5 Tips For Your First Year in a Long Distance Relationship

5 Tips For Your First Year in a Long Distance Relationship

Being apart from your sweetheart can be lonely and frustrating. Whether it's for a few days, a week, a month, or a long distance relationship - any time is too long! I know how it feels to be separated from your spouse and I want to help all of our long distance couples stay strong, happy, and healthy. If you’re considering entering a long distance relationship, or find yourself in one, here are 5 tips for getting through the first year.

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What You Should Know Before Taking a Cruise

Hello Lovely,

I just got back from my summer vacation and I’ve got to say, IT…WAS…A…BLAST!!! I took my second cruise on Carnival (my first cruise was 2001, and also on Carnival). While it wasn’t my original plan to spend my summer trapped on a boat with my family, the fact that my dad was getting married kind of made it a priority, regardless. We boarded the Carnival Glory on Saturday 7th July, 2018. The first part of the trip was a little stressful because we were supposed to do an online check in, but no one told me that we were supposed to do an online check in until the night before. But the moment I walked up and saw the Carnival Glory (in all its glory) I was overwhelmed in awe. Luckily it wasn’t too much of a hassle for me to get checked in at the ship. When I realised how many things were limited, prohibited or simply not included, I just knew that I had to write this guide to help anyone considering a cruise vacation. Keep in mind, ships may have different regulations or the small stuff, but in general, they all follow the same guidelines.

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1.      Wi-Fi is not included

I was pissed to find out that for the S1100 I had invested, it did not include Wi-Fi. To make it worse, there were different internet packages for different services just to force you to spend more money. The most basic was the social media package (access to Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram etc.) for $4 per day. That came out to $28 for me for the entire trip. If you wait until you're onboard, it's $5 per day. The Value Wi-Fi plan adds access to email, airline sites as well as news, entertainment (not including streaming sites), sports, weather, banking and finance. Pre-Cruise price: $10.25 USD per day | Onboard price: $12.00 USD per day | Onboard price for 24 hour plan: $16.00 USD.
Then there's the Premium Wi-Fi plan which truthfully provides nothing worth paying for as you still can't stream Netflix, Hulu or, well anything. This plan just boasts having the fastest internet speed. Pre-Cruise price: $14.88 USD per day | Onboard price: $17.70 USD per day | Onboard price for 24 hour plan: $25.00 USD.
 

2.      Online check in is preferred

U.S Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires Carnival Cruise Line to submit a final departure manifest with specific guest information at least 60 minutes prior to departure. This allows you to print out your boarding pass and luggage tags in advance. Don't feel bad if you don't get a chance to do it, as the site wouldn't allow me to complete my online check in the day before. I was still able to check it on the ship, it'll just take a little longer (like 10 minutes).

3.      No plastic bottled beverages are allowed

Carnival’s  Liquor and Beverage Policy states that guests are prohibited from bringing water, sodas and other non-alcoholic beverages onboard that are packaged in bottles. This also includes juices. But if it's in a can, you can bring it on board. You'll meet two litre-sized bottles of water in your room on embarkation day but they costs $4 each. A complimentary bottle of water will be delivered to your stateroom on embarkation day. Bottled water may also be purchased onboard by contacting Room Service (gratuity fees apply).

4.      That means you can’t bring your own alcohol

The ship has bars all over so it makes sense they wouldn't want you bringing on your own alcohol, which would cut into your profits. But there are ways you can sneak them on, like in travel sized clear bottles (you know the stuff you put your shampoo and what not in), or even in the Listerine bottle. Shh! Don't tell anyone I told you that.

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5.      If you’re not a US citizen, you need a US Visa

Because I'm Bahamian to go anywhere in the US, I need a US Visa. And because a lot of the ports were US territories, my US Visa was definitely a necessity. I'll never forget travelling to London last summer and thinking everything was fine, until I got stopped at the airport check in because I needed a Canadian ETA just to connect through Canada. Guests should check with their travel agent and/or government authority to determine the travel documents necessary for each port of call.

6.      Luggage restrictions

This one isn't so bad and it's pretty much just like flying. Each checked suit case and carry-on suit case should not weigh more than 50 pounds, and when lying flat, bags must not exceed 16 inches high by 24 inches wide (the length of the bag is not a factor). For security screening purposes, all luggage should be unlocked. Oversized luggage and locked luggage may cause delivery delays. The common sense thing here is to pack sensibly, so limit your luggage to a maximum of one bag per person, if traveling on cruises of 3-5 days duration, and no more than two bags per person, for cruises of 6 days or longer.

7.      The rooms are really small

You know how hotel rooms are usually tiny? Well subtract about 20 square feet and that’s the cabins on a cruise. It’s not small enough to trigger claustrophobia (unless you have it bad) but don’t expect a grand space. The bathrooms are tiny and there are only five drawers, only two of which can actually hold clothing. There are three closets, but the hangers aren’t the best if you have the type of clothing that easily slides off the hanger.

8.      Bring a drop cord, not a surge protector

I am not kidding, there is literally one outlet in the entire cabin. ONE!!! And the way it's set up, it's at the desk so an outlet won't fit in the socket, only a drop cord. So if you have a cabin of three, it's going to be hell for the three of you to charge all of your electronic devices. However, we were told that surge protectors are not prohibited so make sure your drop cord is not a surge protector.

9.  Beware of hidden charges

On the last day, we were all shocked to find out that our accounts had been charged $90.65 for “Gratuity”. I was grateful that I didn’t attach any of my cards to my account so technically my account was in the red, and I had to pay it back. Other hidden fees include having to buy soda and juice from the bar as it’s not available from the free beverage dispensaries, having to pay for photos that are taken of you from the photo gallery, and a few restaurants and coffee shop that are not free.

10. Pre-booked shore excursions sometimes cost more

How many of you like to pre-book your activities before you get to your destination to save time and money? I know I preached this with my trip to London, but guys, after this recent experience, I have learned that does not apply to everything. When we got to Amber Cove, DR we were surprised to see the ziplining that was advertised as $75 per person, was only $20 per person at port and came with unlimited use. Had we actually booked it, I would've immediately demanded a refund! Then a guy for the waterfall excursion told me it was $110 to go to the waterfall. There was no way I was paying that much! When we got a taxi for $20 per person and the driver said he would take us to the waterfall, imagine our disbelief to see it only costs $10 per person. That is a HUUUUUUUUUGE difference! So please be careful when book shore excursions in advance. In fact, you're probably better off just doing a tour.

11. There is ALWAYS something to do

I looked forward to reading the itinerary every night for the next day so that I could know what to expect. On the last night we had a Mardi Gras party, which was full of energy and live music that simply brought the ship alive! The waiters would put on a show at dinner time that was really adorable. We had a Motown show, 80s and 90s music trivia, trivia games, raffles every day for art work and jewellery and even free fitness classes in the gym. There are several opportunities to score free booze with free rum tastings, and free champagne at the raffle events.

12. The pools suck

I've never seen people go to a pool to literally just stand in it! There are two actual pools and everything else is a whirlpool so that was disappointing. Then the pools deepest part is only 4'7". But let's be realistic, it's a giant floating hotel so naturally you can't have massive pools; and the way lawsuits go, the pools couldn't be too deep. Lastly, the pools are almost never free so don't expect to go swimming. Just stand up in your swimmy with your drink and take a few photos.

What To Do When You Miss Your Ex

Hello Lovely,

Summer is coming and with that a lot of flings, break ups and regret. If you're like me, you're heading into summer single. But don't be bitter about it. And for the love of God, put down the phone, do not call them! It's over! I know it's not easy to just walk away from a relationship especially if it last several years and there were talks of marriage. You're going to miss them, you will. It may not be now, but there will come a time when you ask yourself, "What if?" You can't allow yourself to stay in the pits about it. Here are 5 tips to help you get through those moments when you miss your ex.  

Disable Your Social Media Accounts

You could delete your social media accounts, but this is a bit extreme. Instead, it’s better to unfriend them and unfollow them on all social media accounts. When you miss your ex, it’s really tempting to pop onto Facebook and see how they're doing. But this just makes everything so much worse. You see that he’s doing just fine without you, and it makes you feel bad. (Or maybe you see that you were right to leave because nothing has changed and they're still the same jack wad you got tired of dealing with). Either way, it’s a much better idea to spend some time away from social media for a while. Give yourself some breathing space. I'm sure you're tired of answering people's questions about why your status changed from "In a Relationship" to "Single".

Get Outside

Staying in bed all day waiting for her to reply to your “I miss you” text might sound like a great idea right now. After all, you can’t even summon the motivation needed to get out of bed, let alone leave your house. But this is unhealthy and will only make you feel a lot worse. And while I understand that you want to be left alone right now, you’re reading this article for a reason. And I think it’s a fab idea that you head outdoors.

Getting out and about among people will help you to forget about him or her for a while. Your mind will be excited by new experiences, sensations, smells, sights and so on. You could take a walk, travel to a new city or just hang out with friends in a coffee shop.

Soaking up fresh air and exposing yourself to the sunshine will remind you that there is life beyond the boy/girl. They were good, but they weren’t everything.

Channel Demi Lovato's "Sorry Not Sorry"

I LOOOOOOOOVE this song! And it's not just the ultimate break up song. Every time I hear this, I just want to sing it to everyone who ever doubted me, put me down or tried to hurt me. It's a reminder that at the end of the day, you've got to always be your best self and prove the haters wrong. You don't need to be sorry for being awesome or for having high standards. Make them sorry for not seeing and appreciating that beauty within you.

Work on Your Revenge Body

This is probably the hardest one on the list. You probably gained a lot of that comfortable "relationship weight" (similar to the freshman 15), because you thought you'd never have to look for another lover again. And comfort food is so real right now, because no one heals you better than a pint of your favourite ice cream (or a pan of macaroni, not judging). But if you focus too much on eating your feelings, you're taking away from the outside beauty that can lead to finding the one. Sure "the one" should love you regardless, but let's be real, we all have our limits and preferences when it comes to love. So whether it's cutting back, going back to school, hitting the gym or meditating, do what you need to do to create a better version of yourself.

Don’t Think About “What If …”

We’ve all been there. We’ve all dwelt on ‘what if’s …’ and imagined what life would be like if only we’d have done this or that differently. But the ‘what if …’ game is the cruelest game of all, and we always lose. We like to create these stories and imagine false illusions and fantasies of a better life. We like to roll the dice for a second time in our heads and smile at better results. But reality is not like that and never will be. Had you the chance to go back in time and do everything again, you would make the same decisions. Nothing would change. Everything happens for a reason, and the reason you did the things you did is because it felt right at the time. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Forget about the past and live in the present. It is what it is.

You had a great time with your ex and you miss them. And maybe you’re thinking about what could have been had things not ended.

But things ended for a reason. So why not take some time to analyse what went wrong in your relationship? In this way, you can learn from your mistakes so that you don’t repeat them in your next relationship.

Stay happy!

5 Ways To Stop Letting Your Personal Issues Impact Your Work

5 Ways To Stop Letting Your Personal Issues Impact Your Work

The boundaries between our personal lives and professionally lives continue to get blurred – and it’s easier than ever to let one impact that other. Especially since millennials are the “most stressed out generation” according to an American Psychology Association survey. (Hmm, I wonder why.....?) It’s impossible to flip a switch and leave all the personal happenings behind when you step into the office, but it’s essential you try to prevent your personal issues from impacting your work.

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How To Stay Fit During The Holidays

How To Stay Fit During The Holidays

The last three months of the year for many people are basically a food fest. So many different holidays and you eat so much food be it candy or turkey for all of them. Here's a quick post on how to stay fit throughout all the holiday mess.

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4 Things You NEED to Be Super Duper Organised

Hello Lovely,

If you, like me, get rushes of adrenaline when you discover clever organising hacks, then you’re in the right place. It’s about to GO. DOWN. 

There are days when my office looks immaculate and then there are days when it looks like a four year old ran through it. It's not that I don't know it's messy. I'm just so busy I don't always have time to put something back where I know it's supposed to go. Or sometimes I'm so scatter-brained I forget where I put something. But lately I've come up with a plan to get super duper organised, so that I'll never forget about another appointment, task or commitment. So scroll down as I give you some awesome ways to stay on top of the clutter.

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Binder Clips

1. Hang almost anything on a pegboard. You can hang paint tubes, glues, inspo images and other working materials on pegboards with binder clips. It’s a neat way to display the tools we use every day, and it’s *way* easier to find them when we need them in a pinch.

2. Hold cords in place on your desk. Simply clip one these fellas to the side of your table, then thread a cord through. No more reaching for that charger on the ground! Your back will thank me later :)

3. Colourful binder clips make organising fun. It's a lot easier to find documents when you know you clipped a neon pink or marbled binder clip around it. I got these binder clips from Target

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Colour-Coded File Folders

I can't tell you how much easier it is for me to find things when I know files are grouped in colours. You can even take it a step further by making your own file folders out of poster paper.

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A Customisable Planner

I'll be honest, up until last week I had yet to find the perfect planner that I will use every day. And lately I've been double-booking myself a lot. So I created my own Weekly Planner and that made a huge difference. It even includes a to-do list and a section for me to write the names of students I'm supposed to meet with. I also bought a Brit + Co Binder and Planner from Target, which I absolutely love because it's just like the one I had created, but obviously sturdier and more polished.

The fact that it is customisable means, I can use it for one month, or not and I won't have to worry that I didn't get my money's worth because I write the dates in myself. I can write in pencil, then erase once I'm done to reuse that section. It also comes with add ons like colouring pages for when I'm bored, a dry erase board and stickers. This is probably one of the best investments I have ever made!

A Personal Assistant Device

I recently bought the Google Home Mini and I'll be receiving it in a few weeks (sending it with a family member). I can't wait! I'll definitely share what it's like once I've gotten a chance to play with it. I'm one of those people who verbalises what I need to do, but always forgets to write it down. Many times I've used Google reminders to remind myself to do something at a particular time, but it wasn't always practical to unlock my phone then say Okay Google. I'm hoping that the Google Home Mini will be the perfect tool to help me get super duper organised! You can also use devices like Alexa (Amazon) and Siri

Any organisational hacks I missed? I’d love to hear them! Tweet me at @lifebyolivia

 

How Travel Can Support Your Addiction Recovery

Today's guest post comes from Henry Moore of FitWellTraveler.

Travelling during your addiction recovery can be challenging but rewarding, giving you a wider perspective than you experienced during your addiction, and many rehabilitation centres encourage travel during the early stages of recovery from substance abuse. According to one Goalcast author who healed through travel, “I went from being the only important person in my life during my days of addiction to someone who realised that I was just a tiny, virtually minuscule part of this world. Talk about taking the pressure off.”

If you think a getaway could help you heal, consider these tips on staying sober away from home and getting the most from your travels.

Get Some Perspective

While visiting other areas and cultures can broaden your perspective on life - and its challenges - be mindful about when and where you plan to vacation while maintaining your sobriety. Obviously you’ll want to avoid Napa Valley wine tours, Germany in October, Daytona Beach during spring break, and possibly even countries where wine is served without prompting, the way restaurants set out water glasses for customers here. Instead, focus on planning activities and outings and set up some night-life fun that doesn’t involve getting hammered.

Travelling For Self-Discovery

Take some time during your travels to reflect on where you’ve been, where you are, and where you see yourself in the future. Many of those who overcome addiction feel that they’ve been given the opportunity to rebuild their life for the better. Ask yourself what you’d like to change, what you want to continue, and how you eventually want to spend your days.

You may also choose to keep a travel journal during your journey. While you might mention any particularly hard won triumphs over temptation, your journal needn’t focus on your sobriety. Record your thoughts, insights, and interesting cultural facts you learn. You may also choose to note exceptional meals, interesting people, and favorite places. To add some visual flair, pick up inexpensive postcards during your trip to tape into your journal’s pages.

The Freedom To Travel

You probably spent months (possibly years) putting off your travel plans or planning around your substance abuse. Places you’d liked to visit were bypassed if they didn’t serve alcohol or fit into your lifestyle. And while substance abuse may have severely limited your travel options in the past, it is now easier than ever to plan a sober getaway with the help of a number of substance-free travel organizations. If you’re planning to use a travel agent, consider contacting Sober Vacations International, Clean Getaway Travel, or Travel Sober to see what packages they have available.

Escape Temptation

Being away from home will help you avoid the people and places that can trigger temptation but travelling alone can create the feeling of being cut off from your support system in times of crisis. To keep your temptation in check while you’re away, Psychology Today suggests using technology to stay connected. “It’s unnerving to be suddenly un-tethered from your usual support networks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take support with you,” writes psychiatrist David Mack on Psychology Today. “Apps, many of them free, can be downloaded that offer inspirational messages of encouragement, daily reflections, and tips for staying sober.”

Healing On The Go

There are a number of other steps you can take to ensure a healthy vacation, whether you go alone or with friends or family. Call ahead to your hotel and request that the mini-bar be cleared of any alcoholic beverages. Research high-crime areas that may translate into the availability of drugs and avoid them during your trip. Make any wait staff that serves you aware of your alcohol-free preferences. Refrain from wandering the city at night without a clear destination and avoid areas known for its ‘nightlife’.

While temptation is bound to follow you no matter where you travel, experiencing new places, people, and cultures can broaden your mind and put your addiction in perspective. Traveling solo can also build your confidence, something that is paramount to abstaining in the future and will serve you well in building a new substance-free life.

 

Henry is the co-creator of FitWellTraveler. The site blends two of his favorite subjects (travel and health) to provide readers with information about how to get the most out of both. He enjoys travel, running, cooking, baking and reading. He believes travel can change you, and good health preserves you. He combines both in his work on FitWellTraveler.