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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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