How to Have a Stress-Free Vacation

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Planning a vacation is stressful on its own, and actually enjoying a holiday without a few unexpected incidents may appear unimaginable. However, having a good planning strategy is golden. Start with preparations early on, and make sure nothing slips your mind. With a few helpful tips, you’ll easily organize a stress-free vacation that an entire family will enjoy.

Disconnect from work

One of the most important things to think about is devoting your full attention to your family. Spending countless hours at the office leaves you with little time to devote to your kids and spouse, so use the vacation to compensate for the lost time. Let all your co-workers and bosses know you’re on vacation, and that you won’t be available during that time. Make sure you fulfill all the tasks before your trip. Just to be on the safe side, clue in your trustworthy co-workers about your ongoing projects and tasks, so that they can tackle any issues that might arise while you are on a vacation.

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Expect the unexpected

You can never be too alert, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared for various unpleasant situations. A delayed flight, bad weather, a flat tire on your car or carsickness could be some of the problems that may ruin your trip, but you could make them less stressful by planning ahead. Don’t let something as small as waiting for your flight an extra hour affect your mood for the rest of the vacation. Some things you just can’t predict, which is why you shouldn’t let them get to you. Avoid being overwhelmed by dissatisfaction and frustration, but rather go with the flow and try to enjoy and savour each moment of your travel.

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Take care of your home and pets

Don’t forget to cancel mail and newspaper subscriptions if you’re leaving your home unattended. Furthermore, make sure you provide your pet with a safe and pleasant home while you’re on a vacation. Look for pet boarding and leave your pet in good hands. Also, think about all the food that could go bad while you’re on vacation, and freeze it or throw it away before you leave. The last thing you need is to come back to a smelly home.

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Make lists

Lists are your best allies when it comes to packing. Feel free to write down all the essentials you think that you may forget to pack. From passports, medicines, cosmetics, maps, itineraries, sunblock, to batteries, chargers, phones and money – make sure you’ve crossed everything off the list before you leave. Furthermore, write down everything you need to do as well, like unplugging the electrical devices and appliances, emptying the trash bin and watering the plants, so you can have as stress-free a vacation as possible.

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Plan activities

A vacation is usually all about being spontaneous and enjoying the moment, but planning a few activities ahead couldn’t hurt either. Have a back-up solution if bad weather stops you from doing some outdoor activities, such as going paragliding. Planning out the day indoors could save you the unnecessary stress. Therefore, think about going to the museums and planetariums, or maybe visiting the aquarium nearby and enjoy all the beauties of art and entertainment instead of just being stuck in your hotel.

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Start packing in time

Packing is probably the most stressful part of every vacation, which is why you should do your best to make it as easier as possible. Start packing at least a week before the trip. This doesn’t mean you should put all of your stuff in a suitcase seven days before the trip, but at least, pick which wardrobe you’d like to bring, and put it aside, so you have everything ready for packing your bags. Use every day to think about potential items you’d want to bring. Don’t end up running around the house 2 hours before you have to leave, not knowing whether you’ve packed your hairbrush, your favourite sweater or a book you want to read at the beach.

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Having a stress-free vacation isn’t always easy, but it’s manageable. Just make sure you plan and start everything in time. You’ll enjoy a relaxing vacation with the family and come back fully prepared for the new work challenges.

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How to Pass Time on a Long Trip

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Sometimes, while travelling for a long time, the hours just seem to drag by. If you get easily bored on a plane, bus or train, why not try some of these tricks to pass the time and arrive fresh and ready to explore? 

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Catch some Zs

Travelling is a great way to get some extra sleep and pass the time. Although it can be a little uncomfortable for the legs, sleeping on a bus or a train accompanied by the rhythms and the sounds of traffic is hands down the best way to sleep. And don’t hesitate to splurge on a sleeping compartment when on the train. There you can stretch your legs and back, close your eyes and just relax as the train lulls you to sleep. If you have some valuables with you, such as a laptop, camera, phone and money, make sure to keep them close to you while sleeping.

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Shoot photos

All professional travellers always carry their camera with them, and so should you. You’ll get to shoot some beautiful nature scenes, cities, villages and people you don’t get to see every day. Your photos are actually one of the most valuable things you can take home from your adventures, and most people cherish them forever. So, have your camera at hand at all times and who knows what kind of masterpiece you’ll create.

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Watch movies

If you happen to fly, most of today’s flights are equipped with an entertainment system, so you can catch up with the movies you’ve missed in the cinema. However, if you’re travelling by bus, you can take your laptop or tablet and fill it with TV shows and movies to pass the time. They are also good airport companions, especially on long layover flights. 

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Make new friends

Travelling alone is perfect for meeting new people and making new friends. Look for other solo travellers who look bored like you, or start a conversation with your seatmate. Who knows, you might meet some extraordinary people, your future BFF or even your soul mate. However, don’t be pushy, as some people just want to enjoy their trip in peace.

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Bring some cards

No matter if you’re travelling with your friends, family or alone, you should always make some extra space for a deck of cards. This way you can play a variety of games with people and even alone. Solitaire, anyone? Cards are also an amazing way to break the ice and start talking to other people. You can also get one of those travel chess boards with magnets and play a game or two.

Enjoy some music

One thing a traveller mustn’t forget to bring is an iPod or an mp3 player. When you’re down and exhausted, music will pick you up and give you the energy to push forward. It will also relax you and fix your mood. Music is also a great way to tune out conversations, crying babies and loud sounds of the plane or train. But if you just can’t ignore the noises in the background, you can get noise-cancelling headphones such as AKG headphones that will completely isolate you from the rest of the world.

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Read a book

Before, it wasn’t so easy to carry two or three books with you at all times, but today, that’s not difficult at all. Even though you might be a fan of the “real deal”, e-books are much more practical for travelling and they can almost fit into your pocket. Any time is good for reading, but if you’re stuck on a plane or a train, it can really save your life. However, it’s not recommended for people who suffer from motion sickness. 

So, remember these, and next time you go on a trip, you won’t be bored or lonely. Bon voyage, traveller!

8 Ways to Learn A Language As You Travel

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Sitting in the departures lounge with a phrase book and no idea how to say anything?

It happens to the best of us!

English speakers are, of course, utterly spoiled when travelling. So many people speak our language around the world that it can be tempting not to bother with the memorizing.

However, the rewards from learning a handful of phrases can be huge, and we aren’t just talking about the practicalities.

Making the effort to speak the local language will enrich your experiences, allow you to discover the best hidden gems off the tourist trail and it demonstrates a respect for, and genuine interest in, the culture you are exploring. At the very least, if you muddle through and get a smile, then your efforts will be worth it!

Check out our list of tips for language-learning as you travel, and try not to be shy. The world awaits!

1- Pack Light

As tempting as it might be to pick up a big grammar book at the airport, that style of learning is unlikely to help you out in-country. Aside from the fact that you have far more exciting things to do than pore over a book, you also need to remember that you are literally surrounded with the greatest source of language-learning information: people!

The kinds of things you can expect to pick up in an hour on the go will be very different to the things you would typically learn in an hour on the books. However, both of these approaches to language suit different environments. When you’re already in country, too many books will just distract from people and the words around you. Get out there and learn!

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2- Set Goals

This is an important point which came up in our previous post about language learning (https://markstraveljournal.me/category/language/). Goal setting is essential whether you are learning for 3 months or 3 hours over the course of a weekend away. Without goals, it is too easy to fall short of the final part of learning a language – attempting a few words!

As you are travelling, it is likely that your goal will relate to talking with a person. Recognizing signs is fantastic, but difficult to measure as a tangible goal. Examples of the kind of thing you could set as a daily challenge would be: ordering a meal, or a ticket for something; talking to the staff at your hotel or hostel; even just saying hello and goodbye in the target language.

3- Choose the Target Language

Listen in to tours, go to the cinema, listen to the radio. Make a concentrated effort to hear the language as much as possible.

Going shopping? Write your shopping list in the target language. In fact, write as much as possible in the target language.

This is so much easier when you’re in-country, so make the most of it!

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4- Play at Word Association

Don’t be afraid to make up slightly bizarre mnemonics to remember things. These will often be unique to you, and they help. One example might be Hungarian for hello – Szia – which sounds like See Ya. So I think of the Beatles song ‘Hello, Goodbye’ and the lyrics – “you say goodbye and I say hello”. For anyone else, this might seem like a convoluted approach, but if it works for me, then it’s perfect!

5- Ask for Help

Depending on your personality, this can be easy or impossible. Years of language-learning have allowed me to worry less and less of what people are thinking when I ask for help, but I know this isn’t the same for everyone.

The more you get used to approaching strangers and asking for help with language, the easier it will get. However, try to make the most of speaking to people you meet. Ask the waiter in the restaurant how to pronounce the word for your favourite dish. If you’re feeling especially brave, ask if they would mind you recording the phrase on your phone. You’ve got new vocab and a permanent reminder, all at once!

Memorize how to say “how do I say this?” and don’t hold back. 9/10 people will be delighted to share their language with you, I promise!

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6- Pack your Post-its

If you’re staying for a few days, then this tactic is slightly wacky but it works. Label things in your accommodation with post-its, and the word for them in the target language. Of course, maybe don’t try this if you are staying in someone’s home or they might get a little annoyed. Otherwise, you’ll pick up words for everyday items far quicker than if you weren’t seeing the word every time you used the object.

7- Use what You Have

If you have a smartphone, take photos of things you want to remember the word for and rename them with the word. Fill your notes with vocabulary, or record yourself reciting key phrases and listen to it as you sit on the bus.

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8- Enjoy Yourself!

This style of language-learning is meant to be done in quick chunks. Don’t fret about verb conjugations, and not having a clue how to reuse words. If you can only remember key phrases but you get the chance to use them speaking to a real person, then that is a huge achievement.

We’ve talked about setting goals, but don’t feel bad for setting them low. Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, the whole point of learning the language is ultimately to enhance your enjoyment of your trip. You will not be taking exams, and no one you talk to is going to be testing you. Relax, and enjoy it!

 

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If you have used these tips, or have some more to suggest, then please comment on social media and let us know!

Bio: Global Language Services (http://www.globallanguageservices.co.uk/) is a Scotland-based translation and interpreting company committed to providing speedy, efficient and accurate service no matter what. Please get in touch or check out our website for more details.