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Travel Better: Smart Things to Pack in Your Carry-On

For most airlines, the average maximum size of a carry-on, whether you use a purse, briefcase or small backpack, is about 22 x 14 x 9 inches. Some also impose a maximum weight, which is why you need to be smart about choosing which items to pack in it for your convenience.

Here are the essentials you need in your carry-on for a safe and comfortable travel.

Travel documents. All important documents such as your passport, travel visa, itineraries, tickets, vouchers, and others should be kept in a separate compartment of your carry-on. Arrange the documents in a plastic envelope to make sure they don’t get wet or crumpled. Don’t forget to bring a pen as well.

Credit cards and cash. All your valuable including your wallet should be placed in your carry-on. Do not forget to bring some cash in case you need to purchase something quick.

Medication. Your prescription meds, vitamins, and other medications including those for emergencies should be placed in your carry-on in their original containers. This will save you the hassle of looking for the medicine kit when you need it. Besides your maintenance meds, your first aid kit bag should contain eye cream, oral antihistamine, Adhesive bandages, antidiarrheal, antacid, and others.

Toiletries. A small pouch of toiletries should contain toothbrush, toothpastes, deodorant, sanitary pads, moisturizer, lip balm, comb/brush, basic makeup, hand sanitizer, mouthwash, shaving cream, and others. Take note of the allowed container capacity for liquids.

Extra clothes. In case you need a change clothes, you should pack at least an extra underwear, pair of socks, and shirt.

Eye mask and eyeglasses. Always keep your eyeglasses and sunglasses in your carry-on along with an eye mask which you can use if you need to take a nap.

E-reader or book. If it’s a long trip, take something with you to keep busy such as a paperback or an e-reader.

Music player and noise-cancelling headphones. If you want to sleep but you need to block out the distractions, you should take a music player and noise-cancelling headphones to keep you relaxed.

Handheld gaming device. If you need to stay awake during the trip, make sure to take with you a full charged gaming device.

Powerbank. You should always take a powerbank with you in case your gadgets run out of power during the trip.

Sweater or cardigan. In case it gets a bit chilly, you can take a sweater, cardigan or a small bag in your carry-on.

Compression socks. Long flights can be bad for your legs because you won’t have a lot of opportunity to move around.

Collapsible water bottle. Bottled water can be expensive in some places, so if you see a water refilling station, just take out your foldable water bottle and you’ll be ready to go.

Chargers and adapters. Do not leave your chargers in your checked baggage in case it gets lost. All your gadgets and their chargers/adapters should be in your carry-on.

Other valuables. Never leave your valuable items in your checked baggage. If you have a laptop, cell phone, tablet, camera, jewelry, and other expensive items, place them in your carry-on bag.

6 Ways to Avoid Overspending

If you find yourself relying too much on paydays and they seem too far away from each other – then you’re splurging on items way out of your budget. You spend a little too much on luxury items such as clothes, electronics or even vacations.

So before you blow-off your next paycheck before you even receive it, here’s a few tips to help you curve your over-the-top spending habits and stay within the limits:

1. Track everything. Since we do almost everything online nowadays, you could also do this step virtually or by traditional paper and pen. All you have to do is to categorize different inflow and outflow of money. Just identify expenses and types of income.

2. Get your total assets. Add up every source of income you have, whether from salary, wages, tips and other sources you may have. Even project-based ones, you have to list them down each month you receive them. Experts say that you shouldn’t rely only on one source of income, as this may post constraints for you. Make those free time productive by engaging in profit-enabling activities.

3. Get your total liabilities. Next up, total all your payables. These fixed expenses include utility, credit card, mortgage bills or rent, and whatever else you have to settle each month. For credit bills, make sure you know the terms before swiping purchases. Don’t allow those enticing discounts and offers get the best of you. Have a masterlist of existing credits so you don’t lose track of what to settle next. Be careful and be vigilant of your payables.

4. Prepare for the unexpected. We all have those splurges and what better way to overcome them is to prepare for them. Don’t shy away from those luxuries because pampering can motivate you further to earn for yourself and your family. These type of unexpected or variable spending needs to be allotted accordingly to avoid spilling over and cutting short fixed expenses. Get your old receipts and from there, template your variable expenses. Don’t be strict though, as too tight budgets make you crave for splurges even more.

5. Save. Instead of waiting for what’s left from your budget, squeeze in savings as part of what you have to allot budget for. They should also be prioritized as they play an important part of your financial freedom. Savings shouldn’t be neglected, as they form a buffer if emergencies happen.

6. Dry run. Test out your budget plan and adjust figures until you get the right combination for each category. Adjust amounts until you get the right blend of all your expenses and splurges. Don’t forget to key in all your earnings. If your overhead expenses just won’t budge, you might want to try another source of income on top of what you’re already earning.

5 ways to relax for introverts

If you’ve been branded as “boring” too many times than you can count, then you might want to take a break from all that self-loathing and accept yourself as an introvert instead. You typically enjoy me time more often and much more intensely than most people, therefore earning a few snide stares from classmates or colleagues. Don’t fret: that’s just the way you cope.

You may be a little different than most people, but you don’t have to think something’s wrong with you. You’re just introverted and it’s actually not a bad thing.

So before you damage your self-esteem a little further, here are ways for you to replenish all that psychological energy that seems too evasive especially on busy days:

1. Accept yourself
This might sound too repetitive, but introverts need to accept themselves first before they can go ahead and take care of themselves. If you feel tired from all that psychological energy spent on social interaction, it’s okay to feel exhausted. Accept that you have limits when interacting with people and try to manage your coping based on this fact.

2. Negotiate need for space with your loved ones
Directly affected with introverts’ need for space are those closest to them. They get the backseat oftentimes when introverts need to recharge through their alone time. It is a must to keep your loved ones well-informed of your intervals of alone time, so they would know when you’re psychologically spent and not getting into another bout with them. They need to be the most understanding of your need for space since the ones closest to you absorb the most shock from all your social withdrawal.

3. Engage in music therapy
Compose a playlist that’s so you. Regardless of genre, music does wonders to relax a distressed psyche. So take time to list down your favorite and categorize them depending on the mood you’re in. If you want to relax, then have a ready playlist to soothe yourself. If you’re looking to boost your day, you should have a playlist ready with all the pep you need. Introverts connect with music deeper than most people, so use this to your advantage.

4. Learn something new
One thing about introverts is that they need stimulation much more than most people do. But not socially – just something they need to engage in that doesn’t require physical energy, but is psychologically and mentally stimulating. So one way to help them dispense all that energy is to bury themselves in activities that require their concentration. Learning a new instrument, learning how to cook or bake or even learning how to ride a bike can use up their energy and help them unwind as well.

5. Write. Write. Write.
Since introverts don’t dispense of their thoughts as often as extroverts do, they need an outlet for all their ideas and opinions. So what better way to share a piece of their minds than to write them down. It gives them release and also helps them unwind from all those social interaction. Every stroke of their pen or every button they key in helps put things in perspective. It also keeps them company in ways only introverts enjoy and appreciate.

Some Easy Tips You Can Learn to Haggle Better

Are you tired of having to deal with fixed high prices as an expat or a tourist? Then why not haggle instead?
It’s an open secret that most people don’t really pay the price on the label, but negotiate for a better deal. In many parts of the world, haggling isn’t just a skill, but a way of life.

Haggling politely is also a good way to practice your interpersonal skills when it comes to things that can be agreed on by everyone. Here are some tips you can learn to help you get started:

1. Learn the culture
For an outsider, whether just visiting as a tourist or getting used to the new culture as an expat, nothing beats firsthand experience. Spending time with the locals can not only immerse you better in the culture, but vendors will remember you and may give you better deals in the future.

If it helps you learn faster, try to speak the language – this allows you to interact much better, and maybe even gain better insight than if you didn’t speak the language.

2. Don’t rush—enjoy the process
Haggling isn’t a competition or an argument – it’s a way for both parties to get the best deal on a particular transaction. No one likes to deal with a person with a bad attitude, so be sure to smile and be friendly. That way, even if it turns out that you can’t get the deal you’re looking for with that vendor, at least you get to enjoy the process.

3. Know what’s appropriate to haggle on (and when)
Everyone knows that not everything can be haggled, and these things can be different from place to place. Spending time to know the people can be a great way for you to know which things can be haggled, and which things can’t. Most of the time, these things are usually universal, such as food prices.

4. Don’t drive too hard a bargain—but don’t be too soft, either
Vendors are more likely to refuse to sell you their products if you set an amount that’s lower than half their asking price. However, they’re also likely to charge you a higher price if you’re uncertain.

When haggling for a lower price, it’s important to be assertive and yet flexible at the same time. This is what makes it mentally taxing. To get a better feel for this, practice first on low-priced items that you don’t really need, and then you’ll be able to work your way up to higher-priced items with confidence.

5. Always carry some cash
This tip could not be stressed enough, unless you really want to have a bad time. Carry local currency as much as possible (not all vendors would accept foreign currency), and remember where the ATM machines are.

Do not flash your money or show it before you have landed a final price – the vendor might just end up charging you a little higher.

Common Reasons Why You Always Feel Drowsy at Work

If you picture out a typical workday afternoon, you are likely to visualize yourself fighting the urge to fall asleep while sitting at your desk. This is true for a lot of employees who work a normal 9-5 desk job. The afternoon is usually the time when your lunch break feels long ago, and the end of your shift seems like it’d still take many years to go.

Maybe you’re paralyzed with pent-up work fatigue, or your body just craves some decent sleep. Either way, there are a number of reasons that come into play if you feel sleepy the entire day at work.

• The afternoon
We are all familiar with the after-lunch slump, of feeling a little too sleepy after eating a hearty lunch meal, but even if you eat less amount of food you are still likely to stumble across this phenomenon. This is because of the body’s natural circadian rhythm, which is responsible for telling the brain when to feel active and alert and when to fall asleep. The latter usually also happens in the early afternoon, not only during night time.

• Cooped up indoors
Science says that in order to keep your body in an alert and energetic state, you have to get some exposure from the sun and move around. Being active is one effective way to keep your drowsiness away. If you sit in front of a computer in a dark room for the whole day long, chances are you’ll feel sleepy at some point.

• You lack sleep
Ideally, we need at least 8 hours of rest to ensure our bodies are in peak condition as we work. If you happen to lack sleep, you are undoubtedly to feel worn-out. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep every night in order to avoid this from happening. Head to bed early, you’ll be surprised how much your health and mood will improve if you pick up this habit.

• Health and personal issues
If you happen to get full eight hours of sleep every night but still find yourself struggling to keep awake, there is a chance you might have overlooked medical issues and concerns. For instance, Anemia (the lack of iron in the body) and an underactive Thyroid are among the common causes of weariness. Even if you get as much sleep as you can get, these health conditions are notorious for making the body feel weary.

Other health issues which may be behind your regular drowsiness include food intolerance, sleep apnoea, diabetes, and also pregnancy.

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