet options that can save you a lot of money over nightly places.

            Featured photo credit: Chris Biron via Unsplash via images.unsplash.com

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            Last Updated on November 11, 2019

            How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

            How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

            Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

            To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

            Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

            1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

            Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

            Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

            To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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            2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

            Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

            If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

            Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

            3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

            Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

            Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

            4. Feed Your Brain

            Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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            This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

            Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

            Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

            5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

            According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

            Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

            Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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            6. Write it Down

            If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

            It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

            You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

            7. Listen to Music

            Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

            8. Visual Concepts

            In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

            Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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            Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

            9. Teach Someone Else

            Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

            Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

            10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

            Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

            So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

            Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

            More About Boosting Memory

            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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