Be Safe On The Road And Travel Well

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When travelling, we can be easily exposed to a variety of new situations, experiences, illnesses and toxins that don’t appear in our everyday lives at home to such an extent, because our bodies become used to our atmospheres. Taking precautions is key, not just with your health of course but with everything, from checking your cars, tyes, or it’s oil level, or if you’re driving a big truck, to make sure that the engine is ok and there doesn’t need to be any changes to pumps or anything similar, click here to see more.

Start with Vaccinations

Before you travel anywhere, find out about what kind of diseases are prevalent there and if you may need a vaccination before you travel.  You must be prepared for the diseases in other countries, and taking this precaution will ensure that you are safer on the road.

Don’t Drink the Tap Water

Drinking local tap water in any country that’s not considered first world can be very hazardous to your health and even some hotels will advise you to not drink the tap water from the bathroom. Always buy a bottle because unfiltered water can be damaging to your health and you would not want to put yourself at risk.  

Eat Sensibly Always!

You have to be just as careful of the food you are eating, especially if it is not packaged or is sold by street vendors because you do not know where the food has been sourced and it may be dangerous to your health. If there are no ratings or information on it then it could be difficult to know exactly how good the hygiene really is. It’s good to find out what you are eating before you eat it, just to be on the safe side and research thoroughly, especially if you are in a country that is quite foregin to you, particularly Asia, you must be sure what you’re eating as it may not always specify the meat.

Protect against Malaria – Mosquitos

One of the most common illnesses travelers deal with is malaria, and it is often spread via a mosquito bite. You can find mosquitos in lots of countries, warm or tropical and you must always use a repellent as well as keeping windows closed and using mosquito netting where possible, but you definitely want to check ahead and see if malaria is a problem in the country you are visiting so that you can be prepared and ready to spring into action should the need arise. It is important to look for any current health issues also, such as any viruses or flus that are prevalent at the time of travel. Keep your health on the road too, eat well, take vitamins still and keep hydrated to avoid any difficulties whilst traveling. 

These tips should help you avoid some of the more ailments and issues that travellers may encounter on the road and help you avoid them as soon as you can! Be safe and enjoy your travel.

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Essential Tips For a Successful Move Overseas

We really do live in a globalized world these days. No matter where you are, you can have an instantaneous conversation with a person on the other side of the world, and you can even see them in real-time too — that’s pretty amazing, no matter how you look at it. This globalization of society also means that more people than ever before are able to pack up their belongings, move to a new country, and begin a new life. If you’re thinking of making this move, then take a read below, where we outline some essential tips for ensuring the move is successful.

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Do Your Research

No matter where you’re thinking of moving, it’s important that you do as much research as possible. You might have an idea of what life would be like there, but ideas and reality don’t always overlap! And there’s a big difference between visiting a destination and living there. As well as learning about the culture and the pros and cons of the destination, it’s recommended that you take a look at the cost of living. The new country won’t be like your home, transplanted to another part of the world — it’ll have its own economy, expenses, taxes and so on. 

Connect With Others

There is understandably a lot of fear when it comes to moving overseas, no matter how excited the person may be for it. One way to get around this fear is to connect with others before you make the move. This will be easier if you’re moving for work since the company can put you in touch with your new colleagues, but there are also Facebook and other groups that’ll help if you’re just moving by yourself. They’ll be a valuable source of information that will build on top of your independent research.

Making the Move

We tend to think of moving overseas in terms of the psychology effect, such as how we’ll cope and so on. But it’s important to keep in mind that there will be plenty of logistical matters that you need to take care of, too, such as transporting your belongings and yourself to your new country. For your things, it’s best to leave the job to experts such as Chess Moving. They’ll transport your belongings safely and securely, so you can enjoy stress-free travel without having to lug all your personal items with you.

Finding a Place

It’s really important that you find a place to live when you’re on the ground, rather than beforehand, unless it has been arranged by your company. You can’t really know what a place or neighborhood is like until you’re there! Book an apartment on a short-term basis and get searching when you land.

Give it Time 

Finally, be sure to give it a time! It always takes time to adjust to a big move, and you’ll feel homesick no matter how exciting the move is. Slowly but surely, your new place will begin to feel like home. Be patient. 

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Time Limit: How Far Back Can I Claim a Flight Compensation?

Originally posted on the Claimcompass blog on October, 17th, 2019.

“My flight was delayed 6 years ago. Back then, I had no idea that I could get compensated for that. Can I still get a compensation for that flight delay?”

This is what many passengers who have only recently been made aware of their air passenger rights wonder.

Well, yes, you can probably still claim your cancelled or delayed flight compensation – but there is a time limit. How far back you can claim varies from one country to the next.

If your flight was cancelled or delayed by at least 3 hours, you can get up to 600€ in compensation from the airline. Check if you’re eligible by filling out your flight information here – it takes only 3 minutes!CHECK YOUR FLIGHT NOW

You-Might-Get-a-Compensation-for-That-Old-Flight-Delay-After-All

How Far Back Can I Claim Compensation In Each Country?

So you can claim for flight disruptions which happened years ago. But how many years exactly?

The time-limit depends on the legislation of the country you bring the claim to.

Here is an extensive list of countries in Europe, with how far back you can claim for each of them:

How-Far-Back-Can-I-Claim-a-Compensation-for-Flight-Delay-or-Cancellation

And here again in full text if that’s easier for you. This is how far back you can undertake court actions to claim compensation for your delayed or cancelled flight:

As you can see, there is no harmonization at the European level: each country has their own legislation on the matter.

For instance, in France, you can claim up to 5 years after the flight – but only 3 years in Germany and 3 in Italy. But you can still claim up to 6 years after the flight disruption in the United Kingdom.

However, keep in mind that to this day, no passengers on a flight disrupted over 6 years before got compensated. Even though it is possible, in theory.

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How Do I Know Which Country To Bring My Claim To?

If you let ClaimCompass do all the work for you, then you don’t need to worry about that. Our legal experts will get in touch with the airline and the appropriate legal body.

Submit your claim now, it takes less than 3 minutes!

Now, if you decide to take the matter in your own hands, I suggest you first read this guide on flight delay compensation or this one on compensation for cancelled flight. They’re packed with everything you need to know about flight disruptions and how to claim compensation.

Should you need to escalate your claim to a legal body such as a National Enforcement Body (NEB) or an Alternative Resolution Dispute (ADR) scheme, know that you can bring the case to the country of the departure airport or the arrival airport.

Whenever you have a choice, contact the legal body of the country where the legislation is most favorable to you: for example, in the case of a flight between the UK and Germany, contact the British NEB, since their statute of limitation is 6 years, versus 3 for Germany.

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Can I Claim Compensation if My Flight Wasn’t in Europe?

When the EU Regulation 261/2004 isn’t applicable, can you still get money for your delayed, cancelled, or overbooked flight?

For international flights, the Montreal Convention acts as reference for your passenger rights – and it sets a time limit of 2 years to claim:

“The right to damages shall be extinguished if an action is not brought within a period of two years, reckoned from the date of arrival at the destination, or from the date on which the aircraft ought to have arrived, or from the date on which the carriage stopped” – Article 35, Montreal Convention

When the EC 261 isn’t applicable, you can still hope to be compensated under the Montreal Convention. Do not, however, that the time limit is shorter than in most European countries.

Plus, keep in mind that with the Montreal Convention, you are “only” eligible to compensation for damages incurred by the flight disruption. “Just” being delayed isn’t enough for you to get any money from the airline.

Whenever you have the choice, claim compensation under the EU Regulation instead.

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Air Passenger Rights in the USA: When Can You Get a Flight Compensation

We already told you how to claim up to €600 for flights in-and-out of Europe. But when it comes to air passenger rights in the USA, how does it work?

Similarly to the European Economic Community and the EU Regulation 261/2004, the US Department of Transportation has established certain rules for airlines to follow.

Dive in and learn about your passenger rights!

Transparency and honest fares

The displayed price of a ticket should be the final price you pay. In other words, it should include all government taxes, mandatory airline charges, fuel surcharges, and so on. This rule applies not only to airlines, but also to other travel retailers, be it online or offline. Note that the price of the ticket includes taking you from point A to point B.

Add-ons such as Seat selection, excess baggage, extra airport services are normally not included in the price and not subject to the above rule.

Overbooking and denied boarding

Overbooking simply means that the airline has sold more tickets than it has seats on the plane. When you get involuntarily “bumped” off the flight, you are entitled to compensation, unless the airline can get you to your final destination within an hour of the scheduled arrival time. The rate of the compensation depends on the flight and the length of the delay.

If you arrive at your final destination between one and two hours late (on domestic flights) or two to four hours late (on international flights), you are entitled to 200% of the value of the one-way fare to your destination, not exceeding $650. For delays that exceed these times, the airline owes you 400% of the fare, but not exceeding $1,300. In these cases you get to keep your original ticket and can ask for either a full refund, or travel credit, which you can use at a later time.

Delays and cancelations

When your flight is substantially delayed, canceled or rescheduled, you have the right to reroute via a different airport at no cost, regardless of the difference in the fare, or request a full refund.

What constitutes a “substantial” delay or schedule change is up to the airline. The latter is described in a type of policy called “Customer Service Plan”, which outlines what are the airlines’ responsibilities vis-à-vis its passengers in case of a delay, cancelation or a schedule change, as well as a number of other circumstances.

Most airlines will offer a meal voucher for shorter delays, and hotel accommodation for overnight delays, yet the policies and their implementation varies. It is important to note that, unlike for cases of overbooking and flights in-and-out of Europe, US regulations do not require airlines to pay compensation when a flight is delayed or cancelled.

Tarmac delays

A tarmac delay would arise when you have boarded the plane, but haven’t taken off yet, or upon landing and have no access to the terminal. In these cases, the airline cannot keep you on the plane for more than three hours (domestic) or four hours (international) and should allow you to disembark if you wish.

The airline must also offer you food and water after two hours, as well as provide access to the lavatories and an update on the delay every 30min. Again, unfortunately for you, when these rights aren’t respected, you are not entitled to compensation, but the airline would get fined.

Air Passenger Rights: Bottom Line

European and US regulations clearly differ, yet they exist nevertheless. If you believe your rights haven’t been respected on a US flight, we suggest you get a hold of the airline’s customer service. For disrupted European flights, you can calculate your compensation with the help of our Compensation Calculator.

And don’t forget to subscribe to the ClaimCompass newsletter: in addition to travel tips that you won’t find on the blog, you’ll get a free checklist to know if you’re entitled to compensation from your airline!

You might also be interested in:

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Budget Travel Tips for Students Traveling in 2019

Originally posted on claimcompass.eu by Thomas Busson, the SEO and Content Strategist at ClaimCompass. Frequent traveller, he loves sharing tips and news about the industry in a simple way.

A trip abroad, whether it is to study in a different university for semester or to take a break from classes to seek a different kind of knowledge, is often (always?) a turning point in a student’s life.

But to make the most of their trip in 2019, students would do well to keep in mind those budget travel tips.

After all, there’s nothing more frustating than being in a new and exciting environment and be unable to fully enjoy it because you struggle financially.

These proven techniques have allowed me to travel to Europe and Asia as a student, without having to worry too much about money… despite a student loan.

Don’t approach your trip abroad as you do every exam, by starting to work on it at the last minute. The more prepared you are, the more you’ll enjoy the experience.

Before Leaving on Your Trip

Choose Your Destination Wisely

Where will you stay?

The place where you will spend a semester or more obviously has a major impact on how fast you will run out of money.

European countries are very varied in terms of cost of life. Western Europe and Scandinavia are generally more expensive than Central and Western Europe, as you can see on the maps from this handy post.

Now, keep in mind that while this means that you will feel more pressure on your budget in Western Europe and Scandinavia, it is actually very close to the cost of life in the US. Not to mention that if you decide to work on the side, you will earn more money than you would in Central and Eastern Europe.

But the latter has a lot to offer as well: not only will you find good universities in the East, it’s also very cheap and easy to travel to another country. Something to keep in mind if you consider visiting several countries during your stay in Europe.

The cost of life will generally be lower in South America, Africa, and Asia, with a few exceptions.

Save Money on Flights

Unlike for shorter trips, the price of your flight ticket isn’t going to be one of your main expenses when you travel for a few months… provided that you know how to book cheap flights.

When it comes to finding low fares, the key word is “flexibility”. Choose your travel dates and the time when you book your flight with care: the price can vary to more than double within a week.

As a rule of thumb, avoid flying during major holidays or on Fridays (when many people fly for a weekend trip) or Sundays (when people fly back from a weekend trip).

Use a flight search engine like Skyscanner or Momondo: they let you see the prices for a whole month at the same time, so you can easily spot which day is the cheapest one.

Keep in mind that to increase your chances of scoring the cheapest fares, you should aim at booking your international flight between 3-4 months in advance. Don’t rely on last-minute deals, it’s likely that there won’t be any.

If tickets to your destination are always expensive, consider an alternative path to your destination.

For example, when I went to China, tickets were very expensive for my dates (and I was very flexible with those). So instead of flying straight there, I flew to Vietnam, spent some time there, and then took a flight to China. The overall cost was much lower than if I had flown directly to China, even taking the accommodation costs in Vietnam into account.

For more ways to save money on flights, I highly recommend that you check out this post.

Look for Accommodation

Now that you know where you’re going, start thinking of where you’re going to stay… and how you can save money on accommodation.

Check out Student Dorms First

Being a student has major advantages when it comes to access to discounts (more on that later), especially in regards to accommodation. Mainly because your student status gives you access to student dorms.

If you’re traveling for a university exchange, contact your host university and inquire about the availability of dormitories on the campus or nearby. If there are any, this is probably your best bet to save money on accommodation.

Still, dig a little bit deeper first before booking a bed in a dorm.

Look for Shared Flats

In general, renting a room in a flat is more expensive than renting one in a dormitory. But if you can find roommates to split the expenses, the rent might be very similar in the end.

Just keep in mind that very often, you will have to leave a deposit first – even though you will (likely) recover it at the end of your stay, this is still a big expense at the beginning of the trip. Hence the need to find roommates if you elect this option.

If you’re traveling with other friends from university, ask them if they’d consider sharing a flat. If you’re alone, you can join Facebook groups for students traveling to your destination. In Europe, these groups will often be called “Erasmus [city name] [year]”.

You can also book your first month in the university dormitory and look for a shared flat once you’re there. Being on site usually makes things much easier.

Visit Your Doctor

No matter where you’re traveling, pay a visit to your doctor before your trip. Make sure that everything is in order health-wise and tell her/him about your travel plans: they will be able to advise whether you need any vaccines or should pack specific medication.

If you’re on a special treatment, make sure that you’ll be able to get what you need there, or ask your doctor for a prescription that will allow you to bring your medication with you. If your treatment isn’t available at your destination, it will cost you extra to have it brought to you from abroad.

A visit to your dentist probably isn’t a bad idea either… If it turns out that you have a problem abroad and your insurance doesn’t cover the fees, this could be a major unwanted expense that can easily ruin your trip.

Medical bills are usually very expensive, so you want to make sure that you’re as prepared as possible on that front, to limit the risks of bad surprises.

Get Your Travel Documents in Order

If you don’t already have one, get a passport. If you do have one, make sure it doesn’t expire while you’re abroad. Ideally, you want your passport’s expiration date to be at least 6 months after the date of your flight back: if for one reason or another you need to stay longer, you’ll be glad you have this 6-month margin rather than going to your embassy in emergency.

The same goes for your visa: check whether you need one or not in advance. If you wait until the last minute, you may have to request an accelerated procedure, which is always more expensive.

Once you’re abroad, you really do not want to have to make a hole in your budget because of administrative procedures. Make sure everything is sorted out before you hop on the plane.

Determine Your Bugdet and Ways to Manage It Efficiently

Estimate How Much this Trip Will Cost You

There is no need for you to go into too much details, but having a vague estimate of your expenses abroad will go a long way to helping you save money once you’re on site.

Do some research on the cost of life at your destination. You want to have a rough idea of how expensive are the rents, how much money you need for a month/week of grocery shopping, how costly it is to go out, etc.

Knowing this will help you manage your budget more efficiently once you’re there, as you will be able to compare your actual expenses with your initial research and make some adjustements to your spending habits if necessary.

Get an ISIC

As a student, the first thing you want to do is getting an International Student Identity Card (ISIC): this magic card will unlock a plethora of discounts for you. It is recognized in most countries around the world. Some countries, however, only recognize the local student cards – so once you’re abroad, try to get one of those done as well by your host university.

Apply for a Grant

You should also inquire about grants: if you’re not planning on working during your trip, these may be your sole source of revenue. The main institutions that could potentially offer a grant are your own university, your host univeristy, and the state. Do a bit of research and apply. Again, do so in advance, because grants are often given several months before

Contact your Bank

Make sure that using your credit or debit card abroad won’t incur significant fees. Tell your banker about your trip and the countries you’re planning on visiting: they’ll be able to recommend which card to use to save money on card payments and withdrawals. For example, it might be cheaper to withdraw large amounts of cash once you’re abroad, rather than pay by card, if there are fees every time that you do so.

If it looks like your bank doesn’t offer much advantages to people traveling abroad, consider changing. TransferWise‘s borderless account or the bank N26 have very low transfer fees and are particularly popular among young travelers.

If you think that your budget is a bit tight, you might want to raise the issue with your banker as well, to benefit from a loan a low rate. However, if you can avoid going into debt, refrain from taking a loan, as it will cost you more money in the long run.

Pack your Bag

Bring a (Small) Suitcase to Pack your Essentials… If you Really Have to

You may have noticed that I recommended that you pack your essentials. I meant exactly that. That’s why you should you insist on bringing a carry-on, bring only a small suitcase. Even if you’re leaving for 6 months or more.

To save money – or rather to avoid paying bag fees at the airport – make sure that your suitcase meets the airline’s requirements in terms of weight and dimension.

You might be tempted to bring all your favorite clothes, books, and other random items. Don’t. It’s a basic mistake. The lighter you travel, the more enjoyable the experience. It’s makes moving around much easier and pleasant, while a large and heavy suitcase will only make traveling a hassle.

So when you’re packing, apply the popular saying: “take half the clothes and twice the money” (yes, that last part can be tricky too, but at least, you have full control over the fiest one).

Wherever you will live, there will be a way for you to do a laundry. So apply the 1 to 6 rule.

But Consider Traveling with a Backpack Only

I know the idea might seem daunting, especially when leaving for several months at a time. But this is a key budget travel tip.

When going abroad, to study or not, you will travel to places other than the town or city where you will live. If you travel by plane, you need to have a small piece of luggage to use as a carry-on, that is both respectful of the airline’s dimensions requirements and in which you can pack enough for a few days.

Hence the backpack. You do NOT want to have a suitcase to carry when you’re on the move. Instead, opt for a anti-theft backpack that lets you keep your money safe and pack a few clothes, without hindering your mobility.

By traveling with a carry-on only, you will save a ton of money for your trip: most airlines’ basic fares include only a carry-on. If you want to get a hand on those cheap flights, you’d better opt for a backpack only.

Some people travel the world during years at a time with only a bag on their back. If they can do it for so long, surely you can do it for a few months.

During Your Trip

You’ve arrived at destination: now what? How do you make sure that you don’t run out of money?

A quick tip for you before getting to the heart of the matter: if you were flying from the US to Europe with a European airline and your flight was delayed, cancelled, or overbooked , and you reached your destination at least 3 hours later than planned, you may be entitled to $700 in compensation from the airline.

Manage Your Budget

You have two options to stay within your budget while traveling: you can either save money or  earn some.

Or you can do both.

Find Ways to Save Money

Let’s start by cutting down your expenses.

Cancel your Unnecessary Subscriptions

What good is your gym membership if you can’t go to the gym for 6 months? Cancelling it before leaving will allow you to allocate this budget to a different activity when you’re abroad.

Review the list of all the services that you have subscribed to and cancel the superfluous ones. Be ruthless about it.

Save Money on Food

To save money on food, start by cooking your own meals as often as possible.

Buy your groceries at the local market or supermarket instead of have lunch and dinner at the restaurant every day. But do not look for the specific products that you are used to eating back home: they’re likely to cost much more than in the US. Instead, try the local, cheaper alternatives.

Save Money on Accomodation

If you’re like every other students who goes studying abroad, you’ll be traveling every time you get the chance (ie when you don’t have class).

A fantastic way to save money on accommodation while traveling is to volunteer. While you won’t be paid, you will generally be offered free board and lodging in exchange for your work. Most volunteers say that their experience was life-changing for them, so do take a minute to consider the idea.

You can find example of volunteer missions on websites like Workaway or HelpX. If you want to work on an organic farm, check out WWOOF. You can also work in a hostel, where you will meet travelers with inspiring stories and still have time to enjoy what the town or city has to offer.

Save Money while Visiting Places

Avoid booking expensive tours to discover a new city. Many places now offer free walking tours. They are generally organized and led by young locals anxious to show the beauty of their city in a casual atmosphere.

While the popular Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor can always give you an idea of what to do and see in a new city, you should also look for travel blogs on your destination, for more off-the-beaten-path inspiration. Why? Because these places are usally less touristic and therefore, cheaper than the rest, while also being more authentic.

Or Look Into Ways to Earn Money While Traveling

If you can’t refrain from spending more money than you should (or can afford), you’re going to need ways to earn more money while studying abroad.

Teach English… or Any Other Skill that you Have

Being an American student gives you a major advantage over many people around the world: you’re speaking English as a native language (or at least fluently).

Did you know that there are literally millions of people in the world willing to learn how to speak English? English teachers are in demand worldwide. But the best part is that you no longer need to give a class in person: you can now do it over a simple video call.

If teaching a language doesn’t appeal to you, you might be more inclined to share your passion. Do you play an instrument? I bet someone would love to learn! Do you do yoga? Or surf? People are looking for teachers in many places around the world.

Freelance

With your university degree in the pocket (or almost…), you probably already have business skills and knowledge that employers are looking for. By trying to sell them during your trip abroad, you will accomplish 2 things of value to you: you will earn money (that’s still your main goal) and you will add a work experience on your resume, which future potential employers will be delighted to see.

Based on your skills, you can do copywriting, design, programming, etc. Here as well, possibilities are endless, or close.

Build Your Plan to Integrate those Budget Travel Tips

There is no doubt that your trip abroad will be a life-changing experience. The extent to which it will may very well depend on how well you handle your budget.

Use this post as a checklist to prepare you trip and make sure that you don’t miss out on an opportunity to save money.

Happy travels!

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3 Good Reasons to Do a Camping Trip Soon

Image via Pixabay

With more and more of us living in cities and other built-up urban environments, the natural world isn’t necessarily something that plays a prominent role in our everyday lives, as a rule.

Still, there is undeniably something deep within the human psyche that draws us towards the natural world. That must be part of the reason why nature documentaries are so popular, and why so many people are so concerned with environmental issues.

In order to reconnect with nature, many people go on camping trips when the opportunity arises.

If you’ve been thinking about investigating roof boxes for your car, dusting off your tent, getting back to nature and doing a camping trip of your own recently, here are a few reasons why you should go ahead with that plan.

Time spent in nature helps you to reset your body and mind

An incredible number of people in today’s world apparently suffer from disrupted circadian rhythms, and various hormonal and mood issues – not to mention health problems – as a direct result of this.

There are many reasons for this, including the prevalence of bright artificial light in the evenings, and abuse of caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants.

The interesting thing is, research has shown that when people go camping in nature without artificial lights for a few days, their circadian rhythms are radically reset, and they are brought into much better alignment with the natural cycles of night and day.

Time spent in nature help you to reset your body and your mind in a variety of ways. It helps to get you back to a healthy baseline.

Time spent in nature helps you to radically destress and gain a sense of perspective on things

People who spend more time in nature appear to be healthier, happier, and more stress free, than their counterparts who live in built-up urban settings and spend all their time there.

This has been a consistent finding among researchers of various types.

When you get out in nature, you can see your everyday situation from a different perspective, and can better identify solutions to issues that might have been hidden from you before.

It’s not exactly clear why this is the case, but throughout history, many notable people have reported that walking in nature has been a key for helping to inspire them to come up with solutions for complex problems.

Time spent in nature helps you to experience the wonder of the world at large

There is just something majestic and awe-inspiring about a beautiful natural environment, and the fact that such an environment isn’t the product of human artifice.

When you are spending time out in nature, you put yourself in a position where it’s much easier for you to experience the wonder of the world at large, and to regain some of the childlike sense of enthusiasm and curiosity that we typically lose sight of as we get older.

Nature is something to experience, and not just something to understand. And in order to experience it properly, we have to give up a little bit of our control, and just marvel at the sights and sounds that surround us.

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The Off-Road Road Trip: 4 Things That Can Easily Go Wrong

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When you picture a road trip, nothing negative comes to mind. You’re on the open road with the wind blowing through your hair and the tunes blasting out through the speaker. Road trip, baby! Thinking about everything which can go wrong is fruitless. What’s the point in fretting over something which might or might not happen further down the road?

The thing is, it’s not rare for things to pop-up and ruin the experience. All of a sudden, your dream turns into a nightmare as you’re up a proverbial creek without a paddle. While meticulous planning is not an option – you want some freedom – it is wise to consider the pitfalls which will put the brakes on the entire trip.

At least that way you can avoid any nasty and unnecessary surprises. With that in mind, here are four things that aren’t uncommon and how to fix them.

A Driving Record

Let’s face facts – every motorist has done things they aren’t proud of. For the most part, you try and put them behind you and attempt to be a better person. Of course, there are a few black marks on your file which don’t go away. Driving under the influence is one of them because it’s a criminal offense.

If you got a DUI, the last thing on your mind at the time would be a rental. The potential fine and jail time were more pressing matters. Unfortunately, even a slap on the wrists might bring a halt to the journey before you’ve started. Although it’s not impossible to lease a vehicle with a DUI, it’s a lot tougher than in the past.

The rental company might perform a background check of your license and make a judgment call. They don’t want to lose out due to your indiscretions. Your options are to be upfront and to sign a disclaimer form if they demand one. A tip: Enterprise doesn’t check the DMV database and only require a valid license.

The Gas Tank

It’s empty and needs filling up. Worse, you’ve been to the gas station and now it’s making a funny noise. Wait a minute – did you use petrol or diesel? Whoops. Sometimes, the car company won’t tell you what type of gas it uses and that’s a problem. You can make a gut choice, but get it wrong and you’ll have to pay up.

Although it’s an obvious fix, be sure to ask about the tank before leaving. Another important factor is the return policy. Lots of rentals have a full-to-full rule where they provide a full tank of gas and you have to return it in the same condition. This is more serious than it sounds as thriftier road trippers like to calculate the costs to stay on budget.

One option is to pick a car with a full-to-empty plan.

Collisions

Crashes are pretty common around the world with over six million of them in the US per year on average. Usually, you’re not bothered about an accident as you feel in control behind the wheel. However, this trip, you’re jacked up on adrenaline. Plus, it’s a different model than you drive back home and need to get used to the controls.

The thing you can control is yourself, so stick to the basics. Drive to the speed limit and never lose focus. If you get tired, pull over and switch. That’s one of the perks of having a car full of designated drivers.

Also, always make sure the navigator does their job properly. Because you’re not used to the roads, they should give you detailed instructions. Even if it’s a simple “take the next left,” it lets you concentrate on the most important thing: driving.

No Cell Reception

The point of the trip is to get away from life for a while. You don’t need cell phone reception – it needs you! Except, you need it in case something goes wrong. It’s always nice to have a backup should you get lost or run out of gas in the middle of nowhere.

Speaking of directions, your satellite navigation system might use the internet. Lots of tech-savvy road trippers use a phone and Google Maps combo because it’s easy. Therefore, you’re going to need cell reception to stay on the right track.

You might not think you can mess with Mother Nature, but a signal booster does just that. Alternatively, bring a retro sat nav like a Tom-Tom to pick up the slack if your cell fails.

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