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In this week's video, Chelsea reflects on the good habits that traveling as an adult has helped her build. Looking to travel on a budget? Check out this video:

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Hey guys, it's Chelsea from The Financial Diet, and this week's video is brought to you by T Mobile, and this week I wanted to talk to you about something fun and different for two reasons: one, we've been doing a lot more of that kind of serious financial stuff on TFD lately, between the financial scams and the tax refund stuff, and I though it would be fun to talk about something a little bit more light-hearted; and also because, as you can probably currently see, I'm traveling right now. I'm actually here in Austin, Texas with Lauren for a stop on our booktour, and we love it so far, but we also thought it would be a great occasion to talk about travel.

So, I'm someone who used to not travel that often. I mean, obviously I would go on vacations with my friends, or you know, somewhere with my parents when I was young, but I definitely didn't travel for work very much, and it wasn't really a part of my every day life. But now for both work reasons, and also personal - because as you guys probably know, my husband is French, which requires quite a lot of travel just for that alone - I travel really frequently. I would say at least once a month I'm taking a plane now, which is very, very strange for me.

But now that travel is such a big part of my life it's become super important that I learn how to travel well, in the sense that it doesn't totally disrupt my day-to-day routines and my work, but also that I learn to take what I love about travel and what I find really healthy about travel and integrate it into the rest of my life. I would say that now I'm generally someone who can pack a bag really easily and really well, who can stay on her work schedule even when she's got really chaotic days, and also someone who can generally find her daily routines and habits wherever she is.

But the opposite is also important. I noticed that when I was traveling, whether for work or personal reasons, that I was doing certain things that were really wonderful, and that had nothing to do with the actual place that I was in. And so over the past year I really worked to integrate these habits into my non-travel life.

I consider them just little rules for living well, but they all come specifically from the act of traveling. But like I said, you don't even have to leave your home to really do them. So without further ado, I wanted to share with you guys the five life rules that I only learned from traveling.

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Number one is take notes about nearly everything. Now, this might sound a little strange, but I've found that when I travel, and specifically when I'm traveling alone, I tend to become a huge note-taker. Last year, for example, I went on an almost two week trip entirely by myself and I found that everything that I did, because there was no one to automatically share it with, felt so important to write down, either in the notes app in my phone or in a little journal that I had in my purse. I found myself remembering things that I wanted to look up, or little things that I noticed that were funny, or even ideas for work.

I wanted to become an observer of life, again, specifically because no one was next to me. And while I do think that there is huge value in solo travel in the sense that it is important to remember that you alone are good enough company to enjoy these things, it's also a really wonderful habit to just start observing, in a much more active way, your day-to-day life. Note-taking shouldn't just be for meetings, it should be when you're sitting at the cafe or when you're on your morning commute - assuming you're not in the middle of driving - or even just when you're hanging out with your friends. 

You would be really surprised how many really interesting ideas and observations fly through your head day-to-day that you often just let totally slip. Remembering to just jot them down, almost as if you were on safari in your own life, is a great idea to start catching them, and also start being more appreciative and more aware of the beautiful things that are happening around you. I've started taking notes way more than I used to in my day-to-day life, and I'm so glad that I do.

Number two is schedule things down to the minute. Now one thing that is obviously fairly difficult when traveling for work is having to stay on a relatively consistant schedule while you're in a totally different time zone. Aside from the fact that you might be waking up at a really wonky time, it's also important that you connect with people on their terms, and not switch everything around and make it chaotic, just because you're no longer in the same time zone. For example, here in Austin we have to wake up earlier to make our normal meetings on their regular schedules, and have to remember to be super-concious not to forget things, whether it's a phone call or reaching out to a client or a meeting, just because we're an hour behind.

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To combat this when I'm traveling, and also to make sure that I'm doing the things that I want to be doing, I have to schedule my days really, really tightly.

And that doesn't mean that I'm packing it full of activities, but rather that I visually on my calendar app chunk out my day and make sure that everything is accounted for, even really small things, like send this email. And also, when you're traveling, even if it's for work, you want to make sure you're using all of that spare time you have to do the sightseeing, or maybe try a restaurant or bar you read about, or even just get a good walk outside of your house.

And when making sure to stay on a work schedule, that stuff has to be accounted for and planned for, too. But I've found that, interestingly, instead of scheduling making my day feel totally overwhelming, it actually makes me feel incredibly liberated because, A) I know I don't have to remember things all the time, but B) I'm making sure I'm making time for the stuff that is important, whether that's for work, or for personal enjoyment. And while I definitely don't schedule my days as tightly when I'm back home versus when I'm traveling, I've started scheduling them much more actively and breaking them down into both personal and work stuff on the same calendar.

I color code them for the category that they're in, but the point is that I plan my day out in a very visual way so that I can make sure that anything that's important enough for me to want to do is important enough to be scheduled. Doing this has allowed me, for example, to add pilates into my regular schedule almost every day without feeling like everything else is being shoved to the side. Just like with note-taking, the point is being more active and present in your day-to-day life.

Number three is let the small stuff go. So one thing I've really noticed about how I am when I'm traveling versus how I am when I'm home is how much I let really small details or grievances roll off my back. It's partially because I'm always tired and I just can't muster up enough energy to care about these things, but also because if feels like there's so much to do and see that I don't want to waste even a minute being irritated about something objectively unimportant.

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A perfect example is when I get to the airport and I have that panicked moment of, like, "oh, my god, what if I forgot this tank top or that little mini bottle of shampoo?"  I'm able to quickly calm myself down in that moment and be like, "chill out!

If you really need that two dollar travel of shampoo, you can get it when you get there." Yet in my day-to-day life little anxieties or frustrations of a similar level of unimportance tend to send me into a little bit of a spiral. Even, for example, a work email that's lightly irritating or perhaps a little rude but definitely doesn't change much of anything - I can harp on all day if I let myself.

And I've found that when I'm traveling I actually sometimes will say out loud to myself, "who cares? It's not that big of a deal." And that's something that I've started to force myself to say more and more in my actual everyday life. Because the truth is, that feeling that you have when you're traveling, that time is precious and you have better shit to worry about, is actually true in your day-to-day life.

There's always something at home that you could be doing, seeing, enjoying more, or simply not worrying about. Allowing yourself to get really caught up on small, unimportant details is probably a sign that you're just not enjoying the world around you enough.

Number four is let yourself enjoy things more fully.I'm sure most of us know that feeling you have when you're traveling that you just can't believe how cool it is to be in this new place, to be doing this new thing, and seeing what you're seeing. It's that child-like excitement of being so unsure, and where everything feels new. And, granted, it would be hard to recreate that exact same level of amazement and presence in your regular, day-to-day life, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.

On a more philosophical sense, it's always a good idea to remind yourself how many of the little luxuries and conveniences of your every-day life are actually kind of miracles, and not just in terms of the technology that might allow them, but also the fact that they are not a given for everyone in the world. Even things like being able to turn on a tap and let the water run or open up your phone and have basically all the information in the world accessible at your fingertips, is not something we shouldn't be amazed by just because it's common.

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But in a more practical sense, your day-to-day life in whatever town you live in can and should feel just as intentional as it does when you're traveling.

Now, that could be something as simple as just not staring at your phone the entire time when you walk around your town or go about your daily routine, but it could also be something like finally making a point to go to that museum or this theater or that park, and do something that you've been putting off because you always assume you'll have time to do it. I live in New York and it's a very, very common thing for New Yorkers to say "Oh, I've been meaning to go to that place forever" or "I'll go eventually" or "I almost never go there," and it's because they have this overwhelming sense that it's so available to them that they never need to make time for it.

Quite frankly, I know more people who don't live in New York who've done all the museums in Manhattan than actual New Yorkers. But nothing is preventing us from making a point to live that fully and in the moment in our actual lives, and it's also a great way to make sure that travel doesn't always feel like you have to go somewhere. You can travel in your own city because all you're really doing in traveling is forcing yourself to see things in a new way or see things you haven't seen before.

No matter what it is you choose to do, though, the point is, the more actively you can plan to do things instead of just letting your life happen when you're at home, the more you can be sure to enjoy it in the moment and not just let if pass you by. For this I've really started, especially in the past year, to go on a lot of 'solo dates' where maybe I'll go to a movie or a restaurant by myself, or just take a really, really long walk to somewhere I haven't been before. Even something as simple as going to a new city block that I haven't actually seen can make me feel like I'm traveling, and for a fraction of the price.

Lastly, number five is get your best work done when it makes sense. As I said, when traveling for work, one of the most difficult things is keeping your work schedule tight when you are totally thrown off by jet lag and likely in a different timezone. And what does that mean most practically, aside from possibly waking up at an ungodly hour to go to meetings? It also means accepting that the best work you're going to do is when you have the energy and time to do it.

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Now this really manifests in two ways, both dealing with things as they arise, as you have the capacity to, instead of automatically putting them off because you don't want to deal with it, and also powering through tasks when you feel that burst of energy, because you don't know when it will come again.

Obviously it's a lot easier to justify answering a bunch of emails at ten pm because you feel really awake, or responding to an email right away instead of putting it off when you're traveling and therefore full of all kinds of things to do and low on energy, but it's something you can recreate at home. In fact, one of the best ways to use it at home, and one of the ways that I've started using it in my day-to-day life, is saving that time for really special projects that are hard to dedicate time to in your day-to-day workflow.

At the average job there are always a couple of bigger-level projects that you could be working on that aren't really time sensitive and might be entirely out of the scope of you day-to-day but deserve to be chipped away at. Or you might be working on a personal project like learning a language or writing a book, or just doing something that's for you. When I'm traveling and I feel both that creative energy and that general excitement, it's so much easier to take those little bursts of energy or window of time and channel them into something that will actually mean something to me.

When I'm home it's so easy to take that same window of time and watch another show on Netflix. So I recommend finding at least one thing, whether it's a bigger-level project at work or even something just for you personally, and say "that is my little go-to thing when I feel that little burst." And again, you might not dedicate more than ten minutes a day to it, but just making sure that you lean into those times and embrace them for what they are, and combine that with doing tasks as they come in whenever you can versus putting them off just for the sake of putting them off, you'll be so surprised at how more full and energized and awesome your day-to-day life feels. At the end of the day, travel is really about one thing, and that's being present and aware in your own life.

Obviously all of the newness and excitement makes that a lot easier when you're actually traveling, but it doesn't have to be only during those times.

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I've found that these life rules are super helpful to live by in my day-to-day life, and make me put myself in that appreciative and travel mindset. Even following one or two of these rules I think will make you feel so much more grateful for the everyday life you're living.

And one thing that's always super important to consider when you travel is what phone you'll use and how your plan will fit into that. Nothing will slap you ouf of that dreamy grateful vacation mode faster than coming home to a nightmarishly high bill because of roaming or other fees, and that is definitely something everyone on the TFD team has been guilty of. But going abroad these days without a good phone and phone plan will make your life unnecessarily difficult, keeping you from doing things like using google maps to find stuff, booking lodging on the go, or just keeping in touch with people back home. If you're looking for a good option, T Mobile offers texting and data abroad in more than 140 coutnries, plus in-flight texting and an hour of data on qualifying flights. And if you're just going to Canada or Mexicoyou have unlimited texting and talking and up to five gigabytes of data. For all of you planning study abroad trips soon, T Mobile has a special offer of one hundred dollars off for college students and teachers of all grades. Check it all out in the link in the description. 

As always, guys, thanks so much for watching, and don't forget to hit the subscribe button and to come back every Tuesday and Thursday for new and awesome videos. Bye!