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Smart Travel: The 10 Best Gadgets for Your Vacation

Smart Travel: The 10 Best Gadgets for Your Vacation

When you travel, it’s essential that you carry gadgets to make your trip go smoother. After all, if you didn’t have gadgets to entertain you, you’d probably have to settle for watching awful in-flight movies or listening to wailing infants. Here are a few gadgets that you shouldn’t travel without.

Over-the-Ear Headphones

Never, ever underestimate the value of an amazing pair of headphones. When you’re on the plane, it’s loud. Not just from the engines but also from the occasional annoying passenger that you just want to drown out.

A great pair of over-the-ear headphones will block out all most of the noise coming from the passengers around you  (although the engine may be too loud to drown out). At the very least, you’ll be able to put your headphones on and close your eyes and relax a bit. A pair of Bose’s AE2i Over-the-Ear headphones costs $179.95 and might be well worth the investment if you fly often.

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Portable Chargers for Emergencies

This isn’t 2007 and you shouldn’t have to wait to get to an outlet or USB port to charge your phone. The Innergie PocketCell, which costs $80, can usually hold enough energy to power a tablet halfway. The same amount of energy will also charge a smartphone — twice. Be sure to charge both the portable charger and your phone every night. Most functions will drain the smartphone battery at an alarming rate, but with the Innergie PocketCell, you can use your phone without worrying about it dying on you.

A Laptop

One of the most important things to have with you when you travel is a laptop. Whether or not you think you can achieve everything you want with a smartphone, it’s better to be safe than sorry. A newer model Macbook starts at $1,199, but they’re worth it. If you’re not comfortable with OSX, lucky for you OSX has a program built into it that will essentially allow your Macbook to run Windows.

A Wedge Touch Mouse

When using a laptop, there’s nothing worse than using a trackpad (or worse, a tiny nub), to navigate around. Do yourself a favor and buy yourself a portable wedge touch mouse. The portable wedge connects to your laptop or tablet via Bluetooth and functions as a normal mouse. You’re able to navigate the screen or use it to double-click on web links. The wedge, made by Microsoft, will cost you $70.00, a small price to pay for the ease and functionality it gives you when you travel.

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A Portable Wireless Router

It’s time to cut the cord from hotel internet. Priced at $99, the Airport Express, Apple’s wireless router, is the perfect solution. It serves as both a repeater, which extends the range of a Wi-Fi signal, or a wireless base station. Take the hotel’s ethernet cable and plug it into the box, then plug the box into an AC outlet, and you’re good to go. Don’t worry about incompatibility — while the Airport Express was designed with the Mac in mind, it’s completely compatible with a PC.

A Fully Charged Smartphone

Without a doubt, your smartphone is an indispensable vacation gadget because it can be used in all stages of the vacation process. You’ll download an app to get cheap tickets, listen to your music while you fly, jot down all of your notes in the built-in notepad app, and many more tasks. There’s even apps that are useful for overseas traveling, like translation apps, currency converters, and more.

Keep in mind, though, that these apps and features may use data. If you’re out of the cell network, you may end up paying a significant charge. If you go overseas, disable all cell service and set your phone to only operate when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi zone.

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A Kindle Paperwhite

A smartphone can do the trick, sure, but you’ll be straining your eyes trying to read a book. Instead, grab a Kindle Paperwhite. With the new screens that prevent glare, you’ll be able to read your favorite novels, regardless of whether you’re in ideal lighting conditions. Even better, you won’t have to worry about battery drain, because unlike the Kindle Fire, which is meant to be used primarily as a tablet, the Kindle’s battery is built to last for a long time since it is designed specifically to be an e-book reader.

An In-Car GPS

Sure, you can use the GPS on your phone, but it’ll destroy your battery. If you fly overseas, you’re out of luck, because you’re out of your mobile phone provider’s areas. If you have a TomTom GPS, though, you’ll be able to navigate the area without worrying about extra charges. These GPS units can run as low as $100, but you’ll get tons of use out of them. Just make sure to update it before you leave.

A DSLR Camera

Your phone or a simple point-and-shoot won’t capture the beauty of your trip. To completely capture the beauty of the moment, you’ll need either a high-end DSLR camera, preferably a Nikon or Canon with a large zoom lens. These aren’t cheap — they’ll set you back well over $500, and that’s just for the base camera. You may want to add additional lenses, carrying cases, memory cards, or even a tripod. If you buy one that has Wi-Fi connectivity, you can send photographs to your phone or computer. You can also use your smartphone to capture shots remotely, which could make for some great landscape shots.

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A Portable Gaming System

Regardless of where you go, it’s inevitable that you’ll get bored. For situations like this, turn to games. Simple smartphone games are fine to waste a few minutes, but you’ll burn through battery quickly. In times like these, you need a true portable gaming system. You really have two options here: The Nintendo 3DS XL or the Playstation Vita.

Each system offers advantages over the other, from exclusive games to battery life. The only way to choose which one is right for you is to do a bit of research and see which one offers the most benefit to you. Both systems can connect online, so if you’re bored of playing by yourself, you can quickly hop online and play against opponents worldwide. The systems can range anywhere from $199 to $250. If you choose to go with the new Nintendo 2DS, Nintendo’s system that has all of the features of the 3DS but doesn’t display in 3D, you’re only going to spend $129.

Regardless of where your travels take you, these gadgets will assist you in your journey in one way or another. What’s your go-to gadget for a long travel?

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How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

Sight – Visual Stimulation

The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

1. Maximize your exposure to light.

Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

3. Take note of your environment.

Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

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Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

4. Engage in conversation.

Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

5. Listen to upbeat music.

Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

6. Work your nose.

Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

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Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

7. Have a good breakfast.

Start off with the most important meal of the day.

Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

8. Drink lots of water.

Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

Touch – Tactile Stimulation

Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

10. Splash cold water on your face.

Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

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11. Use acupressure.

Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

12. Get moving.

Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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