10 Tips to Prepare For Your First International Trip

10 Tips to Prepare For Your First International Trip

“It’s better to see something once, than to hear about it a thousand times.” – Asian Proverb

If you’re anything like me, travelling internationally for the first time was a bit overwhelming, confusing and quite honestly frightening. Coming from a very small town, we all knew each other; everyone was either family or friends and the community was a safe one. I remember once during my childhood going to visit family in Southern Ontario and driving by Toronto was sought as being “dangerous”. I still chuckle at the thought today. Of course, danger exists around every corner, but that fearfulness instilled in your mind is the real deal breaker, the one that increases the risk of that unnecessary feeling: anxiety. I still remember my first time out of Canada, which was for my honeymoon in Dominican Republic back in 2000. I was a bit naïve and anxious as I was out of my comfort zone –  I was travelling to an unfamiliar place for the first time! I wish I had the information I do today, it would have made my experience a little less frightful and stressful. It’s true what they say: “You learn by experience” and it’s an ongoing process. After having travelled to many countries, I now know much more about preparing myself, and the positive benefits that travelling can bring to oneself, however it is normal to experience that anxious feeling and it can be quite intimidating if it’s your first time.

Here’s my top 10 tips to help ease your travelling anxiety

  1. Don’t take everyone’s opinions personally or literally!

People have different opinions based on their experiences and personalities. Some even have opinions on areas or places they’ve never visited or experienced yet! Don’t forget, we’re all different in term of what we look for when we travel, so opinions can vary greatly! Food, accommodations, culture, language, activities – those areas can be very subjective in terms of personal preferences. That’s one of many reasons consulting and booking with a Certified Travel Consultant (Rachel’s Travel…wink, wink) can help ease your fear of travelling, giving you professional facts instead of personal opinions!

 

  1. Research before you leave!

As much as your neighbour’s negative or positive opinions might instill more fear or hope, research can go a long way. Look for factual websites that can be useful. Learn about the culture, about the language and the food. Having a sense of the other countries’ culture can help you avoid some disappointments or misconceptions about their living lifestyle. Try looking at videos on YouTube or reading some reviews about the place. BUT! Be careful when reading reviews, some can bring more anxiety as so many people feel like it’s a place to rant over and get freebies from the resorts or hotels. I’m not saying to look only for positive reviews – after reading a few, you will start to see and feel a recurrence of certain aspects about the place – that’s where you form your judgement. AND, if you tap in and listen to your gut instinct, you’ll know if it’s the right or wrong place for you. Again, consulting with a professional is always recommended!

  1. Protect your home while you’re away!

With social media being a huge part of our lives these days, we love to share our experiences and photos on social media platforms with our family and friends while we’re on vacation. However this can trigger some people to become unwelcomed guests into your home. Don’t spend your precious holidays worrying about thieves or nasty weather. With technology at our fingertips, there are a panoply of apps available to monitor your house. Or if you’re anything like me, I prefer having a house sitter while I’m away!

  1. Organize your papers!

It can happen to the best of us! Losing a passport, a driver’s licence or a credit card. Take some time before you leave to scan or take pictures of your passport and important identification. Send them to your e-mail and leave a copy with someone you trust, you’ll have access to them if ever the need arises. Also make a list of your financial institution and credit card’s contact information. And don’t forget to advise your local financial institution that you’ll be using your bank or credit card abroad! Have a backup credit card in case of emergencies. With today’s technology, you can access your e-mail pretty much anywhere there’s Wi-Fi. In the event you lose your passport or credit card, you can easily get in contact with the correct institution to get your things back in order. Get acquainted with the Embassies & Consulate. Look up the Canadian consular services information in the country where you’ll be visiting in case of an emergency. You’ll have an idea of who and where to reach out to in the event of an emergency.

  1. Staying Connected!

In today’s modern society, our cell phone is our new BFF (or enemy – depending on how you perceive it). Whether you have a business or family that you need to be connected to back home, using your cell phone abroad can be VERY costly if you didn’t prepare prior to your departure. Check with your wireless carrier to see what roaming plan it offers. If buying a roaming package is not feasible for you, turn on your airplane mode to avoid using data and incurring unwanted charges. Use the Wi-Fi provided at your destination. Here are a few of my favorite App’s for staying connected while using only Wi-Fi: FaceTime, WhatsApp, Skype.

  1. Travel Insurance!

I can’t stress enough on the insurance thing. Yes, it’s expensive! Yes, there are some restrictions! BUT! If the correct policy and coverage are in place and you understand them, you won’t have to stress about it while you’re travelling. The best thing is to consult with your Certified Travel Consultant or your insurance provider to make sure you have the best coverage for your needs. Don’t assume you’re covered for everything, READ your policy. The last thing you want on vacation is finding out you’ll have to pay $5,000 to get a cast on your broken arm when you slipped on that wet tile! That $300 travel insurance policy could’ve saved you $4,700! Again, researching and reading your travel insurance policy is key to knowing exactly what you are or aren’t covered for!

  1. Talk to your professional health care provider!

Take time to see your health care professional a few months prior to your travel date. Getting professional medical advice (not your neighbour’s – unless he or she’s an M.D…) can save you from getting an unknown virus or disease. Better to take advice from a professional, as they can recommend how to be protected with the proper vaccinations, supplements or medications.

  1. Money talks!

Look up the currency conversion rates. You might be baffled when you get to Jamaica to have to pay $300J for a cold Red Stripe if you have no idea what $300J is worth in your countries’ currency! Have some local currency, not all places accept $US or $CAN or even credit cards.

  1. Put your smart hat on!

Don’t do anything that would put yourself or your travel companion in danger. Be street-smart and alert. Don’t flash expensive jewellery (actually, leave them at home), pickpocketing and stealing can and do happen. Bring only a minimal amount of cash (leave the bulk in your hotel safe). Don’t leave your wallet in your back pocket, use a cross body bag, and don’t leave your bags unattended with a stranger! I’ve seen this happen too many times, yikes! If it feels like you’re in the wrong place or if something is off, it probably is, trust your instinct. Those little tips can help reduce the risks. Respect the culture and the people and the same will be shown to you.

  1. Lastly, HAVE FUN!

Let loose, get out of your comfort zone and savor every second of your well-deserved vacation or travelling adventure! This is YOUR time to experience another destination’s culture. Take it in, have a positive attitude and be grateful for this great adventure! Travelling can be a life changing experience!

The Hidden Agenda of Essential Oils

The Hidden Agenda of Essential Oils

With all the healthy alternative craze, essential oils are a newly emerging trend in the health industry. Nowadays, they are everywhere claiming some pretty awesome healthy benefits associated with their usage and their aromatherapy. Massage therapists, yoga instructors, spas are all advocate of using essential oils. Claiming enhanced well-being and positive healthy alternatives with natural ingredients to support a healthy lifestyle, essential oils are gaining popularity amongst the healthy lifestyle enthusiasts. Until a few years ago, I had never heard or considered the benefits of using essential oils. But as my lifestyle got more stressful and busier, juggling a full time teaching career and managing a few businesses (which was making me sick and miserable), that’s when I turned to natural products and healthy alternatives to help me cope with my stress levels (FYI: changing career paths also lead me to a healthier lifestyle).

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As I discovered some healthy alternatives that were helping me cope with the side effects of stress, I also turned to yoga. Yoga was growing on me and I practiced regularly; it was making me feel better, happier and more in tune with myself. The outcome was positive; I fell in love with the benefits of practicing such a relaxing, yet challenging routine. While discovering my personal yoga journey a few years ago, that’s when I discovered doTERRA essential oils. I was attending a yoga conference in Toronto and my yogi colleagues were all swearing by the benefits of using the essential oils, so I decided to attend a workshop to learn more about this company. I fell in love with the products on the spot, but I was skeptical and didn’t want to put my eggs in one basket at once, so I did a lot of research to make sure I was using a natural product without harmful ingredients. What I found was overwhelming! So many information, so many different essential oil companies, so many claims, so many this and so many that…I was confused! But, that did not stop me from researching the different products and companies. Through lots of reading materials and a few years of every day use, I discovered that doTERRA is one of the best essential oil companies out there for me and many others who value the benefits of this wellness alternative. Yes, there are other similar companies with great products and benefits on the market as well, but doTERRA was the one that stuck with me.

 

Here is a glimpse of how doTERRA essential oils are incorporated in my daily routines:

No more perfume! Yep, I’ve put all my chemically filled perfume bottles in the trash! Every morning, I apply a combination of oils to balance my mood. The smell is natural, toxic free and inviting. If I feel tired, I’ll choose an oil that can uplift my mood and energy. Full moon on the horizon? That’s when I choose a calming oil to ground myself. The multitude of options are endless when you get the perfect blend to balance your mood.

pic for blog perfumesCar freshener: I’ve always felt overwhelmed by the scent of store-bought car fresheners. Their smell is overpowering and might I add toxic! A few drops of my favorite scent are all it takes to freshen up my car and feel like I’m in a spa setting while driving. Now that’s what I’m talking about – relaxing behind the wheels, avoiding road rage and speeding, the positive benefits are a no brainer!

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Household cleaners: since my childhood, my mom has always been an advocate of using products like Mr. Clean, Pine-Sol, and other similar brands…Humm? Have you researched the toxic ingredients in those products? Yikes! That sh*t is toxic and can harm your health! No wonder health issues are on the rise! I’m no doctor, but…it seems like common sense to me. I use multiple scents and blends to purify my furniture, wash my floors and even clean my bathroom. And it leaves my house smelling divine!

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Sleeping: I love my doTERRA diffuser! Every night before bed, I start it up with my favourite relaxing blend. Falling asleep has never smelled so good! And guess what? It also serves as a white noise machine!

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Yoga: to inspire beautiful smells and clean my mat in a toxin-free way, I use a special blend that takes less than five minutes to prepare. It takes out the smell and purifies the fibres of the mat without harsh ingredients. No better way than to start and finish my practice with an aromatic powerful tool. Talking about yoga, I also use different blends to help balance my chakras. When I feel out of balance, I follow the chakra balancing steps as well as a guided meditation to restore my chakras.

Ready to try the yoga mat cleaner recipe? Get curious and find it HERE. Want to learn more about chakras? Connect with my favorite yoga instructor- Kim.

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Travelling: I never leave home without my oils. I even travel with my diffuser on occasions to bring the aromatherapy benefits with me. For me, they have become part of my everyday life and routine. Whether I sprinkle a few drops in my luggage before departure (and after), to lavender drops on my pillows and my skin care concoctions, they are my favorite travelling companions!

In conclusion, being part of the doTERRA family has given me the opportunity to educate myself to live a healthier lifestyle. I’ve gained some useful tips, recipes and other goodies to help balance my daily routines. If you enjoyed this post, share the heart . We can all use some in our daily lives!

Want to learn more about these amazing products? Get curious HERE.

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Disclosures:

FDA disclaimer: “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.” 

I am a doTERRA Wellness Advocate who receives Bonuses and commissions from the Company.