10 New Skills You Can Learn at Home

Ridofranz/ iStock via Getty Images Plus
Ridofranz/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

Whether you're looking to give your career a boost or simply want to enrich your life a bit, the easiest place to start is by learning a new skill. And with the recent boom in online courses, it's never been easier to add a new line to your resume without even leaving your home. Check out these convenient courses you can take from Rosetta Stone, Udemy, Coursera, and edX.

1. The Science of Well-Being; $49/month

Taught by Yale psychology professor Laurie Santos, this course is all about building up productive habits that can lead to positive changes in life, while pointing out the self-sabotaging thoughts that can sometimes get in the way. By learning about the science behind how we perceive happiness and our own well-being, this course aims to build a better, more informed mindset to help you reach your goals. The individual courses are technically free, but if you want a certificate at the end, you'll have to pay for Coursera's $49-per-month plan.

Buy it: Coursera

2. Writing Short Stories: The Essential Guide; $19-$95

Writing a short story is about more than just coming up with a plot and some characters—if you want to sell it, you need to understand the literary marketplace and how to properly pitch to an editor. The on-demand videos and downloadable resources offered by this course guide you through writing fundamentals like tone, tense, and proper endings, as well as the realities of the business, such as payments and, perhaps most importantly, dealing with rejection.

Buy it: Udemy

3. Complete Guitar System: Beginner to Advanced; $30-$200

This course is led by Erich Andreas, who has over 30 years of experience teaching guitar lessons. The class features over 300 lectures, 34 hours of video, and over 100 downloadable resources to help you learn step-by-step methods for mastering chords, songs, scales, and much more.

Buy it: Udemy

4. Introduction to Python Programming; $396

Python is one of the world's most widely used computer programming languages, and this self-paced certification will teach the basics with no experience required. Estimated to take about five months, these classes cover the fundamentals of the Python world, like code writing and revisions. As the classes grow more complex, you'll learn about advanced control structures, data structures, and algorithms. It's the most intense certificate on this list, but with the robust job market available to computer programmers, these skills may prove to be invaluable.

Buy it: edX

5. Learn a New Language; $79-$300

Rosetta Stone's language-learning software allows you to take classes in Spanish, German, Italian, and plenty more, on your own time and on whatever device you want. With interactive exercises, games, and stories to read, this is a great way to take language classes while still keeping your busy work and social schedule intact. The cost varies based on your subscription preference, and you can check out the updated pricing options here.

Buy it: Rosetta Stone

6. Introduction to Self-Determination Theory; $49/month

Like anything else, self-determination is a skill that you can learn and perfect with the right practice. This course will go into the science of motivation and psychological development and explore how both of those aspects are influenced by those around you. From there, you’ll learn how to practically apply self-determination to your education, work, and much more.

Buy it: Coursera

7. G Suite Administrator Fundamentals; $49/month

Google's cloud technology and digital services are becoming a vital tool in business, and with this course, you'll learn how to manage the complete offerings of the company's G Suite, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Drive, and more. But you'll learn more than just how to use each one; this certificate is all about becoming a G Suite administrator for large groups. So you'll learn how to create and delete accounts on custom domains, how to manage those accounts, how to spot potential security breaches, and the best way to use all of these tools for your particular business or project. The course itself is offered by Google, and you can take it at your own pace on whatever device you wish. With four classes total, as well as a hands-on project, the G Suite Administrator Fundamentals certificate should take around a month or so to complete.

Buy it: Coursera

8. Essential Cooking Skills; $19-$45

Cooking at home helps save money and can lead to better nutritional choices, but first, you'll need the right set of skills. In this series of courses, you'll get instructions on culinary foundations, like blanching vegetables, making stock, perfecting an omelet, and more. Once you've built up this body of basic knowledge, you can combine it all to give your homemade dinners a bit more flair.

Buy it: Udemy

9. Fundamentals of Graphic Design; Free

Taught by Michael Worthington, a founding partner of Counterspace and a graphic design professor at the California Institute of the Arts, this course is a deep dive into the fundamentals of design. Students will cover concepts like patterns, colors, and typography over the four weeks that it typically takes to complete the course. When you’re finished, you’ll walk away with a new set of skills for your own future projects. It’s free to enroll, but if you want to be able to share the certificate at the end, you’ll have to join Coursera’s $49/month plan.

Buy it: Coursera

10. Learning How to Learn; Free

In this course, you'll learn about, well, learning, in order to actually understand how the brain takes in “chunks” of information in a variety of subjects like art, music, math, and many more. It also covers the misconceptions we have about memory, the best practices to master particularly difficult subjects, and even gives you tips for dealing with procrastination. It’s free to enroll, but you’ll need to sign up for the $49/month plan for a shareable certificate.

Buy it: Coursera

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Kodak’s New Cameras Don't Just Take Photos—They Also Print Them

Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Kodak

Snapping a photo and immediately sharing it on social media is definitely convenient, but there’s still something so satisfying about having the printed photo—like you’re actually holding the memory in your hands. Kodak’s new STEP cameras now offer the best of both worlds.

As its name implies, the Kodak STEP Instant Print Digital Camera, available for $70 on Amazon, lets you take a picture and print it out on that very same device. Not only do you get to skip the irksome process of uploading photos to your computer and printing them on your bulky, non-portable printer (or worse yet, having to wait for your local pharmacy to print them for you), but you never need to bother with ink cartridges or toner, either. The Kodak STEP comes with special 2-inch-by-3-inch printing paper inlaid with color crystals that bring your image to life. There’s also an adhesive layer on the back, so you can easily stick your photos to laptop covers, scrapbooks, or whatever else could use a little adornment.

There's a 10-second self-timer, so you don't have to ask strangers to take your group photos.Kodak

For those of you who want to give your photos some added flair, you might like the Kodak STEP Touch, available for $130 from Amazon. It’s similar to the regular Kodak STEP, but the LCD touch screen allows you to edit your photos before you print them; you can also shoot short videos and even share your content straight to social media.

If you want to print photos from your smartphone gallery, there's the Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer. This portable $80 printer connects to any iOS or Android device with Bluetooth capabilities and can print whatever photos you send to it.

The Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer connects to an app that allows you to add filters and other effects to your photos. Kodak

All three Kodak STEP devices come with some of that magical printer paper, but you can order additional refills, too—a 20-sheet set costs $8 on Amazon.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

14 Essential Products to Bring on Your Next Road Trip

Osprey/Otterbox/National Geographic
Osprey/Otterbox/National Geographic

If you’re looking to travel this summer—but don’t want to get on a plane or bus—then a road trip may be your best bet. Traveling by car allows you to explore new places while also limiting exposure to new people, and with the roads opened up in front of you, there’s no limit to where you can go or how long your trip can last.

Whether you’re exploring national parks, trying the country's best takeout, or just driving over a state line, we’ve put together a list of essential products you need to take along for the ride. And if you want to learn how to plan a safe trip during the COVID-19 pandemic, head here.

1. Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Pack; $160

Osprey

Named the best overall backpack for 2020 by US News & World Report, Osprey’s Farpoint 40 travel pack will help you carry everything you need from your car to your campsite and back again. This pack has no shortage of clever design features, like a stowaway harness and hipbelt, lockable zippers, and a mesh-lined back panel to prevent chafing during long hikes. The pack can hold 20 to 40 pounds and is designed for a larger frame, so if you need something a bit smaller, the Fairview 40 is another great option for a travel pack that will last for many road trips to come.

Buy it: Osprey

2. MLVOC memory foam travel pillow; $20

MLVOC/Amazon

Cars aren't necessarily the most comfortable place to settle in for a nap, but when you're on the road for hours on end, your choices dry up fast. Next time you know you're going to be in the passenger seat or stuck in the back for a few days, try the 4.5-star-rated memory foam travel pillow from MLVOC. The pillow itself offers 360° support, and its flat back is designed to conform to your neck for a personalized fit. In addition to the pillow itself, you'll also get an eye mask, earplugs, and a travel bag to easily bring the whole kit on the go.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Soundasleep queen-sized air mattress; $120

Soundasleep/Amazon

With a 4.3-star rating on Amazon and placement on numerous best-of lists, the SoundAsleep air mattress is a necessity if you're looking to camp out a few nights during your road trip. Inflation just requires a press of the one-click pump—great for campers who want to avoid nighttime critters in a hurry—and the bottom is covered with a SureGrip suction material to avoid sliding. The mattress comes in queen, twin, and twin XL sizes, giving you options in case you're looking to inflate it in the back of a truck or camper.

Buy it: Amazon

4. National Geographic's Road Atlas 2020: Adventure Edition; $18

National Geographic

You won’t always get great service on a road trip, so when you have zero bars—or just want some travel inspiration—National Geographic's Road Atlas 2020: Adventure Edition will take you exactly where you need to go … even if it wasn’t where you pictured in the first place. Featuring updated road maps for all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, and even Puerto Rico, you’ll never get lost again. This atlas also includes recommendations for places to visit and profiles on America’s top 24 national parks, making it a portable tour guide that’s even better than Alexa.

Buy it: Amazon

5. AAA Premium Road Kit; $26

AAA/Amazon

Although no one wants to imagine themselves enduring a calamity of any sort while on a road trip, it’s also good to be prepared. This 42-piece road kit comes equipped with heavy-duty jumper cables, duct tape, a screwdriver, cable ties, and more, in case you need to make any quick repairs. Everything comes packed inside a compact carrying case, so it’s easy to throw in the car and take with you from one highway to the next.

Buy it: Amazon

6. UE Boom 3 portable speakers; $149

Ultimate Ears/Amazon

All great road trips should come with a great soundtrack, and with this portable Bluetooth speaker from UE Boom, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite music along with the sounds of the wild (or the quiet of a hotel room). These speakers last up to 15 hours on a full battery charge, and with high-quality surround sound, they pack a powerful punch. They’re also incredibly durable: The speakers are completely waterproof (they can literally float) and they’re designed to handle falls and bumps with ease.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Society6 face masks; $14

Cat Coquillette / Society6

One of today’s road trip essentials is a face mask. And whether you’re into cats, woodland beetles, the solar system, or comic books, Society6 has a design for pretty much everyone (over 1000-plus options!). No matter which one you choose, all the masks feature an inner pocket for disposable filters, and they’re crafted with a pleated, dual layer of fabric to ensure a snug and safe fit. It's also a smart idea to take a pack of disposable masks along for the ride just in case.

Buy it: Society6

8. Otterbox Trooper 12 cooler; $200

Otterbox

No matter what your road trip involves—whether it’s visiting Yellowstone or the country’s biggest ball of twine—you should always have a cold beverage to enjoy after a long day. This 12-quart soft cooler from Otterbox keeps ice for up to three days and is leak-proof to help avoid spillage. The cooler is equipped with a mounting system, allowing you to customize it with accessories, like an adjustable drink holder or a drybox clip, and it even comes with a carabiner bottle opener attached to it for easy access.

Buy it: Otterbox

9. and 10. Power bank and car charger; $30-$35

Otterbox

Even though you’ll be spending most of your time sightseeing, you’ll still want to keep your phone charged for taking pictures and keeping in touch with your loved ones back home. The standard Otterbox fast-charge power bank is designed to charge two devices at the same time, allowing you and a buddy to charge up even when you’re away from your car. The charger includes a USB-A to USB-C cable and is compatible with most major devices.

For charging in the car, you can’t go wrong with Otterbox’s Fast Charge Car Kit. You'll get charging speeds that are up to 3.6 times faster than a basic model, according the manufacturer, and the cable is bend/flex-tested a whopping 3000 times to ensure that it’ll last as long as your road trip memories.

Buy it: Otterbox (Power Bank; Car Charger)

11. Otterbox Dash and Windshield Car Mount; $16

Otterbox

You’ll probably be using your phone’s navigation app while you’re exploring new places, but you want to make sure that you’re doing so safely. Keep your eyes on the road—and still get to where you want to go—with Otterbox’s Dash & Windshield car mount. It’s designed to allow you to insert and remove your phone with only one hand, and its adjustable arms can extend to fit even the biggest phones without blocking any of the buttons. If you prefer a car mount that sits a little lower, this Air Vent Mount from Beam Electronics is a great alternative.

Buy it: Otterbox

12. and 13. Instant coffee and cold brew concentrate; $12-$50

Java House/Amazon

Any road trip veteran will tell you that the most important part of getting through a long drive is staying awake and alert. Enjoy hot coffee on the go—and actually have a decent cup—with these instant coffee packets from Starbucks. All of Starbucks’s instant coffees are made from 100-percent arabica beans, and you just have to pour your packet into a mug, mix with hot or cold water, and enjoy.

If you want something a little colder and a lot stronger, check out the cold brew concentrate pods from Java House. Just as easy as making instant coffee, all you have to do is peel the cap off the pod, pour over ice, add water, and stir. It's easy enough to make, and it'll help cut down on stopping at expensive cafés while on the road. Make sure you bring some portable mugs with you so your coffee can stay as fresh as it was the minute you made it.

Buy it: Amazon (Starbucks Instant Coffee; Java House Cold Brew Concentrate)

14. First aid kits; $22-$125

First Aid Only/Amazon

Accidents happen, and this 299-piece kit from First Aid Only has almost everything you need for basic emergencies. With bandages for cuts and scrapes, creams and cold packs for burns, basic painkillers, alcohol wipes, and more, this light and easy-to-stow kit is an essential travel companion.

If you want something a little fancier—but no less useful—check out this unique first aid kit from Uncommon Goods. The kit includes first aid essentials like multi-use tape, bandages, and antibiotic cream, all stowed in tiny canisters that fit perfectly inside a flashlight tube. This is a great kit to bring with you on trips outside of the car … and even more handy on nighttime hikes. No matter which kit you bring, though, make sure you don’t forget a thermometer. In the small chance you start feeling sick—even if you’ve been wearing your mask and washing your hands—it’s important to have just in case.

Buy it: Amazon (First Aid Only 299-Piece Kit); Uncommon Goods (Flashlight First Aid Kit)

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