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News, Interviews and recommendations from High Spirit Bags.

 

Filtering by Tag: travel advice

12 Backpacking Tips Everyone Should Know

Josh okungbaiye

12 Backpacking Tips

As packing for any trip can be stressful, below are 12 tips to make preparing for your next backpacking trip a little easier.

 

(1)     Pack Only The Essentials

 

Carrying everything on your back can quickly get very tiring. The answer to this is to use minimal space in the most efficient way possible. One of the ways is to avoid packing anything you may not find necessary or think you can find at your next destination. It may seem hard at first to decide what to pack for your backpacking trip, but with more experience you will know what is worth packing and what isn’t. Make sure to create a list of must have items to give you some direction on what to pack and what not to pack. Overall, packing light will help in you having a much more enjoyable trip.

 

(2) Use Other Forms of Transport

 

It may seem more comfortable, but don’t let the fancy airlines fool you. Travelling by train will get you to your destination much faster as you will avoid long flight time and waiting hours. Travelling by train also means you get to stop at other destinations on your way if it’s a long distance journey. I personally enjoy train rides much due to the more relaxed pace. In addition, travelling by train gives you the opportunity to have a unique perspective and to explore your destination through the eyes of the locals.

 

(3) Check The Weather

 

Although weather in many destinations is unpredictable. Remember to check the average temperature at the destinations you are travelling to. This will enable you to prepare the necessary clothing for the weather. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

 

(4) Always Carry Water

 

Staying hydrated is one of the most important things to remember when travelling long distances. Don’t worry about buying water in advance. Purchasing a water bottle or reusing your plastic bottle will enable you to avoid the extra weight while staying hydrated. Remember that not all tap water is drinkable, do your research on the water restrictions before refilling from any tap.

 

(5) Plan Ahead

 

Although you don’t have to plan every destination, accommodation and form of transport. It is advised to plan your next destination in order to avoid stress and any disappointment upon arrival. Planning may seem boring and time consuming at first, but when it comes to travelling to the next destination, it will definitely be worth it. It will allow your trip to run more smoothly.

 

(6) Basic Navigation Skills

 

Yes, everyone has some form of maps on their phone, but what if your phone battery dies and you have no way of getting around? Carrying around a physical map and knowing how to use it will come in very handy at ties like that. This is especially helpful if you happen to lose phone signal while on your trail. Carrying a compass with you is also a practical way of finding your bearings when figuring out which way to head.

 

(7) Lock Your Belongings

 

Many people will be in the same boat as you when backpacking and it’s easy to trust those around you. But just in case anyone decides to be sneaky, lock your belongings in order to avoid anything being stolen. You are already low on necessities, you don’t need to have even less or have to spend money on replacing them!

 

(8) Communicate

 

When travelling with company, it is easy to get into arguments about things such as what to eat, where to go etc. The best thing to do in these situations is to continually communicate each others ideas and needs, you can avoid any arguments which could potentially ruin the trip.

 

(9) Portable Chargers

 

As we now use our phone for everything from photos to maps, it is essential to pack a portable charger just in case you cannot find a place to charge your phone. I can guarantee, it is a major life saver.

 

(10) Pick Your Destination Wisely

 

Research. Research. Research. Make sure you are 100% confident with the destinations you are going to choose in order to avoid disappointment upon arrival. It is a mistake many have made in the past. You may have seen one pretty picture of a place within that one destination but the rest is the total opposite, so make sure you know what you are getting yourself into.

 

(11) Take a Book with You

 

Backpacking is the perfect chance to catch up on some reading especially during long distance travels. In order to avoid weight add ons, travelling with a Kindle will allow for a variety of books within one simple piece of equipment (and no this is not sponsored but Kindle if you’re reading this, you know what to do). Also if you’re wondering what to read when travelling, be sure to check out the Top 5 Must Have Reads when on Holiday!

 

12. Take Cash Out Before

 

Last but not least, remember that wherever you are travelling, make a note of their currencies. In order to avoid any extra bank charges, take out all the money you think you may need in advance and change it before setting off. This way you can plan your daily money usage as well as save on any extra unwanted charges.

 

Safe travels everyone!

 

Written by Nicole Fernandez Medina

10 Tips to Overcome the Fear of Flying

Josh okungbaiye

Many of us enjoy the idea of travelling in order to experience new cultures. However, there’s one part of travel that isn’t so fun for a lot of people: that is flying. For some, flying is simply a hassle due to high fares, potential flight delays, as well as lost luggage. For others, flying is simply terrifying.

It is important to know the reason for your fear of flying. In addition, there are certain steps you can take to help alleviate your fears. For those of you who are determined not to let this fear stop you from seeing the World, below are a few tips to help you overcome your fear of flying.


1. Familiarise yourself with the plane

Getting to know what your plane looks like can make it seem a little less scary. Research what type of aircraft it is. Is it an Airbus or a Boeing plane? Research how many passengers it carries, as well as the on-board benefits such as a café for those travelling on long flights.

2. Choose an aisle seat

Most airlines and booking engines allow you to request a seat assignment when you book your flight. Request an aisle seat, particularly if you’re prone to claustrophobia as you’ll feel less surrounded by other people. You will also be able to get up and move around the cabin more easily allowing you to avoid looking out the window if those sky-high views make you nervous.

Check out Seat Guru. This site enables you to view the position of your seat so you can make an informed decision on booking your seat online.

3. Avoid watching or reading anything plane/flight related

Avoid airplane disaster movies, news coverage of plane crashes, or other scary media images. Remember that the vast majority of flights arrive safely, but only the problem flights make the news. Don’t let that make you have a negative outlook on flying.

4. Don’t rush at the airport

Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the airport before your flight is scheduled to depart. Racing to the gate and worrying about missing your plane will only add to your fear and anxiety. Make sure to have everything prepared the night before including your passport and your boarding pass; so that it will be smooth sailing on the actual day.

5. Stay Entertained

Make sure your phone or tablet is stocked with relaxing music to help get you into a peaceful frame of mind. Remember to pack a magazine or a good book to take your mind off what is happening. Select a comedy on your plane’s in-flight entertainment system, or pre-load a few of your favourite movies and documentaries onto your laptop.

6. Avoid caffeine

This and other stimulants can make you even more jittery, adding to your anxiety. Opt for water as it contains no sugar, which could tamper with your nerves.

7. Breathe

Breathing is by far the best way to calm yourself down if you feel yourself starting to panic or become anxious on a flight. There are various techniques you can use, but the main goal is to slow your breathing down and focus on the exhale rather than inhale, because as you panic, your breathing gets shallow and fast, making the state of panic even worse. One trick is to breathe out fully first before inhaling. Then breathe in deeply, hold it for a couple of seconds and breathe out completely. Keep doing this until the panic passes.

8. Use earplugs and eye masks

Some nervous fliers find overnight flights very daunting, but if you can try to get some rest it’s the best way to make the time fly by. Bring an eye mask and a pair of earplugs with you to help you sleep. The earplugs are especially useful as they block out the loud noise of the plane. The eye mask will also signal to the flight attendants not to disturb you while you nap.

9. Tell a flight attendant

Flight attendants deal with nervous fliers on a daily basis. Next time you’re boarding a plane, tell your nearest steward that you’re feeling anxious. There is no need to be embarrassed; their job is to help you and make you feel comfortable. They can check in that you’re doing okay. They also might have some tips to share with you from their experience.

10. Take a Fear of Flying course

If your fear of flying is preventing you from traveling or making you so anxious it’s impacting your health or enjoyment of your time away, consider seeking professional help. Some airlines, including British Airways, Virgin and EasyJet, as well as some airports, offer fear of flying courses. These courses are led by pilots, crew, and psychologists with intent to address all aspects of flying fears and how to overcome them. Trained professionals will answer all your questions and give you pointers for addressing your fears.

Nicole Fernandez Medina

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15 Tips on How to Beat Jet Lag

Josh okungbaiye

15 Tips on How to Beat Jet Lag

Jet lag affects nearly all travellers that cross time zones. Long flights are the same for most of us: they start off with enthusiasm and energy but end with aches, pains and intense tiredness. We're stuck in a sitting position for an extended period of time, we're dehydrated, and our feet are swollen from water retention in the legs. For many of us, it takes a day to fully recover from this. Feeling this way is the last thing you want when you arrive at your destination, whether it's for a vacation or you're at the start of an important business trip. Wouldn't you rather arrive fresh-faced and full of energy?

Here are twenty tips that will help you conquer jet lag once and for all.

1. Be active before your flight

As we all know, the time between getting through security and actually boarding the plane can be quite a long process. During this period of time, you should take the opportunity to ensure you maintain a level of physical activity right before your body remains in the same position for a long period of time. Rather than sitting around waiting to board, enjoy the open space that the airport terminal provides you. Take a long walk, stretch your legs and if you're up for it, find some stairs and walk or run up them a few times in order to get your blood flowing.

2. Consider staying awake during the flight

Staying awake and wearing your body out, can help you fight off the jet lag and keep you in your circadian rhythm. Although many people encourage travelling caffeine free in order to avoid jet lag. Frequent travellers advise having some coffee during the flight in order to remain productive; this can include getting some work done on your laptop or reading a book.

3. Fly east early, fly west late

If you're flying east, getting an early start will give you the entire day and plenty of daylight when you arrive. On the other hand, leave later in the day when you're heading west. There's no need to lose a night's sleep by leaving early in the morning and you'll be gaining time as you go west.

4. Get a good night’s sleep before you fly

A big mistake travellers often make is sleeping for just a few hours before a long flight – whether it’s due to pre-holiday excitement or a deliberate attempt to tire yourself in order to sleep throughout the duration of the flight. This will only make it worse. In addition, last minute changes to your routine will only make it harder to adjust to new time zones, while getting a good night’s sleep before your flight will leave your body better equipped to cope with jet lag.

5. Walk up and down the airplane aisle

Once you're on board, your options for moving about become much more restricted but there's no reason to think that you can't stretch out and stay loose in-flight. Get up and walk the aisle. This is especially practical on longer flights, which tend to be serviced by larger aircraft. This will make it less awkward to get up several times during the flight.

6. Avoid alcohol and sleep aids

They both will only increase the disruption to your circadian rhythm and can have additional negative effects. You also don't need sleeping pills. In addition, a glass of wine isn't going to help either. These artificial stimulants will affect your ability to sleep and increase jet lag recovery time. Your body functions best when it’s hydrated, so drinking lots of water is a great way to offset the effects of jet lag.

7. Workout immediately after your flight

Once you arrive at your destination, one of the most important things for you to do is loosen up your tight muscles and joints with some stretching. It doesn't need to take long, just something easy to get your blood flowing.

8. Stay hydrated

Dehydration will negatively affect your body by making you feel tired. You're more likely to be dehydrated while traveling, so be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your flight.

9. Adjust your watch time

When you arrive at your new destination quickly adopt the new local time on all your devices. By doing this, it psychologically forces you to adapt to the new timezone. This also works wonders for adjusting your body clock. This only makes sense for longer trips across multiple time zones but has been found to be effective for trips lasting a week or more.

10. Give yourself time to adjust

Don't dive right into planned activities upon arriving at your destination - whether that's business meetings or sightseeing. Give yourself an adjustment period. Get a workout in at the hotel gym. Prioritise sleep and rest. If you can, schedule your least demanding plans early in the trip and the most demanding ones towards the end.

11. Take a nap

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a study by NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40- minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness by 100%. If you arrive at your destination wiped out and have a big meeting or event planned, take a nap lasting no longer than 45 minutes (anything longer could leave you feeling groggy and even more tired).

12. Adjust your food-related clock

What you eat - and when you eat - can have a big impact on jet lag. Eating meals that are lighter and consist of mainly protein can be beneficial for keeping your energy levels up after you arrive at your destination.Eating patterns affect our body's functionality, just as much or even more than light. Try to avoid heavy meals on the plane, and then eat as soon as you land. This should help your body to adjust to the new timezone.

13. Book a flight that arrives during the day

Catching sunlight after you arrive after a long flight can be very effective in helping to reset your body's clock. The best thing you can do after arriving, besides getting exercise, is to go outdoors and get some natural sunlight. Best case scenario: an outdoor workout complete with sunlight and exercise is even better and more effective in fighting off jet lag.

14. Change your sleep pattern before you leave

NASA prepares astronauts for missions by shifting their sleep patterns in the days before launching. According to some scientists who participated in research on the effectiveness, "you can actually shift somebody to anywhere in the world in about two or three days" simply by altering normal sleep patterns. Starting a few days before your trip, gradually adjust your sleeping habits to the time zone of your destination.

15. Pack the right things in your carry-on

Having things in your bag that will keep you feeling fresh can go a long way in fighting off jet lag. These include deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouth wash, ibuprofen, tissues, band aids, and an extra set of clothes. These will help you arrive fresh at your destination and could be helpful if an emergency comes up.

Use these tips to ease the discomfort of crossing multiple time zones and get the most out of every travel adventure you take.

Nicole Fernandez Medina