Three Time-Saving Travel Tips

If travel can be likened to living, then not even a minute should go to waste. Undoubtedly, somewhere along the line, valuable time does get hung up on the logistics of travel. But there are ways to minimize your losses. Here are three time-saving travel tips.

1. Find a Quality Hotel Close to Your Tourist Activities

You won’t believe the amount of time you save by booking a hotel that is centrally located! Instead of spending long commutes in the car to and from activities, you’ll cut down on travel time simply by choosing a hotel nearby. Another way to save time is to prioritize hotel quality when it comes to booking. When you secure a hotel that meets your comfort standards, you won’t have to waste vacation time moving to a new hotel, or staying awake all night because of your room conditions. You’ll get restful sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on a full day of fun.

2. Get a Rental Car

Although public transportation and popular ride-sharing services may save money, they don’t always save time. Both options also have limitations based on location and time of day. To save time, consider getting a rental car. To start, you’ll be able to hop right off the plane and get started on the road to your hotel. This same convenience will present itself time and time again throughout your trip. You’ll never experience the time-loss of waiting around for someone to pick you up and all the time saved can be used for more important things: your vacation!

3. Make Reservations Ahead of Time

Don’t waste precious vacation time deciding what to do or waiting in line for tickets. Spend all the time you need at home thoroughly researching all the hotspots. Once you settle on your vacation activities, pay for the tickets and book all your events before you ever set foot in your home away from home. Using this method, you can even make dinner reservations at the city’s best restaurants, or take the opportunity to buy fast passes to skip the lines at amusement parks. Because you are doing things in advance, you have plenty of options.  

When traveling, every minute counts. Travel should be about enjoying your experience, not spending most of your time waiting around or getting from point a to point b. So, before you set out on your next trip, use these three tips during your planning process to help save some time. You’ll be glad you did! 

Ryder and Nicole EricksonThree Time-Saving Travel Tips
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Start The Year Right With A 30-Day Challenge!

The New Year calls for big celebrations because it represents a chance to start anew. It is certainly a precious gift that you do not want to waste. The change of calendar year is also a gentle reminder that we all need to move forward in life. It is therefore great advice to start the year with enthusiasm and positivity! You want the year to see a better version of yourself. You want to grow and improve as much as you can!

To do this, you may have to let go of bad habits and replace them with new ones. It is probably the right time to start something that you have always wanted to do like lose weight, learn a new language or write a novel. Setting goals is a good way to ensure a fruitful year ahead. But do  you have the will to stick to your goals until they are finally accomplished? One thing you can do to try to make goal setting easier is a 30-day challenge.

Will a 30-day challenge work?

This method is simple and self-explanatory. If you want to change or start something, you just resolve to do it continuously for 30 days. For example, if you want to be healthier you may commit to a goal of engaging in physical exercise such as biking or jogging for 30 days. If you want to acquire new knowledge, you allot time to learn that skill for 30 days.

People who advocate this strategy believe in the notion that when you do something repeatedly for 30f days the action becomes a habit. A book written by Maxwell Maltz, a cosmetic surgeon, suggests that it takes about 21 days to form a habit. Some claim it takes 28 days while a 2009 study says it takes 66 days. On the other hand, a book written by motivational speaker, Jack Canfield says that it takes 30 days to break a habit and replace it with new ones. The number of days required for habit formation may differ, but the main thing here is consistency. You cannot abandon or give up on your goals for 30 days. Therefore, the success of a 30-day challenge lies in you. Do you have the determination not to break your resolve until you are on your 30th day?

Reminders when taking a 30-day challenge:

Set attainable goals.

Do not set too many big goals at once because it may just  increase your chances of failing. To minimize failure, make sure that you can confidently finish the challenge you give yourself. The beauty of a 30-day challenge is that it can break down huge tasks into easy, manageable ones. For example, limiting food intake can be difficult for some. To make it easier, you can choose to just cut back on sweets for the first 30 days. Then you can limit fatty foods the next month. This way, you are gradually but steadily treading the road to fitness.

Pick a schedule or set reminders.

The day can get so hectic that it becomes easy to dismiss a goal. To ensure you make time for it, go ahead and jot it on your schedule. If you have a book-writing challenge for example, you can pick the most convenient time of the day to work on your goals. You can conveniently set reminders on many calendar apps nowadays to make sure you will not forget about it. On the other hand, if you want to achieve your ideal weight, visual reminders of your goals will help you stick to it.

Aim for long-term.  

If you were able to eat healthier for 30 days, it does not mean that you should go back to your old ways the next month. You can treat yourself to a hearty meal upon completing a challenge as a reward but you should be able to do it in moderation now. Reverting back to unhealthy eating means the challenge did not accomplish anything at all. The ultimate goal of the 30-day challenge is to instill good habits. You should be able to have the discipline and determination to maintain the good habit you’ve acquired.

You have 12 months in a year so how about setting twelve 30-day challenges for yourself? You can succeed in some or fail in others but you will never know unless you try. When you come to think of it, you have nothing to lose in a 30-day challenge because you are only aiming for the best version of yourself. As the cliche goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step.” So if you want  to start something, dare to take that first step today!

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One Way To Easily Reach Goals & Be A Better Parent: Set Family Goals

Admit it, your goals and aspirations as an individual doubled or even tripled the moment you become a parent. Maybe you want to lose that extra weight by eating healthier and at the same time, you want to save a certain amount of money to enjoy financial freedom. While working on these targets, you are probably concerned about raising smart and responsible children too. Likewise, you wish to create family memories that your kids can cherish for years.

With the many hats that a mother or a father has to wear, parenthood can sometimes feel like a huge burden. Most of the time, defining the goals is the easiest part of the journey. The real challenge starts in the process of accomplishing each one as you may encounter stress and difficulty that can push you to quit.

But cheer up, there is one simple thing you can do to successfully sweep all your targets in one strike. It is as easy as making your goal-setting an important family activity. A research done by the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) found out that having a partner to work on your targets increases your chance to achieve the goals by 65%. This proves that making your spouse and/or kids your partner, you strengthen your resolve to commit to the goal. Aside from increasing your chance of success, this practice also offers many extra benefits for the whole family:

Enhances Relationships

The act of working together toward a common goal may be more effective in fostering a solid connection within the family than any other bonding activities. As you reach your objectives, you will most likely support and encourage each other every step of the way. The process gives you a chance to communicate and spend quality time, making you more understanding and appreciative of each other. When you finally obtained the fruits of your labor, you may be delighted to discover that it also comes with a priceless reward – a stronger and happier family.

Resolves Conflicts

Each family member has a unique personality that may result in clashes and disagreements. Some families can choose to conveniently ignore conflicts, leaving it unresolved for years. However, when you are working on a common goal, family members have another reason to quickly fix and iron out misunderstandings. This results in harmony that is essential in building a positive environment.

Teaches Valuable Life Skills To Kids

As you exert effort to achieve goals, you show your children the importance of values such as perseverance, patience, and hard work. These life skills that can help secure your child’s future is not that easy to teach using words alone. By making your kids part of your goals, you effortlessly instill those values by example.

Children who actively contribute to the fulfillment of family goals can learn problem-solving strategies and communication skills. It can also boost your child’s self-esteem and teaches them how to cope with stress.

So do you want a healthier lifestyle, financial freedom, responsible kids, a thriving business, and clutter-free home? As long as you set realistic goals, you should not let fear hold you back from weaving big dreams for you and your family. You can achieve all your goals in life and at the same time be the best parent you can be, just start by setting family goals.

Ryder and Nicole EricksonOne Way To Easily Reach Goals & Be A Better Parent: Set Family Goals
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How To Gain Respect & Admiration As A Leader: Avoid These Mistakes!

In an ideal world, leaders lead with confidence and people follow with ease. The said scenario is not always the case in real life though. Due to the various roles that a leader has to fill, the head of an organization can turn from the most loved to the most hated person overnight.

If you feel that your team is suffering from incompetent leadership, you may be guilty of committing the following mistakes:

Lack of Effective Communication

Poor communication can cause many conflicts so an effective leader should clearly communicate his or her expectations for each member of the team. Define specific goals to steer your people towards the right direction. By making sure that everyone is aware of the team goals and expectations, you ensure that no one feels lost or neglected.

Not Practicing What You Demand

One of the first things you will probably do as a leader is to lay out your demands. Among others, you may state that you want your people to be punctual, committed, or hardworking. Be clear about your expectations but also be ready to be the first to practice it. As a leader, you are expected to be a role model and a positive influence on everyone. By leading through good example you can provide proper guidance and earn respect in the process.

Not Trusting & Empowering Your People

Leaders are chosen because of their superior abilities but it does not mean that you are the only one who can do the job well. One of your most important roles as a leader is to generously share your knowledge and expertise to others. So based on their abilities, trust your staff to handle important tasks and guide them along the way. Encourage them to learn new things and hone their skills. This practice will empower your people and motivate exemplary performance. Keep in mind that your ultimate goal is to train your staff to be future leaders as well.

Not Being Consistent & Fair

Leaders have the privilege to set rules and implement sanctions but consistency is the key to establishing a regulatory system that works. Once you set a rule, make sure that no one is exempted from it. Everyone who fails to follow a rule awaits the same sanctions as well. Failure to practice fairness in your leadership style will breed contempt, distrust, and jealousy. It will ultimately destroy the team.

Not Showing Vulnerability

Leadership requires more than expertise in a certain field. The need to display strength of character is likewise equally important. So teach humility by owning up to your mistakes or show flexibility by designing strategies for overcoming failures. Allow your staff to see your weak side but at the same time show how you rise above difficulties

Leadership is a coveted status for many because it comes with many benefits and privileges. However, every awesome perk you get from leading a group has an accompanying responsibility as well. Unfortunately, the opinions of the people under your wing are important factors that can make or break your leadership. So work hard to gain the respect, trust, and admiration of your team. It is a huge challenge but surely not impossible with the pointers above.

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Five Tips to Stress Free Travel With Young Children

One of the best parts about having children is the opportunity to visit new places and show your children the world. However, many parents run and hide at the mere thought of navigating an airport and flying with young children. Traveling with children can be very overwhelming, but with focused planning, direction and a little bit of experience, flying with young ones will seem much more manageable. Although there is no way to say you won’t have any turbulence ahead, these tips will hopefully help you to avoid a mile-high meltdown.

Choose Your Flight Time Wisely

One of the easiest and most helpful travel tips for families is to thoughtfully choose your flights based on your children’s needs. If possible, plan to fly around your little one’s nap time—Ideally, they would stick to their schedule and then sleep while on the flight. Also if there is a direct flight option, take it. By avoiding layovers it will simplify the entire travel process for you, require less planning on your end, and eliminates the stress of rushing to catch your connection.

Prepare Your Supply Bag

It is easy to overpack a diaper bag, or carry-on suitcase with who knows what, but when traveling with children it is essential to pack the right supplies for in-flight needs. The supply bag includes diapers and wipes, and two changes of clothes in case of an accident. Also be sure to bring hand sanitizer and wipes to avoid germs that live on planes. Bring any medications your child may need in your supply bag rather than checking it in case the luggage gets lost. Bring lots of mess-free snacks like crackers, and a spill-proof cup for each child. It is better to be over-prepared with supplies than at 30,000 feet without a clean diaper for your little one, so keep the length of the flight and total time to your final destination after the flight in mind when determining your supply quantities.

Engaging Entertainment

You may feel the need to pack your children’s entire playroom for a plane flight, but if you strategically plan and select toys and entertainment for the kids, you will be just fine. The key is to entertain and engage your child. Bring wrapped surprises for each child, such as a new toy car or mini doll. When you board the plane, ask the flight attendant for some plastic cups that the kids can stack and play with. Choose toys that last a while like coloring books, stickers, lace-up toys, etc. If your child is old enough, ask them to pack their own backpack with their toy choices for the flight. Be sure to load up any tablets with lots of videos for longer flights. And finally, use your children to entertain each other. Ask older children to help with their younger siblings—this will keep both busy and occupied with each other.

Minimize Carry-On’s

Depending on how many children you have, you may have your hands full without even carrying any actual baggage. Now add all the carry-on luggage, car seats, strollers, and maybe an infant in there and you probably won’t even be able to get from the car to the check-in desk without falling over yourself. With that said, it is best to check anything and everything that you can so that you can be as hands-free as possible. Most airlines allow you to check up to one stroller and one car seat per child at no additional cost. If your child is small enough, use an ergonomic carrier or wrap to hold your child. They even allow you to “wear” your babies through security which is a huge plus. If you opt for the stroller route for younger kids, swap out your heavy-duty wheels for a smaller, travel-friendly stroller that can be easily gate-checked. Your most important responsibility is getting your children from point A to point B, and that is much easier accomplished by only bringing the necessities.

You’ve Got This

No matter how hard you try to prepare for flying with children, things still happen. A baby may cry, drinks might get spilled all over the seats, and the iPad might die mid-flight. Take a deep breath, and keep your cool because it is all ok. Let’s be honest, crying from babies is toddlers is pretty much inevitable, and although you may think the passengers around you would throw you out mid-flight because your little one is upset, they won’t. Most people have been there before and get it. As long as you are doing your best to console, and diffuse the situation, the majority will understand.

Having children shouldn’t limit your travel opportunities, it should encourage them. They always say the hardest part is just getting there, but that doesn’t mean getting there has to be so hard. If you plan ahead, thoughtfully pack, and prep for the journey ahead, traveling with young children will be stress-free and enjoyable for the whole family.

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3 Things You Didn’t Know the Outdoors Could Teach You About Yourself

Jaw-dropping landscapes aren’t just for desktop backgrounds. That’s why the most adventurous among us experience such a rush when we lace up our hiking boots and head outdoors. One of the many thrills of setting out on a new adventure is learning about the world and embracing the beauty of the unknown, whether it’s a mountain trail all the way across the country or a riverbank in your very own background. But we often don’t think about how the world can teach us about ourselves. Read on to find out three of the most astonishing things you can learn about yourself on your next adventure outdoors.

3 Things You Didn’t Know the Outdoors Could Teach You About Yourself

Nature can teach about the things you don’t even know about yourself.

First off, when you set out on an unfamiliar trail, you continuously explore new sights, learn new paths, and have new experiences. Embarking on a new adventure, in fact, may be better defined as braving the unknown. Likewise, the unknown of nature can remind us about what we have failed to unearth about ourselves. Just as there is an endless amount of world to explore, you can learn something new about yourself every day.

Nature can teach you about your strength.

When you are faced with a challenge, whether it’s an unexpected river to cross or an intimidating mountain you’ve never skied before, you tend to recognize the powerful force of nature. It’s easy to focus your attention on the difficulties that lie ahead and quickly become obsessed with strategizing a way to overcome them. We often fail to take this time to notice the strength that lies within us and the absolute resilience we already have that will push us through any obstacle – whether on our adventure or in everyday life.

Nature can teach us to notice the beauty in all parts of our lives.

When we set out to discover a new place, hike a new mountain, or follow a new trail, we often set out in search of the world’s beauty. We may find ourselves shocked or taken aback at the views before us. However, just as nature’s beauty can take our breath away, we fail to recognize the beauty that colors our lives, the beauty of the energy of those who fill it, and the beauty that radiates through us.

Remember these things the next time you find yourself lost on an adventure somewhere, and make an honest attempt to pay attention to what nature might be telling you. Whatever you discover just might take the breath right out of your lungs.

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3 Ways to Improve Your Mentoring Relationship

A mentoring relationship is a two-way street. It can’t be driven solely by the mentor, nor can it be totally steered by the mentee. The two must work in tandem to reach their mutual destination of personal success. If you’re looking to be a mentor, or if you’re already currently mentoring someone, you should consistently be looking for ways to improve your mentoring relationship.

Here, we have three incredible ways to improve your mentorship relationship, no matter where you are in your journey.

Eliminate “Always” and “Never” From Your Vocabulary

In any relationship, the words “always” and “never” are pretty powerful. They can be whipped around to sting and burn, or they can be used to uplift and celebrate. That dual-edged nature of the words is what makes them so dangerous, so volatile, and so limiting.

If you tell your mentor that they “always” behave in a certain way, you’ll guarantee that they’ll not only continue in that fashion, but they may also resent you for that implication. Even if you meant it positively, you may engender a resting-on-their-laurels mentality. They may think that they don’t have to try as hard because you’ll just assume that they always perform at a certain caliber; there’s no reason for them to strive for more. The same logic applies to “never.” Never limits a mentee’s ability to overcome adversity.

Help your mentees to triumph over challenges and learn more about themselves always by never constricting them to “never” or “always.”

Build Trust with Your Mentee One Day at a Time

Trust is not implicit. It’s not a given: it’s something that has to be built and earned one day at a time. In a mentorship situation, it’s especially important to develop that trust over a longer period. You can’t rush out of the gate, assuming that your mentee trusts that you have their best interests at heart.

The best way to build that trust? It may seem way too commonsensical, but the truth is: the best way to build trust is to be trustworthy. Say what you mean and mean what you say. When you follow through on your promises, one after the other, you naturally build a positive rapport. You don’t have to make big promises, but you do have to prove yourself in some way. Start small, and work your way up, and before you know it, you’ll have an amazing mentoring relationship with someone you consider to be a close confidante as well.

Cultivate a Positive Attitude as a Mentor

Though mentoring is a two-way street, the mentor definitely takes the wheel for the first part of the journey. It’s up to the mentor to establish the atmosphere and initial direction of the mentoring relationship.

The best mentoring relationships are the ones whose foundations are positive. Thus, it’s vitally important to cultivate a positive attitude as a mentor. You’ll find that adopting a sunny disposition when dealing with a mentee will have a domino effect. Your positive attitude will catch on with your mentee, who will in turn pay that positivity forward, and that initial spark will light a fire that will spread the whole world around.

Ryder and Nicole Erickson3 Ways to Improve Your Mentoring Relationship
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Talk About The Importance of Fitness with Your Kids

The fitness habits you pick up as a kid stay with you for as long as you live. That’s not to say that you can’t overcome those learned behaviors, but it is definitely harder to move past poor fitness routines the older you get. In order to establish the right kinds of ideas about fitness in your kids, it’s important to talk about it and to instill positive values when it comes to physical fitness.

It’s also vital to stress the importance of fitness as a whole with your kids.

Focus on Health, Rather than Weight

For the longest time, people have focused on silly things like “goal” weights and “ideal” weights. At the end of the day, weight is just a number that fluctuates based on the time of day, the season, and even the climate you live in. That number in no way defines who you are as a person, and it’s not at all tied to your self-worth.

When you’re talking to your kids about fitness, make sure that they understand weight has nothing to do with their value as people. You’re not concerned with the number they see when they step on the scale. You just want them to be healthy.

Emphasize the Positive

On a similar note, it’s important for you as the parent to emphasize the positives of fitness, rather than the negatives. Fitness should never be about losing weight. It should instead be about your kids’ gaining strength and skills and the ability to do things with their bodies that they couldn’t previously do.

When you emphasize the positive aspects of fitness, you entice your kids to participate in the hopes of gaining new skills—rather than making them feel as though fitness is a chore to be completed.

Let Them Know It’s Okay to Fail

Everyone fails. Most people fail at something at least once a week. When it comes to teaching your kids about the importance of fitness, you have to stress this point: it is okay to fail. It is okay to be bad at a sport. It is okay to fall off your bike.

When you make these points to your kids, you allow them to see failure as an opportunity to grow and learn, instead of as a condemnation of their current capabilities.

Regardless of the way you frame it, it’s crucial to emphasize the joy that fitness can bring to their lives—for the rest of their lives.

Ryder and Nicole EricksonTalk About The Importance of Fitness with Your Kids
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