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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 September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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