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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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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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