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Last Updated on May 25, 2018

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 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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