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23 Awesome Travel Hacks That Add Fun To Your Trip

23 Awesome Travel Hacks That Add Fun To Your Trip

Exploring parts unknown, whether domestically or internationally, is a pastime that hundreds of millions of individuals embark on each year. For families, travel is even more precious because it allows parents to expose their children to something that could be out of their norm. That said, with all the benefits of travel come some stressors that can impede on the travel experience for just about anyone, but you don’t have to let those ruin your vacation. Today, we will take a look at 23 travel hacks that can make your vacation more productive, fun, and comfortable.

Travel Hacks Before You Leave

1. Instead of a hotel, look into reserving a home if traveling with a family, or a single room if alone. Websites like AirBnB can provide homes and private rooms from home owners who are renting them out, usually offering better accommodations than hotels.

2. Roll your clothes when packing. Instead of creating a folded pile in your suitcase, rolling allows you to fit more things in. Plus, you can even roll underwear and socks within your clothes for optimal space-saving.

3. Scan your passport, identification card, and itinerary and email them to yourself. This provides an extra copy of each in the event of loss or theft. As an iPhone user, once I email the documents to myself, I usually open the email on my iPhone and save them onto iBooks. This provides me with an offline record.

4. It’s important to remember to call your credit or debit card company before you leave to ensure that you have your card authorized for your foreign destination. This prevents them from suspecting suspicious activity.

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5. Mark your baggage as fragile. This is a tip I learned a while ago from a friend who found it to be a great way to ensure that your baggage is handled correctly. Your luggage is kept at the top because of this, which will make it one of the first bags to be released.

Travel Hacks For the Departure

6. Bring your own water bottle. Depending on the airline’s own policies regarding drink costs, the amount of times water is offered may not be to your liking. Having your own water bottle ensures that you have water when you want it. When they do come around, top off your bottle with what they give you.

7. Never underestimate the value of a fanny pack. Yes, they can be embarrassing and seemingly out of the mid-to-late 1980s, but trust me—every time I travel, even domestically, it has ensured that my valuables are safe, and it expedites security checks.

8. Splurge on Internet service if your flight is more than six-and-a-half hours long. You’ll thank me when you find that sparking conversation with your seat partner is harder than pulling teeth. Plus, you can complete work for the last time before you hit your destination.

9. Ensure that you have a pen before leaving home so you can complete customs forms. Fill the forms out when you get them, and ensure that your family members have theirs filled as well. People will clamour for your pen; flight attendants rarely have them.

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10. 20 minutes before you land, sprint for the bathroom. Usually when the seatbelt light comes on, I’ve found that you still have 15 minutes of leeway until you truly have to be seated. Use this opportunity to relieve yourself to prevent fighting for restrooms when you land.

Travel Hacks When You Arrive

11. Dart directly for baggage claim. It is amazing how many people seem to lollygag after landing. Save that for someplace else to save yourself time and to prevent any arguments with fellow travelers.

12. Use ATMs to get local currency. Using money converters in the airport usually come with their own fees and the exchange rates are a rip-off. ATMs always dispense local currency, of course, so use your debit or credit card and get your money there.

13. Ensure that you have Yelp downloaded for domestic travel in the US. This is a great city guide for both travelers and locals alike, and is best way to find the most amazing places to eat and sightsee.

14. Shop for groceries when you arrive. You don’t have to shop for a feast, but getting basics like water and a few snacks in local stores instead of at the hotel can save you a ton.

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15. When in your room, remove only the necessities from your luggage. Trying to make yourself at home by taking out every pair of shoes and all of your toiletries will only make repacking a living hell, and it increases your chances of forgetting something when it’s time to go home.

Exploring Your New Location

16. Use guidebooks sparingly. I recommended Yelp because it allows you to discover a few places off the beaten path. Guidebooks only presents you with tourist spots; even those that advertised themselves as being off the beaten path.

17. Use the local language as much as possible. It reflects well not only on you, but also on Americans/your nationality in general. It shows you are willing to make the effort, which can work in your favor in some situations.

18. Have a souvenir list prepared, and stick to it. This will save you money and prevent you from purchasing something that “you’ll find someone to give to another time”.

19. Eat locally only. Save McDonalds, if you have to eat it in any location, for when you’re home. Trying the local cuisine will save you more money and allow you to experience new and flavorful meals.

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20. “When in Rome, do as the Romans” is a general saying that I like to translate it as, “don’t be a stubborn traveler, and get out of your comfort zone”. If a country advises modest dress, for example, follow through. It can even ensure your safety as a foreigner.

Travel Hacks for Returning Home

21. If you are a frequent traveler, live out of your toiletry bag and keep it packed. This will allow the packing process to be a bit easier and will prevent you from having to make expensive toiletry purchases if you forget something.

22. Use IFTTT when sharing traveling photos to make it seamless and easy. “Recipes” like sharing automatically to Dropbox or Evernote will allow you automatically to have a copy of your precious photos.

23. Unpack immediately when you enter the door. You may be tired out of your mind, but you’ll be glad you did it in the morning. Plus, it saves your luggage from smelling like soiled laundry.

The travel hacks above have helped me on my busy travel year this year, and I hope they will provide some assistance to you. Let us know in the comments below which travel hack was your favorite. Also, let us know if there are any travel hacks, not mentioned above that have proved successful for you.

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Last Updated on August 13, 2020

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

2. What is the purpose of meditation?

The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

Less Physical, More Psychological

Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

The First Benefit of Meditation

The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

  1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
  2. Relaxation of the body

Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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This benefit takes you to the second one.

The Second Benefit of Meditation

While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

  1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
  2. Observance
  3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
  4. Patience

Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

1. Energy

Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

2. Observance

The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

3. Peacefulness

Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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4. Patience

The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

  • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
  • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
  • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
  • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
  • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
  • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

Final Thoughts

Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

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Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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