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Traveling Smarter

Content provided by Scholarship Media.

There's nothing like a great vacation. Travel can open our eyes to new places and new experiences, and time away from the "same old, same old" can do wonders for our bodies and minds. Studies show that vacations can improve our mental and physical health, and that time off can make us more productive and more reliable. Plus, experts agree that travel can expand our horizons and make us more open-minded. As if you needed another reason to want to take a vacation!

That's not to say, though, that vacations are completely free of stress and worry. A lot can go wrong when you travel. A poorly planned vacation can be hard to enjoy and may even be actively stressful, undermining all of the benefits that vacations have. In fact, poorly thought-out travel can even be dangerous. That's why it's so important to travel wisely. Here are a few ways to ensure that your next trip is smarter than your last.

Planning Wisely

The key to a great trip is planning. The better and more extensively you plan, the more enjoyable and relaxing your trip will be when you get there.

To be clear, more planning is not the same thing as planning more things. It's important to leave open spots in your schedule and to leave plenty of time in between items so that you can get to and from places and events without rushing. What we mean by "more planning" is that the things you do plan should be planned extensively and early.

So start early, and nail down the big things fast. Get a great deal on lodging and book airfare, if necessary. Assemble a spreadsheet and keep all of your information in one place. Buy tickets and make reservations for popular events and attractions. The more that you plan now, the less that you'll have to take care of at the last minute—or, worse yet, during your vacation itself.

Not much of a planning person? Then you may want to consider an all-in-one package, point out the experts at Wild & Away, a travel planning service that specializes in big social events. Signing up for a Wild & Away trip, working with a local travel agent, or just grabbing a ticket for a cruise are all great ways to get a well-planned vacation without actually have to, you know, plan.

Staying Healthy

When we take time off of work and travel to someplace wonderful, it's all too easy to get caught up in the moment and feel as if there are no rules. There's a bit of truth to that, but it's important to remember that what happens on vacation doesn't always stay on vacation—especially when "what happens" is eating a whole bunch of fatty foods and drinking your weight in booze.

Vacations are wonderful for our health, but it's up to each of us to make sure that we maximize the positive impact. Try to plan a vacation that will be a bit healthier than the all-too-typical combination of lazy beach days and boozy nights. This doesn't mean that you have to vacation like a monk, but it does mean that you might want to schedule a run on the beach in the morning or scope out some healthy food options for at least a few of the nights of your stay.

Protecting Your Privacy

Being on vacation is the perfect excuse to post all of your photos on social media, right? What could go wrong?

A lot, unfortunately. Social media is simply not a secure place to store or share your photos, and you need to be mindful of what sort of information you're giving out online. Simply posting a photo from Hawaii tells potential home invaders that you are not at home, and that can make your home a target.

Here's a better idea: Use a free online photo storage system that will keep your photos securely in the cloud. Having your photos in the cloud means that you won't have to keep local copies on your laptop hard drive or your phone's flash memory, which will be a good thing if any of your devices are stolen. Cloud-storage makes it easy to share photos securely with others, too, and to quickly move photos to your computer at home when your trip is over. And if you want to post a few key shots on Instagram once you're back, feel free!

Content provided by Scholarship Media.