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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 November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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