Tag Archives: traveling

Your Fail-Safe Guide to Healthy Hotel Travel

find your inner self

Traveling is one of life’s great adventures – a chance to explore foreign cities, meet new people, and try out alternative lifestyles. Whether you travel for work or pleasure, you probably know that exploring new territory can be as thrilling as it is occasionally draining. Why is that? For one, it gets us out of our routine…for better or for worse. We might escape the cares and worries of our daily life, but can also slack on fitness routines and healthy eating plans. But that’s the trade-off, right?

Well, not necessarily. More and more people are deciding that travel shouldn’t necessarily make us throw out healthy practices. Key to this is the ability of hotels and other accommodations to provide services and amenities that support healthy eating, fitness, mindfulness practices, and the like. But finding such places can be tricky.

Here are 5 sources to help you pick a hotel with the best healthy amenities to keep you fit and happy, even on the road:

Hotels with outdoor fitness amenities (Reuters)

 “StayWell” Hotel Rooms: Keeping You Healthy in Vegas (Forbes)

Hotels that offer yoga classes, fitness experts, and more (Well&Good NYC)

How to have a “green” hotel experience (Greatist)

Turn Your Hotel Room Into A Healthy and Budget Friendly Kitchen (Living Harvest)

 

So next time you find yourself away from home and in search of accommodation, keep in mind the kind of healthy amenities you’d like to find in a hotel. There are so many great offerings these days, and it won’t be hard to stay healthy and happy while you explore!

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18154748891333272199Are you ready for a healthy Vegas vacation?

The first of their kind in the world, Stay Well Rooms at the MGM Grand in Vegas are furnished with a number of amenities designed to maximize health, wellness, and relaxation. From dawn simulator alarm clocks, to state-of-the-art air and water purification systems, to aromatherapy, Stay Well rooms provide an unprecedented opportunity to have a healthy travel experience — even in Las Vegas. Designed by real-estate pioneer Delos Living, in conjunction with the Cleveland Clinic and Dr. Deepak Chopra, Stay Well will change the way you think about travel and hotel rooms. Learn more or book your reservation here.

8 Tips to Avoid Getting Sick While Traveling

No273 13 Oct 2009 Sneeze

When travel became a major part of my life about 10 years ago, I’d always get sick either before, during, or after a trip. It was like clockwork; I almost started really believing that catching a cold or feeling like crap at some point was just a normal part of traveling. Can you relate? If so, please keep reading, because it really doesn’t have to be this way (cue some hallelujah music). Turns out, I was being my own worst enemy and doing all the wrong things to keep my body and immune system strong, and you might be too.

Today, after big moves across the United States and the Equator, with lots of travels in between, I can say I’ve learned the hard way (sneezing and sniffling) how to keep myself from getting sick while traveling. Sitting on my sister’s deck this Kansas summer morning, 5,000 miles away from home, I’ve compiled a list of my tried and true ways to keep your body and immune system strong – these tips work whether you’re traveling for a few days or a few weeks.

Bring your good habits with you:

It took you months to consistently eat 4 servings of veggies a day (or mediate, workout, journal, stop binge-drinking, whatever “it” is for you), don’t leave it behind while on vacation. These core habits are part of your lifestyle and they keep your body, mind, and, spirit healthy – all which affect your immunity. Obviously, you have to be flexible in making this work while away from home, but you can so do it. For example, if you’re staying with friends or family and cooking-in, offer to make your favorite veggie dish or buy a veggie tray to snack from throughout the day. Who knows, your good habit might even rub off on others – a win-win all-around.

Don’t overbook yourself right before or after your travel dates (less pre/post vacation stress):

I used to be so bad at this – running around like a crazy woman the day before or planning something important the day after returning from a trip. I know it’s hard with busy schedules, but you have to plan ahead and not book yourself solid at least the day before and the day after a trip (or the day of if you are leaving late at night, you get the point). It will always take you longer than you think to pack, get everything squared away for while you’re gone, and then get back in the groove when you return. Trust me, make this a priority and book pre/post vacation blocks in your calendar and you will reduce your stress levels – keeping your immune system strong.

Take immune boosting herbs and vitamins:  

If you regularly take vitamins, don’t forget them (I’ve regrettably done that more than once). It’s also a good idea to bring an extra supplement specifically to help keep your immunity strong. This could be Vitamin C supplements, Echinacea, or my new personal favorite, bee propolis. All of these give you that extra boost that you will need since you are in new surroundings with different germs and bacteria.

Wash your hands (a lot) and carry hand sanitizer:

We all know to wash our hands after using the bathroom and before eating (if you don’t, you need to make that a new habit), but while on vacation you really should wash your hands more than you think is necessary. Your skin is your first line of defense and your hands specifically are always touching things and then touching your own face, mouth, or eyes. My rule of thumb is this: when I see a sink with soap, I wash my hands. I also always have a travel size bottle of hand-sanitizer. It’s the best while on an airplane and running around doing fun, travel activities.

Plan to take it easy sometimes:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it – you’re on vacation so you want every single minute jam packed. It sounds great in theory but awful in practice. It took me years to finally make this a travel priority but once I planned chill time (aka me time) and stuck with it, my vacations were much more stress free, and guess what, I starting getting sick less often. Coincidence, I think not. If you’re traveling with family that loves to keep things jam packed or kids that need constant entertainment, plan a pool day or even just a “free” day that has nothing pre-scheduled. This gives you time to just go with the flow and that’s always super fun too.

Don’t skimp on your sleep:

This is important before, during, and after the trip. Of course, you might have a late night here or there (you are on vacation after all), but make sure you keep getting a healthy 7-9hours per night. I know it can be difficult to sleep well while away from home, but you can always take some natural sleep supplements with you and try to make your sleeping area as comfortable as possible. For me, that means a quiet, dark room with a glass of water by the bed.

Keep healthy snacks around:

While on vacation, it’s normal to try local foods that aren’t exactly considered healthy (last night my sister enthusiastically made one of her favorite deep fried recipes), and that’s OK. However, if you eat unhealthy your whole trip, you will lose energy and increase your chances of getting sick. The best thing to do is bring some healthy snacks with you and/or buy some when you arrive. I don’t travel without some sort of nut mix and I almost always buy fruits, Greek yogurt (if a fridge is available), and protein bars. This gives my immunity a boost and keeps me less tempted to eat something unhealthy on the go when hunger creeps up.

Drink lots (and lots) of water:

When I’m traveling, I take my already high amount of water drinking per day to another level. You won’t see me get on a plane, leave the hotel, or go out to eat without bringing water. Drinking water is a big must while you travel because it flushes your body of toxins, helps your digestion (which is associated with your immune system) and keeps you hydrated. Keep water with you throughout the day and chug a glass before you head out in the morning and before you go to bed.

Follow these tips, and next time you get back from traveling you won’t have say, “I had a great time, but unfortunately, I got sick”. Instead, you can say how awesome it was and start planning your next vacation!

Do you have any other tips to not getting sick while traveling? I’m always down to learn a new trick – share in the comments below. 

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18154748891333272199Are you ready for a healthy Vegas vacation?

The first of their kind in the world, Stay Well Rooms at the MGM Grand in Vegas are furnished with a number of amenities designed to maximize health, wellness, and relaxation. From dawn simulator alarm clocks, to state-of-the-art air and water purification systems, to aromatherapy, Stay Well rooms provide an unprecedented opportunity to have a healthy travel experience — even in Las Vegas. Designed by real-estate pioneer Delos Living, in conjunction with the Cleveland Clinic and Dr. Deepak Chopra, Stay Well will change the way you think about travel and hotel rooms. Learn more or book your reservation here.

 

photo by: mcfarlandmo

The Best Way to Detox After Swimming in a Hotel Pool

keep cool on the swimming poolWhether you’re going on a quick getaway, a fun family vacation, a sightseeing adventure, or visiting family or friends, traveling can be both fun and therapeutic. If you’re staying at a hotel with a pool, it might seem as if the pool is calling your name. While lounging at the hotel pool can definitely be a form of mental detox (no meetings, no computer, no deadlines), it’s important to remember that your skin and hair aren’t feeling that same relaxation.

It’s essential that hotel pools are kept disinfected and clean; we’re all grateful to not share a stranger’s germs or be exposed to harmful bacteria. However, to keep water born bacteria and germs out, most hotel pools rely on chlorine (as well as monitoring PH levels, which affect the disinfecting power of chlorine). If this makes you think of household bleaching products known for “whitening your whites”, you’re on the right track. An active ingredient in both chlorine disinfectant for pools and bleach for household use is sodium hypochlorite. However, they are not interchangeable (they contain different amounts of sodium hypochlorite and pool chlorine contains calcium). While the Health Department regulates the amount of chlorine allowed for use in pools since it is a toxic chemical, many people still experience negative effects of the chlorine after only a short time in a swimming pool.

The most common effect of pool water is drying of the skin and hair. Since water itself is drying on your body (as it evaporates it takes with it your natural oils), when your skin and hair absorb the chlorinated pool water, your body hydration really takes a hit. You’re likely to notice itchy, dry skin and hard to comb, dull looking hair.

Some people also experience skin rashes, eye irritation, the lingering “pool smell”, and increased acne (although other people claim their acne clears up due to chlorine’s drying effect). Pool water can also get into your hair shaft and cause changes in hair color. This can be especially noticeable if you color your hair – think the greenish or brassy look. Nobody wants that! But if you’re like me and have a lot of hair coloring experience (I’ve been almost every shade in the book), you can probably relate to this one.

Now that you know the not so pleasant side effects of chlorinated pool water, you might be surprised to know that the best way to detox after swimming in a hotel pool is very simple: thoroughly rinse your whole body (skin and hair) immediately after getting out. This rinse washes away the chlorine that is stuck on your skin, eyes, ears, and hair so less gets absorbed by your body.

Have you noticed that some hotels have freestanding shower-heads by the pool or a changing room with a shower? It’s for you to rinse off both before and after swimming. If your hotel doesn’t have a shower by the pool, go directly to your room for a shower. Don’t make your shower steaming hot though, as too much steam can open your pores and let some chlorine into your body through your skin.

vitamin-cSome hotels are even utilizing Vitamin C showers to help wash away the chlorine on your body and remove any chlorine in the shower water. Delos Living, a new company that’s combining cutting edge discoveries in medical research, engineering, and technology to create a new standard of “wellness real estate,” recently partnered with MGM Grand Hotels in Las Vegas to offer a number of Stay Well rooms. These rooms have shower water infused with vitamin C to neutralize chlorine and promote healthy hair and skin, as well as a number of other amenities designed to promote personal health and wellness.

I experienced the dreaded hotel swimming pool effects first hand last week on vacation. The hotel I stayed at had a roof top pool with a bar (see how pools can call your name), so I had to check it out! While I only stayed in the pool for a short time and didn’t get my hair wet, I immediately noticed when I got out that my skin was dry and I had a bit of the pool smell. My hotel didn’t have a shower by the pool, but I quickly went to my room to rinse off and apply lotion.

Besides detoxing with a thorough rinse immediately after you swim, shower with a natural soap, be sure to put plenty of conditioner on your hair, use a moisturizing lotion on your body, consider showering or rinsing off before you swim (this creates a protective barrier from the chlorine), and always, always stay hydrated with good quality water.

Now that you know how easy it is to detox after swimming in a hotel pool, go enjoy that much needed (and deserved) vacation!

 

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18154748891333272199Are you ready for a healthy Vegas vacation?

The first of their kind in the world, Stay Well Rooms at the MGM Grand in Vegas are furnished with a number of amenities designed to maximize health, wellness, and relaxation. From dawn simulator alarm clocks, to state-of-the-art air and water purification systems, to aromatherapy, Stay Well rooms provide an unprecedented opportunity to have a healthy travel experience — even in Las Vegas. Designed by real-estate pioneer Delos Living, in conjunction with the Cleveland Clinic and Dr. Deepak Chopra, Stay Well will change the way you think about travel and hotel rooms. Learn more or book your reservation here.

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photo by: Julien Haler

Travel Tips to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

The holidays are upon us, and that usually means traveling in one form or another for most of us.

Whether you’re traveling vegan, with children, pets, or just trying to stay healthy and sane en route from here to there, here’s some suggestions to keep your body and mind in tip-top shape.

  • Start Now. Don’t wait until the day before your plane trip to start planning. Stay on top of your exercise regimes now, eat right now, and your body and mind will be in better shape to handle the transitions, busyness, and unexpected nature of traveling.
  • Research. A little bit of research can go a long way. If you’re going somewhere new, Google Map your location and perhaps find a yoga studio nearby or a plan out a safe running route. Knowing what grocery stores or restaurants are available along your route can go a long way to making healthy choices instead of an emergency hamburger.
  • Snacks. These are lifesavers. Make your own trail mix with your favorite raw nuts, raisins, and vegan chocolate chips. Sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds – the choices are endless! Protein powder and a blender bottle have saved me countless times. My favorite is what I call “grown-up chocolate milk.” Coconut or almond milk, chocolate raw protein powder, and a scoop of cacao. Easy peasy.
  • Pit Stops. I totally respect the gotta-got-there mindset. I want to get there too. But a 15-minute stop to stretch your legs and let the kids and dogs out can refresh and reset your body in huge ways. Studies show that taking breaks between prolonged sedentary periods, like sitting, can be just as important for the body as actual exercise.
  • Mini Coolers. Or big coolers. Whatever floats your boat (or fits in your car). If you’re not confined to plane restrictions, a small cooler can really expand your food options.
  • Maintenance. It’s easy to get out of our healthy routines when we’re staying at different places and don’t have much room or space is limited. Here’s three things that don’t take a lot of space and will keep your body happy.

Tennis shoes. You probably have these with you even if you don’t plan on running. You can even wear them on the plane. Take a morning or evening walk, go for a run, or take the dog and kids for a hike.

Yoga mat. I take mine with me everywhere. It might feel a little awkward setting up in someone’s backyard, but once you get over the self-consciousness, the rest is easy. I usually look for a private spot if possible, but it’s not necessary. You might even get some people joining you!

Tennis ball. One tennis ball. And it’s not for your dog. It’s for you. For your bottom specifically (or shoulders, my favorite). Place your bum on the tennis ball, roll around until you hit a tight spot or sensitive trigger point, and then let the ball do the work. This is a kind of myofascial release, or “massage to-go,” as I like to call it. This will do wonders for releasing stress in your body, especially if you can’t get out and move like you’re used to or have been sitting for hours. If you’ve got the room to throw in a foam roller, more power to you!

  • Sleep. Our sleep schedule is often the first thing to go when traveling. Your own pillow, some lavender oil, and chamomile tea can help relax you for the night and make anyplace feel a little more like home.
  •  Hydrate. This is especially important if you’re traveling by plane. Drink plenty of water, but stay away from the caffeine and alcohol (at least on the plane).  Don’t worry about having to get up and use the restroom. Your restroom run will double as a stretch for your legs!

Most importantly, go with the flow. Routines and schedules are great and healthy, but changing it all up once in a while does us all good. I do my best to keep my healthy routines up when I’m on the go because it makes it easier for me to be fully present wherever I am. And to me, that’s what it’s all about.

How do you stay healthy when you travel? Share your comments below!

My Journey Into Possibilities

Gandhi said, “Live like you will die tomorrow. Learn like you will live forever.” That’s my goal in life. To be able to live the life that I want to live and learn while I do it. What I’ve learned so far is that people live their best when they have a healthy mind, body, and spirit. In the world today people aren’t living this way. Many of us are angry, sad, unhealthy, and disconnected. We try to fill our emptiness with material and superficial things, when we should be filling it with love towards others and ourselves. Much of what I have learned from mentors around me piqued my interest in global holistic practices, culture, and spirituality. India is a crossroad of these holistic virtues. To be able to travel to India would broaden my cultural perspective and allow me to bring these experiences to help me expand the concept of finding one’s self through doing what they love.  I plan to write a book about these experiences.

Process of the journey:

The trip will be 3 weeks, including travel days. While I am there I will be going to New Dheli, Bodhgaya, Kochi, and Kootlanad. All these different cities have places and feelings that I want to go and experience. Including:

New Dheli- I will fly into the airport here, the culture and city will be different than anything I have ever seen before.

Bodhgaya- The Bodhi Tree, Mahabodhi Temple,Sujata Village, and the aspects of a Spiritual city.

Kochi- Nimmy Paul’s Indian cooking school, and Haritha Farms.

Kootlanad- Rajah Healthy Acres

While I am at each place, and while I am traveling from city to city, I will document my experiences to bring back. When I return from Inida, I will use what I have documented and turn it into a uplifting and educating book for others to read.

I have experience in dedication; following up with the plans I have laid out. This last November, at 14, I graduated the Yoga Certification program. My Certificate

Since I am 14, my mom Heather, will be accomponing me on this trip. She is also interested in global holistic practices, created the NEED (Nutrition, Exercise, Education, and Diet) program for the homeless shelter she works at, helps me with all of my projects, and supports me in everything I do.

To make this trip happen, I need the help of loving, and giving people. The cost of the trip for me and Heather, plus the cost to produce the book, comes to $20,000.If anyone would like to contribute, spread the word,  give me connections, or see my entire proposal please email me at sierragoldstein@gmail.com. For more information on how this plan came to be and what I am working on visit my blog.

 

Seven Tips To Make The Most Of Your Summer Vacations

Everyone looks forward to summer vacation. But we’ve all had vacation-related let-downs, whether it be mismanaging time or forgetting a crucial item at home, or feeling unprepared for a day’s adventure. Reduce the chances of disappointment by following these tips:

 

 

Book Flight and Hotel Together

·      Consider using one of the websites pictured above to book your flight and hotel together. Airlines and hotels have many deals together and you get great savings on both.

 

 

Consider “All-Inclusive” Vacations

·      All-inclusive vacations are wonderful, especially if you are traveling with children. It’s a good idea because as travel writer Anna LoBuono says, ““Kids like to try different things, but if you’ve shelled out $60 to rent snorkeling gear and they suddenly get cold feet, it’s wasted money.” Typically, all-inclusive packages include meals, snacks, activities and tips.

 

Pack Light, Pack Right!

·      Bring clothing that can be easily coordinated, for example, a shirt that will go with either shorts or a skirt.

·      Pack one pair of walking shoes (flip flops on a day you plan to walk all over the place will make your feet ache), one pair of sandals, and if you know you might be going somewhere nice, a pair of dressier shoes. That’s it.

·      Pack two swimsuits, so one can be worn when the other is drying. Putting on damp swimwear feels yucky.

 

 

Sunscreen and Sunglasses

·      Be sure to pack an extra pair of sunglasses.

·      Bring sunscreen and apply it before you leave your hotel or other accommodations. Be sure to read the new FDA guidelines about sun protection before purchasing to select the best product to keep your skin safe. Nothing ruins a vacation faster than a nasty burn!

 

 

Umbrellas!

·      Pack collapsible umbrellas for everyone. Not only are they good for downpours, if the sun gets to intense, they are portable shade.

 

 

Purchase Tickets in Advance

·      If you and your family have been dying to see an attraction such as Alcatraz or the Statue of Liberty, purchase tickets in advance. Many popular sites limit the number of visitors. Buy in advance to avoid disappointment.

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Be Flexible

·      If something doesn’t work out, don’t be a slave to your schedule. Take off and explore some of the less-trodden paths and be open to new, unplanned adventures. Sometimes, that turns out to be the best thing after all!

 

Summer Road Trip Tips

 

 
The American Road Trip: it’s a staple of summer, celebrated in story and song. You probably have memories of family road trips: playing Old Maid with your sister in the backseat of the station wagon, stopping at Stuckey’s for a “Pecan Log” or an “All-Day Sucker,” and waiting anxiously for the sight your hotel and the promise of a swimming pool. Even though gas prices are high, a road trip is still the most cost-effective vacation you can have. Make it easier, more affordable, and more enjoyable with these helpful tips:
 
 
Tires
·       Check Your tire pressure, Including the spare. Your Owner’s Manual will tell you the proper amount of pressure.
 
 
 
·       Check the tread depth. Insert a penny with Lincoln’s head down. If the tread covers his head halfway, you’re good to go.
 
·       Check the walls of the tires for any cracks or bulges.
 
 
Check Hoses, Fluids, Brakes and Air Conditioning
·       Look under the hood and inspect hoses for any signs of threads or rough spots. Squeeze them to make sure they are firm. Spongy hoses probably need to be replaced.
·       Get an oil change and have your mechanic check fluid levels.
·       Replace wiper blades, if necessary.
·       Check brake fluid. Listen for sounds of squeaking or grinding. If you hear either, ask a mechanic to inspect your brake pads and rotors.
·       Ask the mechanic to check the cabin air filter for your air conditioner and replace if necessary. A system flush is probably a good idea as well.
 
Cell Phone Car Charger
In addition to making sure you pack your regular chargers, purchase in a car charger as well. An operational cell phone can be the best safety tool you have!
 
 
GPS (Global Positioning System) for Cars
Invest in a GPS, now available for under a $100 . Not only will you relieve the stress of getting lost, most GPS systems will also alert you to on-the-road features like food, gas, and points of interest.
 
 
 
Travel First Aid Kit
Make sure you purchase or inspect your existing first aid kit. Bumps, bruises, bug bites and headaches happen, but you can make it better by being prepared. Your kit should include bandages, antibiotic ointment, pain reliever such as ibuprofen, sunscreen, gauze, motion sickness relief, anti-diarrheal medicine, anti-histamine, and a small pair of scissors.
 
Keep the Kids Entertained
Even in our age of iPods, portable DVD players and handheld videogame systems, kids will want something to do on a long trip that doesn’t involve staring at a screen. Encourage them to actually see the surrounding they are passing through with some classic games for the road:
 
·       License Plate Bingo: To play this game you’ll need to bring along a few writing utensils and have paper to use for game cards. If you’d like, you can print out game cards ahead of time here. There are a few variations of this game, so you can either write down the names of states as your bingo squares or random letters and numbers. As players see the states or letters and numbers on passing license plates they cross them off. First player to get 5 in a row wins, and it might be a good idea to keep a few prizes on hand for the lucky winner.
 
·       I Spy: For kids, run through the alphabet, such as “I spy something that begins with the letter A.” For adults, up the challenge with a line like “I spy something German.”
 
·       Travel Scavenger Hunt: Keep children occupied with a travel scavenger hunt. Compile a list of objects for each child to find along the road. For example, you could have things like "brown cow" or "water tower". Anything that comes to mind that you might be passing will work, or you can use prepared lists like this. You can also turn this game into a form of bingo with a game card like this. The winner is the first one to find everything on his or her list.
 
 

Don’t Make Your Hot Getaway A Complete Hell: 8 Tips To Enjoy Traveling As A Romantic Couple

Traveling as a couple is a pretty good litmus test of how compatible you are with your partner. That being said, even the most compatible couples will inevitably encounter a few bumpy roads while vacationing together. Think about it: the sweetie you see only on weeknights and weekends is suddenly one tiny motel room with you, waking up with you, doing the same activities as you, eating every meal with you, and pretty much doing everything with you all day long.

Relish the romantic getaway without getting into each other’s hair. Here are 7 tips to keep your couple vacation smooth sailing onwards.

1. You seriously don’t have to be attached at the hips 24/7. Schedule some chunks of alone time throughout your vacation. For one afternoon, you might just want to stay at the hotel and read while your boyfriend explores a neighborhood on his own. Or the two of you might explore the same museum separately and agree to meet back in the lobby in an hour. A little alone time goes a long way in keeping both of your sanity intact.

2. Anticipate crankiness–and laugh it off. Sometime somewhere in the trip, someone is going to be hungry, or tired, or want to go to the bathroom and regress to the patience of a cranky 4-year-old. It happens. When it does happen, don’t take it personally. Laugh about it afterwards and move on.

3. Have alternative options in mind–both of you. That way, you or your significant other won’t be completely crushed if the one activity you had your heart set on falls through or is no longer availble. Flexibility is key! 

4. Be extra-mindful and respectful of each other’s neurotic preferences and habits. There is something about traveling enhances all of our neurotic preferences and habits, which can create more opportunities for unnecessary drama. So if your boyfriend is usually really uptight about being clean, be extra careful about not leaving all your dirty clothes sprawled all over the hotel room floor. Or if you are completely anal-retentive about getting to places on time, allocate yourself an extra 10 minutes than you normally would so you’re not freaking out when both of you are running late. 

5. Snacks and water are super-important. To avoid crankiness. Snacks and water are important regardless of who you are traveling with. It’s even more important when you’re traveling as a couple–because without snacks and water, people get hungry, thirsty and cranky. And crankiness equals unnecessary snippiness. Stock up on those Trader Joe’s nutrition bars.

6. Surprise him with something special. Raise the "aww" factor of your cute couple vacation. Surprise your sweetie by developing a picture of the two of you doing something fun together while he is out exploring another neighborhood. Or secretly buy some of his favorite foreign snacks to surprise him later when you guys get home. These little surprises will make your trip extra-memorable.

7. Be equally responsible with everything that happens on the trip. Don’t solely rely on him to plan the itinerary and know where you are going. Similarly, don’t be a micro-manager and completely take over deciding which restaurants to go to and which tourist attractions are worth checking out. Both of you should know where you are going, how the weather is going, how much things cost, etc. By being equally invested in the quality of your trip, you will be less likely to blame each other and more likely to work together as a team if something goes worng.

8. Don’t forget the romantic part of the romantic getaway! Even if you’re tearing up new neighborhoods in your beat-up running shoes and grungy baseball cap as a frugal couple during the day, don’t forget to pack that cute dress and strappy heels for that one romantic dinner and evening stroll you guys should have at least once somewhere in the trip. Awww.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / thaths

9 Easy Beauty Tips For Looking Hot After Your Long Plane Flight

planeIf you are like most people, you look like complete crap when you step off the plane after a 6-hour plane ride: unkempt hair, baggy eyes, dull skin and an irritated scowl from having to eat some overpriced bag of peanuts.

And then there are the anomalies who look like they’ve just woken up from a rejuvenating beauty nap and are ready to hail a taxi to their next modeling shoot.

Okay… so maybe they flew first-class and their flight package came with an in-flight spa session. And they’re, uh, international models. But post-plane beauty doesn’t have to be impossible for the rest of us normal-looking folk who fly economy.

1. Drink lots of water. A no-brainer that many of us aren’t doing enough of, in the air or on the ground. Drinking lots of water ensures that you are adequately hydrated for more energy and more radiant skin.

2. Keep your fashion sleek and simple. Don’t wear anything too tight or constrictive. Wear comfortable shoes. And don’t wear too much clothes, either. Juggling your scarf, hat, oversized earrings, sunglasses, jacket, iPod–in addition to your purse and carry-on luggage–will not make you look hot, just confused.

3. Go easy on the eye make-up. Or better yet, don’t wear any at all before you board the plane. Save the application of your favorite dark, smoldering eye make-up for just when you’re about to land—unless you want to get it all over your travel pillow.

4. Undereye concealer is your best friend. Dark eye circles—the telltale sign of every haggard traveler. Get rid of the evidence with just a few light touch-ups towards the end of your flight.

5. Keep your hair as non-maintenance as possible. Save your fancy up-do for after the plane ride. Keep it down or in a simple ponytail. Have some hair bands, bobby pins and a travel-sized comb in your purse as back-up.

6. Save the rockstar jewelry for later. Put them on after you got off the plane and get past security. Think of it as an instant accessory upgrade for arriving in a new time zone!

7. Add some color. Does your face look a little pale and dull? Before you land, add some extra color to your face: a hint of blush, a new layer of lip gloss. A little color goes a long way in making you look less like a zombie.

8. Give yourself a pleasant experience during the flight. Listen to relaxing music. Read a book you’ve been meaning to read. Massage your hands, neck, facial muscles and scalp. You’ll get a little circulation going, release some tension and look a little more relaxed.

9. Smile. Better yet, laugh! Before the grumpy traveler jowl lines start digging into your face, think of all the fun you’re going to be doing once you land. Even if your travel ticket didn’t come with a mid-flight steam facial, exercising your smile muscles will give you the only beauty face-lift you’ll need for this trip.

8 Easy Tips For Frugal and Fun Spring Travel

Are the longer days giving you cabin fever? This year, ditch the staycation and treat yourself to some fabulous spring traveling! You can still enjoy some fun sight-seeing without completely destroying your savings account. Follow these very simple tips to slim down on your travel expenses, and your next dream get-away won’t be a financial nightmare.

1. Always carry a reusable thermos and bring your own drink as much as possible. The two dollars cup of coffee or one dollar bottle of iced tea add up fast over a week. Whether you are using the water boiler in your hotel room to steep your own tea bag or using some fountain water in a clean bottle, bringing your own hot tea, coffee, water or juice will save you a lot of money.

2. Bring your own snacks. Tourist vendors love to spike the snack prices at popular locations. Stock up on the munchies you know you will be craving on the long flight or drive before you leave the house. That way, your cravings won’t fool you into paying five dollars for a small bag of pretzels or three dollars for a bottle of water.

3. Find things off the beaten path. Rather than heading straight for the busiest area where all the tourists congregate, try asking locals for recommendations for entertainment, dining and other fun activities. Chances are you will find a more interesting and much cheaper alternative.

4. Take advantage of the cheaper lunch menu when eating out. Many restaurants offer the same menu at lunch-time but with a cheaper daytime price. By eating out for lunch and eating in for dinner, you can save a lot of money on food expenses and still enjoy yourself.

5. Learn to love the local grocery store. With a little extra effort, you can enjoy your own homemade sandwiches, wine and cheese, and other edibles without the high expenses that come from sitting in a restaurant and tipping your server.

6. Don’t be a clueless traveler. By taking the extra time to research the neighborhoods and events you want to experience, you will not be making potentially expensive mistakes–like being ripped off in public transportation, missing out on seasonal deals, or paying too much for services. 

7. Travel to cities and countries where you have a friend or family member you can stay with. Save lots of money by crashing with a family member or friend instead of staying at a hotel. Who in your contacts are living somewhere you’ve been dying to visit? Maybe your old college buddy is now working abroad in Hong Kong, and wouldn’t mind a little extra company for a few days. Or you have some family members in Europe who will love to feed you, house you and of course, see you. 

8. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. Everyone has different travel priorities; know what yours are so you know where you want to spend and where you want to scrimp. If you are a complete restaurant junkie, you may be willing to stay at really second-rate hotels so you can spend extra money on highly-rated restaurants in the area. Or maybe you are willing to eat bread and cheese slices for the entire week if it means you can check out more concerts, theater shows and night life events.

PHOTO: Flickr / shnakepup

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