Author Archives: Anna Rodriguez

12 Apps You Can’t Live Without When Learning The World

We can all see the charm in going unplugged on a vacation. After all, who needs constant e-mails from work and senseless bragging of some people on social media during a holiday?

But things have changed over the years. Mobile devices enhance convenience, not disturb the peace and quiet, while on a vacation or travel abroad. Based on a 2013 Holiday Travel Survey, 65% of smartphone users say they see a “clear sailing ahead.” At the same time, non-smartphone users are 5% more likely to predict “nothing but chaos” in their travels compared to smartphone users. The study further revealed that the more travel apps a traveler uses, the more optimistic he is about discovering the world.  

Apps for travelling let you do practically anything. They add to your level of confidence as you navigate an unfamiliar territory. With travel apps, you can book flights and hotels, find the nearest restaurant, learn a new language, chat with family and friends back home, and even get help with your travel finances. These apps are also especially useful for students who study abroad and have to stay long-term and get accustomed to the new culture.

 

Here are recommended apps for your next travel abroad.

TripIt

Photo courtesy of negativespace.co via Pexels

Photo courtesy of negativespace.co via Pexels

This app is like your pocket travel agent. It pulls together all travel information that you might need—from your confirmation emails for flights, hotels, and car rentals—and converts it into a single itinerary. This is useful for planning group trips because it can share plans with your friends.

 

Where To Go?

Photo courtesy of Steven Lewis via Unsplash

Photo courtesy of Steven Lewis via Unsplash

The first question of the day when traveling abroad is “where do we go now?” Of course, you can plan your itinerary and your tour in the city and other tourist spots. But what if you need a grocery or a pharmacy? This app works globally with over 500 location types. It is also a handy GPS that provides turn-by-turn directions to wherever it is you want to go. It has a very simple interface and you can even customize it. If you can’t decide where to go, there is a shake-to-suggest feature to explore and discover possibilities around you.

Where To Go? is also among the top apps when studying abroad because it helps you become familiar with your new neighborhood. It also helps you settle down in a new city.

 

AroundMe

Photo courtesy of FirmBee via Pixabay

Photo courtesy of FirmBee via Pixabay

If you want a list of establishments around your chosen hotel, AroundMe will quickly provide you information about your surroundings. By identifying your position, it will give you a list of the nearest banks, gas stations, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, supermarket, theater, etc. along with the distance from where you are. You can choose from a category and the app will provide you a listing of businesses that you can view on a map complete with a route. You can even send the information of the place to a friend via email.

 

Trip Advisor

Reviews of fellow travelers are very important. With Trip Advisor, you can read reviews and recommendations from over 50 million travelers. The app is perfect if you want to get tips when traveling abroad because it ranks the best restaurants and hotels based on its rating scheme. It also helps you find the best flight deals and check to see if a certain hotel is available. You may also check traveler’s photos of the places you plan to visit.

 

WhatsApp Messenger

Photo courtesy of JESHOOTS via Pixabay

Photo courtesy of JESHOOTS via Pixabay

You will need at least one communication app when you travel abroad to keep in touch with your family and friends back home. WhatsApp allows you to exchange messages, photos, audio notes, and video messages. The best thing is you can use this app for free anywhere in the world.

 

SnapChat

Instagram seriously got a run for its money with the entry of SnapChat. This app allows you to share quick snaps such as photos and videos with friends and family. These “snaps” can be viewed for a brief amount of time before they disappear. Its ephemeral nature particularly appeals to teens and millennials.

It also doubles as a fun messaging app where you can take a photo and doodle over it before sending to a friend. It also has a “story” feature, which is a 24-hour collection of your photos and videos.

 

Camera+

Photo courtesy of Henry Marsh via Pexels

Photo courtesy of Henry Marsh via Pexels

Developed by a professional photographer, this app is like a high-quality SLR lens. Point and shoot phone cameras are fine but if you want more professional looking photos from your trip, you might want to download this app. It has a burst mode for action shots, a timer for self-portraits, and an image stabilizer. You can have fun with the shutter and other manipulating features such as color tints and retro effects.

 

Bravolol

This is your modern Rosetta stone. Bravolol features a basic phrasebook in over 13 languages. While the words are basic, the app helps you pronounce words and phrases and even offers phonetic spelling. The best part is that once you have downloaded the app, it can run without an Internet connection. This is perfect for solo travelers, adventure seekers, and foreign students who want to explore a particular city by engaging more with the locals.

 

CityMaps2Go

Photo courtesy of kelseyannvere via Pixabay

Photo courtesy of kelseyannvere via Pixabay

Most airports provide a map of the city and how to go about the public transportation system. But actual physical maps can get you in trouble. One of the travel abroad safety tips is not constantly look at maps because doing so will only alert petty thieves and scammers that you have no idea where you are going. Using them is also a bit inconvenient.

CityMaps2Go will help you stay safe while traveling with its downloadable maps and guides to over 7,000 destinations. You may pre-load this to your phone and run it without an Internet connection. The app also features suggested destinations.

 

Mint.com

This app is especially useful for frequent travelers and long-term travelers such as students who study abroad. It’s like having your own accountant on the trip as it allows you to track, budget and manage your money all at once. After you’ve opened an account, Mint will automatically pull in all the bank, credit, and loan accounts you added. Never again will you wonder where all your money went.

Mint also customizes your budget based on your spending and sends bill reminders. The app is safe, secure, and easy to use.

 

Converter Plus

Money converter apps are a must when you travel abroad so you don’t overestimate or underestimate a country’s currency when you purchase something or dine in a restaurant. Converter Plus is an all-in-one calculation app with an extensive list of currencies and units in hundreds of categories.

 

Trip Journal

Photo courtesy of Dariusz Sankowski via Unsplash

Photo courtesy of Dariusz Sankowski via Unsplash

As soon as you check in at the airport, the instinct is also to share it to the world by updating on Facebook or Twitter. Every photo you will take will also probably land on your social media pages. But there’s a certain charm about keeping a travel journal.

The Trip Journal app will let you create a travelogue of your experiences complete with high-resolution photos and videos. You may add notes and comments to describe the experiences. Students on study abroad programs will particularly find this app interesting as it will document the whole experience. The app’s integration with Google Earth will also allow friends and families to see the places you’ve been. It even has trip stats like the distance and time you have traveled.

 

There’s an app for almost anything today and when it comes to travel, you will find an enormous list of apps. Make the most of your smartphone or mobile device when you travel. These apps will help make your trip safer, more convenient, and more memorable.

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Top 7 Frugal Ideas For Home and Condo Living

 

Condo living is often associated with luxury and convenience. In so many ways, that’s true. Location is supreme, condo amenities are world-class, and comfort is of prime importance. But this doesn’t mean that trends in condo living do not value being practical, realistic, prudent, and even frugal.

The concept of frugal living isn’t really new. A lot of us have already been doing it out of necessity. But frugal living trends nowadays have been elevated as a matter of lifestyle, something that people do to live better. In the past, frugality was associated with negative connotations such as penny-pinching, tight-fisted, and even cheap. But times have changed and frugal people now are wise consumers and prudent human beings finding ways to live well within and even below their means.

A 2014 study on stress and health by the American Psychological Association found that money issues as the top stressor for American adults. This is what the frugal movement wants people to understand. Being frugal doesn’t mean living like a pauper in a hut or out in the street, but about enjoying a better quality of life that is simple and less stressful.

It is no surprise that home and condo trends now include a lot of recycling, do-it-yourself activities, and going back to basics. This is what frugal living is all about: reducing waste, saving resources, and living simply. Living in a condo doesn’t mean you have to live as extravagantly as what some people associate your choice of residence with. In fact, condo living will give you a lot of opportunities to live frugally. Here are frugal condo trends that you should know about.

 

Stop eating out of the box, start growing your own food

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Photo courtesy of Moyan Brenn via Flickr

Home cooked meals have regained their charm. Suddenly, people subscribe to online cooking videos, enroll in cooking classes, and find people who can cook sexy. Condos in the Philippines recognize the renewed appreciation for home cooking and transformed kitchen and dining areas more functional and stylish.

So stop ordering take-out meals or calling for delivery. You have very good reasons to stop eating out of the box. You eat healthier and save money. It is also recommended to prepare your own lunch to bring to work instead of eating out.

Frugal living tells you to cook your own food and start growing your own food. Even if you live in a condo, you can grow herbs in the kitchen or create your own urban garden right at your balcony. Not only do you save on spices, your house will look more alive and vibrant with all those greens.

 

Get a roommate, split expenses

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Photo courtesy of Tulane Public Relations via Flickr

Are you living on your own? Does the idea of having a housemate bother you? If not, then get one. Finding a roommate, subletting, and putting your condo for rent are among the real estate trends today. And for good reason — split the bills, save more money.

Never mind if you live in a studio or one-bedroom unit. Haven’t you seen 18 sqm transformations yet? If you’re not home most of the day, getting a roommate is really a practical solution (especially a roommate that does not share the same shift as yours so you can still have the condo on your own). Having someone split the bills, association, dues, and monthly rent will allow you to put your money where it matters. You may also rent out your parking slot.

 

Embrace a sustainable lifestyle

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Photo courtesy of Eric via Flickr

Sustainability and green living are such big industries these days. After all, natural resources are wearing thin and we owe it to the next generation to protect the Earth.

Start this noble lifestyle at home. Unplug things that are wasting power. Don’t put appliances on standby. Get a power strip that you can flip on and off easily. Keep thermostat at 25 or 26 degrees Celsius and save on electricity bill while still feeling comfortable.

Open up more to let natural light and air come through. Make your own dishwashing soap and freshener, and use baking soda and vinegar as your main cleaning agent. Getting ideas on how to recycle things around the house is just one search query away. Some of the common things you can repurpose are plastic containers, empty bottles, newspaper, clothes, and even compact discs.

 

Ditch cable and find free entertainment

The good thing about technology is that it renders entertainment subscriptions, such as cable and home phone, obsolete. You know what makes that even better? Condo trends these days provide technology for free.

Ditch your cable subscription and use the free Wi-Fi in your condo. Major condos in the Philippines also invest in game rooms and entertainment halls, so use them. You can also try and be more active by playing basketball or pool. That’s not only free entertainment, you also make new friends.

 

Enough with clutter and fight impulse

Remember this: a buy one, get one bag for free promo only makes sense if you need two bags. Fight shopping impulses and stay away from malls. It would also help if you leave your credit card at home, and better if you pay off the debt and cut your card in half. Also, stop subscribing to e-mails of your favorite shops and brands to tell you about the latest sale and promo.

Adopt a minimalist lifestyle at home. Invest in a few pieces that you actually need. In choosing your wardrobe, go for ones that go with everything else. If you usually wear casual clothes to work, stop making an excuse for buying that ultra-expensive pair of leather boots that you probably won’t use anyway. This will also make picking an outfit less stressful. Two words: Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs. Successful people stick to one wardrobe because they’re too busy changing the world to even stress out on what to wear.

When it comes to furniture pieces in your condo, don’t overdo it. Space won’t allow too many pieces anyway. If you don’t really need them, don’t buy them. If you have things you don’t use, sell them.

 

Do it yourself

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Photo courtesy of stevepb via Pixabay

Try to do things on your own and get a little bit more creative. Smart trends in condo living encourage you to “do it yourself.” This will take more time and effort but it could be more fun and educational, and absolutely more satisfying. Make it a family project if you must. Need things done inside the house? There’s always YouTube. You need to give a gift to someone? Personalize it. Need storage for books? Make one.

 

Save on transport, stay at home more

Ask your condo neighbors if they want to carpool with you or you can carpool with them. Use your feet and take the public transport more. Try to run multiple errands on one trip. Want to give bike-to-work a try? And finally, make staycations fun so everyone will be more excited about staying at home for the weekend.

Frugal living requires a change in mindset and lifestyle. Never think of it as a cheap effort, but rather an attemptrt to live a life that is simple and within your means.

 

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Our Favorite Activities in Boracay Philippines

While Boracay has long been a top international tourist destination, this breathtaking paradise does not fail to amaze people with new adventures whether you want to relax or to unleash your inner daredevil. Thanks to its countless splendid wonders and to people’s ingenuity to make the most out of them, you will never run out of activities to do in Boracay.

From soaking up in loads of water fun and land adventures to getting the best out of your Boracay beach resort and hotel accommodation, here are some of the best activities you can do in Boracay. So take your pick from this list, pack your vacation essentials, and head to Boracay to have a time-off blast.

 

Re-enact mermaid tales with mermaid swimming

Bring to life your mermaid dreams and channel your inner Dyesebel or Ariel by taking classes in mermaid swimming. Yes, it is no longer restricted to professional mermaid swimmers as one school opened classes for that kind of fantasy. The Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy offers private and group sessions where you get to don monofins or mermaid tails. More creative and challenging than your usual swimming, mermaid swimming will not only let you live out your imagination, it will also push you to use your core muscles as your legs will be bound by a monofin. No worries though, all lessons are closely supervised by trained instructors.

 

Take advantage of your resort and hotel accommodation

Photo Courtesy of Doun via Flickr, Creative Commons

Photo Courtesy of Doun via Flickr, Creative Commons

More than excellent staycation venues, a number of beach resorts and hotels in Boracay also offer water and land adventures such as speed boating, water skiing, and parasailing as part of your guest privileges. To enjoy convenient and thrilling excitement on top of your accommodation, inquire about these activities before booking so you get to compare different deals and select the one that will best suit your preferences and budget.

Upon checking in, ask about details such as schedule so you can adjust your vacation itinerary as needed. Speaking of checking in, Alta Vista De Boracay suggests that you double-check your vacation essentials such as toiletries, phones, sunscreen, snacks, and so on upon your arrival. In case you forgot something, you can bring it up to the front desk along your inquiry into the land and water adventures that they may offer.

 

Discover more of nature with eco tours

Travel to the off the beaten paths that you have not yet been to by going on eco tours that will take you to the neighboring areas of Boracay. Such eco tours are the perfect alternative for those who would love to experience Boracay vibes, but with fewer crowds. Moreover, ecotourism, as its name implies, upholds eco-friendly travel to protected natural areas, which will fit you if you are on the lookout for more pristine destinations with lush forests and the wildlife. It also boosts the local community by providing livelihood to the locals and making them feel proud of their place. Go spelunking in one of the country’s longest caves, Basang Cave in Nabas, Aklan. Afterwards, bike your way around or rejuvenate in Hurom Hurom’s springs. Experience two more caves in Hacienda Maria in Buruanga, Panay where they also have a majestic waterfall. Visit the nearby island of Antique and cross their famous long wooden bridge.

 

Row, row, row your board, that is, the stand-up paddle board

Photo Courtesy of Ingrid Taylar via Flickr, Creative Commons

Photo Courtesy of Ingrid Taylar via Flickr, Creative Commons

Inspired by Hawaii’s Hoe he’e nalu, this fun water activity will get you rowing while maintaining your balance on a stand-up board. Using a board that is bigger than your typical surfboard to maneuver shallow waters, this is one great introduction for those who have yet to go full blast with the traditional surfing. Paddle away in White Beach or to take it up a notch, go all the way to Diniwid Beach. If you want it in a different setting, try it on Panay’s slow and meandering river. If the sun gets too much for you, you can always swim every now and then.

 

Make friends with the locals

Photo Courtesy of Niraj Rajmohan via Flickr, Creative Commons

Photo Courtesy of Niraj Rajmohan via Flickr, Creative Commons

One of the best ways of experiencing life in Boracay is getting to know people who grew up in the area. Aside from the fun in meeting new people, you can get interesting Boracay stories — and tips — from the locals who know the island like the back of their hand. Enjoy a game of Frisbee or skimboarding with them. Join them in their early evening strolls on the beach with the backdrop of the sunset. Also, do not hesitate to ask help whether you got lost or just wanted to try out something new.

 

These fun and exhilarating activities to do in Boracay will have you experience the different sides of this blissful destination. Select from these to include in your itinerary. You can also use these land and water activities as jumping boards for more adventures so it is important that you leave room for spontaneity. After all, there is always something in store in Boracay to delight you that will surely have you come back for more.

 

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Philippines and Its Eight Remarkable Beaches You Need To Visit

While Paris has the Eiffel Tower, London’s got the Big Ben and New York has the Empire State, the Philippines’ pride is its natural beauty away from the cities. In a global report, the Philippines ranks among the world’s best places to visit because of its splendid, natural attraction: the beaches. This is unsurprising to anyone who has visited any of these majestic beaches in the Philippines, spread across the country’s 7,107 islands. Powdery soft sand, gentle sea breeze, rich aquatic wonders, year-round sunshine, friendly smiles—all this and more make the Philippines a must-visit. So when are you traveling?

 

White Island, Camiguin

Photo courtesy of G.B. Khuta via Flickr

Photo courtesy of G.B. Khuta via Flickr

The White Island of Camiguin does not usually land in popular lists of the best Philippine beaches. Such a shame, for it is a scenic getaway that deserves attention. The White Island is a desolate sandbar a few minutes away by boat from the main island of Camiguin. Upon arrival, you will notice that no tree inhabits its vast expanse; what you have as backdrop is the lush green island of Camiguin itself. The combination of seascape and lush mountainous vista makes this beach destination a breathtaking place. The sleepy town attracts travelers all year long, but energy bursts during the Lanzones Festival in celebration of the unique, local fruit famous  for its succulent sweetness with a sour kick.

 

El Nido, Palawan

Photo courtesy of Nennn via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Nennn via Flickr

To say El Nido is a paradise is an understatement: there are not enough words, no sufficient image, to describe how beautiful the place is. Part of the environmentally gifted main island of Palawan, El Nido perpetually attracts an international set of travel connoisseurs including Hollywood celebrities. Its popularity is matched by its undeniable luxury. But while El Nido hosts some of the most expensive and exclusive beach resorts in the world, travelers with a penchant for rustic budget hotels have options as well.  

The beaches of El Nido are nestled between bay views and towering rock formations that appear to be unravaged by time. The contrasting features of its beaches create the perfect setting for wanderers. Its diverse marine life also makes the place an ideal stomping ground for biologists, social scientists, and local life. Don’t miss the sunset: the sea against the dramatic sky will leave you breathless.

 

Mactan, Cebu

Mactan is sometimes referred to as Maktan, yet this distinction does not affect what travelers commonly experience when they visit — amazement for the place and its people. An island part of the thriving city province of Cebu, Mactan’s natural attractions include marvelous beaches, underwater adventure, and affectionate smiles of its people.Travelers to Mactan won’t fail to notice the warmth of its people. Although the Philippines is globally rated as one of the happiest countries in the world, there’s something extraordinary in the smiles you will encounter here. The French have an apt phrase for such enigmatic quality: Je ne sais quoi (I don’t know what). The world-class beaches of Mactan and the universal happiness of its people make this destination truly memorable.

 

Puka Beach, Boracay

 

Photo courtesy of Angelo Juan Ramos via Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Angelo Juan Ramos via Wikimedia Commons

For many travelers, a voyage to the Philippines is not complete without experiencing the white beaches of Boracay, which is arguably the most popular beach destination in the Philippines. Countless travelers continue to rate it as the top spot for a relaxing vacation.  Traditionally, Boracay is divided into three inter-connected stations filled with beach resorts and interesting establishments. A Boracay beach resort in the first and second stations, such as Discovery Shores boracay, is considered a hip area because the location is embellished with upbeat party scenes.  

More secluded, tranquil locations have deservedly received more visits in recent years. One such place is Puka Beach, an 800-meter stretch of white sand dotted with puka shells located at the northern tip of the island. The place is a great option for travelers looking for best, alternative locations to the bustling parts of Boracay. Soft, gentle waves interact with the sand, creating a laid back atmosphere with relaxing acoustics. Shells in Puka Beach abound, and they make for great ornaments such as necklaces, bracelets, and house trinkets. These chic, tasteful handicrafts are conveniently sold in shops in the area.  

Activities are endless in Boracay. Kayaking, island hopping, parasailing, a relaxing moment on the beach—all these are within reach. It’s great that hotels in Boracay are offering more options for travelers seeking a calmer island vibe.

 

Panglao, Bohol

Ah, the beaches of Panglao Island. The long, stunning stretch of Panglao is an extension of Bohol in Central Visayas.  Both Panglao and Bohol are a traveler’s nirvana, and for good reasons. Both islands have  topnotch white beaches and diving centers, centuries-old churches, diverse wild life, verdant rivers, and a world-class children’s choir. From wild encounters with tarsiers and dolphins to inspiring views of the the Chocolate Hills — a UNESCO World Heritage site — the whole destination seems to have it all. Another must-see in Panglao is its close neighbor, Balicasag Island, which is famous for diving and snorkeling activities. More temperate travelers can opt to lounge by the beaches of Panglao. Gastronomic pursuits are also recommended; the island offers a multitude of delicious and healthy eats. There are high-end beach resorts should you wish to splurge, but travelers can easily adjust to budget hotels without missing any of Panglao’s delicate charm.

 

Coron, Palawan

 

Photo courtesy of Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ via Flickr

Coron, like El Nido, is located in Palawan. But don’t make the mistake of comparing the two as some sort of “rivals.” They are emphatically not. Any traveler who has visited Coron and El Nido knows that it is unwise to prefer one over the other: the only proper choice is to prefer both. Apart from the pristine beaches of Coron, the place has loads of other treats. Water-enthusiasts would be delighted to know that Coron has both sea and fresh water as comely attractions. Hopping from one beach to the next is highly recommended, just as hopping from one lake to the next is. The seven enchanting lakes of Coron — of which the two most famous are Lake Barracuda and Lake Kayangan — are among the clearest and cleanest in the world. Rocky cliffs of marble and limestone dot the landscape, and climbing them is fun yet challenging. Coron is called by some a “jewel” among the islands of Palawan. No doubt are they right: Coron leaves an indelible imprint on adventure-seekers lucky enough to sample even just its pure waters.

 

Siquijor, Siquijor

 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash via Pixabay

Photo courtesy of Unsplash via Pixabay

Siquijor is an island province that lies southwest of Bohol. If there is a word often used by travelers in describing the island, the word frequently uttered is “mystical.” Magic and sorcery shroud the island with spell-binding mystery. Love potions are sought by travelers from local apothecarists and self-labeled occultists. (Judging by the mesmerizing pull of Siquijor among travelers, one can bet the potions are working!). Once the enchanting dust settles, however, what comes clearly to view are the legendary beaches of Siquijor. Already at the port, you will be greeted by the clear waters of the island. And the local people are generous with their warmth and hospitality.  Salagdoong Beach, famous for its cliff diving site, is without a doubt an enticing destination. Cliff diving sites, you might think, are quite common enough. But Salagdoong is a cut above the rest. The picturesque jumping point is not only thrilling but also enthralling. Siquijor and its royal blue waters — enriched by shades of cyan, turquoise, and cerulean — are truly, in a word, mystical.  

 

Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

 

Photo courtesy of tacitrequiem via Flickr

Photo courtesy of tacitrequiem via Flickr

Proudly facing the West Philippine Sea, Pagudpud’s beaches are nothing less than amazing. Coconut trees line the sundry landscape of its fine beaches. Pagudpud is a coastal town, and it requires around 9 hours of land travel from the Philippines’ capital, Manila. But the adage “All good things come to those who wait” is true for travelers who endure the long journey to Pagudpud. Perhaps after waking up from a relaxing nap on Pagudpud’s beaches, why not consider kitesurfing? Pagudpud is among the top kitesurfing destinations in the world.  To the uninitiated, kitesurfing is akin to wakeboarding; but what pulls the former is not an electric cable but the wind of the open seas. Drifters who journey to Pagudpud’s beaches appreciate that it’s not yet as crowded as one might expect. So if you’re dreaming of a solitary travel, head on out to Pagudpud. Now.

 

The Philippines and its remarkable beaches are inviting to travelers in search of familiar and less familiar destinations. What literary great Kate Chopin says,“The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace”could readily capture the journey to these beaches. So off you go, traveler, these slices of heaven await you.

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The Journey-Destination Perspective: Making Traveling a Magical Adventure

 

 

For both intrepid and newbie travelers, the question remains: just what exactly compels one to begin and continue traveling? What is the animating force that moves one’s feet to explore and re-explore?  Ultimately, is it the age-old quest for the journey or the destination — or should a fruitful objective be a combination of both?

Let us build on some common objectives of traveling you yourself might have. See how magic appears by occasionally diverging from these travel objectives. From solo traveling to family sojourns, from traveling for its own sake to traveling for recognition, from the value of flexibility to the importance of travel destinations, below are possible extensions to some common travel objectives — a warm invitation for you to make traveling an extra memorable and magical adventure.

 

Solo shouldn’t mean lonely (or scary)

One great advantage of traveling solo is having the time to enjoy at one’s own pace, without the usual hurried tempo when traveling with a partner, family, friends, or group. Yet a corollary concern arises: solo-traveling runs the risk of being lonely and anxiety-provoking. In some cases, it may also mean a little more expensive since there is no one to split expenses with. This of course has not discouraged a growing number of people who are becoming courageous in plunging into the surprising delights occasioned by solo-traveling. A very recent international study shows that among first-time travelers, going solo has become a global trend, increasing to a 37% rate in 2015 from 16% in 2013. The increase is more than double!

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Photo courtesy of The Wandering Angel via Flickr

If the global rise in the number of solo-travelers does little in appeasing your worries of trying it out solo, then a good starting point might be to induct yourself to a travel destination, instead of going somewhere totally off the beaten path. Herein lies the importance of travel destinations: they have with them the experience and knowledge of previous travelers you can use as guidepost. In many cases, travel destinations also have a more established system to welcome visitors. This perhaps explains, for instance, why traveling solo in Boracay, a popular travel destination, remains to be among the top choice of activities by both neophyte and seasoned travelers. As is becoming more of the case today, there is also the emerging concept of affordable luxury, which appears more in the checklist of solo-travelers and providing anew some explanation why travelers keep coming back to Boracay and other travel destinations.

But whether exploring the beauty of the familiar or biting the bullet by going somewhere relatively unknown, solo-traveling as an objective is less daunting if emphasis is placed on the whole traveling experience rather than on the word “solo.”  After all, a solo-traveler need not encase his or herself in a shell, but instead might want to consider linking up with other fellow travelers, or interact with locals for the coveted insider info. Putting the “we” in the solo can be potentially rewarding and memorable! Traveling solo does not (and should not) necessarily mean alone and scary.

 

You Can Never Go Wrong With a Family Getaway

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Photo courtesy of burningriver  via Pixabay; Creative Commons

The advantages of traveling with family are numerous and quite common knowledge. To cite one advantage, having as an objective a travel adventure with one’s family can definitely serve as a wonderful bonding opportunity to create lasting memories or even amend some strained relationships. But just like in solo-traveling, one should not feel constrained by the setup of having one’s family in a travel escapade. Quiet, alone times are permitted in family traveling, and these “selfie” moments can even be made sweeter by the fact that you have someone immediate to share them with.  Tons of activities, such as island cruises or the classic swim in the pool and/or the sea, can also be way more fun when done with family.   

 

The key is to be flexible

Understandably, many travelers approach the endeavor with strict objectives and guidelines. Some demand exclusivity, others demand hospitality, while some put emphasis on the journey more than the destination itself. Some even demand something as peculiar as a specific smell for the room. Without in anyway detracting from the importance of setting up travel objectives and careful planning, being open to chance does not diminish a traveler’s objectives and plans; rather it could exponentially enrich the whole traveling experience, ascending it to extra special heights.  

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Photo courtesy by tresdetres via Pixabay, Creative Commons

Each person has his or her own motivations for traveling. Any seasoned traveler would attest to the horizon-expanding benefits of experiencing something novel and amazing at the same time. Whether it is a vision of sunset’s purple patch or the gentle caress of sand or a chance encounter with a fellow traveler likewise in search of life’s wonders. Flexibility adds spice to the journey and to the destination itself, be it exploring something geologically ambitious like the Galapagos Islands or when returning to more familiar destinations.  

 

The Pleasure-Recognition Weigh in

Traveling in today’s modern world appears to have been largely influenced by what seems at first to be two opposed objectives — the pursuit of pleasure and recognition. The pleasure part draws heavily from the journey, which relies on the traveling process and the companion/s possibly involved. The Dionysian motivation for the pleasure of the senses puts value to the experiential elements that attend to the journey, sometimes more than destination alone. Think of a quiet walk by a hill alone or with glances to a dear partner’s countenance.

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In contrast, the drive for recognition would at times account more for the importance placed on other people’s affirmation. This motivation is attached to a notion nourished by the Internet culture which deems any traveling event to be “true” and of “importance” if one has photos to display as proof for others to see. The jest “Show photos, or it did not happen”  is often heard or said among peers, attesting to the value placed upon the “brag factor” of traveling. Here, traveling is done less as something for its own sake (as something pleasurable in itself), but is something for the sake of other people.  

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Yet, sticking exclusively to these two motivations — to gain pleasure from the journey or to gain recognition from the destination – does not suffice to cover the whole magic involved in traveling. Choosing between pleasure or recognition, journey or destination, surely misses the point because it is a false choice. What perhaps can be more fruitful is to view both of them as complementary, where each can potentially enhance the domain of the other. One cannot deny the importance of pleasure just as one cannot avoid other people’s existence (compounded by the fact that social media is integrated in most of our lives, for better or worse). In the same way, one cannot remain too stuck to the whole journey and forget about the importance of the destination. A sort of balancing act is in order.

 

Life is beautiful, realize your adventures

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Whatever your travel objectives, it is important to remember that as with all travels, things can sometimes not go as thought or planned. You can get lost, you’ll likely forget something at home, it can rain just when you’re in the mood for an outdoor activity. Planning is important, but not all things are within our control. The key is to be open, to be flexible, and to look beyond our set traveling objectives. That way, the beauty of life can present itself to us warmly and unexpectedly. Great adventure sometimes begins at the point of the surprising unknown, providing us with the opportunity to make the journey and the destination worth all the effort.

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What is The Right State of Mind: 9 Fundamentals Before Traveling

People have different reasons for traveling. Some seek adventure, while some just want to simply get away. There’s also the thrill of meeting new people, discovering new places, and eating bizarre food. And for these reasons and so many others, travel has become a huge industry. In 2014, the United Nations World Tourism Barometer reported over one billion international tourist arrivals. A compilation of blogs and comments revealed that 32% of people travel out of curiosity. They want to see for themselves how other people live their lives. Gaining outlook and perspective is the second most popular reason for travelers. These are people who have skewed priorities and want a breather to hopefully get things right. The rest travel for adventure, for personal growth, and to see the world. And of course, there are those who travel to one place just to have the bragging rights to say that he’s been there. Whatever reasons one might have, traveling has always been a good thing. The many positive effects of traveling include keeping your heart healthy and your mind sharp, encouraging you to be more sociable, drive optimism, and essentially makes you happier.

But traveling is not easy. Before traveling internationally, there are many things that you should consider such as time off work, money, safety, and even getting your visa approved. Your traveling checklist should not be limited to what you should pack but other traveling fundamentals that actually affect the entire experience. Let’s go beyond what’s in the bag and find out the state of mind that all travelers must have. What are the things you should know about traveling? How can you really prepare for it?

 

Can you really afford it?

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You have to be realistic when it comes to your budget. A tour around Europe is nice. It’s a dream come true. But can you really afford it? If you find yourself having to sacrifice amortization payments, bills, and other necessities, then maybe it’s not yet your turn to see the Eiffel tower amid the breathtaking sunset. You don’t want to go broke upon your return. Other money matters include finding out the conversion rate, making sure your credit card will be honored in the country you will be visiting, checking out if there is are entrance and exit fees, and where you should exchange your currency for a higher value.

 

Safety always comes first

Do not just research about food and attractions. Research about security issues, travel warnings, and advisories in your target destination, too. Read news items regarding demonstrations, conflicts, and tensions if any. Before traveling internationally, download maps for you to be able to locate routes and attractions as early as possible. Before booking a hotel, check if it is located in a safe renting environment. Check if essential services like the police, hospital, or tourism offices are easily accessible in the area. “Safety first” should always be your state of mind.

 

Prepare for the unknown

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Camping is a mystery to some. They say “why would you want to sleep in the woods and pretend you’re homeless?” The same thing goes for travelers. Why go elsewhere just to live a nomad’s life? This is because travelers do not fear the unknown. And that is the first phase in the psychology of travel according to Rupert Wolfe Murray. A traveler must learn how to let go of things at home or he will never appreciate the things that will come his way while traveling. A traveler must prepare to be blown away. How a place will make you feel is something no picture can ever capture. At the same time, not all experiences will be good so you must be prepared to handle disappointments as well.

 

Be open minded and have the right attitude

Before going out there, make sure that you have the right attitude. Be open-minded about things. It is only then that you will learn how to appreciate and have fun. Every nation has its own ways, practices, and traditions. Immerse yourself in them.

 

Know before you go

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Learn a few local lines, read about the people’s history, and research about their culture. Not everything should surprise you. For example, it helps to know that in Japan, it is okay not to give a tip for any service. Read about laws such as in crossing the street or littering. Read about customs such as taking your shoes off when entering a building. You may want to visit the neighboring cities in London too. Learning about a country’s history, culture, and tradition is a way to show respect.

 

Finding a home

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As long as you have enough budget, finding a hotel should not be a problem. However, it is best to explore your options. Aside from the usual hotels, you might want to consider short term renting a condo if you will be staying for a week or two. Find out the best condo rental locations for foreigners. Mind the proximity to public transportation and other areas of interests. Make sure it is in a safe environment.

 

Living with the locals

Interact with the locals as much as you can. This is the reason why learning a few words and sentences should be on your traveling checklist. Observe how they do things. Observe how they interact with each other. Observe how they behave on the train, when they order food, how they go on their daily routine.  Observe every chance you get because only then will you get to understand a nation’s people. No travel story will be complete without interacting with the locals.

 

A traveler’s perspective

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You should develop a unique perspective as you go about your travels. Use all your senses. Take things in. Once in a while, put down your camera and see things with your eyes and your heart. You should have a takeaway from every experience. Travel psychologist Dr. Michael Brein says that in traveling, a person must be able to re-examine the present in light of the past. T.S. Eliot wrote: “and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

 

Going back to normal

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It is normal for most people to hate the end of every travel. Going back to work and back to the usual daily is not easy especially if you stayed in a foreign country for a pretty long time. So as much as travelers prepare to travel, they must also be prepared for the moment when they must return. There could be shock or despair. Remind yourself why you are going away in the first place. Because most of the time, travelers embark on an adventure so they can be better versions of themselves when they return.

The fundamentals of traveling do not end with packing, money, or an itinerary. The traveler himself must be prepared.He must be prepared for the before, during, and after. Be open to new experiences, gain perspective, and prepare to be blown away.

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Ignore What They’ve Told You About Working Abroad

Whether you’re an upcoming graduate or an experienced professional considering a career shift, at one point you may have considered working overseas. While you were excited by the opportunity to discover a new country and get paid while doing it, it’s likely that some of your closest friends and family have already advised you against it. They would say you’ll be lonely, you won’t know anyone over there, or you don’t even speak the language. Those are some common lines you’ve probably heard from the naysayers. Still, you’re dying to get out into the world!

In fact, nearly 300,000 U.S students studied abroad in 2013 and that number has only increased then. Although you’ve heard some opposition, more and more people recognize the advantages of  traveling abroad. The world has turned into a massive melting pot and if you don’t take get with the program, you could be sorely missing out. A great example is teaching abroad. Today, it’s one of the largest markets when it comes to global job opportunities. Statistics show that a whopping 1.5 billion people enrol in some sort of English course each year. Teaching English abroad trends also reveal that there are more than 100,000 new openings each year, mainly Europe and Asia, and at least 20% of teachers will continue teaching in a new country after their first experience overseas. If that’s not enough reason for you to go against the grain, here are 8 more reasons why you should consider working or teaching abroad.

 

You’re More Likely To Get Hired

According to UC Merced,  97% of international students find employment within 12 months, post-grad. That means they were twice as likely to land a job as compared to to those with no experience studying or working overseas. Such experience will set you apart. With more and more countries becoming racially mixed, employers appreciate applicants with a global mindset. Whether you’re volunteering, studying or teaching abroad, when you come back home, you would have more opportunities that those who haven’t set foot overseas.

 

You’ll Have A Global Network

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You might have expected this career benefit of going abroad. Other than getting to know the locals, and having an in-depth understanding of a new country, you’ll make long-lasting friends from around the globe that will benefit you in the long run. In the future, you might end up looking for new job opportunities, international investors for your start-up, or simply in need of a place to stay. Whatever the reasons, you can count on your global friends to lend a helping hand.

You’ll Learn Another Language

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This is not a surprising benefit of working abroad, but it’s one that goes beyond face value. Other than impressing your friends with your bilingual abilities, both the personal and professional payoffs are large. According to the New York Times, speaking multiple languages makes you smarter and will even lessen your chances of dementia when you’re older. Being able to understand and think, no matter what form the words take, shows that your cognitive skills aren’t limited to language. In addition to this, you’re increasing your chances for success. Studies show that 31% of the world’s executives speak at least two languages, while 20% speak three, and 13% speak four or more languages.

 

You’ll Be Getting A Higher Salary

Working abroad has huge career benefits when it comes to getting paid. In 2009, some 60,000 job openings required bilingual applicants and this statistic has only increased since then. More than that, bilingual employees have up to  20% larger salaries, as compared to employees speaking only one language. If this hasn’t convinced you yet, higher pay also means higher appreciation. Especially in countries where English-speakers are rare, employers are likely to acknowledge the skills you’re bringing into the company.

 

You’ll Be Jet Setting Around The World

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This is probably the most attractive and compelling reason why you should consider teaching abroad. Seeing the world is a life goal that most people have. After all, who wouldn’t want to be relaxing in an Italian cafe one year and enjoying authentic Japanese ramen the next? Tokyo, Seoul, and Shanghai employ up to 15,000 English teachers a year, while Madrid and Rome currently has around 5,000. Turkey is also set to hire a whopping 40,000 foreign tutors in the next five years.

 

You’ll Have So Much Freedom

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Working overseas will not only be one of the best career moves you’ll make; it will also be the most freeing. According to a Gallup survey, a shocking 29% of Americans, aged 18-35 still live with their parents. This just goes to show that even if you’re employed, it’s highly likely that you have the financial or even the emotional independence to move out. However, as I’ve mentioned earlier, working overseas increases your chances to be paid a higher amount. Not only will this allow you get your own place, this gives you free range to travel abroad. Teaching in Europe? Take a train to the nearest country. The world is your oyster! At the same time, this gives you the chance to grow away from overprotective, overbearing parents. After all, you’re not a baby anymore. You’re a full-grown adult!

 

You’ll Be Connecting People Along The Way

Today, there are roughly 6,500 different languages being spoken around the world. However, 32.5% of those languages have less than 1,000 speakers. Meanwhile, the global English speaking population amounts to a total of 1.5 billion people. From these statistics alone, you can see how large the cultural barrier can be. However, by teaching English abroad, you’ll be part of the 250,000 people who are working to close that gap. This isn’t to say that English should be the primary language everywhere in the world. This just means that even speaking the basics can lead to better understanding between people of different geographical backgrounds. Having a better grasp of a common language also means people have a greater capacity to come together, no matter what the circumstance.

 

It’s A Once In A Lifetime Experience

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Last but not least, the main reason why you should close your ears to the people who are against your plan to work or study abroad, is because you may never have this chance again. Some people wait until they’re retired and have saved enough before they go and see the world. However, one can never know what the future holds. You may no longer have the financial or physical capability to travel this much. More than that, even if you are able to travel abroad when you’re older, it still won’t be the same as satisfying your wanderlust while you’re young. I assure you, seeing the world while you’re young leads to a fresh perspective and a global mindset that will change you forever.

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7 Important Lessons You Can Learn From Burglars

Everyone wants to feel safe and secured right in their home. After all, your home is your territory and sanctuary. But the thing is, whether you like it or not, burglaries happen even to the best of us. In fact, the Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI said that 74.5% of burglary cases in 2011 took place in residential properties.

In times like these, burglaries are no longer a question of “if” but of “when.” Anyone’s home can now easily become a target for crooks lurking around. But the good news is, you don’t have to become and remain a victim. There are important lessons you can learn from burglars so you can burglar-proof your home. From making the most of your home security system to taking the best precautions, here are 7 things you can learn from burglars.

 

Always Keep Entry Ways Closed

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This may be one of the most repeated home security tips, even to the point of it already becoming a cliché. However, it can be flabbergasting how a lot of people still do not secure their doors and windows. Remember this: burglars thrive on opportunities. Leaving an entry way open is much like giving them a compelling invitation to your home.

Make sure that your doors and windows remain closed. Also, double check everything so that these entry ways cannot be easily opened by unwanted visitors. Have the necessary repairs done as soon as possible. Reinforce your entry ways by putting deadbolts and window sensors in place. These may seem basic for some people, but you simply cannot afford to take this for granted if you want to keep unlawful entries at bay.

 

Don’t Make Your Home Scream “The Homeowners Are Away”

There could be nothing more perfect for burglars than a home without its homeowner. This is why burglaries often happen not in the dead of the night, but during day time when people go to work and school. Homeowners who are on vacation are also at a high risk of returning to a burglarized home.

Never, ever give the idea that no one’s home. If you have a home security system like the Honeywell security alarm, make the best use of it by automating your home. With home automation, you can remotely control your lights and shades so you can make it appear that someone’s home.

It also does not hurt that home automation is a great way to achieve a sustainable home. This is not just one of the most cutting-edge home security trends — it is a significant shift given that sustainability is gaining ground.

 

Don’t Show Off Your Belongings

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Aside from an empty house, burglars are drawn to homes with lots of goodies to loot. After all, most burglars are motivated by the fast money they get from stealing.

Protect your valuables as well as your hard-earned cash from these scheming people. If you are buying big-ticket items like as gadgets and appliances, you better cut the boxes up before disposing them. Do not leave your windows bare. Invest in blinds and curtains that are thick enough to protect your privacy.

Try to refrain from posting too much information on your social media accounts. You’ll never know who can see your posts and it is always better to be safe than sorry.

 

Protect Your Electronic Data

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More than the belongings that you’ll lose in burglaries, there is the risk of a greater problem: identity theft. With your gadgets in the wrong hands, devious thieves can maximize their yield by accessing your information — social security number, credit card details, confidential files, you name it.

Outsmart them by protecting your data in advance. Think of complex passwords to secure your cellphone and laptop. Sync your data in cloud services where you can remove the stolen gadgets. Use location trackers. Jot down your gadgets’ IMEI number so you can report the incidence and have the gadget barred.

With burglaries already being a traumatizing event, the last thing you’ll ever want is to deal with identity theft and fraudulent activities.

 

Avoid Confrontations

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All burglars want is your belongings — as simple as that. While there are odd news stories of burglars eating in their victims’ homes, burglars in general are not eager to see any of the homeowners. They just want to take as much as they can without being caught and apprehended.

When caught, burglars can snap and shift to an offensive mode in just a few seconds. This is critical as you and your loved ones are at a high risk of being hurt. As soon as you notice something’s off, tread with extra care and escape safely. Contact the police as they are the ones more equipped to handle these situations.

 

Leave No Room For Burglars To Hide In

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Knowing how to think like an intruder brings important lessons you can learn from burglars. Be one step ahead and reinforce your home security system based on this knowledge. Take a look at your home premises. Evaluate where and how intruders will get into your home without being caught.

Once you have surveyed your front and backyard, you will see that overgrown bushes and trees make an ideal hiding spot for these unwanted guests. Trimming these plants regularly will not only make your premises more attractive, but it will also discourage intruders.

Also, if outsiders cannot see what happens in your yard because of your opaque gate, you might want a see-through fence that will expose burglars. Again, burglars operate on an incognito mode so you better give them a hard time hiding in your yard.

It is a fact across America that burglaries happen and disrupt one’s peace of mind. More than taking away your valuables, burglars rob you of a sense of security that you should enjoy in your own home. Fortunately, you can finally outsmart them in their game with these 7 things you can learn from burglars. Keep in mind that knowledge is power and this is especially true when you are dealing with these bad guys.

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The Language of Traveling: How Experiences Turn Us Into Storytellers

Traveling makes us richer. It makes us richer with memories, experiences, and stories. It makes us richer with moments that take our breath away. We leave the comforts of home and throw ourselves into the unknown all in the name of these priceless moments (or perhaps a new profile picture). We can read all about the places and look at pictures, but concept is so much different from experience.

Traveling isn’t easy, of course. You invest time and money. You prepare yourself to be recklessly thrown into situations you have no control over. But on the other hand, the benefits of traveling are way too many to pass up while you sit in a corner your whole life. Studies claim that traveling is the best medicine — it makes your heart and brain healthier. It keeps you young and it makes your soul happy. Whether you are exploring a new city or relaxing by the beach, the wonder of being in a different place keeps our hearts healthy. A trip to Boracay Island in the Philippines will give you such feels. The warmth of the sun against your skin, the calmness of the beach, and how the sand exfoliates your skin are just some of the health benefits of beach travel. Yes, travel benefits both the spirit and the body.

It also makes us better storytellers. St. Augustine famously said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” The many experiences and memories we gain, both good and bad, make us more informed and aware. That moment when we see a place for the first time and we are speechless is exactly what makes us good storytellers.

The best and most believable storytellers are those who have seen and experienced the world. Here’s how traveling turns us into a storytellers:

 

The good, the bad, and the breathtaking

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No matter how many travel blogs and reviews you read, nothing will ever prepare you for the things that await you in one place. For example, before traveling to Boracay, you probably know all about the fine white sand and the postcard-worthy sunset, but knowing how the sand feels between your toes and how the sunset makes you swoon is something you have to experience. You have to feel it. You have to see it. Seeing the place for the first time and then falling in love with it over and over again is what makes an experience and it is what makes you a perfect storyteller. You get to tell other people exactly how the sand felt.

 

Experiences into life lessons

There are thousands of traveling tips that you can easily spot online — what to bring, what to wear, where to go, which hotel accommodation to book, etc. But it is only when you get to the actual place that you realize what you missed to pack. It is only when you experience a place that you get to realize that there are so many other options, so many things you didn’t do or things you did that you shouldn’t have, what to say or not say, etc. These experiences turn into life lessons that make every story more valuable.

 

Beauty of getting lost

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Preparing itineraries, maps, and schedules are a good thing. But getting lost in a new city and roaming free is when we actually discover the most beautiful secrets of a place. The importance of getting lost when traveling ranges from discovery of a place to the discovery of oneself. You suddenly realize that your problem-solving skills are superb. You realize that you are capable of figuring things out on your own and at your own pace. You learn to trust your instincts, you learn to enjoy conversations with locals and other travelers, and you learn that you are perfectly capable of finding your way back.

 

All of your senses at work

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When you travel to a new place, your senses work very hard. You get to know a place by its exotic smell, its quaint sights, and how it feels — does it make you feel happy, giddy, safe, or scared? You go beyond visual details and go into sensory details. As a storyteller, you get to tell it as it is.

 

Meeting the locals

Locals are a big part of every adventure. Just by being in a bus full of locals will give you a glimpse of the different types of people when you travel — friendly, snobs, busy, tired, etc. You will learn about their peculiarities and what makes them unique just by observing and talking to them. You don’t get to read a lot of those in travel blogs. Traveling isn’t all about places. Most importantly, it’s about the people. You have to speak to the locals and allow them to get to you.

 

The food is everything

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Food says a lot about its people. When traveling, skip the fast food and go for the authentic. When you travel to Boracay, you will realize that Filipinos are all about good food — fat, salty, sweet, and yummy. Healthy? Well, not so much. But fresh seafood? Now we’re talking. You will learn that in this island in the Philippines, food can be a conversation piece and can bring families and friends together. Meals are never quiet and formal. They eat with their hands and you should, too. You can write a book just by tasting a country’s delicacy.

 

New city, new rules

When traveling, you learn how to balance between allowing yourself to roam free while minding boundaries and restrictions. Rules are very important in telling stories about a place and an experience because they caution against needless hassles. Did you know that building sand castles is no longer allowed in Boracay? Did you know that giving “tips” is frowned upon in Japan? These are reminders that make a trip free from hassles and worries.

The possibilities when traveling are endless. You have to lose yourself. You have to be in the moment. Traveling turns us into storytellers by leaving us breathless and speechless. Experiences and memories fill our stories with sights, smells, and perspective. Traveling gives our stories value, authenticity, and emotions.

 

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Stunning Beaches in the Philippines That Will Take Your Breath Away

It is impossible not to be swept away by the charming and stunning beaches in the Philippines. The Philippines is home to clear, turquoise waters with the most diverse marine life. The powder-fine beaches, the majestic islands, and the very friendly locals are your gateway to the best vacation ever. So pack your bags and see for yourself what it feels like to be in a piece of heaven. Below is a list of seven of the best beaches in the Philippines that you must go to right away. Let’s start.

Boracay, Aklan

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It is not possible to make a list of the stunning beaches in the Philippines without including Boracay Island. It is the ultimate getaway for the adventurers, romantics, and party souls. All year round, the waters are pristine and the sand, well, as the whole world already knows, it is white, fine, and just perfect. Even foreigners say there’s nothing like it. Boracay is definitely one breathtaking reason why you need to travel to the Philippines.

Aside from the beach and the sand, the Boracay sunset and the view are to die for. During the day, you will not run out of things to do in Boracay from diving, snorkeling, island hopping, parasailing, cliff jumping, etc. At night, the five-kilometer stretch of the beach is pumped up with parties and good times.

When you travel to Boracay, getting a relaxing and luxurious accommodation is not a problem. Most hotels are lined across the beach front while a few more private hotel-resorts are nestled at higher points of the Island to give guests a more scenic and panoramic view of everything good in Boracay. These hotel-resorts spread out among the tropical mountains and the hillside of Boracay offer world class facilities and services which are your guide to a luxurious Boracay accommodation. They also offer exclusive access to the stunning Puka Beach. Boracay may be bursting with tourists but these fine hotels give you your sanctuary when you need some peace and quiet.

 

El Nido, Palawan

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There are over 50 beaches to explore in El Nido. Yes, that’s 50. Talk about luxurious travels, El Nido easily lands on top of any list.

Off the coast, towering marble cliffs, limestone formations, and clear blue waters will greet you. There are also enchanting lagoons and prehistoric caves that will lead you to more secluded beaches and many species of corals and other marine life. Among them is the heavenly marine reserve called Bacuit Bay. With over 30 dive sites, El Nido is popular among scuba divers. Cliff climbing, cave exploration, and windsurfing are also some of the rather wild activities here.

Hollywood also loves El Nido. That majestic scene towards the end of “Bourne Legacy” was shot here, so was a pit stop for “Amazing Race.” Alex Garland wrote “The Beach” while living here. Palawan is commonly referred to as the “Final Frontier” and once you have been to the breathtaking beaches of El Nido and also Coron, you will understand why.

 

Palaui Island, Cagayan

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Palaui Island made it to CNN’s Top 100 beaches in the world in 2013 because “Palaui is all about raw beauty.” Here you can see white sands meet with volcanic rocks and clear waters. Divers are also welcomed with coral gardens and a rich marine reserve. Only the brave and determined get to go to the breathtaking stretch of the island. To get there, you need to trek through thorny grass, mud, and a mangrove forest with a local tour guide. But once you get there, all the weariness wears out. You can go camping under the stars — now, that’s real luxury no one gets too often.

 

Caramoan, Camarines Sur

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The province of Camarines Sur is also an up and coming travel destination. It’s star —- the Caramoan Island. If you are a follower of the Survivor series, you are probably very familiar to this island. The island offers real adventure for divers, beach bums, and island hoppers. Aside from the species of marine life, there are also caves, waterfalls, and underground lagoons and streams to explore. The white sand runs between boulders and huge rock formations.

 

Samal Island, Davao

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This island prides itself in its 118-kilometer coastline of sandy beaches. It is a favorite among divers and snorkelers because of the vast coral garden marine park. The Shanipaan Shoal or popularly referred to as “The Vanishing Island” is also something to look forward to. It disappears during high tide leaving only an elevated cottage poking out of the waters.

As a burgeoning tourist destination, numerous hotel-resorts have been offering accommodations in the Island. You will find several fine hotels here for the luxurious travel of your dreams.

 

Malapascua Island, Cebu

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If you ask divers, Malapascua would be the most stunning beach in the Philippines. It is truly a diver’s paradise with numerous world-class dive sites to explore. Big fish encounters are also common here. Special mention goes to the daily thresher shark sighting.

Staying here is convenient with all the hotels and resorts off the main beach. Some hotels even have access to their very own private beach.

 

Sabtang Island, Batanes

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Batanes is on the bucket list of many Filipinos. If they get to explore Sabtang Island, they will be even more convinced that Batanes is what dreams are made of. The majestic view and historical sites featuring traditional architecture are a must-see. Its own white beach called Nakabuang is famous for its sculptured arc which is the most photographed spot in the island. The white and slightly pinkish sand is fine and the waters are clear and refreshing. It is true what they say that looking at this island is like staring at a bright-colored postcard.

 

The Philippines will never run out of places to explore and discover. For one, the world’s best beaches can be found here. If you seek for adventure or just some quiet time, the pristine waters of the most stunning beaches in the Philippines will take care of that. See and experience these places for yourself and your vacation will surely be filled with moments that will take your breath away.

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Sustainable Setting To Travel And Learn

Doesn’t the mere thought of traveling makes you happy and giddy? While typing “things to do” and “what to eat” in a certain country or city, you suddenly realize how wonderful it is to live. Add a little more something to it like a diploma and a degree and you got the recipe for the most perfect getaway.

It should not be surprising that the number of international students around the world is on the rise. Studying abroad has “lucky” written all over it. It’s not every day that you get to travel while learning. According to a 2009 statistics from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, there are around 3.7 million international students worldwide. UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics finds that the numbers are increasing by 12% each year, which means that as of 2015, some 2.6 million students have had the privilege to study abroad. In short, there are at least six million extremely lucky individuals who get to experience first-hand the benefits of traveling and learning at the same time.

The U.S., European countries, and major Asian cities are among the most popular destinations for international students. Young people get to study abroad via sponsorships, grants, and personal expense. Sometimes all it takes is to fill out that application form and know that there’s more to learning than crashing frat parties and scoring a date with a cheerleader or a football star. Yes, the struggles are real and there will be challenges and you will miss familiar places and faces. But it’s a big world out there. Go out, learn, and have fun.

Whether you are into the romantic, rustic, cultural or modern vibe, there is a very wide and diverse list of the best and coolest countries and cities to choose from, depending on the course or degree and other personal preferences. Here are some of them:

Oooh, Paris!

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For the third year running, Paris was ranked number one in the QS Best Student Cities index. The French capital is admired for its architecture and cultural heritage. There are a lot of internationally-ranked universities in Paris that often attract those studying culture, humanities, design and architecture, and also fashion. Do you know what is the common course requirement for studying French architecture? A trip to the Louvre.

The cost of living in Paris is rather high, especially for students, but the tuition fees are relatively low compared to other cities which offsets living expenses. In addition, you can stare and have the cheesiest photo at the majestic Eiffel Tower as often as you want.

Diversity in South Africa

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South Africa is among the most culturally and ethnically diverse places in the region. It’s history is also very interesting considering the country’s struggles during the apartheid and colonization. So if you want to learn about cultures, politics, and international studies, South Africa should be on top of your list. Plus, it’s also a great place to study linguistics. Did you know that they have 11 official languages? Nature is also a good discipline because of the wildlife and yes, the safari. And according to Abroad 101, Cape Town, South Africa’s capital, is among the top 10 friendliest cities in the world.

Awesome Australia

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You’ll never be bored in Australia. It is truly the perfect setting to travel and learn. From the beaches to the rainforests and postcard-worthy sites, Australia is simply a gorgeous country. Most of Australia is known for the beach life, night life and music. And of course, the way humans co-exist with animals.

Among its strong academic programs involve ecology, geology and marine biology. This is mainly because of the country’s varied topography and unique climate. The student population in Australia is large, diverse, and inclusive. There are also a lot of internationally-ranked universities across the country; seven can be found in Melbourne.

Nerdy in Germany

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Germany is a cool destination for students, especially for those interested in the sciences and technology industries. It is a good place to study engineering and business, as it is a leader in both fields. Given its very rich history, Germany is also a good choice to study European politics. Students would also be glad to know that Germany, the world’s fourth largest economy, gives subsidies to foreign students, making it an affordable study destination.

Museums and gardens are aplenty. Beer is also part of the culture.  Party nights can be a little notorious in cities like Berlin.

Lots of lovin’ in Dublin

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Ireland is a passionate nation. They pack so much pride for their sports teams, history, and heritage. Ireland is enriching on so many levels and it is just a fun country to be in. No wonder that among its strong academic programs are on the romance side — literature and writing. James Joyce, anyone?

Most Irish universities put a lot of academic responsibility on the students. These universities do not cover everything in lectures, and exams are not very popular either. Learning materials are given to students and they have to be responsible enough to go through them. Just a friendly reminder: it rains all the time in Dublin so be prepared. Aside from passport, visa, and other academic requirements, climate is also among the major things to consider when traveling and studying abroad.

A great Spanish mix

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There are a variety of lessons you can learn in studying abroad. Aside from the course requirements, there is also the rich history and culture. And when you think of the perfect mix of modernity and tradition, Spanish-speaking countries got you covered.

Spain has it all — culture, history, heritage, and tradition. Art, theater, architecture, and linguistics are perfect disciplines. Hailed as one of the most livable cities in the world, its capital Madrid is both enchanting and exotic. It’s very modern and the traveler in you will surely enjoy the awesome nightlife and flamenco dancing.

Argentina is also a good study destination. If you are looking for a Latin American perspective on politics, history, and religion, then Argentina is the place to be. Given the European history of its people, the social sciences are also a strong point. Argentina is also home to a lot of exciting rural areas and vibrant cities that you can explore.

The demand for quality universities in Costa Rica is high because of the high literacy in this Spanish-speaking country. It’s 96%! Costa Rica has a very lush environment, making environment-related fields of study its strong point. In fact, many of its universities sponsor educational trips to research on and explore the vast natural resources.

Royalty in the United Kingdom

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The UK is home to some of the oldest and most respected universities in the world, so you are guaranteed to find a really good one. It also home to some of the world’s most notable politicians, economists, scientists, and writers so you could basically study anything in the UK. For the travel part, you can experience royalty in some of the palaces, eat fish and chips, dine al fresco, go crazy over soccer, and fall in love with the cute accent.

Fall easily with Italy

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It’s easy to fall in love with Italy over and over again. The food is great and the sites are gorgeous. Every corner is worthy of a selfie and you won’t run out of updates and posts for your social media pages. Art, history, and architecture are good study courses in Italy. There is also Rome for classical history, arts and architecture. Then there’s Milan for fashion.

Studying abroad is an exciting opportunity. You get to see the world in a different perspective. You don’t go by an itinerary, but instead slowly take it all in. Do not be intimidated by the thought of studying in a different country. Embrace it like a true citizen of the world.

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The Travel Routines of the Most Successful Humans

Putting up a new venture and running a business demand tremendous amounts of discipline and efficiency. After all, there is a lot at stake when you are doing business: the capital invested, the jobs of your employees, your dreams, and so on. Add to this pressure the constant demand for entrepreneurs and businessmen to travel.

According to the Global Business Traveler Association, business travelers go on an average of 268 miles per business trip. If the trip requires flights, this figure can skyrocket up to 954 miles. The association also revealed that business travelers spend an average of two overnight stay each month. Despite this, business travelers emerge as successful in their endeavors. If you have been wondering about the travel routines of successful people, look no further. Read on and learn from the travel habits of business travelers.

 

They Plan Their Itinerary According to Their Goals for the Trip

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Yes, traveling is fun, but one must admit that it consumes time, money, and energy. Business travelers very well know this fact so they strive to make the trip count. Days — or even weeks or months — before the trip, they schedule the meetings that they need to attend and the tasks on their to-do list. More importantly, they do the best that they can to stick to it.

 

They Do Their Research

With countless hotels and flights to book, it can be very easy to get lost in travel planning. After mapping out their objectives for the trip, business travelers make sure to do their homework. They scour offers and deals from top-notch accommodation at convenient locations to restaurants that give them the most value for their money.

 

They Leave Room for Rest and Relaxation

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While business travelers have well-planned schedules, they also include time for leisure and spontaneous fun. For instance, if their business meeting takes place somewhere near a beach, they indulge themselves, especially when they are done with their tasks. Aside from enjoying their stay, they get to reap the health benefits of going to the beach, which can do wonders for their physical and mental wellbeing.

 

They Create — and Stick to — Their Budget

Again, it is easy to lose focus, especially when it comes to handling finances. However, hardworking business travelers know how painstaking it can be to earn money. With this, even if they can afford everything that they want, they weigh their options and go for smart, practical choices.

 

They Prepare Things that They Will Need

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Business travelers need to stay on top of everything that they do so they never leave without making sure they are prepared for the trip. Aside from their smartphones, laptops, clothes, and toiletries, they always bring with them their powerbank, hard drive for their files, hotspot for internet connectivity, and headphones for media files. They also pack according to their unique circumstances like if they take certain medications.

 

They Tote Around a Notebook or a Note-taking Device

Business travelers learn and generate a ton of ideas from their trips. Instead of letting these fade away, they take notes of it on their preferred tool. They have also developed an organized way of note taking so they can quickly jot down important points from a discussion. More importantly, they review their notes, analyze or reflect on it, and try if they could put the brilliant ideas into action.

They Harness the Power of Apps

Technology, when used properly, can significantly make people go about their routines in the most efficient manner. With this in mind, business travelers use their smartphones and tablets to their advantage. This tech-savvy pack knows the best business travel apps to get the work done — TripIt to organize their bookings, PassBook to board using their smartphones, CudaSign or HelloSign to digitally sign documents, and so much more.

 

They Travel Responsibly

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Business people, being representatives of their brand, need to protect their public image, especially when they go outside their office. Aside from this, business travelers who firmly believe in their corporate social responsibility know all too well that their activities have an impact. With this, they strive to hold themselves in conscientious conduct by following rules and procedures, respecting different customs, valuing the host community’s environment, and so on.

 

They Take Care of Themselves

Conferences to attend, clients to meet, paperwork to review, a composed and confident image to project — doing all of this and more after long hours of travel can be really exhausting. In order to perform at their very best, business travelers look after their health. Doing this includes eating right, avoiding alcohol especially before a big presentation, and seeking medical help if they feel something wrong.

 

They Maintain Their Focus

With a thousand items in their jam-packed schedule, these successful people simply cannot afford to lose focus as one wrong move could result in a disaster for their business. While the long stretches of travel can cloud one’s capability to make sound decisions, business travelers have their tried-and-tested methods to clear up their mind. They also do not simply throw caution to the winds and should they have confusing encounters, they step back to think things more thoroughly.

 

They Track Their Progress at the End of the Day

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Completing the cycle that started from planning their itinerary according to their goals, business travelers see to it that they review what they have done during the day. Aside from crossing off accomplished items on their list, they reflect on how things could be improved. Moreover, they start planning their to-do list for the following day.

 

It is often said that traveling is the only thing that you buy that can make you richer. Couple that with keeping these tips in mind so you can emerge as a more efficient individual. Take it from business travelers with lots of things to do on top of having to endure long hours on end. Incorporate these habits of successful people when traveling into your own routine and get started on a more proficient and happier you.

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Travel Nightmare: The Fear of Not Attaining One’s Bucket List

Nowadays almost everyone has their own bucket list, a phrase derived from the expression “kick the bucket,” which is a term for death. A bucket list represents a breakdown of the things a person wants to do before he dies. Travel is one of the high priorities in most people’s list and they do everything they can to reach the destination of their dreams. For some, failure to complete a bucket list is considered a nightmare, something that they really dread happening. Perhaps because for a lot of people, achieving one’s bucket list ideas has become a pursuit to beat not only oneself but also others.

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Making and completing the list has become a competition of sorts, with individuals posting travel photos in their social media accounts as proof that they’ve really done it. Attaining a bucket list has somehow become a measure of self-esteem, a yardstick of achievement. There’s also the fear of not being able to enjoy life to the fullest before dying. According to psychologist Linda Blair, the whole business of creating and achieving bucket lists is “a way of denying the idea of death, not coping with it at all. People usually do this to ensure that there are things to look forward to, which means there are things that are still going to happen. My experience warns me that it’s probably done in order to prevent thinking about death.”

Whatever the reason is for your fear of not attaining your bucket list, there’s something you can do to stop it. There are things you can initiate in order to stop fear from paralyzing you and preventing you from ticking items off your list. Here are the steps you need to do in order to achieve your travel goals.

Transform excuses into tasks

 

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It’s human nature to flake out and make excuses for the things that we fail to do. These excuses can be convenient at first but as time goes by, these excuses can have an effect on our overall motivation to achieve things. Slacking off can become a lifelong habit.

You can deal with this by pointing out the excuses you’re making and then turning them into tasks. For instance, if having kids is your primary reason for not traveling, then you can research about the stories of other travelers who have managed to take vacations with their brood. If lack of money is your primary reason, then you should create an estimate of the amount of cash you need to go to your dream destination and figure out ways how you can make that kind of money. If you fear solo traveling, then you can search for inspiring stories about solo travelers to rest your fears about traveling solo.

Change your mindset about traveling

 

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A lot of people are blinded by beliefs that prohibit them from their travel dreams. These people hold on to the idea that traveling, especially solo journey, is terribly expensive and a selfish, self-indulgent activity. They always think of traveling as an overly complicated hobby. These lines of thinking should be adjusted to accommodate ideas that will encourage them to travel. True, traveling can be expensive but there are ways to travel on the cheap. You can stay at budget accommodations and eat at inexpensive restaurants. No, it’s not true that traveling is a selfish act; there’s nothing wrong with wanting to see the most beautiful beach resorts and experience other cultures. It’s a great way to enrich one’s soul and you owe it to yourself to do so. Yes, traveling can be complicated but patience and practice can make things easier in the long run.

Set specific goals

 

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Items on your bucket list look more realistic if you can make specific goals to achieve it. You need to establish a set of criteria in working towards reaching your destination. You can choose a place closest to your current location. You can opt for a place with the least expenses. You can center on that destination that you think you can’t bear to miss out before you die and concentrate all your efforts on it. You can choose a place where you have friends or relatives.

Obsess over the idea

 

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There’s bad obsession and there’s the good kind, which can be very helpful in achieving your travel goal. It’s all about finding out what moves you as a traveler. If it’s your ultimate dream to go to Morocco, find people who’ve been there already and ask them stories about the experience. Search travel videos of Morocco and promise yourself that you will see those spots with your own eyes in the near future. Hoard travel books and read them until you memorize everything there is to know about Morocco. Search for the nicest picture of the place and use it as your mobile and computer screensaver. Watch movies that used Morocco as a setting. Doing these things will fuel your passion for the place and will encourage you to give everything you got to reach that destination.

Surround yourself with like-minded people

 

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People who are not that enthusiastic with traveling can dampen your spirits and make you hesitate in achieving your travel goals. This is why you should socialize and make friends with travelers or at least people who are really dead set in packing their bags and flying off to somewhere mysterious and exotic. It doesn’t matter if you plan to become a solo traveler or if you prefer to travel with a group. Travelers can give you realistic tips on how to find safe and affordable accommodations, food, and transportation. You can also sign up for forums and clubs that share your level of wanderlust.

Used wisely, bucket lists can help immensely in making you attain your travel goals. Do not see it as means to compete with others in terms of self-esteem and achievement. Travel because you want to see the world and gain experience that will make you happy. There’s no need to compare your bucket list to others; the only competition you need is yourself. Manage your fears and allow yourself to see a brand new world that only brave souls like yourself will be able to enjoy.

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What Moves You: The Hidden Story Behind Traveling Alone

A lot of people do not know how to be alone. Some are scared, some feel lost, some feel lonely, and some just feel awkward. Imagine if we elevate that to traveling solo — alone in an unfamiliar territory, surrounded by people you don’t know, trying things for the first time — all by yourself. Sure, it can be daunting but more and more people think traveling on your own can be as exciting.

I need to be in the middle of the mountains on an adventure...right..about...now!

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And guess who the new power travelers are? Women. A new survey by Booking.com revealed that 72% of American women have traveled alone and most of them feel more confident when doing so. For 65% of women, traveling alone is freedom. Traveling is also how they escape from the pressures of everyday life. And women are not just making these up. Travel really does affect one’s happiness. A Dutch study showed that simply planning and anticipating a vacation can give the largest boost in happiness.

Whoever you are, whatever it is that you do, and whatever your reasons are, do not deprive yourself of the joys of traveling solo. Who knows, maybe you’ll see for yourself what many women travelers are talking about. Here are the many benefits of traveling alone:

Your way, your pace

If you feel like sitting in a café for hours, no one will tell you that you are wasting time. If you feel like exploring seven tourist spots in one day, no one will tell you to slow down. You can wake up very early or sleep until noon. You do it your way and you do it at your own pace. There is no itinerary and even if you made one for yourself, you can just go ahead and break it. No one will drag you to places you don’t want to see and you won’t feel like you have to drag other people, too. You don’t have to adhere to someone else’s schedule.

You will meet more people

Worried about being lonely when you travel solo? Chat with locals and learn something you've never tried before.

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When you travel with your partner or with friends, the tendency is you will always stick with that group. But being alone gives you the chance to be more open. When you are alone, you are more likely to talk to other people even if that only means asking them to take your picture. Reaching out becomes more natural when you travel by yourself.

You are inclined to try new things

Young Wild and Free!! Should I take the leap...

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Aside from meeting new people like the locals, you are more inclined to try new things when you travel alone. You wake up everyday and you ask yourself “what am I going to do today?” There is this urge to go full circle — “I have travelled alone, it’s time I do new things by myself.” You can try bungee jumping or cliff diving and no one will tell you it is way too scary. You can eat exotic dishes and no one will tell you they are not clean. On the contrary, people around you will even cheer you on.

You learn to take care of yourself

This is something that most people learn in their 40s. When you know that you are alone, you always stay on your guard, always alert, and look after yourself. Travelling alone puts us in charge and in many ways, it makes us responsible.

Get as much “me” time as you want

How A Solo Vacation Can Change Your Life. I really need to do this. Just travelling alone to another city for the first time (a mere 5 years ago!) was an eye-opening experience.

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There is something about “me” time that fascinates everyone. In the same survey by Booking.com, 46% of women want “to get time to myself.” One tip for solo travel if reflection and relaxation are among the agenda, get a hotel that allows you to reflect. You can do this even if you are going on a trip to busy beaches like Boracay in the Philippines. You can get a beach resort accommodation nestled away from the noise and the crowd. A luxurious and serene Boracay hotel accommodation, for example, will give you the space you want to think and reflect.

You are bound to travel light

If you want to see the world -- especially while you're young -- but don't exactly have the funds to do so, you're not alone.

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No one will help you check in your bags or carry them around. When you are traveling alone, you will (finally) understand the wisdom behind travelling light. Let’s say for example, packing your bags for a Boracay vacation. You will learn to pack only the essential things you need for a Boracay vacation, or for any destination for that matter. You will assess and re-assess what you just really need and you will be surprised you can survive with just a back pack.

You will save money (hopefully)

Since you are on your own, you learn to budget. No one’s going to lend you money when you go short. In many ways, you can find traveling by yourself cheaper. There will be no companions teasing you to try this and that, go here and there, ride a cab when all your budget can afford is the train, or buy more souvenirs.

You develop confidence

10 Mistakes (Solo) Female Travelers Make | Levo League |         lifestyle 2, staying safe, traveling alone

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Traveling alone presents a challenge like that of navigating a new city or that of learning a new language. But with these challenges come renewed confidence. You will overcome these challenges because you have no choice. When self-doubt comes crashing your confidence down, you say, “I have come this far. Why stop now?”

No one will filter the experience

You see the world the way you see it. No one will filter it for you by giving you a different perspective. Even if your views are compatible with that of your companion, the memories you will have of a place or an experience will always be compromised.

You will surprise yourself

Traveling Alone: 10 Relaxing Destinations For Stress-Free Solo Trips (PHOTOS)

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At the end of the trip, you are most likely to discover something new about yourself — what you are scared of and what you like best. You will be surprised to find out that you can do certain things by yourself. You will be surprised at how you react to situations. Being alone does that to people. Because you are on your own, you learn to listen to your heart, which is a good start towards self-(re)discovery.

A solo journey is truly empowering. It gives you a stronger sense of self. It also relieves you of stress and tension. Travel has the power to make us happy, to trust ourselves, and to understand and appreciate ourselves more.

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