Month: February 2020

5 Reasons you should take a Winter Vacation

5 Reasons you should take a Winter Vacation

Today is my husband’s birthday and for the past three years we have been taking a winter vacation to celebrate. Even though we live close to the beach, we travel 2 and a half hours to another beach. It’s not warm here, but it’s not home. It’s a week where we can spend time in a different atmosphere, and just have fun. We take this trip with our 12 closest friends. We are big board gamers, and we all bring our favorite games and play all weekend. As I was sitting here thinking about something travel related to write about, it got me thinking. Why do we predominately take our vacations during the summer? Why not divide the long winter season up by taking a much-deserved vacation? I have put together 5 reasons why you should start planning for a winter vacation.

It’s Cheaper

The beach house that we are staying in is almost 6,000 sq. ft. It includes 10 bedrooms, 10 full bathrooms and 2 half baths, 2 kitchens, 2 living areas, 2 dining room areas, a theatre room, two recreation areas that include arcade games, air hockey, table tennis, and a basketball game. There is even a billiards room. In the winter you will only pay $2,495/week. Which is only $205 person/per week for our group of 12. In the summer you will pay $6,950/week. That’s a $4,455 increase.

Nice Break After Holiday Rush

After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, why not take some time to breath? While the holidays are a time of togetherness and love, it can also be a time of stress. We all need a break once in a while, what better time than shortly after?

Minimal Traffic

This is one of my favorite reasons to travel during the winter time. I am an introvert and crowdedness can often overwhelm me. If you travel to a summer destination during the winter (i.e. the beach), rental neighborhoods can be a ghost town. We literally pulled up into the neighborhood last night and it was pitch black. Literally no one is here. The only downside to traveling to summer destinations in the winter is the fact that there are hardly any restaurants open. The grocery stores don’t offer everything that they normally would either (smaller selection in the meat section, etc.). It’s not a problem though if you are staying in a rental home. Simply bring your food with you if it’s a short drive, or plan according to what the grocery stores may offer during the month you will be traveling there.

Cabin Fever

When you live in a place that is extremely cold, you often stay indoors most of the time to stay warm. This can be frustrating. In my case, the trip that we are on is only 2 and a half hours away from my home, which is on the east coast. It is still cool here, but the vacation house is much larger, which provides a different atmosphere. The beach is only a walk down the street, so I bundle up and take the walk. Back home, the beach is 30 minutes away from where I live. I also have to find street parking and walk to it. With that being said, I’m less likely to visit the beach at home in the winter months, despite the fact that it is so close.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

“Did you know that seasonal affective disorder is estimated to affect 10 million Americans? Another 10 percent to 20 percent may have mild SAD. Research suggested that people with SAD also may produce less Vitamin D in response to sunlight; vitamin D is believed to play a role in serotonin activity. Insufficiency of vitamin D is associated with clinically significant depression symptoms.” (Psychology Today) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder

 According to Psychology Today, they suggest planning pleasurable activities for the winter season (as well as other examples). This would be the perfect time to get excited about planning a winter vacation. Plan a trip to a warm destination and soak up some of the sun to aid in natural vitamin D.

I hope I have provided you with a few ideas on why vacationing in the winter is an excellent idea. Let me know in the comments below if you and your family have done a winter getaway.

5 Tips for Staying Healthy on Vacation

5 Tips for Staying Healthy on Vacation

Vacation is a time of relaxation. Not worrying about cooking dinner, cleaning, or any other responsibilities that you would have while at home. If you are following a diet plan and trying to stay on track with your workout plan, traveling could stress one out a bit. It takes a little planning beforehand; but staying on track can be done, and I am going to share some tips with you.

If You Are Staying in a Rental Vacation Home

If you are staying in a rental property, you will have the amenities to cook all or some of your meals. Before leaving on vacation, simply create a menu and grocery list. On the day/night that you arrive at your destination, take a trip to the grocery store to get everything you need for the duration of your stay.

If You Are Staying in a Hotel

If you are staying at a hotel, see if there are refrigerators or microwaves available in the room. This option is best if you will be driving to your destination. We previously took a trip to Durham, North Carolina for a board game convention. The hotel that we stayed in provides microwaves, but you have to ask the front desk to bring one to your room. The night before we left for our trip, I went to the grocery store to pick up lunch meat, 647 bread by Schmidt, a bag of pre-cut veggies (for snacks), beef jerky, Sargento Balanced Break packs, and fiber one 70 calorie snack bars. When I got home I prepared a batch of chili and portioned it out in containers. Let’s get back to the 647 bread. I absolutely love bread, and there is no way I would cut it from my diet. This bread is amazing as it only has 40 calories, 6 grams of carbs, and provides 7 grams of fiber per slice!

As mentioned above, going on vacation is nice because you don’t have all of the responsibilities of being at home. We were on our trip with a bunch of friends, and knew that we would be going out to dinner with them in the evenings. With that being said, we used our pre-made food for our lunches during the week and of course snacks during the day.

Tips on Eating out

This is the part that stresses me out. It is often hard to tell what the food is cooked in, how much ingredients are added to the dish, and if it is portioned out the way that is described in their nutritional guide (if they provide one). Don’t be afraid to ask the waitress what dishes are cooked in, as well as any other information you would like to know about your selection. Try to avoid things that are labeled creamy, breaded, fried, crispy, crunchy, and even sautéed. Sautéed could indicate lots of butter or oil. Sticking with fresh veggies and meats with healthy spices is the way to go.

Portion Control

To ensure you are eating the serving size you are targeting, there are two good ways to take your measurements:

Use a picture guide. This one from How Stuff Works gives you examples of everyday items to compare your portion sizes to. https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/food-proportion-pictures.htm

This is a great method if you didn’t bring along your measuring cups and spoons to the restaurant (which may be a little awkward and messy).

Another idea is to purchase a small travel size scale. I have this one from Amazon. https://amzn.to/39cKt89 Ask your waitress for an empty plate to place on the scale and zero it out. Next add your food and take note of the weight.

Working out

Many hotels, and even cruise ships offer workout rooms that provide a few machines and a rack of weights. Figure out what time of the day will work best for you and take advantage of what your hotel has to offer.

If you are staying in a rental home, you may not have access to gym equipment. That doesn’t mean that you can’t workout, it just means you will have to be a bit more creative. My husband and I do workouts from Beach Body. If you are not familiar with Beach Body on Demand, it’s like Netflix for workout programs (I do not sell Beach Body products). You can also find many workouts on YouTube. Our current favorite Beach Body program is Liift4, which is weight lifting and high intensity interval training 4 days a week. We also do yoga on rest days. We download all of our workouts on to our computer, so that we can still stay on track while we are away from home. If we are at a place that doesn’t provide weights, we just do cardio workouts. We even did all of our downloaded workouts while we were on a cruise!

If weights are a part of your workout regimen, there is another option available. You can actually find travel weights. Don’t worry, they aren’t heavy…well at least not until you fill them up. Once you are ready to use them, you fill them with water. It’s such a great idea! If you opt to try them out, please let me know what you think.

You can find these travel water weights on Amazon. https://amzn.to/2RVTr3H

If you are going to a theme park or doing a lot of hiking, this may be enough exercise for you during your trip. You could even take advantage of the hotel pool and do laps. Don’t forget that if you don’t have access to a gym, or downloaded workout videos, bring your tennis shoes. Do a fast-paced jog or walk around the hotel facilities, or the neighborhood of your vacation rental home.

I hope my tips will help you during your fitness journey while on vacation. Let me know in the comments below if you have any other tips for staying fit while on vacation.

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