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15 Useful Travel Websites for People Who Love Travelling

15 Useful Travel Websites for People Who Love Travelling

If you love to travel often then there are some websites you need to check out so you can make the most of your money, your time, your journey, or just ward off some nasty jet lag. And the best thing about this article is there won’t be any bothersome pop-ups for subscription magazines (because of course you are out traveling not at home). And there won’t be any sites that are advertised everywhere already (because of course you’ve already used or avoided them). So enjoy this little trip around the internet where I hope you not only find travel websites you haven’t come across before, but also sites that you will find awesomely useful!

So onward with the road less traveled!

1.  TripExpert

TripExpert

    Most everyone is aware of TripAdvisor, a site that allows everyone to leave reviews about places, but it is great to be able to cross-reference the average person’s short sometimes snarky review with an expert’s review. That is what TripExpert allows you to do. You type in your destination or accommodations and it will give you what the experts are putting in print from A to Zagat!

    2.  Oyster

    OYSTER

      Sometimes we get faked out by wonderful photos that stretch rooms out of proportion or minimize crowded beaches. Oyster is “The Hotel Tell-All” and has a page dedicated to comparing hotel’s photos to Oyster’s own, so you can decide if a place is a myth or a legend. Oyster’s reviews also go beyond the good, the bad, and the ugly about even the best of places. We appreciate their honesty because honestly no one wants to spend their money on a bad vacation.

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      3.  Yelp!

      YELP

        Still making up your mind whether to stay here or there or to eat this or that in the destination of your choosing?  Then maybe Yelp will help! I put in the same location (NYC), in each site to see what the reviews would say, and Yelp had very specific commenters that left pictures, ratings, and more. You can even scroll through the pictures associated with your search. Reviewers are assessed too, so you can see if this is a one-time reviewer with a bone to pick or if it is someone that has checked in a few times and knows well what they are reviewing. To some extent, you might be able to tell if this person’s evaluation would be comparable to yours. Maybe they are a member of your trip tribe.

        4.  Trip Tribe

        TRIP TRIBE

          As soon as I thought it, I knew someone must have that domain name for a travel site! Trip Tribe lets you put in your personality, suggests vacations and places to stay, and puts you in touch with others like you in age, relationship status, and interests. It isn’t exactly a dating site, but if you crave a journey, you can follow people that crave the same things. It is kind of inspired.

          5.  Rom2Rio

          ROME2RIO

            I came to Rom2Rio via a few different travel blogs that raved about it, so I tried it out, and I’m intrigued and inspired! You can compare with tools (like very easy on the eye visuals and sidebars with drop-down menus) how you want to travel, the cost of travel, and it will even give you very specific information such as the bus line or airline you can use. I went ahead and selected where I was departing from and where I wanted to arrive and was able to click easily through all the way to the airline’s website to purchase exactly what I was inquiring about.

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            6.  Skiplagged

            SKIPLAGGED

              This site is bananas! Did you know a ticket from one city to another can be half as much if you just take a different flight pattern with a different layover destination?! Say you want to go to Miami. You can go directly for $200. Or you can endure an hour layover and pay $160. Or you can pay $86 if you do an hour and a half layover in another city. If you can endure more time in your layover, or can put up with a layover in a different state, you can save half.

              7.  Sleeping In Airports

              SLEEPING IN AIRPORTS

                It can happen unintentionally, but it can also be preferable under some circumstances. So if you need to sleep in an airport, versus getting a costly hotel room, it can come in handy to know what kind of accommodations there are. Sleeping In Airports has reviews, assessments, and recommendations for the weary and wary traveler.

                8.  Responsible Travel

                Responsible Travel

                  I love the saying, “Take only photos. Leave only footprints.” And I love the idea of unique and rare vacations. That is what this company is all about. You will get recommendations that promise more than a few days off. You are shopping small and personal. You can decide what type of vacation you want to go on such as a couples honeymoon or a family getaway. You can decide if you are going cycling or shopping. There will be several places to choose from with pricing, pictures, descriptions, reviews, and suggested itineraries. Additionally, there will be a breakdown of how responsible the accommodations are, sometimes including the materials used in construction. If you are interested in ecotourism, this site is designed for your conscience.

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                  9.  Peek

                  peek

                    I almost couldn’t stop looking at this site. You get to look at other people’s “Perfect Day” and you can plan your own. There are suggestions by high profile residents of cities, like fashion designers, and there are offers and deals for tours. It is fun to see how others have spent a day in George Town or see where a sports car rental will take you in…. Vermont? Well, there is something for everyone!

                    10. The Man in Seat Sixty-One

                    The Man in Seat Sixty-One

                      If you are wild about trains and world travel, this is your website of choice. If you haven’t thought about it, maybe you should start considering it and use this as a way to find some of the best experiences. Train travel in different countries can be a memorable experience. Doing your research will make it a good one!  Get routes, get pictures, and get an expert perspective from The Man in Seat Sixty-One.

                      11.  Black Tomato

                      Black Tomato

                        I say tomato, and you say Black Tomato! And I say what?  Black Tomato is a site that allows you to discover luxury vacation packages that are very dreamy.  Do you want to do a multi-destination honeymoon?  They have an itinerary for you.  Do you want to experience a cuisine inspired vacation?  They have an itinerary for you. Is this something to put on your bucket list?  Login and save it under “bucket list.” They are ready for all sorts of dreamers.

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                        12. Hipmunk

                        Hipmunk

                          Did you ever want to know before a flight if your legs would get cramped or if your layovers would be torture? This site has an “Agony Scale” for flights to let you know just that. And if you are booking a hotel, there is a heat map that will tell you using color bars where the nightlife is compared to your accommodations and sometimes if that nightlife is fun or not fun for you. Because sometimes, we don’t want a bedroom window too close to the rowdiest bar in town. We’d rather take a cab ride.

                          13.  AirHelp

                          AirHelp

                            If you lost your luggage, been delayed, or otherwise abused by the airlines, you might want to check out AirHelp. This website helps you know what your rights are and what compensation you are entitled to. Whatever your travel plans are, doing your research before and after something happens sounds like sound advice to me. It is worth investigating.

                            14.  Skift

                            Skift

                              Staying informed about what is going on in the travel industry could be good for you. If some bad news is brewing, this site would help you learn about it before you booked a non-refundable trip. Also, if an airline or another company you are about to do business with is in distress, you might consider making other plans. Even the latest in technology to make travel better is featured, so maybe you get to download an app to make the best of your travels.

                              15.  Home Exchange

                              HomeExchange

                                What if you live somewhere great and you want to see somewhere else that is great? Then Home Exchange could give you a fun and affordable way to find accommodations. I heard about people renting out their balconies for festivals, like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but if you have someplace awesome, you can trade spaces for a time. Lucky you!

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                                Last Updated on January 17, 2019

                                8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                                8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                                In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

                                Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

                                Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

                                Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

                                Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

                                The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

                                There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

                                How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

                                According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

                                Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

                                Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

                                The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

                                Listen carefully:

                                We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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                                The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

                                Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

                                8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

                                There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

                                Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

                                1. Pray Daily

                                You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

                                When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

                                Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

                                Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

                                2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

                                A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

                                By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

                                Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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                                If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

                                This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

                                How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

                                3. Smile Often

                                Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

                                Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

                                Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

                                The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

                                4. Organize Your Working Desk

                                A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

                                When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

                                Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

                                Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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                                5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

                                I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

                                Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

                                What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

                                6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

                                God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

                                I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

                                I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

                                7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

                                You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

                                How do you do that? This is my formula:

                                First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

                                If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

                                If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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                                If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

                                Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

                                8. Go Exercise

                                Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

                                The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

                                You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

                                12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

                                The Bottom Line

                                It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

                                It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

                                Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

                                More Resources About Mindfulness

                                Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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