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6 Things To Consider Before You Travel

6 Things To Consider Before You Travel

I love traveling, but sometimes it can be stressful, especially the planning. However, in the grand scheme of things, the planning makes the rest of it seem a lot less stressful.

Before you go anywhere, you should look into things like flights, climate, your budget, and things to do. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re serious about traveling, here are 6 more things you should consider before traveling:

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1. Currency

Exchange rates are definitely one of the things you should keep an eye on. It’s also a good idea to figure out the conversion rate before you go. One of the biggest money mistakes travelers make is exchanging their money for foreign currency before they reach their intended destination. Because of exchange rates, you actually lose some money if you buy from your bank and even more, if you exchange while at the airport. You’ll most likely get the best rate if you use the ATM when you arrive in your travel location.

Also, remember to inform your bank that you’ll be traveling so they can place a travel alert on your account. This will prevent any temporary holds/freezes on your account due to any spending they perceive to be suspicious.

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2. Mode of Transportation

How are you going to get around once you’re there? Depending on the country you’re in, taxis might not be the best idea. If you need to travel longer distances, it might be best to rent a car, in which case you should look into different companies and rates. If you’re backpacking and/or traveling between different countries in Europe, you may want to go for a Railpass. Also, keep in mind that some locations (like Hawaii) might require short flights between islands and others might have water-travel, such as ferries.

3. Accommodations

There are a lot of options when it comes to finding a place to stay. Depending on your style, or the kind of traveling you want to do, there are hotels and Bed-and-Breakfasts. For those of you looking for a different experience, lower price, or perhaps a longer stay in a more private or remote accommodation, there are always hostels and sites like Airbnb or CouchSurfing that offer short-term lodging in residential properties. If you’re housesitting or WWOOFing, make sure you’re comfortable with where you’re going. Wherever you choose to lay your head, do your research.

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4. Electronics

Unless you’re traveling in the U.S. or Puerto Rico, or going off the grid, you’ll probably need an adapter to charge your electronics. And depending on your phone coverage and/or plan, you might want to get a prepaid phone card for international calls. Otherwise, wifi might be your friend for communicating with people back home.

5. Culture

Before you head out, do your research on the different customs (the do’s and don’ts) of the country you’re traveling to. For instance, what percentage do they typically tip? Are there certain gestures, words, or actions that might be considered offensive that are different from the US? Are there different laws? Are there common tourist scams? Will there be any cultural events while you’re there? There are a lot of things you might not even think of, but it’s simple enough to research “do’s and don’ts” infographics on different countries for that information.

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6. Travel Insurance

Yes, this is a thing. Travel insurance exists for things like injury or illness while traveling, trip cancellations, baggage loss or theft, and many other things. Getting travel insurance isn’t required, but it is a good idea, so again—do your research!

Even though half the fun of travel is the unexpected, I’m a firm believer that you should always be prepared for as much as possible. If you’re having trouble planning, try to talk to a travel agent or someone you know that’s experienced in traveling. Whether you’re traveling domestically or abroad, it’s good to cover the basics, plus a little bit more. The unexpected will likely still happen, but it’ll be worth it.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

“For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

Primal Therapy

Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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How it Started

“During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

“I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

Delving deeper

Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

Some Methods To Practice Screaming

If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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  • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
  • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
  • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
  • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

Scream Sing

Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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  • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
  • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
  • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
  • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
  • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
  • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
  • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

Scream into a pillow

Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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