Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tips for Planning Your Next Trip

Thanks to Amy Williams for another terrific article for the Whole Hearted Parenting Blog!

By Amy Williams

Tips for Planning Your Next Trip
You’re counting the days until your next vacation, and it’s so close you can almost taste it. No deadlines, no alarm clocks, no carpools to multiple activities, and no pressures.  To get the most out of your family’s precious vacation time, plan a trip that allows everyone to relax, regenerate, and spend some quality time together. This should include planning some fun activities and being good to your mind, body, and soul. Follow these tips to get the most out of your vacation so you return to reality feeling refreshed and invigorated.

Choose a Destination
Where will your family have the most fun? Where can you get the most bang for your buck? Is this purely a vacation for fun, or do you need to tie it in with visiting family or friends? Once you decide where to go, then you can determine the logistics.  Regardless where you choose to go, try to keep it healthy, engaging, and fun for the whole family.

Keep It Healthy
While it’s perfectly appropriate to indulge on your vacation in moderation, overall there are some simple steps you can take to keep from overdoing it. If you follow a few easy guidelines, you can partake in that extra glass of wine or rich dessert without feeling guilty, and your children can enjoy some treats while still getting proper nutrition.

  If you’re driving, pack healthy snacks to enjoy on the road. Think fresh fruit, nuts, protein bars, or lowfat string cheese. These will keep you feeling satisfied and help you avoid the cost and calories of empty snacks at the convenience stores. Most airlines allow you to bring your own food on a flight, so the same can be done if you choose to fly instead of drive to your destination. This is good protocol for adults and children while traveling. Nourishing snacks will keep the grown ups from blowing their diet and prevent younger travelers from the dreaded too-tired, overly hungry meltdown.
 The same should be done when choosing your meals and restaurants.  Select restaurants with local, fresh offerings. Opt for baked or grilled entrees instead of fried ones, and choose salads or in-season vegetables for your side instead of french fries. If you stay at an all inclusive resort, be cautious with the all you can eat buffets and choose the fresh, healthy options, and keep the trips to the dessert bar to a minimum.
     Be sure to drink plenty of water, especially if traveling to warmer regions.  Make sure to drink water before you feel thirsty, typically more than you would usually drink to compensate for the warmer temperatures.This is especially true for children too as they tend to run nonstop and can easily become dehydrated in the heat.  Adults should avoid too much caffeine or alcohol because these can lead to dehydration when consumed in excess.  Enjoy in moderation with frequent drinks of water in between other beverages.

Stay Active
If you are used to exercising regularly, there’s no reason to let your vacation deter you.  Don’t use it as an excuse to get off track. Throw a pair of running shoes into your suitcase and explore your new location on foot. Choose a hotel with a gym and get a workout in before hitting the beach, and burn off that drink on the beach by taking a long walk along the water. Or, take your yoga mat and practice on the beach. Be adventurous and go kayaking or hiking instead of just sitting at your resort.  Many resorts also offer multiple classes or activities for individuals, families, and children, so research these options when choosing your destination. Introduce your kids to some new activities and perhaps they’ll find a new passion. Again, if you stay active, you can enjoy some vacation indulgences without feeling guilty.

Take Care of Your Eyes and Skin
Since the majority of Americans prefer beach vacations, it is imperative to discuss protecting your eyes and skin. Sun can wreak havoc on both. The first line of defense is sunscreen and a quality pair of sunglasses.  Sunscreen should be applied 15 to 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapplied throughout the day. The key is understanding the SPF (Sun Protection Factor)  and how it works with your skin type. If your skin starts to redden in 10 minutes, multiply that by the SPF number to see how long the sunscreen will protect from burning. If you will be swimming or sweating a lot, you’ll likely need to reapply every 40-80 minutes. A waterproof sunscreen is highly recommended, and make sure it is a broad spectrum sunscreen to block both UVA and UVB rays.

Be sure to use proper sun gear, as well, such as a wide brimmed hat and an umbrella for shade during extended stints at the beach. If you should acquire a bit more sun than intended, or if your skin tends to get dry from the pool, sun, or sand, be sure to sooth and hydrate it with lotions, aloe, and/or essential oils for a healthy, sun-kissed glow.

Eating healthy, staying active, and caring for your eyes and skin in the sun will leave you looking fabulous and refreshed when you return from your vacation. You can enjoy all the pleasures of vacation without any of the guilty. 

Amy Williams is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety. 

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