Category Archives: Travel Lessons Learned

Common Mistakes People Make When Booking a Vacation

We all make mistakes. But, why not avoid them when you can. We collaborated with travel lovers who want you to avoid loosing time, your money and your patience. So, while I (Diane) did not write this post, I liked it enough to publish here on Wife with Baggage. ENJOY!

Most of us don’t get to go on holiday too often. So, when we do, it’s something that consumes our entire year, or two. We spend ages researching all of the best places to visit, and then we spend the rest of the year fantasizing about the trip itself. Therefore, it can be very disappointing when your holiday does not turn out how you expected it to. To make sure this does not happen, avoid the following mistakes…

Not taking out travel insurance – A lot of holidaymakers overlook the importance of travel insurance. However, your trip can soon turn sour when your baggage does not arrive and you realise you need to foot the bill of all the clothes and belongings you have lost. And, that’s without even mentioning how expensive it could get if you suffered an illness or injury while abroad…

Rushing your accommodation selection – Of course, you’re excited! You can’t wait to book your holiday and post a status on Facebook. However, you need to take the time to make sure the place is suitable for you. For example, if you are looking for somewhere comfortable and budget-friendly, yet with all of the facilities you need, consider Best Western Executive Inn and hotels of a similar standard. Alternatively, if you are travelling in a big group, it may be better to rent a holiday home. Make sure you check out the map and determine where exactly your accommodation is based and how easy it will be to get to different places.

Booking through someone you don’t know – The Internet is home to a wealth of travel options. However, you need to do your research before you book your trip. The last thing you want to do is book your holiday, only to find that the company goes bust or has a terrible reputation.

Booking too late – A few years ago, you used to get the best deals if you booked your holiday closer to the time. This is no longer the case. Holidays only get more expensive. Plus, you can give yourself a lot of stress by leaving booking your trip until the last minute, especially if you are going away as a group. You may find that you all need to get different flights, for example.

Not checking TripAdvisor – TripAdvisor is a must for anyone that is booking a holiday. You will be able to read tons and tons of reviews. It can be incredibly insightful. If you search the reviews for certain keywords, you will be able to find out everything you want to know – even the finer details of your exact hotel room. Remember to consider the reviews as a whole; don’t let one comment determine your entire judgement.

If you can avoid the five mistakes mentioned above when booking your next holiday, you will give yourself a much greater chance of vacation success. A lot of research and a bit of caution can go a very long way.

How To Survive Your First Long-Haul Flight

I love traveling and discovering new countries all over the world. For me, the further away from home, I get, the more exciting life becomes. Think about it, we could live our entire lives without knowing what’s on the other side of the world, what a waste that would be! So, I encourage as many people as possible to hop on a plane and travel to somewhere far away that you’ve never been before.

Photo Credit

Understandably, some of you may have a few qualms about this. Mainly, you’ve never been on a long-haul flight before and don’t know if you can handle 10+ hours on a plane. Don’t worry, I have some survival advice that will help any long-haul virgins. 

Wear Comfortable Clothing
On long-haul flights, style goes out the window. Don’t bother wearing your nicest clothes, you’re much better off getting relaxed and comfy. I like to wear loose fitting clothes, normally something like joggers and a top – the type of things you’d wear to lounge around the house. When you’re on a plane for a long time, you need to do everything you can to remain comfortable. Sitting down in a pair of tight jeans is not my idea of comfy!

Bring A Decent Sized Carry-On Bag
Normally, if I’ve got luggage going in the hold, I try and limit the size of my carry-on bag to make life easier for myself. However, on these long-haul flights, there’s usually more luggage space overhead, and you need to have a bigger bag. As a result, you have more space in your bag to bring lots of items for the flight. This includes a laptop, tablet, portable chargers, pyjamas, slippers, a hoodie, and so much more. The guys over on Luggage on Tour can point you in the direction of which brands are best for your luggage needs. Personally, I go for quality over everything else as you need to ensure your luggage can withstand a lot of wear and tear. Now that you’ve got a large bag, you ensure you have everything you need for a comfortable flight.

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View Plane Features Before Booking
I highly recommend you understand what plane you’re getting on before you book. Most people assume all long-haul flights are full of entertainment and amazing seats. This isn’t always the case, so you should use websites like SeatGuru to view the plane features before you decide who to fly with. This site will show you the seat map of a plane and tell you where the best and worst seats are. It will also let you know if the plane has wifi, power sockets, and if there are TV’s in the seats, etc. Well worth checking so you ensure you get on a plane that can keep you happy for the whole flight.

I’ve been using these tips for many years, and it’s led me to have many successful long-haul flights. I’d also add that you should try and get up as much as possible for a brief stretch, and always try to sleep for a bit. Now, you can book a flight across the world and explore a completely new country!

This post is a collaborative effort. While not written by me, Diane, I liked the content enough to publish it here on Wife with Baggage. I hope it encourages, educates and entices you to travel more!

Travel Lessons: Just Keep Paddling

Michael and I have kayaks that we use almost monthly. We load up the boats on the top of our car, pack a cooler, get Finley’s life jacket and head out to the water. It is a favorite pasttime of ours.

Exuma Kayaking

Without fail, I always look to book a kayaking excursion when we travel. We’ve paddled cold dark waters in New Zealand and warm, crystal clear water in the Bahamas. We kayaked with a group, with a guide and by ourselves. We love to be out on the water. We do not have to have an agenda, just sunshine and a paddle. But, no matter the conditions, Mike and I have one rule – just keep paddling. I always smile when I think about Mike encouraging me from behind. “Don’t stop Diane!” “Just keep paddling Diane?” Water currents, waves and the wind all force you in their directions. Paddling your kayak keeps you on course for your destination. Sometimes these forces work in your favor, but other times they don’t. Just keep paddling!

I thought our kayak in Exuma would be easy, but as lucky would have it, it wasn’t’! We had to cross a busy channel. Of course, Mother Nature was against us and we fought an outgoing tide, wake from passing boats and a decent head wind. Mike handled it well. I, on the other hand, struggled to keep up. Half way through the channel I felt a pop in my rib cage and knew something was wrong. After a few not-so-lady-like words, I started to feel my muscles cramp. The, my hands lost grip. I wanted to stop and catch my breath so badly, but, I couldn’t. If I stopped paddling, even for a few seconds, I’d loose “ground” and just have to work that much harder and longer. I just had to keep paddling.

I ended up with a strained intercostal muscle from that experience. Breathing hurt. Laying down hurt. Laughing hurt. It was not a fun recovery, nor a short one. But, I can say with certainty, it was one of the most exciting paddles we have ever done.

Cathedral Cove Kayak New Zealand

Travel Lesson: When kayaking or canoeing, just keep paddling.
Life Lesson: Do not give up; life is about the ups and downs.

Doesn’t life seem like this every once in while? You take 3 steps forward, relax for a moment to enjoy successes, maybe even try to set your life on cruise control and then bam! Life smacks you down – a big project at work, family arguments, financial hardships. Life can come at you in full force sometimes. But if you stop trying, caring or hoping that negative momentum just carries you deeper in.

I think we forget that sometimes that struggles are life; not a time out of life, but actually a purposeful, meaningful, needed part of life. I wouldn’t like kayaking if I just sat in the boat and floated along – that is called a lazy river. Yes, I like moments of calm, but paddling is kayaking. Going through tough times is life. It is not a punishment, it is just life.

So don’t stop paddling; keep going. Sometimes the rough rides are what makes life different, unpredictable, fruitful and worthwhile.

Eight Travel Mistakes We All Make – At Some Point

We all do it. The rookie traveler. The seasoned traveler. The business traveler and the leisure traveler. We all make mistakes while traveling.

Some of these mistakes are habitual, while some are one time things that are super annoying. Whether you are a serial offender or have the occasional slip up, we can always learn from our mistakes.

Over-packing is one of my biggest hurdles to get over when traveling. I do not like carrying anything extra, but feeling unprepared is even worse.

Travel Days Shoes

Reasons to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Hidden fees for overweight luggage
  • Burdensome baggage to lug around
  • No room for purchases while on vacation

Ways to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Plan outfits according to you itinerary in advance
  • Weigh your luggage before you leave for the airport
  • Pack everything and then remove three items, no matter what

Being “that”  person at the airport, restaurant or public place is never OK. Sure, cultural norms are different around the world and it can be difficult to learn and know it all, but you can use your best judgement, be observant and see from more than perspective. For instance, even though I am a Christian, I made sure to be quiet and courteous to those worshiping at the temples we visited in Bali. Sure, to me, these temples are just a tourist attraction, bu to others it is a place of worship. Or what about those airport “rules” that seem to be different each time you fly. Shoes on. Shoes off. Phone out of purse. Phone in purse. Yada Yada Yada! I know, it can get confusing, but it is a fact of traveling.

Wife with Baggage Ulun Danu Beratan

Reasons to Avoid this Mistake:

  • You run the risk of seriously offending another’s culture, religion or beliefs. (I admit that I think people are too easily offended, but when it comes to religion and country, people have a right to be sensitive; they are very important areas of life!)
  • You will hold up other passengers who have flights to catch. Know the rules.
  • You can embarrass yourself or those with you. (Again, it is a little silly. But come on! Read up on the places you are going to visit!)
  • Worst case scenario: you might even be arrested if your actions are too improper.

Ways to Avoid this Mistake: (It’s ALL on you!)

  • Read.
  • Research.
  • Ask.
  • Listen.
  • Implement.

Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is inconvenient, frustrating and sometimes costly. Double and triple check that your flights are the right day and time. If you have ever had your tickets for a Broadway show overlap with your tickets to The Top of the Rock you know the struggle is real. Have you ever made a restaurant reservation for 8 am, when you plan on eating dinner at this establishment? Yea, it happens to the best of us!

Colorful sunset GUlf of Mexico

Reasons to Avoid this Mistake:

  • It costs money.
  • It costs (valuable) time.
  • It can put a big monkey wrench in your travel plans

Ways to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Have your travel partner review your work
  • Have someone not traveling with you have a look
  • Pick your tickets and then walk away. Come back a few minutes later to check the purchase with fresh eyes and then click “buy.”
  • Write it out in a calendar or add you ticket purchases to you smart phone calendar to keep your self organized

Forgoing the extras can cost you. Do not pass up the option to sign up for loyalty programs. Just do not do it!

Tahoe Lake Shore

Reasons to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Free stuff is good.
  • You can save money on this trip or your next trip.
  • Status can get you upgrades, complimentary (fill in the blank) and access to places and spaces. (Think airport lounges with showers and free food!)

Ways to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Say “yes” to the offers (only with reputable companies that you will use again).
  • Stay loyal to one company. (Note: Shopping for a low price is good, but sometimes paying a bit more to stay loyal to one company can pay off in dividends.)

Forgetting the necessities seems like one of those mistakes that you only make once. I mean, how does one forget obvious items like deodorant, toothpaste, pajamas. We are all guilty of forgetting some of these at one point, myself included!

Carry-On Toiletires for Air Travel

Reasons to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Besides the obvious smelliness, toiletries can be more expensive in other locales (airport, big cities)
  • Having to buy brands you are unfamiliar with is risky business. (Have you ever tried a new face cream while abroad? Hint: it’s not a good idea.)
  • Buying the items means an extra stop spending time that was supposed to be used for hiking, drinking coffee or relaxing poolside.

Ways to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Keep your toiletry bag stocked and packed with travel size items.
  • Create a check list before your trip and check items off as you pack them.

Avoiding Tourists is a good game plan, because crowds are annoying, right? Yes and no. Most places are popular for a reason. Would you avoid Machu Picchu because of the hoards of people who flock here every year? (I hope you would answer “no” to this question because MP is amazeballs!)

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Reasons to Avoid this Mistake:

  • You can miss out of true cultural, historical or natural treasures.
  • You have the sense of ‘missing out’ on something really good.

Ways to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Pick the time you visit to avoid crowds, but do not avoid the place because of people.
  • Book a tour that gives you “VIP” access to avoid some of the hoards. It would be like buying a suite for the Super Bowl (OK, I know how expensive those are, but stay with me), so that you can enjoy the game and only share a bathroom with 25 people instead of 25,000.
  • Stay calm in crowds and know that everyone is there for the same reason.

“You Paid How Much?” is not exactly the question you want to hear after you’ve made a purchase. Traveling is expensive, so be smart with your money and save when you can.

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Reasons to Avoid this Mistake:

  • This one seems obvious: to avoid wasting your hard-earned cash!

Ways to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Adjust your settings on the Groupon app to your destination to see local deals.
  • Ask for a discount. Seriously! The worst they can say is “no.”
  • Google it. (i.e. “Wine Tasting Coupons in Napa Valley”)

Being a day late and a dollar short is never a good thing. True story: my husband and I were on our way to the airport to catch a flight, (Driving. En route. On the road.) when we realized we were late for our flight. We made the mistake of thinking we were flying out of Ft. Lauderdale’s airport, but after glancing at our Delta app realized it was Miami International! Yes, we knew which flight we bought, but we made a mistake that easily added 30 minutes to our commute time. Thankfully, South Florida traffic was tame and we (barely) made it on time. Misjudging the travel time we needed forced us to park in an expensive parking garage and we forked over lots of extra cash when we returned. Ouch! Moral of the story: do not forget to factor ample travel time, especially if you are unfamiliar area. Beautiful Deserts in Namibia

Reasons to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Being late can cost you money
  • Being late can cost you reserved tours, tables and times

Ways to Avoid this Mistake:

  • Do not rely on navigation to give you accurate driving times. They are only estimates. Allow plenty of travel time and factor in traffic.
  • Ask locals about traffic patterns and places to avoid
  • Triple Check itineraries
  • Arrange for pick ups from your accommodations (instead of driving yourself) to avoid being late.
  • Use the mantra “If you are ten minutes early you are never late.”
  • Ask an employee at the hotel or the tour company about transit times. They can give you better estimates than maps and the internet.

Mistakes happen; no one is perfect. However, team work, double checks, a little patience and a lot of common sense can decrease mistakes. Making the mistake and paying for it (literally and figuratively) also helps you learn – but that is what I am trying to prevent with this post!

Are Child Free Zones Available When Flying?

In a previous post, we shared our experience of being on a plane with loads of families, with one in particular handing out goodie bags to all the passengers to make their flight a little more bearable. A sweet gesture for us, but for some business travelers who have to deal with flying on a daily basis, treats and earplugs may not be enough to get rid of their anxiety of flying. Mike is one of those frequent business travelers. This got me thinking about the stress for the family flyer verses the frequent flyer.

Child-screaming-on-a-Plane1

(image credit: mirror.co.uk)

Everyone is well aware of the stresses of airports, which is why the travel industry is constantly looking for ways to ease the pain for frequent flyers. From booking airport hotels with overnight parking specials – a very relaxing option according to Parking4Less – to offering no children zones on planes, there are a multitude of ways that business travelers can ensure their flight and overall travel experience is as comfortable as possible.

Five years ago, Malaysia Airlines banned infants from First Class in several of their planes, and in the following year, they rolled out a new booking system that would “black out upper deck seats for customers whose reservations include children.” For an additional fee, passengers can choose to be be seated in the upper economy section with other travelers that are at least 12 years of age. The concept of a family-free zone sparked interest among other carriers, consequently leading to Air Asia X and Singapore Airlines’s subsidiary Scoot Airlines to provide quiet zones on their flights.

According to The Telegraph, the world’s largest charter airline Thomson Airways laid out a five-year plan that would make flying more comfortable for adult travelers as well for families. Their proposal included family and child-free zoning, a duo-seating system and upgraded in-flight entertainment with a variety of channels catering to different age groups. The company is in the midst of tests and trials so the hope is that more people will enjoy these perks in the near future.

I love that families travel together, make memories together. I love that parents think travel is worthwhile for their children. But at what cost to the childless customer who paid extra to be comfortable and even a little pampered.

What do you think? What are your thoughts on child-free zones on airplanes? I know it is a hot topic, but it is a worthwhile dialogue to have.

Handling a Rainy Day – On Vacation and In Life

We have all heard “save for a rainy day.” If you have ever had a “rainy day” you can appreciate this saying. Having a little extra money during an emergency is a huge relief in the midst of a stressful situation. But what about life’s curve balls that are not financial? Have you spent time mentally preparing for those?

Smiling through Tragedy

Mike and I spent thousands of dollars to fly to Cape Town, South Africa and hundreds of hours planning our trip. (OK, maybe hundreds is an exaggeration, but it is likely close!) With money, time and good intentions, everything should run smoothly, right? Wrong. Mother Nature had her own plan. Mother Nature caused rough, treacherous seas that made it too dangerous for boats. Mother Nature cancelled our (pre-arranged, paid for in full) cage dive with Great White Sharks. Mother Nature can be a —.

Sure, we knew inclement weather was always a possibility, but we did not plan for it; we just hoped for the best. We had two options when our parade was (literally) rained on. One, we could complain, get upset and worry over something completely out of our control or, two, we could ask for help and plan for another fun adventure.

We chose option 2. A hotel employee helping us make our new arrangements kept thanking us for being flexible and understanding during the whole ordeal. I got the impression she’d experienced the opposite from other guests in the past. We made lemonade out of lemons. We did not make a mountain out of a mole hill. We did not cry over spilled milk. (Are you happy I can’t think of any more clichés? I would keep going if I could!) Instead, with her help, we spent the day sipping wine and eating great food all around Stellenbosch. The day was certainly not lost. (And yes! We ended up getting to see Great Whites still!)

Winter in Stellenbosch

I think this situation is analogues with life. No one wants bad weather, but it happens.

No one expects their home to burn down. No one expects a family member to die young. No expects disease or violence. Everyone knows it can happen, but we do not plan for it.  But this is good. While planning for the future is important, I do not think worrying about the future, something we cannot control, does any good. On the contrary, when bad things happen every single day of our life was in preparation for how we handle these terrible situations.

After the initial shock and visceral emotions fade, can we find (or believe there could be) a silver lining? After the tears and prayers can we begin to smile and find hope? After the screaming, fighting and unanswered questions can we find peace and optimism?

Etosha Sunset

I know that my travel comparison above is trivial compared to the scope of the tragedy and heartache humans can experience, but I truly believe the way we handle adverse situations shows the depths of our hearts and souls.

Looking back, I am proud that we handled the let down in South Africa the way we did. Do not get me wrong though. I can throw a fit. I can feel entitled to things going my way. I am far from perfect, but that is why I (try to) practice being helpful, hopeful, honest and happy everyday. This way, when rain and storms come (because they will!) I can smile through the tears, hug through the pain and hope through the fear.

Applying Heat

On our tour of a coffee plantation in Bali we learned about each step of coffee production from planting, harvesting and the ever important step of roasting the beans. The amount of heat applied and the continuous stirring of the beans during roasting is crucial in releasing the flavors we taste after the coffee is brewed.

This got me thinking. How do pressure and discomfort in our own lives help bring out the best in each of us? The brutal truth? “Being under fire” can bring about good changes and positive results in our own lives.

Travel Inspiration:

Roasting Coffee in Bali

Lesson Learned: Roasting coffee converts the dried bean into the dark, deliciously aromatic bean we buy at the store.

Life Application: Being uncomfortable can bring about positive results.

“No pain. No gain.” is a common saying in America. Albeit it is viewed by some as too harsh or cruel. Maybe so, but it’s true! What Olympian has ever made it to the podium without a little (a lot!) of discomfort and pain? How many doctors graduate medical school without at least a few sleepless nights studying? How many married couples push through arguments to follow through with their vows? Pain is physical, mental and emotional, but all “flavors” of pain are necessary evils. Are you willing to withstand a little pain or pressure to grow?

Diamonds form only after intense geothermal pressure. Muscles develop by lifting heavy weights as often as possible. Roses are their most beautiful after a good pruning. A good marriage is made great after sacrificing your own agenda for you spouses’. Life long friendships only happen when you push past a few fights. A successful travel blog requires many (many) long hours of reading, writing, editing and energy. (Lord! Don’t I know this. We all need these reminders at times.)

There is no way around it, most gains require pain. It is not about being “harsh” – it’s about being real. Life is not always easy. Instead of shying away from discomfort or taking the easy way out, take on the pain, knowing that heat and suffering can spur change. Seeing hardships, mistakes and struggles as a chance to grow will help you get through the situation and see the value in being uncomfortable. When you withstand the heat you will come through the situation a better person, employee, spouse, friend and human because just like coffee, being under pressure can bring out the best in all of us.

Bali Coffee Tasting

 Who knew COFFEE could be so deep and thought-provoking?

Taking a Leap (of Faith) is Encouraged

As I stood at the edge debating whether I should jump or not, I took note of the other travelers deep in the jungles of Belize with me. There were two distinct groups. Group one: comprised of those who waded by the shore as they walked into the water at the gently sloping shoreline did not look upset, just a little bored and indifferent. Then there was group two. These people jumped before me from a large rock perched about 20 feet above the water’s surface. Group two was laughing, splashing and smiling. Decision made.

I inched forward, said a silent prayer, and jumped.  The first split second was excruciating; the doubt and fear overwhelming me. Then, just as I was about to scream in terror I realized there was no need to; I was having fun! Taking that leap was well worth the calculated risk! It was such an added bonus to an already good day in the Belize jungle!

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Travel Lesson Learned: Adding excitement and adventure to your travels can make for some great memories.

Life Application: Taking a leap of faith in life is healthy and helpful.

The fear of leaping off of a cliff is as paralyzing as the fear to taking a leap of faith in life, whether it is in your personal, spiritual or professional life. The possibility of getting hurt (physically or emotionally), embarrassed an/dor denied are unpleasant realities. Taking a leap into something new can cause frustration and discomfort, but, the opposite could happen too!

In 2010 Michael and I took a leap of faith. We left the comfort of our lives in Florida and accepted new jobs in a new state during a not-so-great economy.We had our share of nay-sayers. Plenty of people told us that leaving “perfectly good jobs” was risky. Status quo and “just fine’ is not good enough for us though. We felt the need to jump …

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… and you know what? The outcome was better than we imagined! For two years we lived in a new state where co-workers who became good friends, new experiences became lasting memories and we both advanced our careers in new ways.

Fear is an emotion induced by perceived, not definite, threats. Fear is the opposite of faith. Faith is also an emotion based on perceived outcomes. But, unlike fear, faith focuses on a trust for positive outcomes, not negative. Taking a leap of faith teaches us to take chances based of hope, not doubt. The regret of not taking the leap will always outweigh the fear of the unknown. Give up “good enough” and jump. You might fall, but it could be into something better than you ever imagined.

Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things

Michael and I love seafood. However, Michael’s palette is a bit more adventurous and sophisticated than mine. I mean, the man has not met any kind of seafood he doesn’t like – squid, octopus, scallops, sushi, etc. You name it, he’s tried it. I, on the other hand, am a cooked fish and shellfish kind-of-girl!

When in Lima, Peru we dined at a highly recommended restaurant. We both ordered fish. Mine, a tender fillet. His, with eyeballs and skeleton still in tact! His reasoning “I’ve always wanted to try it!”

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It hit me then that I wanted (needed) to try something new too! Traveling is, after all, about new adventures! I was a bit apprehensive (What if what I ordered was disgusting?), but I did it by placing an order for ceviche – a dish of raw, marinated seafood – as an appetizer. Some describe the seafood as “cooked” due to the change in texture the seafood undergoes while marinating, but they can’t fool me! As I stated above – I don’t do raw fish! But, I gave it a shot. (When in Rome ….) I was pleasantly surprised that despite the different texture, I liked it enough to have a few bites. Stunned by my new-found courage, I was happy I sampled the delicacy!

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 Travel Lesson Learned: Try local cuisine, even if it is new to you.

Life Application: Don’t be afraid to try new things!

Even though ceviche is not my all time favorite dish, and I absolutely still want my fish cooked well done, I was proud of myself for trying something new. Is there something in your life you’ve been curious about trying? Maybe it’s not food. Maybe, you’ve been dying to take guitar lessons or learn how to speak a new language. Maybe you want to try to exercise more or complain less. Walt Disney once said “We keep moving forward, opening doors and doing new things because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

It is scary to try anything new, but learning you love something is so much better than fearing the unknown.

P.S. Michael LOVED his entrée choice and has ordered many more similar dishes like this since! 🙂

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Pack Lightly and Live Modestly

I like to feel prepared when we travel. Try as I might, packing lightly is a tough thing to do! I do not go too overboard (at least that is what I tell myself), I just always seem to bring one or two extra shirts, pants, etc. too many. In reality, packing too much becomes burdensome because it literally weighs me down. Mike even has to carry my backpack at times (which I feel horrible about). Plus, packing too much can empty your wallet with all of those hefty fees the airlines charge for heavy baggage.

For one of our trips I tried something new. I downsized before we left. My process was simple. I packed everything I thought I would need and then removed 3 items. At first, I was No matter upset about what I had to leave behind, but that feeling faded when I zipped up the bag and realized it was not heavy. Packing lightly makes travel easier, and less stressful and even less expensive.

How to Pack Lightly for a Trip

Travel Lesson Learned: Pack Lightly

Real Life Application: Don’t let your possessions weigh you down; Live modestly.

Traveling lightly through life can also make your everyday easier, less stressful and certainly less expensive. Author Josh Becker puts it like this “Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.” What do you value? Are your possessions getting in the way of those people or activities? If so, downsize.

I cannot deny that new stuff doesn’t bring me satisfaction. But, the feeling is fleeting and pails in comparison to the memory of laying on the beach in Thailand or hiking to remote waterfalls in Costa Rica.

Costa Rican Waterfalls

Figure out what you value and then get rid of everything else. Do not let your possessions weigh you down and cost you extra money. I’ll never forget a man from church telling me this truth. “We buy a house and fill it up with stuff. Then, we buy a bigger house to accommodate all of our stuff, just to fill that bigger house with more stuff.” I was 14 when he told me that. I understand it now. It is so easy to accumulate junk and random possessions. Fight the urge!