Travel Hacks for Road Trips

Travel Hacks for Road Trips

No matter if you are traveling with children, alone, or just with your furry friend – Road Trips can either be Hell on Earth; or a vacation in and of themselves. So after driving all over the Western United States for most of my life, here are a few Travel Hacks for Road Trips I highly recommend following when planning your own Road Trip at home or abroad.

Download Road Trippers

This is a fantastic app for your road trip, and can also be accessed online to help plan your vacation on the road. I first found and utilized this when taking a Road Trip from Dallas Texas to Nauvoo Illinois. I was going to be traveling through a bunch of open fields. After planning out my route I explored all the spots along the road that had a good rating and found this gem in the middle of nowhere! It is in the Spinach Capital of the United States. A statue of the spinach-eating machine himself has his own little garden and fountain. This also happens to be across from the Police Station, so you have ample entertainment for all!

This app and website are a fantastic way to make those 12 hour drives a little more bearable on the road. From a medical standpoint, it also gives you an excuse to get out of the car every few hours to walk around. People who sit and travel long distances can have swollen legs and blood clots at times as well if they do not walk around sufficiently.

How to stay awake while driving

Get enough rest the night before

Doing this will help you be more alert on the road and less prone to falling asleep at the wheel.

IF YOU ARE TIRED AND START TO LOSE CONCENTRATION THAT IS THE FIRST SIGN YOU ARE AT RISK FOR FALLING ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL.

Pull into a gas station and take a power nap.

I have done this a few times in the past, where I pull into a busy gas station and take a 15-20 min nap. This always helps me feel more refreshed.

Avoid sugary foods or high carbohydrate content as your snack.

When you eat high carbohydrate and high sugar content foods, it starts a vicious cycle of fatigue. Why? Well, you eat that doughnut or candy, your body sees it as too much sugar, so it releases insulin and then drops your blood sugar again. Then you become very sleepy or hungry again, starting the cycle over. I try to avoid sugary foods whenever driving for this reason.

Keep Cool

When I get warm I tend to fall asleep much easier. It is more comfortable to be warm, but I would rather have cold toes and arms before risking crashing my car and killing someone else.

Audiobooks

This is my favorite way to stay awake. Imagine this like the old radios back in the day that would tell the cowboy stories to the children. The children would be so enthralled by the battles and day to day explanations because they didn’t have TV, this was their entertainment.

Audiobooks typically have quality actors and actresses that are able to do multiple accents, voices, and inflections to keep the listener engaged. Yes, some of the audiobooks are entirely too boring and drab to listen to on the road, but there are many that are not.

I personally have signed up for Amazon’s Audible Book subscription for $14.95 per month. I am an affiliate with them, but I have never been more grateful for the positive entertainment value it provides and now listen to them on the way to and from work all the time.

Podcasts

This is something my flatmate is really into. She has several Podcasts that she listens to on a daily basis to and from work. I think this could also work for road trips as well, you may just need to download the podcasts to your mobile device prior to starting your trip.

What are some of your favorite podcasts?

Caffeine

If all else fails, just start swigging Caffeine. Think of all those boring meetings from work you have survived on the sweet nectar of the Gods.

Travel with a friend:

Switching off while driving is really important while on the long road trips and stretches of the road.

Stretches and Facial exercises:

This is an odd one, but I start stretching my legs, toes, fingers, neck, back arms etc…. It keeps your heart rate slightly more elevated than at baseline, thus increasing blood flow to your brain and keeping you refreshed.

Facial exercises also help to keep me awake at the wheel. I open and close my mouth as hard as a can, wiggle my jaw side to side, see how many animal sounds I can make with my tongue etc….

Check road conditions and weather conditions

With the age of the internet came the ability to check your road conditions prior to starting your journey. There have been several instances that I wish I would have, and others where I didn’t and wish I would have.

There was one instance where I didn’t want to leave my parents house to drive back to Las Vegas and did not look at road conditions. I ended up leaving the house when it first started to snow, and by the time I hit Cedar City Utah, I was in a complete blizzard. Traveling at 25 mph on the freeway because of road conditions, and was nearly hit by a snow plow.

Organizing the car

This is paramount for safety while driving. The less distracted you are on the road, the better off and safer you will be.

I will put all the luggage in the very back of the car, the cooler in the middle of the back seat where it is easy for your friend to reach if needed. If you are traveling alone, set up your ‘snack bag’ where you can easily reach it.

Wear sandals

Make sure you have Sunglasses to help with Glare.

If you are driving at night, turn down the dashboard lights. This will help your eyes not feel as tired from trying to adjust to the brightness of the dashboard vs the road.

Have your music or audible book playing before you put the car in drive.

Garbage bag, paper towels, and Kleenex should also be nearby where you don’t have to bend over, reach, or stretch to access them.

Check Your Car for Maintenance

Before you pack anything in the car, make sure your spare tire is filled up and in good condition.

Have a small gas can handy, just in case you miss an exit and the next gas station or turn around isn’t for another 50 miles and you are on empty.

Make sure you check your tire pressure after everything is loaded and in the car.

Change your oil, cabin filter, and engine filter before you go. This will help with gas mileage in your car.

Have your local mechanic esure all fluids are topped off, and the washer fluid is the appropriate one for the area you are traveling to.

I once was driving from Las Vegas to Utah in the snow and went to use my windshield wiper fluid and it froze on my windshield. I had to do an ACE Ventura head out the window to drive to the next town to get it fixed. They had to thaw out the windshield wiper lines with a hairdryer and vinegar, then unplug them. This really cut into my total driving time and was a major stressor. So mention to your mechanic if you find you will be driving to different climates and what they suggest for those areas.

Plan for Gas Stops

Don’t push the car to the point the gas light comes on! I always make a rule for myself that should I take a long road trip where I have never been before I never let the tank get down past 1/4 tank. Even a 1/4 tank is pushing it for me, I typically will fill up at 1/2 tank because I know I will be able to drive for several hours to the next gas station.

Get On The Road Again

Road trips can be a fantastic way to make bonds with friends, and see new destinations. It is important to plan, stay safe and stay awake on the road. There are over 100,000 car accidents per year from people falling asleep at the wheel in the United States. Make sure you know your own limits on when you need a break, even if it is just a mental break. There are plenty of unique things you can see on the road, not every place has to be Instagram worthy. The best adventures will always be the locations that make you feel more fulfilled and productive in your daily life, spark your creativity or help you create a more meaningful connection.

 Happy Travels, Happy Tales & See You On The Flip Side.


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Travel by Train in Europe: My Top 15 Tips

Travel by Train in Europe: My Top 15 Tips

The first time I backpacked through Europe as a US Citizen, I was entirely overwhelmed and confused. I wasn’t the only foreign visitor who was confused, there were so many people who had questions about how this complex interconnecting system worked. So for those first timers out there, here are my Top 15 Tips for Travel by Train in Europe.

Top 15 Tips for Travel by Train in Europe

1- Buy a ticket

Just because you have a Eurail pass, doesn’t mean you have a reserved seat. So be sure to buy that extra ticket in order to reserve a seat. Also, make sure you are there at least 30 minutes early so you don’t miss your train. Especially if you are traveling across country lines. Only buy tickets from reputable places, there are a lot of scams in Europe around travel. Educate yourself on how to avoid scams in Europe.

Top 15 Tips for Travel by Train in Europe

2- Check Your Platform And Car Number

Get on the right train from the right platform. Look at the train names above the numbered platforms. Then make sure that the car you enter is the exact car you need to take. The cars separate at different stops and you don’t want to be left behind unknowingly.

IF YOU DON’T KNOW, ASK!!!! Ask someone after you get on the train if you must. They will close the doors when the conductor blows the whistle. The trains in Europe wait for no one.

3- Anticipate The Need To Run

Once seated, look at your ticket……look at the next platform you need to go to. Look at when your train arrives and when the next departs. You may need to run across the station to platform 12b from platform 1a in 15 minutes. There is always going to be someone slow in front of you, so take the stairs.

Top 15 Tips for Travel by Train in Europe

4- Scan Your Ticket To Get In And Out

Keep your ticket in hand! You need it to scan in and scan out of each of the train stations. The ticket must be current, or you can get a fine. If you have a Eurail Pass, you can just scan the code on the outside of the ticket to get through the gates. The Eurail tickets sometimes have their own gates. Try to go with the gate not everyone is going through (if you can’t understand the Language).

5- Check The Type Of Train You Get On

Make sure you are getting on the right type of train. If you get on the wrong train you can still get fined. It may be going to the right place, but if you get on the faster train or get on an inter-city train instead, you can get fined. B

Top 15 Tips for Travel by Train in Europe

6- Bring Your Own Supplies

Bring your own water, your phone charger, and a Travel Pillow— especially if you have a sleeper train — small backpacks are the best…..just minimize by packing like the news told you the city was going to be bombed and you had 15 minutes before you had to be evacuated. That will get you everything you need in one bag. Yes, you will probably smell……bring Febreeze…..trust me…..there are people who smell worse on the trains.7 – Take Your Trash With You

7- Take Your Trash With You

Take your trash with you when you exit the train. There are small little garbage cans underneath the tables or right under the window on most trains. These fill up very quickly, as well as the ones in the bathrooms, so take your rubbish with you when you get off.

Top 15 Tips for Travel by Train in Europe

8- Sit In Seats With No Reservations

Don’t sit in a seat with a paper at the top or an electronic name above the seat…..You will lose your seat. I had this experience once, and that is all it took for me to learn to not do this. Was very unpleasant to be laughed out of your seat by a group of teenage boys. Then I stood in the café car for two hours till the next stop, the train was so full you couldn’t find a seat even between the cars.

9- Treat The Train Like You Would Your Living Room

Don’t put your feet up on the seats, or let your luggage take a seat near you. Put your bags on top and your coat on the hooks. MOVE if there are people looking for a place to sit. You wouldn’t want to sit on a spot where someone’s muddy shoes have just been, ruining your outfit. Take your shoes off first at least before you do this. They don’t exactly clean these seats regularly.

10 – Be The First In Line, In the Right Spot On The Platform

Be the first in line to get on the train…..the seats run out very quickly. Don’t be rude and shove people aside, but if you have the chance, stay close to the train. I also would gauge where the train door would stop ultimately by the train next to us. You stand right where the train opposite would stop, and you get to be the first one onto the train! Worked like a charm every time. Most people just stand at the platform thinking if they are near the front they will get a seat, this is not true. If you are at the front of the platform, right where the doors are going to stop, THEN you will get a seat.

11- Pack Light

Please don’t bring 500 pieces of luggage that require you to ask for help onto and off the train. If you cannot easily get up and down 4 very tall 18-inch steps with both luggage pieces in hand…..people will get mad. The longer you take to board the train the less likely the people behind you will be able to find a seat.

Top 15 Tips for Travel by Train in Europe

12- Sitting In Between Cars Is Uncomfortable

If you are just going one stop, you can sit in-between the cars. If you try and do this for the entire trip….you will have to get up and move every time someone opens the car doors……very annoying.

13- Sit In The Cafe If All Else Fails

There are seats in the back at the café car that you can order food and sit or stand there. I wouldn’t recommend this, as it gets crowded very very quick. No one can eat for 6 hours straight…..you would go broke.

14 – Limit Your Bathroom Use When Possible

Don’t try to use the bathrooms unless it is an emergency. If you do try and use them— bring hand sanitizer and toilet paper in your purse. The few I did have to use were so gross I was gagging. One had a floor so sticky and stinky that I had to breathe through my mouth. A coin-operated train station in Amsterdam was another bad experience. This particular bathroom had no toilet paper (luckily I had Kleenex in my bag), the sink had a powerful water flow and you could literally see the poop near the walls of the sink.

I am a pretty laid back person when it comes to expecting things to always be perfect (if you do expect it, your trip will be horrible); but this particular restroom was the most disgusting one I have used in the ENTIRE world. Who would have thought that a train station in the Netherlands would be that gross…..they are usually a very clean people.

I will say this though, there are some trains (typically the newer ones) that have decent bathrooms with air-fresheners and everything. They give hefty fines to people who are caught using first class bathrooms without a ticket.

Top 15 Tips for Travel by Train in Europe

15 – Getting A First Class Ticket Can Be Worth It

If you get a sleeper car for an overnight train trip, get one in first class with one other person if you must. I’m telling you….. it is amazing, and I actually slept…..everything is so clean and really just like a hotel room. You even get breakfast. Second class sleeper trains are adequate but don’t expect to have it be perfect.

My experience with the Second class sleeper was with 4 people in it, and nowhere to put your things because the ladies on the bottom bunks took up all the space. On top of that, you are usually at the end of the train which is a lot more bouncy and less restful. The Air conditioner broke and it was so incredibly hot woke up drenched in sweat. The gentleman in charge of our car and cabin just apologized, said they tried to fix it, and there were no other rooms for us to go

Top 15 Tips for Travel by Train in Europe

Make Train Travel in Europe Easier

Now all these things may make you not want to take the train at all. These 15 tips, were constructed from the worst parts of my experience. These tips and tricks will help your experience better. There are many many more wonderful parts of train travel, that can end up being a really great experience. My luck on trains is not the greatest. Apart from the one time I got a first class cabin all to myself. Being in first class was sooooo worth the money! To be in a cool, quiet, restful place with an attendant who really cared.

So don’t let this article deter you from train travel, it really is a great way to get around. I hope these things have helped and will allow at least those in the Culture Trekking Community to travel with ease, by learning from my mistakes.

As always, Happy Travels, Happy Tales and See You on the Flip Side.


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Top 15 Safety Tips for Hiking

Top 15 Safety Tips for Hiking

How many times has your Mom told you that you need to be careful? Well in this case she is right, Hiking in any terrain can be hazardous if you don’t have at least a basic knowledge of safety tips for hiking. Here are my own top 15 safety tips for hiking that I personally utilize when I go out on an adventure.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Tell Someone Where You Plan To Hike

Tell someone where you intend to go with a map of stops you plan to make and where you plan to park. Leave some dirty laundry for the dogs to sniff should you get lost. I know this sounds really silly, but living so close to the Wasatch Front Mountains in Utah, we hear about people being lost, falling off trails all the time. Despite avalanche warnings, the high river swells, and inclement weather – there is always the ONE person who doesn’t listen or thinks it does not apply to them.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Wear Bright Colors When Hiking

Wear bright colors so you can easily be spotted, for winter avoid light colors as it can blend in with the snow. Summertime wear a reflective vest. If you haven’t seen the movie 127 hours, you should. It takes place in Utah, and the guy made all the wrong choices when it came to safety. The only thing he had going for him was to cut off his arm after being pinned in a crevice.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Stay On the Trail and Set A ‘Turn Back Time’

Stay on the trail and set a time limit for your final destination or turn back spot. Even if you don’t make it to the final destination it is better to be safe rather than sorry! I get lost incredibly easy due to my inability to tell if I’m headed North or South etc… I always stay on a known trail that has a name and try to stick to the well worn or trampled trail as I know I will always be able to turn around and go back.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Bring Water and/or a Water Filtration System With You

Bring a Lifestraw or a camelback with the water you will need, a snack and an emergency blanket should you find yourself lost overnight. A flashlight can also serve as a beacon should a helicopter be flying overhead at night. I like to bring flashlights that are manually charged in addition to my headlamp. This way if your batteries on your headlamp were to go out, you could still manually charge the handheld flashlight.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Bring a First Aid Kit

Bring a small first aid kit complete with Band-Aids and a sling. The classic triangle sling or even a bandana can be used to create a tourniquet. This will account for the more serious injuries and small cuts or blisters. Band-Aids for the blisters and minor cuts, a snake venom kit should you be hiking in the bush or the desert. Check local hospitals if snake bites are common and where the nearest facility is with anti-venom. I know that in Utah, we have to be careful in the summertime when the snakes are more active. Do not bring your pets on trails that warn of snakes on the trail as this can make them more defensive and likely to attack. I also like to bring along my trusty Swiss Army Pocket Knife…..I always say, “You can never go wrong with a bandana, pocket knife, and duct tape”.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Wear Sun Protection

Wear Sunscreen, especially at higher elevations as Sunburns are often more likely to happen. I have seen skin cancer cases that have left my patients disfigured and debilitated, some even that have progressed to melanoma. So do yourself and your loved ones a favor, wear at least an SPF rating of 30 with a hat. If you have a bald head, don’t forget to cover that up & put sunscreen on your ears, neck, and chest. Wear sunglasses that have full coverage of UV rays.

Heat Stroke And Dehydration Precautions

Know what Heat Stroke and Dehydration look like, and what the best way to treat it in the wilderness is. Check weather patterns and never start a hike that looks like there will be lightening, when you are on the side of the mountain, you may as well put a target on your back that says, ‘hit here first’.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Wear Supportive Shoes

Wear shoes that are supportive and slightly above the ankle joint. I have seen so many broken ankles over the years, and not from just missing the curb. You can be hiking along, hit a rock in just the wrong way. Your balance can be thrown off, you try and catch yourself, and *SNAP*, 4-6 months on crutches. Depending on where you break your bone will determine if you need to have surgical intervention. So be careful people, as much as I like doing ORIF’s of the Ankle, it is miserable for the one getting it done to them.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Wear Proper Clothing

Moisture-wicking clothing and cotton clothing that is UV resistant. A good rule of thumb is that if you can see light through your clothing, so can the sun. Even in the Summer months, a fleece sweater stuffed in the bottom of your rucksack is a good rule of thumb. If someone was to sustain a bad fall and go into shock, having an extra layer around can save someone’s life.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Use Common Sense

Don’t take people up on dares of ‘Who can climb that shale 80% grade to the top of the mountain the fastest and not fall off the sheer cliff’. I feel this is more common sense than an actual safety tip. However, my six years in the operating room taught me one thing, common sense is not so common.

Have a Contingency Plan for if You Get Lost

If your situation is really dire, start making signs pointing to where you are with twigs or rocks along the trail. This way if someone is coming to look for you they have a way to track you down.

Remember that the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West. This can give you a little more direction.

If you find a river or a water source, it will typically lead to civilization. This is my personal observation because of how most of the towns we know today are centered around a water source. It may be difficult to follow the water source directly, but following the sound of the stream or river to the collection pools/lakes is also a good idea. This will also provide a large open area for people to more easily spot you.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Know Your Limitations

Know your physical limitations! When hiking with other people, I have had to teach myself to listen to my body and what it is telling me. Only the best hikers and climbers in the world can make it to the top. You have to listen to your body, pace yourself and enjoy the hike, you don’t have to sprint up the trail! STOP when you feel like you have run out of half of your energy stores.

Pack a Snack

Keep plenty of water and energy supplying snacks in your bag. Your body needs nourishment, not junk food. I always keep dried fruit in my bag along with some carrots. These do not need to be refrigerated, don’t get smashed in my bag and are lightweight. If you feel yourself start to get tired (I’m not talking muscle burn) snack on the energy supplies you brought. I always know when I need a snack because I suddenly feel like I need to lay down under the nearest tree and take a nap.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

Bonus!

Make sure to check yourself and your dogs for ticks and any creatures that may want to hitch a ride home with you.
 

Safety First

So there you have it! These are my Top 15 Safety Tips for Hiking. If all else fails, just remember that panicking never helped anyone. My Grandma always tells me that, “worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair, rocking back and forth all the time, but never really going anywhere”.
Most of all, have fun and enjoy nature, but please don’t try to conquer it. Mother nature is both a beast and a beauty, she will always win and bites hard with a sure finality if you try and challenge her.

Do you have any tips on how to hike without GPS?

What about if your GPS fails in the middle of a hike?

Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

Happy Travels, Happy Trails, and see you on the Flip Side 😉


Disclaimer: Please consult your Primary Care Physician before attempting any strenuous activity. Train properly for each trail you are attempting to hike. Check AllTrails.com for GPS coordinates, difficulty level for each trail and the conditions of the trail. If you are hiking in a national park, check with the local ranger station on trail conditions or warnings for the area.

Top 15 Safety Tips For Hiking

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Getting Fit for your Trip with Fitness Apps

My Top 16 Fitness Apps for your Travel Training:


MyFitnessPal
This has always been my ‘go to’ app when I realize that my eating habits are getting out of control. You can track water, food, calories, workouts, steps and Macro percentages. This gives you a well rounded view of what you are actually putting into your amazing machine we call the human body. Take care of it now so you don’t lose your entire life savings trying to maintain it later (or at least that is what I keep telling myself and my patients).
HealthyWage:
  • Make bets against yourself! This was one of the more intriguing Fitness Apps I found. You make a wager against yourself of what you would like to achieve with your weight loss goal. Then you get started with weight, time constraint, and make your bet. If you meet your goal, you get your money back AND THEY MATCH YOU & pay you via PayPal! If you lose, well….. then say bye bye to that money.
  • Money is always a great motivator for me — get paid to lose weight right?! Sounds almost too good to be true.

DietBet:
  • Just like HealthyWage, but the stakes are even higher, some payouts going as high as $1000 — so if you have that lofty goal that you know you can reach, well then…. this one could be a huge moneymaker for you

Charity Miles
I always like to join the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot for the Food Bank here for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Its a way to remember what the holiday is really for to me at least. This app lets you do the same thing! The app will pay you 10 cents for every mile you walk and all the proceeds will go to the charity of your choice! Charities that are the most popular seem to be The Wounded Warrior Project and Habitat for Humanity.
Zombies, RUN!
So this one sounds super interesting to me! I’m a total Zombie fan (think World War Z not Walking Dead). This app simulates a real zombie attack and gives you tasks and things you have to do that are active to protect your campout and your life. Such a fun little game, especially for those of us who love Halloween time 🙂
MotionTrax
When my workout mix starts to get boring, my workouts start dragging as well. So this little gem provides beats to sync with your workout that you can plan beforehand, then it will match a song and beat per minute (bpm) to the intensity of the workout that you are doing. So many fun apps to try!
Under Armor Map My Ride/Walk/Hike/Run
  •  If you are planning to hike up Kilimanjaro, Walk the streets of Scotland, or Trek across the Sahara desert — you may want to gauge how far you are going before you leave to help prepare you physically for your trip.
  • These Fitness Apps allow you to track in real time… how far you ride, bike, hike, or walk. You can save your walks, follow others paths of where they walked/hiked. I use this App all the time to help plan my biking route to make sure I get enough time, elevation, and distance in.

Yoga Wake up:
I have it on my vision board that I want to get better at doing Yoga, so this one is on my list as well. You set you alarm on this one to the time you typically get up in the morning. It provides you with a 10 minute yoga flow to get that blood flowing and start the day off with an excellent sun salutation. I mean 10 minutes guys, that’s how much time you spend Facebook or Instagram stalking before you finally peel yourself out of bed right?
Life sum: I’m a people pleaser, but this one would be nice to have the reminders of what my goals are for my health. This will send you daily reminders and motivational clips to keep your fitness goals for your upcoming vacation body going.
Thrive Market:
This is the Amazon store for those who like clean eating and organic eating. It does have a yearly fee though of $59.95 (BUMMER)– but you simply add each item to your cart, it finds the best deals around you and has it shipped to your door, ultimately saving you quite a bit of money (and your gut from all those GMO products).
Rise:
Want to have a personal nutritionist at your fingertips? Try this one (yes there is a fee darn it) but for $14.95 per month to have someone analyze my meals for me and help me make those changes I need to make to get rid of this belly of mine, well, it seems worth it to try it out right?
mySugr:
As a Health Care Professional, I would highly recommend this to all those of you who may suffer from Diabetes. Your doctor asks you for a log of your blood sugars anyway, so why not just pop this handy app into your mobile device. You input your food, and it tells you how it will effect your blood sugar levels. You can also keep track of your blood sugar levels as well and it will help you construct a definitive plan to help you remain feeling at your best.
All Trails – Hiking and Running:
  •  This is a wonderful App that I use all the time here in Utah. It has the best recommendations on Hiking length, difficulty, trail conditions, and so much more. If you are preparing for a hike while on your trip, or are going to a mountainous area but live in a town that is flat. I definitely recommend this app to prepare you for your unique circumstances while traveling.

If you aren’t the technically savvy kind, then I would suggest Tosca Reno’s “Eat Clean Diet Cookbook” — I recommend this to all my Diabetic patients because it is from a Nutritionist that thoroughly explains what bad carbs vs good carbs are, clean meat vs meat that can literally clog the arteries over time. I like it because it provided me with a base of which I can make better food choices in the recipes that I choose; a ‘this instead of that’ approach instead of a ‘just don’t eat that or this, and this has too much of that in it – so don’t eat that either’ approach. Now that you have the tools, let’s get out there and start getting healthy for our next trip. One of these days I actually will take that dream trip and climb to the Everest Base Camp or hike up Mount Kilimanjaro; and when I do, I hope that my only physical limitation is that I don’t have wings 😉 Happy Travels, Happy Tales, and see you on the flip side.

Comment below with some of your lifestyle diet hacks?

What are some of your favorite YouTube Channel workouts?

Would you add any other Fitness Apps to this list?


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Top 15 ways of combatting Jet Lag

What To Bring

See my packing tips post on what to bring with you on the plane. But for sleeping get a stuff sack, here is what to include in it: put your contacts/glasses, sleep aid, water bottle (filled inside the airport), eye mask, earplugs, pillow, and blanket. I like this J-pillow because my head always falls forward or to the side & when I bring the head wings (what I call them) out then it holds my head in place perfectly. Also, place a small bag at your feet so you can use it as a footrest, or if you have the room you can buy one of these footrests – but I found them to be hard to get into and out of. E 8/16

Here are my top 16 ways of combating Jet Lag.

1- Avoid or Minimize Caffeine As Much As Possible

few days before your trip. If you need the energy to be able to make it through the workday prior to your trip; try Natural Energy Supplements from an Organic store or health foods store. This method alone will significantly help with combatting jet lag.

2- Choose An Overnight Flight

Overnight flights typically turn all the lights off on the plane at night which makes it easier to fall asleep. I wear my eye mask even if the lights are off because there is always one or two people that turn their reading lights on & wakes me up (#lightsleeper).

3- Choose a seat away from the bathrooms

Even with earplugs, the carts and bathroom visitors will wake you up. I also choose a window seat so I don’t inadvertently get hit by an elbow, a cart, or woken up by the person next to me to visit the restroom.

4- Bring a Treat for the Restless Children

Make sure to bring some candy, suckers, or freeze-dried fruit to give to children who wake up and start screaming. It saves the mom from embarrassment, the flight attendants stress (because of grouchy passengers) and helps everyone get back to sleep. I’m not a mom, but the few times I have done this, it works like a charm. One mom friend of mine actually suggested dried fruit, or crackers so it doesn’t give them a sugar high and make it worse. You can also have little packets of crayons or paper in your bag as well. As a passenger, you also have to remember that Benedryl for kids doesn’t always work….sometimes it has the opposite effect on the kid and then you have a crazy person.
 Traveler Tip: Tips on Flying with Children and Family Friendly Airlines

5- Exercise Before Your Flight

Doing this before your flight gives you the natural relaxation of the muscles, keeps the blood pumping and staves off blood clots as well. The rule of thumb for my patients is I advise them to get up every hour to stretch their legs and do some calf raises for about 5-10 minutes. mnwInWI

6- Wear compression stockings

These stockings can be found at any Walgreens, but the really good ones are the ones that you measure from your ankle to the knee and around the calf. I prefer the open toes because they seem cooler & don’t squish my toes if my legs start to swell slightly. When you sit down the blood vessels in your groin and behind your knees get cut off resulting in fluid retention in your feet and calves. It can set you up for a blood clot as well (no matter your age), unless you plan on walking every 30 minutes — which isn’t always possible because of the risk of running into turbulence. When I sit for long periods of time even at work the compression stockings save my life. You will be amazed at how much this helps your energy level by the time you reach your destination.                                                              combatting jet lag with compression stockings

7- Utilize Jet Lag Rooster

This is an App to properly plan your sleeping times make sure you start this at least 2 days prior to your departure. This was developed by a psychologist in Florida.

8- Sleep When You Are Tired

Some flight attendants do suggest that you just sleep when you are tired, and try to stay awake when the sun is up. I find that this method works for me as well as just sleeping as much as possible when I’m on the plane.

9- Set Your Clock To The Destination

By setting your clock to the time of the destination it will help you keep doing your daily routine by the destination time zone. Thus circumventing hungry, tired, or other cycles.

10- Don’t Overeat or Drink Alcohol

Let’s be honest….unless you are flying some fancy airline in first class….airplane food is no better for you than hospital food. Try to stick with water and the healthier options when your flying as this will help fight off fatigue when you land. The body releases cortisol when it is stressed and can cause fatigue feelings when traveling. Eating healthy will boost your natural defenses, provide ample water to flush out the Cortisol and nutrients to help keep the energy needed to explore up as well. combatting jet lag with adequate hydration

11- Don’t Go Straight To Bed On Arrival

Decide on a tourist-y site with lots of people. Preferably interactive sites, this will force yourself to stimulate your mind and your legs and blood flow. I typically pick the most popular museum, then get an audio guide so I don’t have to concentrate on reading & wander through all the spaces.

12- Keep Your Routine You Have At Home

Once you have toured a little, have dinner at the typical time for your destination, go take a shower/check-in at the hotel. Watch a movie, and then fall to sleep a little bit early — or lay there until its time to sleep (whichever works). I typically don’t do much the first day I’m at my international destination. It really helps to keep the first day easy, it allows my mind to accept that I’m on vacation and that it is ok to relax and not constantly look at my to-do list. combatting jet lag

13- Over The Counter Sleep Aids

When I am traveling back home, that’s when the JetLag is really bad. I will typically take an over the counter sleep aid (Melatonin, 5-HTP, or if you aren’t on any blood thinners then consider St John’s Wort or Valerian Root) — Don’t combine all of these sleep aids, just take the recommended dose for ONE these herbal supplements. I typically will buy my supplements from an Organic Food store and look for one that has some sort of certification on it. Typically supplements and herbs are not FDA regulated, so that means you typically don’t know what you’re going to be putting in your body. I take the sleep aid the minute I get on my longest flight (so if I have a transfer or something, I’m not too groggy).
  • I would not suggest getting any of these with Magnesium if you take more magnesium than your body requires it can actually cause some pretty gnarly diarrhea (a known side effect of oral Magnesium).

14- When You Get Home

Immediately unpack your suitcase, I typically will take a 30-minute nap to tide me over until my usual pre-vacation bedtime. The key here is, to sleep when you’re tired, but if it is during normal wakeful hours– limit it to 20-30min naps.combatting jet lag

15 – What To Do When You Wake Up In The Middle of the Night

If you wake up in the middle of the night when you get home, I will look at a few social media sites, watch a YouTube Video on Classical Music or Yo-yo Ma & let that help me fall back asleep. Please realize if you do use your phone it can stimulate your frontal cortex and make you feel more awake, but for me, reading always puts me to sleep no matter what it is. So whatever typically makes you feel sleepy, do that and then try going back to bed….warm milk and Turkey also works if I’m desperate.

Happy Travels — Happy Tales — and good luck sleeping 😉


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Delos Island Greek Mythology and Things To Know Before Visiting

Delos Island Greek Mythology and Things To Know Before Visiting

If you like to see destinations in their natural state, and a virtually untouched historical setting then the Island of Delos is for you. Delos Greek Mythology was born in this place, many in ancient times thought this to be the Birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. There are fields of wildflowers, ancient stone houses from the 1st and 2nd Century, and evidence suggesting that this place was inhabited since 3000 BCE. It is so important to Greek Culture, that it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. A place well worth the visit should you find yourself among the Greek Isles.

Stay in Mykonos and Take a Ferry

Delos Greek Mythology a UNESCO World Heritage Site

This small protected Island is only a short ferry ride away from Mykonos Greece. These Ferry’s are readily available during the summer months, and in the winter months run on a tight and limited schedule. The ride to the Island only takes about 30 minutes & cost about 10 euros. Be sure to check out ferry times before venturing there, and tours that can take you to Delos and surrounding islands.

Delos Greek Mythology a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Ferry rides can be purchased either on the Island of Mykonos or here. Avoid going in August as the sea can be quite rough and the boat is a smaller passenger boat. They also have 1/2 day guided tours from Mykonos for about 50 Euros as well.

History Of Delos Island

First. it was a refuge for Pirates who were expelled from Crete (note the stone huts there). Habitation dates all the way back to 3000 BCE. Eventually, in the 6th century BCE, all dead bodies were removed from the Island of Delos & people were forbidden from dying or giving birth here to keep its sacred nature for the Gods Apollo and Artemis.

It quickly became one of the most sacred places in ancient Greece. It was also the center of much of the trade for Greece at the time, because of it’s location in the Aegean Sea.

Merchants would sail here from the major commercial centers of the Aegean–Athens, Miletos, Corinth, Macedonia, Thassos, Samos, Milos, Rhodes, and Crete. In the 4th century BCE, it became the natural meeting place of the Delian League who helped protect and defend Greece from invaders and carved a niche in history for themselves as heroes. At the time it is estimated that nearly 25,000 people lived on this island.

Delos Island Can Be Very Hot

It can also be quite hot, so bring something to shade yourself.
There are minimal facilities on the island, so make sure to relieve yourself before taking the ferry and bring water. Delos Tours can take anywhere from 2-4 hours, depending on how detailed you want the tour to be, and if you have an archeological guide or not.

Visit the Delos Archeological Museum

The Island of Delos Archeological Museum contains statues and pottery anywhere from the 1st century to the 25th Century. From the outside, it looks like a rickety shanty – but once you go inside there are true ancient treasures. I just happened to have extra time waiting for my boat back to Mykonos and wandered in here (otherwise I would likely have skipped it).

Delos Greek Mythology a UNESCO World Heritage Site

It contains the original Lions of Delos to protect them from further deterioration from the elements. Artifacts found in the houses on the island, funerary statues and grave stelae, pottery, clay figurines, jewelry and small objects, and mosaics.

Visit the Different Houses & Temples

The Mosaics in these houses are some of the most well preserved in Europe. They are so well preserved, it is said they can rival those found in Pompeii. The house of Dolphins, which contains a Rosetta Stone like mosaic with dolphins in the corners still has the original artists signature.

The house of masks has a spectacularly complex array of mosaics on the floor. In the center, you can see Dionysus riding a colorful tiger, similar to the one found in the nearby House of Dionysos.

Visit the Temple of Hera with tall pillars still standing like sentries after all this time. The Kynthos Cave is mostly a man-made cave in a natural hollow on the rock near the summit of Mt. Cynthus. It is roofed by monumental slabs of granite, and previously had an altar near its entrance.

The Temple of Isis is a partially restored area, dedicated to the goddess typically found in ancient Egypt. A fantastic representation of cultures crossing even in ancient times.

The Temple of Apollo is one of the first temples you encounter and is very easy to pick out because of the Delos Lions lining the walkway. These Lions were placed here around 600 BC, and were used to inspire, awe and intimidate those wishing to visit the God Apollo. The lions here are replicas, and the originals are kept in the Delos Archaeological Museum.

Exposed Ruins and Financial Crisis

Because of the financial crisis of Greece in recent years, there are excavations still happening, funded by the French. At first, I was really upset that the ruins were not protected, preserved, or at least covered- it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site after all. It wasn’t until after I researched why they weren’t that I was able to gain a little more understanding of the complicated situation. Excavations are slow and many of the ruins are still in disrepair. So make sure to bring a detailed map of Delos to help aid your imagination in what once was the birthplace of the Hero’s of Greece.

Tours to Delos

Delos Greek Mythology a UNESCO World Heritage Site

You can tour the Delos with a half day tour from Mykonos, take a sailing boat to Delos and several other surrounding islands, or take a private shore excursion and get to your cruise ship back on time. It is up to you, but I would venture to say it would be well worth your time if you love history, nature and Greek Mythology.

I would highly recommend getting the audio tour and a map of the place. There are signs to tell you about the different sites on the Island of Delos. Most signs are in both Greek & English, giving a brief and limited explanation of this island and its inhabitants.

As Always…..Happy Travels, Happy Tales, and See YOU on the Flip Side. 


Where to Stay Near Delos:

Booking.com

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Don't let fear get the better of you! By guest author: Megan Watts

I once knew someone who was planning to move abroad, she was SO excited. She talked about it for months and told everyone that she was moving overseas, she even went as far as lining up a job for when she arrived. BUT when it came time to book the flight i.e. to take the first real step towards making it a reality, she found an excuse and ended up not going. She let fear win and remained in her warm, safe, familiar comfort zone. As a consequence she missed out on an amazing opportunity and one that she will never get again. Obviously taking that first concrete step towards such a big change isn’t going to eliminate your worries entirely, even after my flight was booked I continued to panic for the ensuing 10 months! but once you’ve conquered that initial hurdle you can’t make any excuses to get out of it and in a way it takes a load off your shoulders. It wasn’t until I’d physically boarded the plane and was sitting there with nothing else to think about or do but just sit, that I felt myself begin to unravel. I think until that moment it had remained in the back of my mind that anything could happen to prevent this from going ahead, we might get stuck in bad traffic and miss the flight. I might arrive only to be told that I’d made a mistake and our flight had left earlier that day. I might trip and fall, breaking my leg and ending my journey before it had begun – dramatic I know! but I couldn’t allow myself to relax and be excited. Sitting here now, 5 years later I smile with happiness and gratitude that nothing hindered me (including myself) and that I made it smoothly onto the big metal tube that would carry me through the clouds to my new life. But in all honesty, until that moment I was secretly hoping something out of my control would happen so that I could remain in the comfort of my family home, the company of loved ones and the familiarity of Australian culture because I was terrified. Displaying 167A48B02A5A410EBD5FAC21C31815F2.jpg Once I’d made it onto the plane I simply gave in. My thoughts as the flight attendant gave us the emergency run down were something like “well, this is happening… I might as well enjoy it” it’s laughable recalling that moment now, my thoughts comparable to someone falling to their death and trying to enjoy the view on the way down. But it’s the truth! I wasn’t excited, I was accepting my fate. HOWEVER by the time I had arrived in Europe and was a few days into my trip, my perspective had totally shifted. I realized that this place isn’t the moon – there is food and water here, the people and the culture are not all that different to home, and I’m totally capable of working out directions and managing myself. With that new found confidence everything became exciting and I started to feel not only incredibly proud of myself but incredibly glad that I hadn’t been a fool and thrown away the opportunity. The tables had turned and now instead of being scared to leave my comfort zone, I was scared of staying in it. And I still am. I’m frightened of missing out, of being old one day and wishing I’d done more. These days the thing I’m most fearful of, is regret. That decision to go ahead and book the flight, to take the leap, turned me into a whole new person and the very thought of having given up and remaining in my little home town still makes me shudder. Displaying F4DA2485E48C4ADEA788F30B054C432A.jpg What would I be doing now? Who would I be? I’d probably be in a stable, well paid job. I’d have a husband… a house with a perfectly manicured lawn, a couple of dogs and probably a kid. I’m sure I’d think I was happy, and maybe I actually would be. But I know for sure I wouldn’t be the fierce, confident, mature, compassionate, ambitious woman who’s writing this. The one who’s seen and experienced SO MUCH. The moral of the story here is this (insert cliché) “fear is temporary, but regret lasts forever” as cliché as it is, that might be my favorite quote. It still resonates with me all these years later, and whenever the moment calls it will burn in the back of my vision, reminding me that new things are always scary, but only for the first bit! Take my advice and jump that first hurdle, be brave, be strong, and push through the fear. Trust me, everything that comes after will not only be a breeze, it’ll be amazing and SOOO worth it. Author: Megan Watts. Founder and Content Creator at Foreign Aussie]]>

The Value of being Spontaneous

It was my birthday, I had just met a guy’s family I had been dating the month before; and he dumped me two days later. Even though they sent a letter saying how nice I was and how much they appreciated all the help I gave them while I had been there. It still really did a number on me. So you know what, I decided I was going to get out of my own head, and wanted to spend my Birthday in Disneyland in California. Disneyland on your birthday is amazing by the way, they give you these enormous pins that have your name and Happy Birthday on it; then every cast member (worker) there has to say “Happy Birthday Janiel” — makes you feel so special…..even if they are paid to do it. I told my two roommates/best friends/sisters from other misters, that we were going to Disneyland. Emily is the spontaneous & carefree one (the blonde), and Cari is the one that entertains us the whole time (the burnette); and I’m the one that is also spontaneous, but is the planner and pusher. IMG_0706                   IMG_0703 It was 8pm in Las Vegas, and by 10pm we hit the road. We stopped at the oddest café on the road, an 80’s café that was apparently featured on the Food Network channel. We got breakfast because we were all starving and beginning to get, what I call, sleep drunk. We got to California at 2 am, we all forgot our pajamas, stayed at a friends house there overnight til we could check into our hotel. Ended up pretending to be princesses out of the different movies, piled into a King sized bed & attempted to sleep. The next day we were all so excited to go to Disneyland we arrived at 8am & spent the day frolicking at the Happiest Place on earth, and made me the happiest Birthday Girl on Earth. IMG_0721 So what’s the point of this story? Other than telling you how AMAZING Disneyland is & how it cures broken hearts. Its the spontaneous adventure that lead to some deep and lasting bonding on the beaches in California in November. IMG_0747 None of us could afford to go to Disneyland for 3 days, and we wanted to spend some relaxing time at the beach. It was November and it the waters were frigid, we went swimming anyway. IMG_0679 I’m sure we looked crazy, even the Seagulls were looking at us like we were. IMG_0676 The beach was virtually empty, except for the Seagulls, which Cari was trying to figure out how to adopt and feed all of them. Emily and I were frozen solid but smiling like fools, we all felt free….like the worries that plagued us at home were gone. I think that is what traveling does to you in general, but when you do it spontaneously I think it helps you heal. Why? Well because you don’t worry about the next step, or the next week for those few days/weeks & can just enjoy being in the moment & you end up subconsciously practicing mindfulness. IMG_0689 So what is mindfulness you ask? It is being in the present moment, and not having the distractions of daily life. If pushing aside the feelings of intense hurt, worry, anxiety, anger, and noticing what and who is around you. The crisp air, the goosebumps on my skin, the sounds of seagulls, the smell of the salty ocean & the beautiful serenity of being alone on the beach in a quiet environment with nothing but the sound of the waves to wash away the worries inside my head. IMG_0696IMG_0698 Whey I am mindful, even if it is subconsciously, I notice that I see the photographic stories around me much more clearly. I appreciate that there is life out there beyond what the live wires, anxiety, or what I like to call my ‘crazy monkeys’ inside my head are trying to come in like a wrecking ball and destroy my serenity. So I encourage all of you to take 2 hours or even 20 minutes, walk outside, no matter what the weather is, and notice the smells, the colors, the sounds, and how you are feeling. I promise it will not only relax you, but may bring a small measure of peace back into your life. Happy travels my friends, and never stop believing things in your life can change. IMG_0692]]>