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10 Travel Tips from a Seasoned Traveler

10 Travel Tips from a Seasoned Traveler
Airplane

Recently I’ve just completed a trip outside of United States. I am not a world traveler and I learned a few hard lessons that I would like to share with you. Here are the top ten suggestions I’d like offer to make your overseas travel a more smooth experience than mine was.

I have written them from my perspective which is that of an American traveling to other countries. It is also worthy of note that I travel and thus write from the “coach” perspective as I have never traveled “first class” and so can not comment on that experience.

Here are some of the things I learned.

1. Airline Food. If you request a kosher meal you will probably be served before the other passengers. This may get you some grudging looks from the other passengers but at least it will give you time to actually eat something before the flight attendant comes back to take your tray. In addition some airlines offer a children’s menu. This is good to know just in case your son or daughter isn’t a great fan of steam leeks. It is a lesson I wish I had in advance and it particularly sinks in when the child in the next seat over is munching on chicken tenders rather than the aforementioned creamed leeks on your child’s tray (sorry girls).

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2. Claim and Recheck Baggage. Much to my dismay, I learned upon my return to the United States that I needed to claim and recheck my luggage before I could make my connecting flight. If you don’t know this, then you don’t know to build an extra hour into the time you need to make your connecting flight and end up rushing about the terminal like a fool.

3. Travel Light. You may be able to expedite your entrance and departure from the airport by forgoing the use of checked baggage and using a carry-on only. In addition to the hassle of checking bags twice as mentioned in number 2, you save loads of time otherwise spent standing about the luggage carousel in the herd with the other travel beasts of burden, while you await the appearance of your luggage (which looks just like every other piece of luggage) then fighting your way to the front of the line before it disappears through to baggage handlers port of no return before your eyes.

4. Show Me the Money. Rather than exchanging for local currency before you begin your journey, you may wish to stop at an ATM in your network when you arrive for some walking around money. Large financial institutions get a better exchange rate than an individual can secure.

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5. Protect Your Documentation. Scan copies of all your passports and travel documents. Then save them to a USB compatible storage device. I put mine on a lanyard around my neck. Wherever you put yours make sure it isn’t the same place as your passport. One of the things that make this so important is the brisk market for stolen travel documents. This is not a day in which you can easily explain how you indentification became involved in the commitment of some fraud on soil that is not your native home.

6. Share the Plan. Register with the U.S. State Department. This will provide a way for you to be contacted should there be a family emergency while you’re away. However, advise your family of what constitutes an emergency you should be contacted about. It may be callus but I tell my family, unless it is something I can do something about from 2,000 miles away don’t tell me until I get home. Another benefit of this service is that it provides a way for you to contact family if you encounter an emergency someone at home can help with while you are abroad. Plus, it’s free. I’m a big fan of free.

7. Are You Really in Good Hands? Advise your medical insurance providers that you will be traveling out of the country. You may need to purchase riders or supplemental coverage to protect you while you travel. There are also some quality policies you can purchase from independent providers who specialize in this type of protection.

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8. Reach Out and Be Touched. Arrange for your airlines to email, text message (international travel cell phone required in some cases), call you with changes in your flight arrangements. This could have saved me several hours worried waiting when terrorists bombed a nearby airport on my trip.

9. Drink Bottled Water When Traveling. Request bottled beverages if you are not sure of the source of the water. Read this for more information on advices on water consumption.

10. Relax. You might as well. You’re traveling in a foreign country and your fate is in the hands of people you’ve never met before. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it so you might as well enjoy it. Life is about the journey, after all.

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Editor update: Updated the title, introduction and #9 to avoid confusion.

Reg Adkins writes on behavior and the human experience at Elemental Truths.

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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