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7 Tools to Optimize Your Next Long-Term Traveling Experience

7 Tools to Optimize Your Next Long-Term Traveling Experience

We all dream about being able to take an extended, long-term vacation. But, as wonderful as this may sound, there are a lot of logistics to work out prior to traveling. Otherwise, the experience is not going to be nearly as awesome as one may think. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have an awesome time on an extended vacation. You just need to think in the long term when you are planning and make sure that there are no hitches in your travel plans. You can use these tools to help you plan your long-term travel experience so you can make the absolute most of it.

1. Safestore

    If you are planning to be away for more than a couple of weeks, you may want to protect your valuables. Don’t just leave them in your home. Rent a storage locker so you know that everything is safe. Self-storage is definitely the way to go when you want to make sure your stuff is safe for extended periods of time. There are self-storage options all over the world, including in the USA, UK and parts of Europe, so do your research to find the perfect company and location for you.

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    2. TripIt

      How would you like to have your entire itinerary planned for you in advance? All you have to do is provide TripIt with your confirmation emails for flights, hotels, etc., and they will take care of creating a master itinerary that you can access from anywhere, even if you are not online. Use it to share travel plans, find alternate flights, get notifications about better seats, etc. This is going to make your trip planning a lot easier and your travel a lot smoother and more relaxed.

      3. City Mapper

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        Wherever you plan to be while traveling, you need to know how to get around. This site is the tool you need to find out where everything is, no matter where you are. Get directions to shopping, restaurants, accommodations, subways, and more for most major cities around the world. You’ll never get lost, no matter where you are, when you are using this handy little tool.

        4. XE Currency Converter

          If you are going to be in areas where the currency is different from your own, it is a good idea to have access to a currency converter. That way, you will always be able to figure out what things cost, no matter what currency is being used. Receive the most accurate data and daily rates to help you plan your spending accordingly and make sure that you are getting the best rates.

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          5. Foodspotting

            Do you want to know where the best restaurants in the world are located (including those out of the way places that the world doesn’t know about yet)? This is the tool that will tell you. You will find the best restaurants, the best dishes, and more, no matter what type of food you are looking for. You will even find some awesome ice cream stands where you can enjoy frosty treats.

            6. Expat Explorer

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              This is your complete guide to living the expat life. You will find expat country guides, country comparisons, tips for planning your vacation finances, and much more. Learn about how living abroad can affect your banking, the challenges you may face as an expat, and a whole lot more. You can even call and speak to a real person if you have any questions regarding your upcoming expat experience.

              7. Spotted by Locals

                Tourists don’t always get to enjoy the best of what many places have to offer, because only locals know about these things. You need to start thinking like a local and find out what they love about their home towns. Use this tool to find out what the locals really love, and find out for yourself why they love it.

                Featured photo credit: Paula Borowska via unsplash.com

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                Last Updated on February 21, 2019

                The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

                The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

                In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

                Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

                Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

                Conflicts are literally everywhere.

                Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

                Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

                Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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                Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

                Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

                Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

                The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

                Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

                Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

                How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

                Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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                Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

                Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

                How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

                Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

                Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

                Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

                How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

                Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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                Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

                Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

                How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

                Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

                Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

                Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

                How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

                Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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                Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

                Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

                How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

                Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

                Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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