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Travel: The Ultimate Personal Development Tool

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man sitting on a mountain while traveling
With the explosion of websites, podcasts, and conferences teaching you how to improve your life (this one being no exception), it’s clear many of us want to become a better version of ourselves. We all want to be the person we imagine we could be if given just the right circumstances.

We want to learn more languages.

We want to be less awkward in social situations.

We want to eat better.

We want to read more.

We want to work out more.

We want to travel more.

We want to be more active.

We want to be more independent.

The list goes on and on!!

So often we go through life without really thinking about where we are heading. One day turns into the next and all those things we desire to do and become seem to pile up while we look for the perfect day to start.

Over the last year, I’ve had my ups and downs and have been working hard to make changes to my life. It takes a lot of work to change. Even one or two changes to change your life requires concentrated effort and persistence. But to make a hundred changes? That is biting off more than you can chew. No one has the mental energy or time to do that.

That’s why most new year’s resolutions fail. We create a long list of things to accomplish in the new year but, in the end, most of us give up, overwhelmed by all we want to do.

So when people tell me all the ways they want to improve their lives, my advice to them is to travel for one simple reason:

Travel solves a plethora of self-improvement goals in one fell swoop.

Picture this: You’ve booked a flight to Kiev. You don’t speak Ukrainian or Russian. And, to top it off, you’re going alone. You land in Kiev. Now, you have to navigate signs in a different language, ask people who probably don’t speak your language well for directions (maybe pantomime and point at maps indicating where you want to go), get to your hostel, make friends in the dorm (no one wants to be alone), and get around and sightsee the city during your stay.

By the time you leave, you’ve learned how to communicate even when you don’t speak the language, figured out how to navigate an unknown place, learned to turn strangers into friends, learned how to be independent, and solved a slew of problems that came up as you made your way around a foreign country.

During one trip, you got better at communication, problem solving, languages, social situations, and improved your confidence in your ability to do new things and handle unexpected situations.

Why? Because you had to. You had no other choice.

And you didn’t even know you were doing it.

People always ask me about the moment I realized I “changed.” While there are moments in your life that ripple through the years, for me, there was no single instance that I can point to that turned me from a shy introvert who never traveled to someone able to plop down in any city, find my way, and turn strangers into friends. It was a process that happened slowly over time.

Before I set out on my first trip around the world, I had never really lived outside my state, hadn’t traveled much, had a small group of friends, and had only been in one relationship.

I was a nerdy introvert. While the old parts of me are still there (I’ll still gravitate towards my friends at a party rather than talk to someone I don’t know), it’s become a lot easier for me to talk to new people when there’s no one familiar around. While I still run through all the “what ifs” when I get on a plane to a new destination, when I land I hit the ground running (and wonder why I was ever worried in the first place).

Traveling forced me out of my routine. It helped me become independent, take more risks, be ok with change, get better with people, learn more, and be more versatile.

Travel is not some panacea. The baggage you have comes with you on the road. There is no place far enough away to escape your problems. But what travel does is give you the space to be someone else and improve your life. It allows you to say “What would the new me do?” and then do it – without worrying that someone you know might notice. It puts you into situations that force you to better yourself. It won’t instantly solve your problems — only you can do that — but at least, on the road, you have a clean slate to try.

As the new year approaches and you create your list of resolutions, cross them all off, and just write one down: to travel alone more.

It is the ultimate way to become a better, more confident you.

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Travel

Don’t Break The Bank When You Travel

Check out these great money saving tips so you don’t go broke taking your next vacation. 

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There’s really no way around it: traveling is expensive. On top of the obvious charges like flights and hotels, there will always be the little daily expenses that you didn’t fully prepare for when you were preparing for your trip. But the last thing you want to do is just not think about it and throw money around like a madman. There are definitely still ways to save money while traveling. And here they are!

THE TUESDAY RULE

I have to admit, I didn’t even really know about this “rule” before I started writing this article. But, for the most part, the cheapest flights of the week are almost always on a Tuesday. So, if you can, try to schedule all your flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This can dramatically lower the cost of your vacation.

DON’T BOTHER WITH HOTELS

Thanks to rental services like Airbnb and VRBO the hotel industry has really taken a hit. And prices have gone way up because of it. So, no matter how bad we may feel about their declining business, they’re just not the best option anymore. You can find a great deal with all the service and amenities you need from one of the vacation rental sites. There are even a few sites that deal in “house-swapping” where you basically just stay in each other’s homes during simultaneous vacations and don’t have to pay a thing!

BOOK DIRECTLY THROUGH THE AIRLINE

Many of the flight booking sites like Expedia or Travelocity actually don’t offer as many options as are available to you if you book through the airline. There are other services like Google Flights and Skyscanner that find the cheapest flights being offered by the airlines, and then you can just contact the airline yourself and book those specific flights. It’s a little extra work, but it can end up saving you more money than you think.

A LITTLE SPONTANEITY NEVER HURT ANYONE

Sure, doing your homework and planning ahead can most certainly help you save money on a vacation. But sometimes there are last minute deals made available when airlines are just trying to fill out their flights. So if you have a favorite airline, sign up for the mailing list. This way you’ll know when they are offering really cheap flights. And if you’re in the mood to just get out town regardless of where you’re going, this is a really cheap and fun option.

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Travel

Stocking Stuffers For Kids Who Love To Travel

If you’re a parent with kids who love to travel, here are some great stocking stuffer ideas to make sure your next vacation is a huge hit!

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Traveling as a family can be wonderful. It’s a great way to get closer as a family and create memories that will last a lifetime. But it’s always tricky with the kids! Sometimes it seems like you’re constantly walking on eggshells just waiting for one of them to decide they’re not having fun and promptly throw a loud and public tantrum.

So what better way to keep them calm and having fun than gifts! So this Christmas season, fill your kids stocking with some of the awesome travel-oriented gifts that will surely keep them happy for months to come!

FIREFLY FLASHLIGHT

First and foremost, this is just an adorable flashlight. It looks like a little firefly! So clever. But it’s also great for the camper kid in the family. Some kids just love sleeping under the stars or in a tent outdoors. So having a flashlight is key. And giving your child their very own flashlight is a cool way to make them feel important and independent.

RAINBOW WATERCOLORS MOVE ACTIVITY TRACKER WATCH

Just like with the flashlight, giving your child a watch is a great way to make them feel important, independent, and more like an adult than a child. Especially as it tracks steps taken, distance traveled, and sleep time. Just like mom and dad’s fit bits! Plus this watch just looks so cool. They’ll certainly love it.

GOPRO HERO

This may not feel like the best stocking stuffer for your children, but they’re so easy to use and can be really fun for your kids. It’s waterproof so it’s perfect for goofy fun at the pool, lake, or beach. And if your kid is into biking, skateboard, and the like, this is the perfect stocking stuffer as it can be easily attached to their helmet and help them make awesome compilations of their adventures.

They are a little expensive though. So this is definitely for the kid that has been really good this year.

COZYPHONES

It’s amazing that these awesome headphones aren’t a much bigger deal. They’re basically just adorable and cozy headbands that also have headphones in them! Brilliant idea right? They keep your child’s head cozy and warm, allow them to express themselves by wearing some wacky, and keeps them distracted and comfortable because they’re listening to their favorite music! It doesn’t get much better than that.

TRAVEL SPIROGRAPH

I don’t know about you, but I used to love spirographs! They’re so much fun and great time killer. So if you’ve got a long flight or road trip ahead of you and you’re worried about your kids not having fun, these are a great stocking stuffer. Also, as a creative release, it’s a great mental exercise and obviously a better use of their time than just watching that movie they’ve already seen a hundred times before on a tablet.

TRAVEL BINGO

This travel Bingo set is another great time-spender on long trips. It’s extremely simple but extremely fun. As you see any of the things pictured on the card, you flip down the marker. Then, once you have a straight line; BINGO! And just like with the travel spirograph, it forces your children to be more active and use their minds, which is always a huge plus.

 

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Travelers! Never Leave Home Without These 5 Essential Travel Items

Traveling can be extremely stressful and uncomfortable. These five items will help make your traveling experience an easy one.

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Everyone loves (and needs) a good vacation every now and again. Getting out of town and exploring new areas is good for the soul. But the actual traveling part can be extremely stressful and uncomfortable. A lot of people are so stressed out by it that they don’t even bother traveling at all. But, have no fear, help is here! Check out these five must-haves for any and all travelers.

 

SLIDER SANDALS

This may seem simple and not all that worth it, but they can make that terrible security check process so much easier. No more untying and retying your shoes. No panicking that you’re holding up the line as you do so. Just slip these bad boys on and off and you’ll be through that line in a breeze. Also, as long as your comfortable in your socks in front of strangers, going shoeless while you’re on the plane feels great!

PACKING CUBES

This one is for my fellow OCD types out there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been lugging my suitcase around just thinking about how all that wonderful folding I had done was completely going to waste. But getting packing cubes like these completely changed my traveling experience for the better. You can keep everything organized and separated perfectly, while also maximizing your luggage space! Even the laziest and most unorganized of us can benefit from these beauties.

PASHMINA WRAP

This might not be as necessary for any of you that run hot, but it can be a lifesaver for those of us that can’t stand how cold airplanes get! I don’t know why those overhead vents have to blast cold air at us like they do, but I’ll tell you right now I do not like it. So having a light wrap like this that is easy to keep in your carry on can make the flight so much more comfortable.

SKIN MIST

Traveling is a messy business. How many times have you gotten off a plane and felt like your face had never been dirtier or greasier? I’d say it happens to me about, oh… every single time I’ve ever stepped on the plane. Having a skin mist like this one on hand to freshen up does wonders for your skin and your mood. Everyone deserves to stay fresh! Throw this baby in your bag and thank me later.

PORTABLE CHARGER

I think we’ve all been in the apocalyptic situation where I phone dies. It truly feels like the end of the world. How will I call or text people? How will I call a Lyft? How on Earth will I post an Instagram?! Well keep one of these little lifesavers with you and you will never have to experience that terrible fear again. If you get a good one, it can fully charge a dead iPhone up to five times. Trust me. You need one of these, like, yesterday.

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