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Last Updated on August 26, 2021

How To Identify Addictive Behaviors And Get Rid of Them

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How To Identify Addictive Behaviors And Get Rid of Them

There are times when you need activities that bring your relaxation and allow for release. Exercise, writing, playing, creating, and reading are all examples of healthy behaviors that provide an escape—but only to a point.[1] Some pursuits can quickly turn costly if the behavior causes harm or is used as a coping or escape mechanism or if it becomes an unhealthy obsession. If you find yourself engaged in costly addictive behaviors, then it’s time to create a positive change.

Definition of Addictive Behaviors

Most people think of ‘addiction’ as being dependent on a substance like drugs or alcohol. Many people, however, are addicted to behavior’s rather than drugs and have similar feelings to those who are dependent on a substance. Some claim that “getting high” is a natural reaction that occurs in several situations.

Behavioral addictions are characterized by a series of acts that expose a person to “mood-altering events”[2] on which they gain pleasure and become reliant, which may change neurotransmitter function, notably mesolimbic dopaminergic turnover.

In other words, consuming substances causes the brain to release feel-good neurotransmitters that are also released by other reward-based actions, both healthy and bad. Rather than being motivated by the behavior itself, urges and desires to engage in certain behavioral addictions stem from wanting to feel that way again.

Because their brain chemistry alters as their addiction advances, a person with an addiction has little control over what they are doing, using, or taking. Their addiction may have progressed to the point where it is causing them harm.

Addictions are not restricted to the physical things we consume, such as alcohol or drugs, but can encompass almost anything, including gambling, sex, and food.

Psychological dependence, such as with a smartphone, sex, gambling, or job, is now widely regarded as an addiction since it causes emotions of shame, guilt, failure, despair, anxiety, hopelessness, and humiliation.

Some Characteristics of Addictive Behavior

1. Giving Up Social and Leisure Activities

Some persons may give up or stop participating in activities as a result of their addiction. An internet junkie, for example, may decide not to go camping if they know they won’t have access to the internet. Similarly, an alcoholic may avoid extended excursions where they will be unable to obtain alcohol.

2. Maintaining a Consistent Supply

Individuals addicted to a substance will always have enough of it, regardless of their financial situation, to guarantee that they have a sufficient supply.

3. Keeping a Stockpile

Addicts are known to keep small stashes of their drugs hidden about their homes or in their cars.

4. Dangerous Behavior

Occasionally, an addict will engage in dangerous behavior to obtain their desired substance, such as trading sex for drugs, money, or stealing. An addict who is under the influence of drugs, on the other hand, may engage in unsafe activities such as irresponsible driving.

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5. One Cannot Discontinue Using the Substance

In many cases, such as with alcohol or drug addiction, a person has made a sincere attempt to break free from their addiction at least once but has failed.

6. Their Addiction is Unaffected By Their Health Difficulties

Despite developing ailments linked to the substance, the person continues to take it as normal. An alcoholic, for example, may continue to drink even after learning that they have liver disease.

Here are some tips on how to identify addictive behavior’s and get rid of them.

1. Heed the Warnings

Right off the bat, I’m going to urge you to gauge whether this behavior has become harmful to you or someone else. While this article is not designed to address or diagnose unhealthy addictive behavior’s, it is a wake-up call.

If you or someone you know is compulsively engaging in a detrimental behavior, heed the warnings. Your first step should be to contact your local mental health provider or call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration hotline1-800-662-HELP (4357). Addictive behavior’s that call for integrated treatment require more than self-help mechanisms and should always be handled by a professional.

2. Identify the Addiction

If the addictive behavior is something you can self-manage, then the first step is to put a label on it. Overeating, overworking, or spending too much time engaged in a hobby to the detriment of obligations are just a few examples.

I want to stress once more that even though these may often require professional support, some activities can help you thoughtfully manage them. Start by defining what that addictive behavior is. If you are over-stressed but find that eating gives you a pleasurable escape, then overeating may have evolved into that addictive behavior. If you are constantly on your phone or find yourself searching social media platforms all day long—and it’s not your job to do so—that could be a sign of another addictive behavior.

3. Understand the Addiction

The next step in getting rid of an addictive behavior is understanding whether or not it is classified as an addiction or simply a bad habit. If the behavior has a pull so strong that you cannot separate yourself from it for very long, odds are it’s an addiction and will require professional support.

If you can, say, turn your phone off for several days without feeling anxious, depressed, or acting out or uncomfortable, then it may be something that you can control. If it is simply a bad habit, then practice separating yourself from the behavior for stretches of time until you no longer turn to it as an instant stress-releaser.

4. Know the Risks

Poor health, lost finances, and broken relationships are just a few of the costs associated with addictive behavior’s. One of the most compelling reasons for change often lies in understanding the risks involved. Gambling is an addictive behavior with enormous costs, but some cannot see the risk behind the potential reward.

If you are challenged in identifying why change is necessary, talk to someone and let them help you see how costly the behavior can be if left unchecked.

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5. Understand Your “Why?”

Working too many hours, while seemingly a noble activity, can be a sign that you’re avoiding other activities in your life. It could mean that you are unprepared and disorganized or lack confidence in your abilities. Filling your void in your life with work, substances, and activities is either a sign that something is missing or a mask to avoid facing the truth. Working with a trained professional can help you uncover your “why” and healthily process the systemic issue that could be causing the addictive behavior in the first place.

6. Avoid Toxic People

People are often surprised to discover that relationships can also be addictive behavior’s. Deep connections with friends or loved ones that partake in unhealthy addictive behavior’s can be a slippery slope to adopting one for yourself. This kind of affiliative or peer pressure style addiction can prey on a weakness or need to feel a sense of belonging. Even the relationship itself can be unhealthy. Allowing a relationship with a negative or addicted person to continue is fostering a pattern that may eventually result in emotional pain.

7. Clarify Your Triggers

Triggers can be internal or external, and they can occur at any time and in any place to reinforce the addiction. Triggers cause stress which provokes addictive behavior that serves as a coping mechanism for calming the nervous system.

For example, if one is sensitive about their weight, unhealthy internal and external dialogue can lead to overeating or avoiding food altogether. Work-related stress such as having an overbearing supervisor could be the trigger that causes someone to either work themselves sick or shut down and fail to perform. There isn’t always a drastic reaction when a trigger takes place, nor does the trigger need to be catastrophic.

A friend shared that he ate most of his meals while watching television. He lives alone, so it helps him relax and he feels less guilty watching shows while eating because he’s doing something, rather than laying listlessly on the couch. But television also became his trigger. Every time it was on, he wanted to eat. So, watching and eating became an addictive behavior that he eventually needed to address.

8. Find a Substitute

Socially responsible addictions—like consuming caffeine and sugar—are still difficult behavior’s to change. And they do have their downsides. While you may not see the immediate downsides, failing to take into account the long-term effects of overindulging can be detrimental. Occasionally substituting decaf, tea, or fruit instead of candy is a gentle way to get rid of the addictive behavior without going cold turkey.

9. Find Some Support

People need people. And when it comes to addictive behavior’s, the best way to get rid of them is with the support of others. In addition to professional care, connecting with others that share the addiction can be comforting and supportive.

Communities exist in your neighbourhood and online for all types of addictive behavior and there are plenty of people to support your positive change and hold you accountable to your goals. Remember, this also includes your friends and family. While they may not share the same addictive behavior’s, they will be there for you when you need them.

10. Apply Healing Techniques

Some mild addictive behavior’s can be thoughtfully managed without the support of a professional. But it begins with understanding your “why.” When you define the underlying reasons, you might find there are healing techniques at the ready to help you overcome.

Take social media addiction. For some, the compulsion to always be on Facebook or other platforms can be tempered with practice, accountability, substitutions, and support. But digging a little deeper, you may find that your “why” is centred around a need to be liked. Applying positive self-talk, biofeedback, positive reinforcement techniques, exercise, and meditation may help shore up your confidence and self-image.

11. Build Your Willpower

It’s a known fact that when you can build your willpower through less daunting challenges than overcoming a more substantial one—like addictive behavior—it’s more likely that you’ll succeed. Navy SEALs in BUDS training go through gruelling tests, challenges, and exercises to build up their stamina and willpower so that when faced with real-time adversaries, they are conditioned to respond at a high-level.

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While you don’t have to become a SEAL to overcome addictive behavior’s, you may find that smaller willpower-building exercises will help you manage bigger challenges over time.

FAQs

1) What Are the Different Types of Addictive Behaviors?

Answer:

  • Addiction to Shopping
  • Addiction to Gambling
  • Addictions to Gaming
  • Additions to sex and love
  • Food addiction
  • Addiction to physical activity

2) What Are the Different Types of Personalities Associated With a Person With Addictive Behavior?

Answer:

Many people are unaware that their addictive behavior’s are the result of underlying problems. To make matters worse, there’s a prevalent assumption that if you stop using drugs or alcohol, you’ve effectively recovered.

Types of Personalities of Individuals with Addictive Behavior

1. The Risk-Taking, Adventurous Personality

Some personality qualities put people at a higher risk of being addicted than others. Individuals who enjoy taking risks and have low impulse control when trying new experiences and dangerous activities are more inclined to experiment with drugs. According to Reuters, this may have something to do with the individual’s dopamine levels and the brain’s sensitivity to it.

2. The Obsessive-Compulsive Trait

A lack of impulse control occasionally causes addiction, but it is not always the result of an inability to resist impulses. In reality, as a manifestation of an obsessive-compulsive behavior pattern, excessively rigorous persons restraining their impulses may end up using narcotics.

3. Inability to Self-Regulate

All of these characteristics have one thing in common: the individual’s inability to control their behavior’s, thoughts, and feelings, which would ordinarily allow them to manage their use of alcohol or other substances. Studies are beginning to indicate that an inability to manage behavior around the anticipation of earning a reward is closely linked to the development of addiction, according to an article from the University of Rochester Medical Center.[3]

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3) What Signs Signify That You Have Behavioral Addictions?

Answer:

  • Spending a significant amount of time dealing in, thinking about, or planning to engage in, or recuperating from the impacts of the behavior
  • Using the behavior as a coping mechanism for emotions and to ‘feel normal’
  • Persisting despite bodily or regardless of their financial situation mental
  • Having difficulty cutting back despite your want to do so
  • Putting off the job, school, or family obligations to participate in the practice more frequently
  • When attempting to quit, experiencing withdrawal symptoms (such as depression or irritability)
  • Minimizing or concealing the problem’s scope

4) How to Keep a Journal of Behavioral Addictions?

Answer:

When recovering addicts enter treatment, they bring a lot of baggage with them, and they have to cope with all of the new challenges that life throws at them as they try to navigate the world without their crutch. People in this scenario benefit from journal writing because it allows them to assess everything that has occurred to them and everything they are feeling in a much easier way for their minds to digest.

Human beings are storytellers at their core, and putting pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – assists those in recovery to organize their experiences into a comprehensible narrative form. Addicts can benefit from journaling, but it’s critical to stay present and aware rather than lingering on the past.

One must be dedicated to their efforts and take the assignment seriously for journal keeping to succeed for you. Take at least 20 minutes each day to write down everything you’ve been thinking and feeling; don’t hold anything back, and try to arrange it all into a structure that makes sense to you.

5) What is the Impact of Behavioral Addictions?

Answer:

Behavioral addiction is described as an excessive want to repeat a pleasurable or seen to improve well-being or capable of easing some personal distress behavior, despite the knowledge that such action may have negative repercussions. From a psychological, neurological, and social standpoint, such “addictive conduct” is similar to drug and alcohol addiction.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing to keep in mind when you are struggling with addictive behaviors is to get the support that you need. That begins with identifying whether or not the behavior needs professional care. And of course, building on that professional care by employing personal management strategies, like those listed above.

Remember, if left unchecked, addictive behavior’s can grow more engrained and may have bigger costs over time. Therefore, it’s important to identify them early and work on getting rid of them.

More Tips on Breaking Bad Habits

Featured photo credit: Umur Batur Kocak via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] American Psychological Association: Healthy habits for healthy families
[2] Science Direct: Adolescent Addiction
[3] University of Rochester Medical Center: Study Sheds Light on Source of Drug Addicts Risk-Taking Behavior

More by this author

Kim Monaghan

Career Happiness Coach, HR Consultant, Trainer & Speaker

10 Things To Do When You’re Angry At Yourself (For Your Mistakes) How To Identify Addictive Behaviors And Get Rid of Them 10 Actionable Tips To Make Tough Decisions in Life How To Go Above And Beyond At Work For Career Success

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Last Updated on November 25, 2021

20 Essential Apps And Websites For Digital Nomads

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20 Essential Apps And Websites For Digital Nomads

Living a life of perpetual travel is pretty exciting – new destinations, new cultures and new incredible people to meet and hang out with! However, working on the road can get pretty hectic at times. As a digital nomad I have found myself in rather awkward situations a lot – from missed deadlines due to incorrect time zone conversion to a nearly missed plane when I forgot to print out my booking and confused the time (I did catch that plane though!).

Being your own boss is equally awesome and hellish. Juggling numerous tasks at once and getting things done super-fast with a terrible wi-fi connection requirea killer organizational skills and zen-like concentration. Try using the next 20 websites and apps to make your life as a digital nomad easier, less stressful and even more exciting!

1. Trello

Trello is your go-to website to stay organized and work super-efficiently on the road. It’s a free service that allows you to create numerous boards for your ongoing projects and plans. Tired of having numerous notes scattered around different apps and lengthy email threads with your clients or team? Just drag and drop them all to Trello, where you can easily collaborate, quickly exchange ideas and notes in the form of cards, leave comments and track the overall progress of the project. You can create numerous boards and organize them the way you like, upload files to each, set deadlines and notifications, plus easily share everything with one click.

My Trello contains two sets of boards – personal and business. I use the first to keep all my travel plans neat and make sure I won’t confuse the flight time or overstay my visa; the second to keep a visual account of my personal goals and various arrangements. The business board is where I have a list of ongoing projects composed into simple to-dos with their current statuses –  along with all the comments from my clients and a separate column for follow-ups.

Trello is an incredible free alternative to similar project management softwares I used before and it can be used for tackling any job – from house renovation to multi-stage marketing campaign! Also available as an app for iOS and Android devices to get updates on the go.

2. f.lux

As a digital nomad you often find yourself working late at night or early morning to keep up with your clients’ time zones. Love checking your email or reading a few articles from your iPad before going to bed? (I do!). Even if you don’t feel it yet, your eyes are seriously suffering from those habits and you can end up having troubles with sleeping as the blue light from your devices negatively impacts your sleeping patterns. Use f.lux – a handy software that will automatically adjust the color of your computer’s display to the time of day – warm at night and like sunlight during the day. F.lux allowed me to be more productive in the mornings and made it easier to slow down my activity in the evenings. As a digital nomad it is essential to stay refreshed as your income depends solely on your productivity. Besides, haven’t we escaped the cubicle to have a better work/life balance and more rest in the first place?

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3. Focus@Will

As we often find ourselves working at various places around the globe – from a crowded bus station to a jam-packed bar (the only place that has decent wi-fi in the area) – concentrating on your work gets extremely difficult. That’s where Focus@Will comes to rescue. The service offers a wide selection of white noise and simple tunes selected according to a neuroscience-based approach. It seems to work pretty great as I stayed way more concentrated on my work compared to the times when I just blasted my favorite tunes and murmured along. A 30-day free trial has a limited selection of tracks and will stop playing them in an hour (although it could be restarted immediately). The paid service will cost you around $10 for three months. Also available as a free app for iOS and Android devices.

4. Shopify

Let’s admit it, being a digital nomad and working solo gets challenging at times. There are days when you feel like a Renaissance man trying to tackle all things at once and getting expertise in numerous areas. That’s especially true when you are just about to launch your business website, blog or an online store. If you are a creative, you have only basic knowledge (if any) in CSS, HTML or integrated payment systems, so you spend endless hours figuring out how things work instead of doing what you are really good at and earning money.

Try Shopify – a service providing custom no-hassle ecommerce solutions. They offer everything from secure hosting and mobile-optimized websites to secure check-outs with some 70 payment getaways to choose from and assistance with running your online marketing campaign. The rates are incredibly affordable and start from just $29 per month for unlimited access to all their services and features or opt for a 14 day free trial to test them out first!

5. Rescue Time

Proper time management is another great struggle all digital workers face. How many times you have found yourself spending over 12 hours a day in front of your screen and not having all things done? Yeah, it happens to me quite in a while, so I’ve started using Rescue Time – to stay on top of my productivity while still having a normal work/life balance. Install it on your computer and all devices to have an accurate picture of how much time you spend doing certain activities or browsing certain sites (khm..cat videos on YouTube). At the end of each week you’ll receive an email with a fair statement on your (un)productivity.

Rescue Time enables you to give more accurate deadlines to your clients; create accurate hourly invoices as you know exactly how much time you’ve spent doing a certain task and adjusting your rates accordingly and eliminate random activity during your working hours. You can use Light Rescue Time version for free or opt for the premium plan at $6 per month.

6. Every Time Zone

As you probably work with people based anywhere from New Zealand to the West Coast keeping an eye on the deadline or updating them on your progress at 9 am each day may get tricky. Just as sending follow-ups, project proposals and invoices at the right time of the day. Every Time Zone is another great solution for keeping proper track of the time – your client’s time. Add all time zones you need, add your time in the marker at the top and see where this lands in everyone else’s day. No more crazy maths with figuring out when do you need to ring up Joe on Skype if he asked to do that at 11 am EST.

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7. XE Currency

How many currencies do you have in your wallet? My guess is more than two. As a digital nomad and perpetual traveler you have to keep track on the conversion rates and different currencies all the time. To make sure you are charging an equally fair price in USD/EU/GBP or any other currency out there use XE Currency. Get live conversion rates instantly or add up a list of your preferred and sync ahead of time to have instant offline access from any device. XE Currency is available as a web service, iOS, Android, Windows Phone apps and more.

8. Trail Wallet

My second essential money app for digital nomads is Trail Wallet (currently iOS only). It’s a beautifully crafted and easy-to-use app for tracking your expenses across multiple countries and currencies. You can organize your spendings by country or my month, set max daily budgets and add each dollar you’ve spent on the go. At the end of the month the app will tell you if you gone over your budget or where exactly did the cash flow. It’s perfect for analyzing the cost of living and working at different cities and countries, thus finding the optimal home-base for you when you get tired of being on the road and need to settle down for a while.

9. Xero

And to keep better track of your business-related expenses try Xero. Arguably, the best online bookkeeping and accounting service out there for all the non-accountants. It’s perfect for sending invoices, keeping track of the cash-flow and setting payment notifications on credit cards and recruiting payments. It neatly categorizes all your bank transactions and reconciles them with the transactions you have made in Xero to keep things even more simple. Available for numerous iOS and Android devices, so you can always have access to your data at no time.

10. Tripit

Tripit is one of the best travel planners out there! It’s free, fast and most importantly – works off-line. Just say no more to papers and lost emails. Forward all your booking confirmations – hotels, flights, car rental etc and let the app do all the magic for you by turning it into an easy-to-follow itinerary. You can set up notifications and get access to your data from any device without internet connection. Tripit reduced my frustration of arriving to the wrong terminal or roaming around the new city with my baggage as I haven’t written down the hotel address correctly. It’s a great app I seriously recommend using it to basically anyone who travels.

11. 1Password

Sharing sensitive data, especially passwords with your clients or team and keeping track of them can get challenging. That’s why I’ve started using 1Password – a super secure password-sharing service that allows you to create special vaults with a set of passwords to tools and services only accessible to the people you’ve shared it with. Available for numerous devices, the service gives you peace of mind when sharing anything sensitive via unprotected networks. Speaking of which…

12. Private Internet Access

Keep all your data and computer protected by opting for Private Internet Access. Often we need to make those last minute payments or credit card purchases and the only internet available is a suspicious unprotected network your device somehow found. By using an anonymous encrypted VPN and a private IP you can be 100% sure none of your payment data will be fished or passwords stolen.

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13. Workfrom

Find the best coffee shops and cafes in your area with this service. Workfrom has a great pool of venues in major US cities – New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle – and more destinations worldwide to be added soon! The service is free to join and you’ll get access to numerous cool spots with unbiased opinions of wi-fi connection and cappuccino quality from digital nomads just like you. Reviews also include price range, meals available, general atmosphere and noise range, along with some pro-tips on where to find sockets and which table is the most secluded. I have discovered some of my all time favorites this way like Mr Bean in Amsterdam.

14. Spotted by Locals

Another awesome service to discover good meals and thrilling events at your current base. Spotted by Locals is not that typical city guide with boring touristy routes, but an amazing resources with awesome recommendations from the locals on things to do and places to check out. After all, you’ve chosen a location independent lifestyle to explore the world more, not just spend hours tapping on the keywords in a different environment.

Currently, the website has numerous recommendations for all major European cities – Paris, Madrid, Vienna, Warsaw and many more, plus it gradually expands into North America with Boston, LA, Toronto and Montreal guides recently added. You can browse around the free categorized selection of activities at the website or pay$ 2.99 for a PDF guide with all tips and places neatly listed on the map. Or opt for iOS or Android app ($3.99 each) to gain offline access to one of the city guides along with a detailed map.

15. Jawbone UP

Now when you know where to go and what to see, here’s a handy app that will help you get unstuck from your laptop. Jawbone UP will gently nag you when it’s time to get up and unwind a bit. Install the app and connect it to all your hardware, than let the Up Activity Tracker (a lovely bracelet) analyze your sleeping and activity patterns to help you creating a better lifestyle. The app will monitor and analyze all your actions and suggest you a healthier schedule, help you sleep better and keep up with the exercise routine (which gets erratic when you are on the move). Why do we need more time if we don’t spend it wise, right? The app is free for iOS and Android, however you’ll have to pay 129$ for the bracelet tracker or 49.99$ for the clip.

16. SugarSync

Some like DropBox, others opt for Google Drive, yet my go-to cloud storage service is SugarSync. It’s simpler, more powerful and has a really slick design. After you install it, you just need to right-click the file/folder to instantly back them up at the cloud. Besides, any further change you make to that data will be automatically synchronized. Large files get uploaded extra fast and you can get 250 GB storage space for just $99.99 per year. Also you can access, share and edit all your files via free iOS or Android app supported on numerous devices. Now, I’ve finally stopped worrying what should I do if my laptop gets broken/stolen.

17. Contactually

If you don’t like to get broke and return home, you have to invest a fair share of your time in building ongoing relationships with your clients, vendors or customers depending on what do you do for a living. To avoid this whole thing becoming a huge pain try using Contactually – a simple, yet powerful service that will tell you when and whom you should keep in touch with and how you could maximize your ROI by connecting with the right people at the right time. It will send you notifications when you’ve fallen out of touch with certain contacts (which can mean missed opportunities in the perspective) and prompt when you should reconnect with the most important contacts from your network by providing helpful context clues like social updates and recent conversations to make the whole thing look more genuine. The service boasts that their users get up to 40% more referrals after using their service (backed by case studies) which is kind of essential for you if you’d like to live the nomadic life and work for yourself!

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18. Schedule Once

If you are working on multiple projects with multiple clients at a time – Schedule Once is your kick-ass service to schedule online meetings and conferences. Create a sleek pre-set calendar when you are available and send people a unique link that allows them to select a suitable time for both of you to connect. The service is fantastic for anyone offering consulting services or coaching sessions and costs just 5$ per month!

19. Spaxtel

Sometimes the internet gets so crappy that calling by Skype is impossible. Or you have a very-very important conversation scheduled and you don’t want any possible glitches to interrupt you. That’s when it’s worth using Spaxtel – a cool service that enables you to make land-line quality phone calls via callback. You don’t need to install any software or have internet access. The rates depends on the quality of call you choose (the lowest discount is pretty great) and the countries from/to you are calling. So far, the price proved to be nearly Skype-affordable for a better overall quality of connection.

20. Earth Class Mail

Snail mail isn’t that popular these days, but you still get some important stuff via it. Say bills and some paychecks. If you don’t want to bug your parents or friends’ to deal with your mail while you are out, try using Earth Mail Class – an affordable mail forwarding service that scans and forwards your mail to the e-mail address of your choice, deposits your checks (for a fee), saves PDFs of your postal mail online and offers in-person pickup and package signing.

Featured photo credit: Avi Richards via unsplash.com

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