The Frustrations of Flying

Jetsetting sounds cool, but frequent travelers are all too familiar with the time-consuming, exasperating process that is boarding an airplane. It seems like having a nice, stress-free experience at an airport is almost impossible given the amount of rules and checks you go through before boarding your plane. The entire procedure can be stressful and exhausting, but preparing yourself in advance can make things easier, letting you focus on the good times you’re about to have at your destination.

A common dilemma most of us face is the time in which flights should be boarded. Do you attempt to be the first in line? Or, is it better to wait and join the last few boarders? There are a large number of airport amenities to take into consideration when deciding whether you should board now or later, which can be seen as a positive. Lounges, for example, are a great reason to hang back and enjoy a cocktail while your flight boards. Should you choose to wait however, you will most likely have much less space in overhead storage for your baggage; an inconvenience that can make any flight unenjoyable.

In-flight upgrades are rare. If you’re offered one, take it. The chances of that happening however, are fairly slim. Most airlines rarely offer upgrades, so if you are not at the gate in the event of them calling your name, you will be quickly passed on. Just one reason to perhaps skip the nearest airport lounge, however tempting the cocktails may be.

Delayed flights are perhaps the most frustrating events to take place when flying. Regardless of the reason, arriving at the airport and working your way through the TSA all in a reasonable time only to be told your flight will not be departing for several hours can drive any traveler mad. Unfortunately, this is one flying frustration that is out of your control, so long as you are not the direct cause for the delay (and I hope you’re not).

Depending on where you are traveling and how much you plan to bring, luggage can be another extremely tedious task that comes with flying. You are trusting all of your travel possessions to be safely and carefully transported to the destination you of your choice while it is completely out of your sight. Though that certainly can be seen as a convenience, the chances of losing or having your luggage damaged still remains. The worst part is that should your luggage be lost somewhere in the process of transporting it, most airlines very rarely reimburse you for their mistakes. I suggest packing light, and as minimal as possible.

Though the distance of your flight is entirely up to you, leaving one time zone and entering another can be disorienting, and certainly frustrating. Having to endure jet lag during the first few days of your trip can put a serious damper on your time away, and can even affect your overall health.

I’ll end this blog on a positive. As frustrating as flying may be, it really does open you up to a whole new world of experiences you wouldn’t have otherwise. You open your mind to new perspectives . So, in the few hours or so it may take to get on a plane, just know that the seeing the world is a privilege we should all be thankful for.

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Why Good Writing Shouldn’t Be Limited To Just Writers

Anyone can be a good writer. And it’s not as difficult as one might think.

Yet so many people, including those in high positions of influence, seem to fail at grasping the basics of clear, simple writing. Becoming a good writer doesn’t mean you have to write eloquent prose like Hemingway. It also doesn’t mean your words must be so big, it sends your readers off to dig up their dictionary.

No, quite the opposite in fact. A good writer simply means that people can understand what you’re saying, at a level that someone with a basic education can comprehend.

One of my favorite online tools is a site called http://www.hemingwayapp.com/. Simply paste your copy into the text body, and the tool will tell you the reading level of your written content. The idea is that the lower the grade level, the more likely it is that your writing is clear to the average reader.

Why? Because simple words are typically better, especially if you are trying to convey a relatively simple point.

A recent Harvard Business Review study showed how poor writing in the workplace can actually severely hinder a company, costing inordinate amounts of cost, due to the lack of clarity and confusion in their communications.

The study articulately conveys how clear writing doesn’t just get a point across, it exemplifies intelligence and leadership in a way that otherwise would have been lost. Texts with your closest buddies are one thing, but in a professional environment, vague writing can set you back.

Personally, my advice is to not overthink it. Don’t try to get cute, clever, or use big words that even you don’t fully understand, in order to make yourself seem smart. Use words that everyone with a basic education can understand, and you just might find yourself communicating to people in a way that people will truly appreciate. You owe it to yourself, and to those of us that have to decipher your content.

Mind Games: Incorporating Psychology in Your Copywriting

Ask most people if playing mind games is a bad thing, and they’ll say yes. Tricking people’s minds into creating an emotional connection with a product might seem morally ambiguous at first, until you realize that is how products are sold.

Think about the last time you bought a t-shirt. Did you buy it because its fabric was the perfect cotton blend? Did you buy it because of the country it was manufactured in? Or did you buy it because it looked and felt nice, and it fit you comfortably?

Psychology is behind every successful marketing campaign, because your brain allows emotion to be the driving factorbehind most of your decisions.

One of the most important things to keep in mind as a copywriter is that you are writing for real people. Real people respond better when they feel a connection to the product rather than being given a string of facts they’ll forget in five minutes. Real people also operate under a few principles that can be used to get more sales.

  1. Reciprocity: Do a favor for someone and they’re more likely to return it.
  2. Scarcity: When people think they are running out of time, they are more likely to impulsively buy.
  3. Commitment: If you continue to ask people to do small tasks for you, there’s a good chance they’ll do larger ones (i.e. buy a product) down the line.
  4. Bandwagoning: Everyone is doing it, so why aren’t you?
  5. Likability: Creating personal connections with your audience, typically through sharing personal info.
  6. Authority: Experts giving their opinion are more trustworthy than a random person on the internet.

Each of these principles are common to marketing, but are often overlooked as gimmicky. Yet there are many ways to use all of them without being totally obvious.

Bandwagoning can seem cheap if done the wrong way, but can be one of the most effective if done the right way. If you have a large following on social media, use those numbers to your advantage and ask your audience if they’ve joined yet. To further drive bandwagoning, give your fan base a catchy nickname. Exclusivity, while not a principle itself, can drive people to want to be a part of the group.

Likability can be as simple as providing great customer service and putting your name and bio online. Putting a face to your company will show people you’re just like them. In copywriting, the easiest way to provide likability is to take the audience through a success story.

For more, visit LeonardDavidRaymundo.com!

The Worst Reasons to Become a Copywriter

The title of copywriter can be attractive to anyone with a passion for writing. Getting paid to do what you love, no matter what it is that you’re actually writing, can be incredibly rewarding. However, make sure you are getting into copywriting for the right reason. That is to say, understand your strengths and weaknesses before devoting your career to a field that you may not actually be great at.

If your friends and family are daily readers of your work, take their feedback with a grain of salt. They are, in fact, friends and family members. Positive feedback from them, while sometimes genuine, is often masked by their want to avoid hurting or offending you. Going into the world of copywriting with nothing more than a few insincere comments of praise under your belt will set you up for failure. Be realistic about what you can do, and where you can improve.

Even worse, giving into these compliments can weaken your ability to accept criticism. Once you are officially in the real world, having someone with writing experience pick apart your work can seem offensive and damaging when used to the lighthearted comments you typically receive from friends and family.

If you consider yourself massively creative, copywriting may seem like an easy job for you. But, when you aren’t working on your own terms, this can actually have adverse effects. Creativity certainly is a requirement when writing, but toomuch of it can lead to those with less experience shooting themselves in the foot. You must compromise your creativity for the job needing to be completed.

Surprisingly, many copywriters choose this profession simply for the ability to say they are writers. Looking back at legends like Hemingway, Mark Twain, Tolstoy, and Jane Austen, their works can inspire anyone to want the title of ‘writer,’ rather than wanting to pick up a pen or pencil and pour their heart and soul out onto a piece of paper.
Copywriting should never be considered an outlet to market a poorly written novel. Successful copywriters understand the sacrifices they must make in order to remain successful, not letting their egos get in the way, and following instruction in order to maintain their careers. Those who wish to become writers simply because their friend and family praise their writing abilities and creativity should consider the business aspects of the field beforehand. It might be a rude wake-up call for some.

How Newspapers Have Survived in the Digital Age

It is no secret that the outlook for the traditional American newspaper is looking undeniably grim. Sales of physical papers are down, newspaper publishers are shutting their doors, membership to renowned newspaper associations like the Newspaper Association of America — which has now changed its name to become the News Media Alliance — are dropping rapidly, and the word ‘newspaper’ is nearly meaningless to many news corporations.

Many attribute this steep drop-off in circulation to the ubiquity of technology and its ability to deliver news to the peoplewithout a fee. Others say that it is newspaper publishers’ own fault, as they focused too much of their time and resources into creating an online presence.

In spite of these pointed opinions, it is important to note that the newspaper’s decline is not due to the negligence of corporations, nor the disinterest of millennials. Instead, the newspaper is merely changing with the times, adapting itself in order to fit into the busy lives of its readers — or, in today’s terms, viewers. This is how newspapers have strived to survive in the digital age:

Print may be “dying,” but it is still profitable. While there is no denying that circulation is down, many publishers still make a majority of their profit from their print versions. This is due to companies that still invest in print advertising. Although this form of advertising is also slowly waning, it is still exponentially more profitable than digital advertising, especially since these ads are known to be more memorable to and impactful on audiences.

Technology cannot rule all. Although many fear that jobs will be stolen away by artificial intelligence, it is evident that the supervision — and mere presence — of humankind is still very much necessary to any business around the globe. After all, no robot can be programmed to emulate human discretion — as evidenced by a major blunder Facebook made just last year.

The issue spun out of control when the popular social media platform turned to an algorithm to track and report trending news stories, as opposed to allowing humans to select newsworthy topics to put in the spotlight for the public. It led to several unsavory and false stories to be placed in the forefront of the public’s mind — and generated a lot of scrutiny.

This ties directly into the operations of newspaper publications because, although online materials may be more efficient for readers to skim, the information is not always entirely correct.

This is because the rigorous process of drafting and approving pieces that produce a newspaper does not go into producing articles for online platforms. The process is often write, publish, then edit and/or correct. This is detrimental to the integrity of the story, especially when viewers read it prior to edits and adjustments.

Evidently, there are some major changes coming to the world of journalism and readership. However, it will likely be a long time — at least two to three decades — until a moratorium is officially read on behalf of print journalism.

Norway for Newbies

So you’re headed to Norway – congratulations (and, I’m jealous)! If you’ve never been to this beautiful Nordic Country, there are some cultural and logistical factors you should familiarize yourself with before you visit. There’s a great amount of information on the internet out there, but I went and compiled a comprehensive list that breaks it all down really helps when planning the perfect trip. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top 5 things you need to know before visiting Norway.

#1: The main attraction is big. Really big.

TripAdvisor.com recently reported that, “…the main attraction in Norway is the country itself.” With Norway’s vast array of fjords, mountains, waterfalls, and islands, there’s a lot to take in. The fact of the matter is that you simply can’t see all of Norway in just a few days – it’s a big country. Another experience that many flock to Norway for is the “midnight sun,” which can be viewed in the mid-summer, anywhere north of Bodø.

TripAdvisor’s tip? “Slow down, take time to enjoy areas between the cities. Make flexible and generous schedules.” Noted.

#2: The weather is…weird.

Just like the United States, Norway’s weather varies upon the region you are visiting. Even though they are geographically positioned very north, they experience their own Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, too. To pack accordingly, map out your trip in advance and match your wardrobe and supplies to the areas you’ll be visiting.

A great tip from TripAdvisor’s knowledge of the Norwegian climate sums this up perfectly, especially if you are looking to visit the mountains. “The nordic sun can burn your skin even if it is not warm, particularly on snow fields, in the high mountains and near water surfaces. Bring sunglasses (UV-filter) and protect your nose and lips in the high mountains.”

#3: Norway is a rich country, but the views are free.

Even though Norway is considered one of the richest countries in the world, every single visitor or citizen has a right to enjoy and explore the great outdoors. TripAdvisor.com states,  “…everyone has right of access to wilderness (including beaches) even if privately owned.”

The best advice is to take advantage of the great appreciation for nature in Norway. People in Norway may have more money and spend more on personal expenses, but the less than 5 million citizens that live there enjoy their land and want visitors to enjoy it too.

#4: Restaurants are expensive, so get creative.

Sadly, taxes and tips are included on the checks at seemingly every restaurant you might want to go to, so visiting the local supermarkets and bakeries are your best bet for saving on food costs.

If you have a sudden craving for something quick and easy, there are plenty of pizzerias for locals and visitors to delight in.

#5: Norway is the happiest country in the world.

According to a recent study done annually by the United Nation, CBS.com reports that Norway has topped the list. Even with Norway given the top honors in the latest report, its Nordic counterparts round out the top of the list as well.

So, in theory, no matter where you go or what you do, you’re going to be really, super happy you did.

As with anything in life, it’s best to do your research before you pack up and head out. With Norway as your next travel destination, you’re in for something quite unique, with diverse experiences. Take your camera, but remember to soak it all in at the same time. There’s no place quite like it.

Best Destinations to Airbnb

Hopefully by now you’ve heard of the mega-giant online business known as Airbnb. Since its inception in 2008, Airbnb has become almost ubiquitous with travel accommodations. With a broad range of homes, apartments, condos, and even teepees and igloos available, vacationers can find the perfect abode that will meet their needs and enhance their traveling experience — especially since it allows them to live like the locals do.

But as enticing as it all sounds, keep in mind that there are good Airbnb spots, and very bad ones.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best, and coolest destinations to Airbnb:

Italy

No matter which part of the boot you end up in, there is an Airbnb waiting to give you rest — and maybe even take your breath away.

Take the Domus Civita for example. Located in a town with a population of 10 people, this eclectic, half-cave half-renovated villa is bound to be the perfect location for a secluded getaway.

Or, if you prefer to take in the views of the Italian countryside, consider booking the Trullo Aromatic Green, which boasts ancient architecture as well as the modern amenities we are accustomed to — such as WiFi, a flat-screen television, and a personal kitchen.

India

The city of New Delhi offers a plethora of attractions for visitors of all ages — from the peaceful Lodi Gardens to the stunning architecture and museums found in the sprawling downtown area. Therefore, it would only make sense to find lodging just as eclectic and exciting as one’s surroundings.

That is where the Lake View Room comes into play. This private room in Hauz Khas Village is composed entirely of glass panels, giving visitors access to South Delhi’s most stunning views by day and night. The room is also complete with opaque curtains — just in case privacy is a concern.

Chile

With its rich history and stunning landscapes, Chile is the perfect location for any adventurous couple. That is what makes the Valpo Romantic Suite so appealing to travelers — it boasts the classic, eclectic elements of the surrounding city while providing guests with the modern amenities they need to unwind after a long day of exploring.

California

Although this location may seem too close to home for some, the Golden State has plenty of eclectic Airbnb locations that will make guests feel like they are in another country entirely.

Take the Dome in the Desert for example. This geometric little house is located in the center of the desert in Joshua Tree, just two hours east of Los Angeles.

Although there may not be much to see in this region of the state, it is the perfect location for those who desire to get away from their usual responsibilities and unwind in the truest sense of the word.

Evidently, there are some intriguing places to Airbnb around the globe. So, before you set the destination for your next vacation, consider taking a look at what Airbnb has to offer first and planning your trip around whatever the area has to offer. You never know what you may find by taking this unorthodox approach!