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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

How To Get More Exercise On Vacation

I don't exercise much, but I do try to keep in shape by eating right and parking further from the store to walk more and taking the stairs. When on vacation it's hard to eat that healthy, especially when you want to try all the good foods, so I look for ways to burn more calories when I'm out and about...and make the effort to order more vegetables. 

When on vacation it's hard to eat that healthy, especially when you want to try all the good foods, so I look for ways to burn more calories when I'm out and about.

Walk Whenever Possible

Instead of driving or taking public transit, try walking. Some destinations are more walkable than others, but you can easily walk 4-10 miles in a day (or more if you're going to a theme park) without even noticing. Look at your map and see how far your destination is for the day (maybe plan some things that are close to each other) and strap on your walking shoes if you think it's doable. At a slow pace, you can walk a mile in 15 minutes, which isn't that long or that far. Of course, if you're like me, you're more likely to want to walk in the morning when your feet are fresh, so give yourself some motivation to get up and stretch your legs. You can take the subway later in the day, but you may face lots of stairs with this option, too. 

Besides the obvious benefits of walking, you will be able to slow down and see more of your destination, possibly finding some hidden gems along the way. We saw a really good portion of London by just wandering around. Just remember to stay aware of where you are and what's around you to stay safe. 

Get Up Early and Use the Gym

Lots of hotels we've stayed in have had workout rooms that are free for all to use. Now we stay in vacation rentals or timeshares, but many of them have gyms included as well. The same goes for cruise ships. Now, I find that I never actually make it to the gym, even though I say I will, but if I made more of an effort, I would at least make it down to get on the elliptical for a bit. If you're on a business trip, this may be the only exercise you get, so make sure to pack suitable clothes. My pajamas are generally a pair of running shorts and t-shirt, so I am set.

Or  Exercise in Your Room

This is easier to do when you have a vacation rental or a suite, where there is actual room for you to move around, but even if you only have a little free space and a chair, you can get in some extra calorie-burning:
  • Chair crunches - I love the fact that if you have a chair, you pretty much have a low-impact gym. Sit on the edge and pull legs up or do the bicycle or other ab exercises like these
  • Work your triceps - These also use a chair, though you can use anything flat and sturdy. At home, I use my coffee table, but you can also use a park bench. 
  • Planks - Work your core! They hurt, but I assume when I see results, they will be all worth it!
  • Squats - Work your butt. You can do these outside, too, but people might you funny looks. If you want to get more advanced, go find yourself a bench and do some step-ups.
  • Calf raises - Do these anywhere, like brushing your teeth, watching the news or waiting in line to get into the Louvre.
  • Arm curls - You can do these just about everywhere. Buy a couple of water bottles and use them as make-shift weights. If these aren't doing the trick and you don't have anything heavier around that could work, check out these traveling dumbbells called AquaBells that you fill with water for your workouts. 
  • Resist! Pack a resistance band (or set) in your carry-on and do more strenuous workouts in the time you have available. There are also these fancy loop bands you can use to strengthen your legs/thighs.

Get In the Pool

Eric prefers to get his extra workout in the form of swimming. If there's a pool, he's going to get in it and do some laps. I'm not a swimmer, but I'll come sit for moral support. Usually, this is when I do laundry. Lugging a laundry basket to and from my room counts as exercise, right?

Rent a Bike

The only thing better than walking your destination is getting around by bike. Lots of destinations now have city bikes you can rent by the hour or the day. See the city in a totally different way by riding around and moving those legs. Bonus is that many of them have baskets, so you have a place to put purchases and/or your day bag. 

Drink More Water

This isn't strictly helpful in exercising, but it will give you more energy if you stay hydrated, meaning you won't want to just be a lump (anymore than usual) when you could be exploring the city on foot or checking out another museum. It also helps if you don't overeat. If you're hungry, but not starving, remember that most places will serve you at least 1.5 times as much as you should eat. Sharing a plate is a way to satisfy your hunger without loading you down with carbs or other heavy foods, so you won't feel like a nap in the middle of the day and drag, because walking is more beneficial when you do it at a brisk pace.

Do you exercise when you travel? What's your favorite way to burn all those calories you ingested over the course of each day?

Saturday, September 18, 2021

The True Cost of a Road Trip

Later this month, Eric and I will be heading south on a road trip to Las Vegas by way of Reno and back. I'll be posting along the way of our stops and food and such. While I have a lot of experience road tripping, I know others do not and aren't always prepared for the costs if they don't plan ahead of time. 

The Cost of a Road Trip to the Top 10 U.S. Vacation Cities
                                          by IDRIVESAFELY. From Visually.

Packing well and booking ahead can help save you quite a bit of money, but if you're traveling during the shoulder or off-season, look for coupons and deals for hotels along the way at rest stops. 

How do you save money on your road trips?

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Dining On A Budget

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I love to eat and it can be one of the best things about traveling. I will plan whole days around places I want to eat, but I also plan ahead to save money on food before I leave, so I can afford to splurge on a few meals and also eat more often than usual, since I am always hungry when out in the fresh air. 

Here are just a few of the rules I follow to get the best bargains on food and keep my wallet from emptying out by the end of the first day.

If you’re like me and want to eat all day long, you’re going to need some tips on how to do it inexpensively, so at least you don’t go broke doing it. Here are just a few of the rules I follow to get the best bargains and keep my wallet from emptying out by the end of the first day.

Bring snacks

Trick your stomach by bringing snacks with you in your bag each day. This way, if you’re tempted to nibble on something, you know you have them on you and are less likely to spend money on food you don’t really need.

Eat where the locals eat

Just by avoiding touristy areas, you can save a lot on your meals. When you’re out, ask a few people where they recommend. They aren’t going to tell you they prefer a chain restaurant over their favorite local pub. The food is likely more authentic than those that you can find right near tourist attractions, making it cheaper, because it’s local and not shipped in from a different country.

Make lunch your main meal

If you really want to try one of the “hip” restaurants by a celebrity chef, make reservations for lunch. The food will be just as good, but it’s usually much cheaper at lunch than at dinner.

Hit up the food carts

Food carts can have a huge variety of different local and international foods, but can be half the price of (or less) than dining at a sit-down restaurant. With this kind of savings, you can try fare from several carts with no regrets.

Rent a vacation home or stay in a hotel with a kitchen(ette)

This is my favorite way to stretch my food budget, because there are so many options. Renting can be a great value over hotel stays if you’ll be visiting for a week or more, plus it gives you the chance to check out the local grocery store. I am not a big breakfast person, so instead of eating out for that meal, I shop for new cereals and pastries that I can’t get at home. There’s never a better time to try new foods! 

Stay at a hotel that offers free breakfast

You don’t realize how much dining out can cost until you go on vacation. A reasonable breakfast can cost between $8-15 per person. If you multiply that by the number of people you’re traveling with and the number of days you’ll be staying, that number can be huge. If you find a hotel in your price range that offers free breakfast, you’ve hit a jackpot of savings.

Sign up for Groupon (or other daily deal sites)

Groupon is an amazing little site that offers daily deals on a wide assortment of things, not least of which is dining. Each day a new offer goes up at a big discount off the regular price. Dining certificates can be purchased quite often and many times I have gotten a half-off gift certificate to a new local restaurant or one just trying to bring in new customers. It works! Sign up at Groupon for the destination of your next vacation (they cover many international locations as well as the United States) and eat for less!

photo credit

Don’t order off the kids’ menu

If you travel with children, you’ll notice that all kids’ menus seem to have the same small rotation of foods. Obviously, little ones don’t just live on hot dogs, pizza, chicken nuggets and PB&J sandwiches. Not only do they charge an outrageous amount for these “staples” that cost hardly anything to make, but they offer hardly any nutritional value and your kids are likely to eat only half of it before declaring they’re full. Instead, order a meal that you both will eat and share. This saves you money and might get them to eat a vegetable or two.

Split your meals

Because I want to eat all day, and everything looks awesome, we often split meals, so we aren't super full, but also so we can sample a little bit more during the day. I find that most restaurants serve at least twice as much food as you should eat anyway. You might also want to just order a few different appetizers to share. This works even better if you're a little too hungry for only half a meal and the restaurant offers free bread you can fill up a bit on.

If you travel with children, having them split a main meal, instead of spending practically the same amount each on two (or more) children's menu items that is the same thing you could eat at home or down the street at a fast food restaurant.

This is just a small list of things you can do to help stretch your food budget on your future trips, but they can save you quite a bit, as they have me and my family on our travels. Remember, the more money you save on meals, the more money you can spend on doing something else!

How do you save money on dining out when you travel?

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Gift a Staycation in a Box

The last year and a half has been weird and stressful and unpredictable, and I anticipate the next 3-6 months will probably be more of the same. People are tired of being at home, but also not ready to go anywhere, because there are so many variables, including anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers, new variants, no way to social distance, and everything else, so for a friend's birthday, I decided she was getting a vacation.

No one is getting a real vacation yet, but staycations are easy, and giving one is just as simple.

No, no one is getting a real vacation yet, but staycations are easy, and with all the experience I now have putting one together, I figured I could do the same for her. I wanted it to be creative and fun, plus include a bunch of things that were either useful, unique, pretty, or all three. 

I started out with a great pottery bowl made by a local artist here in Portland that I picked up at an Asian market/festival earlier this year. It was specified as a succulent or bulb pot and had a metallic-y band around it that reminded me a lot of the Japanese art of fixing pottery with gold, thereby both fixing it and making it more beautiful while still having been broken (pretty much how when bad things happen, you try to find the good in it at some point). This process is called kintsukuroi, which translates to "to repair with gold". 

With this bowl, I decided to plan an entire staycation around this Japanese theme, finding a beautiful Japan landscape backdrop, and then going to my local Asian supermarket and loading up on all the things. Now, obviously, you don't have to go as extreme as I did, but travel makes me happy, and so does giving gifts, so I went a bit overboard, including finding a mini trunk suitcase to pack it all in. I mean, what's a trip without luggage?

The suitcase was a bit smaller than I anticipated, but that's okay, because I just put the overflow in a fun, matching bag I just happened to have on-hand. What else was in the package? I'll show you!

photo by Nancy Jennings

I picked up some ramen packets (like good ramen, not those square crunchy ones that cost 33 cents at Safeway) and a jar of ramen seasoning, which I didn't know was a thing, but apparently we make such things here in Portland at Jacobsen Salt Co. This means I had to get a ramen bowl and matching spoon. I had previously gifted her some sake cups and a few bottles of locally-made sake (from Sake One), so I skipped another sake and instead got a personal bottle of sparkling ume wine (plum blossom) to round out the actual meal. 

photo by Nancy Jennings

Dessert and snacks were easy, because I picked a little bit of everything that looked weird and/or delicious and used that all as packing material. When in doubt, candy that you don't mind if it breaks, will absolutely not break, and will pad everything in your box and add whimsy. So, there's shrimp chips, and Pocky, and gummy candies, and gum, and chocolate treats stuffed in there. 

Since I had included a background, I also wanted to include stuff for the table that wasn't food, but was also small and would travel well. I chose an awesome pop-up card with two geishas and a cherry blossom tree that sits flat and creates a lovely scene all by itself, but I also rounded it off with a mini pagoda, that I thought might hold a candle, but was a bit too small for that, because it's actually a metal aquarium prop. In fact, I found these to be really great in adding a bit of flair, but not being too expensive or too big, when your dinner is done and you don't really have space for another thing in your house. Or maybe you have a fish and he can enjoy it after you.

photo by Nancy Jennings

But wait! That's not all! No trip is complete without sightseeing! Yes, I know technically a backdrop counts as seeing sights, but also, a static picture goes only so far. To complement it, I made a playlist of walking tours and JPop on YouTube and printed out a QR code for it.

Once I Tetrised all my goodies inside the suitcase (or as much as would fit), I added real packing, like bubble wrap in a few open spots and on top, and stuck in the QR code before I closed it up. The few things that didn't fit when into my overflow bag: the background, the pagoda, and a few candies that didn't have a home). I adorned my suitcase with some travel "stamps" and then added a birthday greeting both in (probably very bad) Japanese that I used Google Translate for and then in English with a metallic paint pen. I boxed it up with my overflow bag and added the card on top, and then used sticky notes to number them, so they would be opened in the correct order (yes, I am a nerd, and I'm perfectly secure in that).

There you have it. With a little creativity, you can give your friends and family a lovely little trip that they can take in their own home. Happy Birthday again to my wonderful friend, Nancy!

If you could go anywhere now, where would you go and who would you take with you?

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Our Chicago Staycation

As you know, we're still not really traveling. We have a road trip planned, but only because it looked like things were getting better and then as quickly as that came, it went back to being horrible again. So, yes, we will be going on that trip, but that's probably it for the near future. For now, we're continuing our Destination Date Night series. 

We've been wanting to visit Chicago for quite some time, but while we're waiting to do so safely, a staycation is the next best thing.

We've been wanting to visit Chicago for quite some time, and we've done a few virtual tours during the pandemic to help feel like we're going somewhere and to support tour guides who are out of work for the time being. One was a haunted history of Lincoln Park and another was a cool haunted river tour. (Can you tell we like haunted stories?) So, while we're waiting until we can really visit Chicago, this was the next best thing.

I chose a great evening view of the Chicago River, because I knew that would be a big part of our "trip". I liked that we could see the skyline. I also chose a background with the Buckingham Fountain, a landmark of Millennium Park that isn't The Bean (Cloud Gate) that is part of everyone's photos. I thought this was a more interesting and unique view and didn't make me think of Anish Kapoor and how he's the jerk of the art world. If you don't know this story, please take some time to read about it when you're done here. 

A lot of my backdrop had a blue color, so I went full out and added a bight blue tablecloth to my table then added some Chicago mainstays: 

  • Ferris wheel, first built in 1892, and now an iconic part of Navy Pier (a different wheel was built for this). This was America's answer to the Eiffel Tower. 
  • The Chicago flag. I didn't actually know that cities within states had their own flags, but the Chicago flag is pretty good looking.
  • The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. This was a fun one, since I love the Wienermobile and once looked into touring with it. Oscar Mayer moved from Germany to Detroit and then to Chicago where he started his famous deli brand. I figured I needed a mini version of the mobile, and all orders come with a Wienermobile whistle, which is what you see in the mums.
I also just threw out a jar of flowers that complemented the rest of the things.

I decided to order the things I would definitely eat when I visit Chicago, that I can actually get here at a Chicagoan restaurant.  

The first was a deep dish Chicago pizza with sausage, pepperoni, and mushrooms. Generally, we get thin crust or regular pizza, as I find that deep dish is too filling. Because of that, I only ordered a personal size to share. 

Next, I ordered a giant calzone. Okay, I didn't have an option to order a size, but this was way more than 2 normal people can eat.

Chicago has tons of microbreweries now, so I know I would have stopped into one of those places and gotten a taster of some of those and tried some delish bar foods. 

Beer and pizza are great together. 

While we ate, we took a long, leisurely stroll along the waterfront. The video we watched was taken during Covid, so we had pretty unobstructed views of everything and that was nice. Then we moved onto dessert, because of course we saved room for that.

Make way for...cheesecake. Yes, none of these things we've eaten were anything super special, but it is what that region of the country is known for and easily found nearby where we live, and (bonus) was offered by delivery. It wasn't life changing or super exciting, but it was nice and chill and we ended up with leftovers, too.

As we wrapped up dessert, we watched some videos of the must-eat foods and must-do things in Chicago. 

Cheers to a Chicago staycation. If you want to have your own, you totally can. Here are some ways to make it special:
I won't be making a follow-up post to this, because I have this 48-hour guide for you. Our next date will take us down under with a visit to Australia. 

I hope you enjoyed this and are planning a fun staycation for yourself/your family. If so, let me know in the comments and/or tag me in any of your social media posts so I can see where  you went!

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I may be compensated should you choose to make any purchases through them. This allows me to keep this blog running for you. 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

When Travel Throws You a Curveball

Travel is awesome, but it doesn't always go smoothly even at the best of times. You have to learn to roll with the punches and be ready to employ a backup plan at any given time. If you're a person who does as little travel planning ahead of time as you can, you're probably used to that, but if you're not, it's sometimes hard to change things up at a moment's notice. Right now, with Covid restrictions changing all the time, things may be open or closed or have modified hours.

Travel is awesome, but it doesn't always go smoothly even at the best of times. You have to learn to roll with the punches and have a backup plan.

Know your alternatives

As an avid planner, I generally schedule out all my vacation days so I get to all the cool stuff I know I want to do. That said, I always add the alternate open times for things just in case something happens and I can't go or I find something last minute that I really want to do. That way I can move things around if needed. Maybe something happened that delayed us on Monday and we missed X, but I know that X is also open on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, which means I can reschedule it to one of those days if it's something we reeeally want to do.

Be open

You never know what you'll find when you travel. Sometimes someone suggests a thing you've never heard of or an amazing opportunity pops up that is only available at a certain time. Don't lock yourself into everything you want to do ahead of time. 

The first time we went to London, we had a London Pass and went out to Chislehurst Caves, where we were also going to follow with a visit to Wimbledon, but when I asked our tour guide if we should do that or Eltham Palace (both on the Pass), he steered us to the much lesser known Eltham, and I was so glad he did. It was not crowded, it was interesting, and we never would have gone there had someone not recommended it.

Book most of your activities ahead of time

Avoid sold out tickets for things that you really want to do by purchasing tickets or making reservations before you leave home. Some things book months in advance, so it's good to know what those are and to lock those in beforehand. 

I bought tickets to Las Vegas' new Omega Mart and Museum of Dream Space already, in order to assure we could go while we're in the city for such a short time and can visit early in the day, avoiding crowds and so we don't have to rush.

Don't overbook yourself

Yes, I schedule out my days, to the point that we have an itinerary, but I always allow more time than I think we'll need and usually that gives us extra downtime or time to wander around more or to do things we see on the fly. 

I also plan in time to do laundry, which forces me to go back to my room and chill. I unwind from the day, rest my feet and go to bed on time to get enough sleep for my next day. Sometimes we get takeaway on these evenings, and then we don't have to go back out. If you're in a rental or a place with a kitchen, this might be when you make a meal in or eat leftovers.

Knowing that things don't always work out the way you want them to doesn't mean you can't have a great vacation. Expect the unexpected and you'll never be disappointed, or at least learn how to deal with it so you don't feel like your whole trip has been ruined or you're too stressed to go on. Knowing things can and will change is your key to making the most of your trip and the time you have at your destination.

How do you roll with the punches when you travel?

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Should You Book That Trip?

We're all dying to get back out in the world, but should you book that trip? With Delta on the rise, Europe is closing to Americans again, and other countries aren't doing that well when it comes to cases either. While we're still staycationing at home, we're also planning to take a socially-responsible road trip next month. I think some international travel can be safe, but, like many others, I'm not ready to get back on a plane again yet. 

It seems like travel restrictions  are changing on a daily basis, so you really need to look at all aspects of a trip before you go ahead and book.

It seems like travel restrictions  are changing on a daily basis, so you really need to look at all aspects of a trip before you go ahead and book. 

How many trips ahve you cancelled or postponed in the last 18 months?

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Get Better Sleep While Traveling

New destinations, new people, new food—travel holds some great benefits, but it can be hard to appreciate them if you’re struggling to stay awake. Poor sleep can leave you irritable, moody, and stressed, not exactly how most of us like to travel. However, there are ways to sleep better while you’re away from home. Some are simple while others take some preparation, but they’re all worth it. 

Poor sleep can leave you irritable, moody, and stressed, not exactly how most of us like to travel. However, there are ways to sleep better while you’re away from home.
Photo by Tracey Hocking on Unsplash

Make It Feel Like Home

You may not have the comfort of your own bed at a hotel or AirBnB, but you can make it feel more like home. If you can, bring along items or stimuli you normally use at home. Travel with a favorite blanket or pillow, create a relaxing bedtime playlist, or bring along your favorite candle. Anything that looks, smells, and feels like home can be a huge help. 

Follow Your Regular Routine

Your body is trained to follow a regular routine so it makes sense to keep that same routine when you’re away from home. The predictability of a routine acts as a trigger for your brain to start your sleep cycle. Your routine doesn’t need to be complicated to be helpful. If you normally take a bath then read a book before going to bed, do the same thing and keep everything in the same order while you travel.  

Turn Down the Heat

Your body needs certain conditions to successfully fall and stay asleep. At the start of the sleep cycle, the body temperature drops. It stays slightly lower throughout the night until it’s time to start waking up, at which point it slowly rises again. 

Cool room temperatures help maintain that lower body temperature. It keeps you from overheating and prevents a premature wake-up. Typically, temperatures between 60 to 68 degrees work best, but that will depend on whether you sleep cool or warm. You might have to make some adjustments and experiment to find a temperature that works best for you. 

Keep It Dark and Embrace the Morning

Light has a powerful impact on the timing of your sleep cycle. Sunlight and other forms of blue spectrum light suppress sleep hormones. At bedtime, block out as much light as possible. This is especially important if you’re fighting jet lag. Your body bases the timing of your sleep cycle on the Earth’s day-night pattern. When you hop time zones, it needs all the help it can get to catch up with the changes to that pattern. Bring along a sleep mask and/or some binder clips to keep the curtains closed and the room dark.

Once morning rolls around at your destination, get out of bed and get some early morning sunshine. Exposure to light early in the day helps set sleep patterns for the next 24 hours.  

Time Your Meals and Eat Smart

Light isn’t the only way the body times the sleep cycle. It also uses other predictable patterns like meal timing to determine when to release sleep hormones. Try to eat your meals at approximately the same times each day to give your brain some kind of schedule to follow. 

You can also help by avoiding heavy, high-fat meals close to bedtime. Also watch out for acidic, spicy, and caffeine-laden foods that could cause indigestion or heartburn. 

Use a Sleep Aid

While I don't usually have issues sleeping, the first day or two away from home can be difficult for me to drop off. I have a pillow spray that chills you out, I've also used Dream Water (both the liquid and the powder), and also CBD gummies. Whatever you find works for you at home should work when you are traveling, so take those things along.

Start On The Plane

Sleeping on the plane can not only help your body combat germs, but it helps you avoid jet lag, too. If you need tips on how to sleep better or just on the plane in general, here are the tips I use. It helps to figure out what normally will help you, like I said above, so do some research before you travel if you don't usually use anything to go to sleep, or it's something simple, like a chill podcast or certain music that you can download before you leave home.

Sleep is the foundation of your health. You need it to be alert, happy, and ready to go. As you develop a travel plan, include ways to enhance your sleep. The changes you make in favor of better sleep may be small but the payoff can be well worth it. 

Have you ever lost valuable travel time because of poor sleep? 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and I may get compensated for any purchases you make through them. This helps me continue to bring you quality content, so thanks in advance.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Why Staycations Are Still Big Right Now

I know most of us are dying to get out in the world and explore, but we also want to be responsible and safe. Eric and I are still doing Destination Date Nights and exploring Portland's outdoor spaces and through restaurants that specialize in foods from outside of America. Yes, we'll be taking a road trip next month, but like our last one, we'll be changing the way we approach this trip, eating outside as much as possible or taking meals to-go, doing outdoor activities, and masking up whenever we're around people. 

Most of us are dying to get out in the world and explore, but we want to be responsible and safe. Staycations and road trips may be the answer.
photo credit

We'll be staying at our timeshare, so we'll have a kitchen and patio and pool and picnic tables. While this may not sound like as much fun as regular vacations we take, we'll be away from home and have a change of scenery. Follow me on Instagram to follow along on our trip and maybe snag some ideas for your own next trip. 

Will you be staycationing or road tripping this year?

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

3 Steps to Preventing Jet Lag

Jet lag. Is there anything worse? Well, probably. Getting robbed or attacked by a bear or losing your passport. Those are all worse actually. There's a really low chance of most of those things happening to you, but jet lag is really common...and annoying. Now that you're getting close to traveling again, you don't want to waste any time on your trips. Not that you did before, but your first trip out would really be devastating, so here are 3 ways to prevent getting jet lagged.

Now that you're getting close to traveling again, you don't want to waste any time on your trips, so here are 3 ways to prevent jet lag.

You can lose hours or days of your trip because of it, which is kind of like being robbed, because you're paying for vacation you don't get to use. Going west to east is worse than going east to west, but it depends on how many time zones you're crossing. The best way to avoid jet lag is to start combating it before you even leave home. Here are some tips:

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

Adjust Your Schedule
The sooner you can get on your new schedule, the better. If you can do so before you leave home, that's optimal, but if you have to work and can't really do that, then start on your plane ride. Immediately set your watch to what the local time will be and do what you normally do at that time. If it's time to sleep, then sleep, but if it's not, make yourself stay awake as much as possible. I take a quick nap, but occupy myself reading, watching a movie, playing a game or coming up with new post ideas (maybe you journal instead). If you are traveling with someone, break out a card game and make them play with you. In other words, keep your brain busy. 

When you get to your destination, stay on schedule. If it's daytime, do some sightseeing. If it's nighttime, then go to bed. Simple! And don't forget to eat on time. Have problems getting on a new schedule? Try a time adjusting app!

Stay Hydrated
Not getting enough liquids in your body can cause you to be sluggish. Bring a big bottle of water with you on the plane, avoid dehydrating drinks like soda and alcohol, and continue drinking extra of water for the first couple of days of your trip. This can also keep you from getting sick. A great alternative to water is tomato juice. It's known to be one of the best beverages for flying, because it's hydrating and full of vitamins. If you're thinking this sounds super gross, just try it. The altitude from flying dulls your taste buds a bit, so it's actually tastier than you think.

Eat Light and Healthy
Eating is really important, but you don't want to eat a huge meal before getting on the plane. You also don't want to eat fried and junk food. Find something light and healthy (or as much as possible) to eat before your flight that'll keep your going, but not weigh you down and make you sleepy. You'll also want to bring snacks. Protein-packed, healthy foods like nuts or fruit are great options.

If you want to know more about a jet lag "diet", see my post here. I still haven't tried it like I meant to, but I found that getting on schedule ASAP worked really well. I am normally tired the first evening, but after a good night's sleep, I am good to go for the rest of my trip. I've done this for coast-to-coast trips and also trips further away.

Have you ever been a victim of jet lag?

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Shereen Travels Cheap Turns 11

Yesterday marked this blog's foray into a second decade. Oddly this last year has not had much actual travel, but that doesn't mean travel is dead forever. In fact, it's far from it. Usually, I go back over my past accomplishments of the year, but I think I'd like to change it up again and talk about some of the things we've been doing that we will continue doing, even after the pandemic is over.

Yesterday marked this blog's foray into a second decade. Travel has been put on hold, but not forever, so here's to hoping 2022 is brighter.

Even though we only took one road trip this year, we still did quite a bit. We explored more of the Portland area than we ever have and we took a ton of staycations, where we "visited" so many places we haven't been. We're coming up on September again, where I will have to decide if I want to celebrate Oktoberfest again. 

I've loved doing our Destination Date Nights and I'm sure even when we can travel freely again, we'll be continuing to do them, even if we cut back to once a month or so. Some of my favorites have been Amsterdam, Egypt, Venice, and Japan. We've found new destinations to add to our list as we were pushing off planned travel. 

We've discovered new favorite foods and restaurants. We've learned that even when forced to be together, we still enjoy each other's company. We've changed routines and haven't been sad about most of those changes. We've become more creative about what we do and stay in touch with others. We've found new podcasts and shows that we love.

Next month we'll head out on a road trip to Las Vegas, because we need to get out of the house. We've decided t hat we can only control ourselves and how we behave, so we feel like this is the most responsible travel that we can do: We'll be staying in our timeshare in Vegas, off The Strip, we'll be masking up everywhere, we'll be eating outside, and we'll be doing outside things like enjoying street art. The few things I have planned inside are things in places I know are doing the most for public health, require masks, and have rigorous cleaning routines. We'll be going first thing in the morning, to avoid as many people as possible, and know that everything has just been deep cleaned. Meow Wolf's OmegaMart will be one of those things, and the Museum of Dream Space is another. 

In Reno, a stroll along downtown's Riverwalk District is on the itinerary. It's lined with wall murals and sculptures. Outside of Las Vegas, Goldfield's International Car Forest and Pioneer Cemetery are on my list. Nearby's Rholite is a ghost town that is also a filming location, and Goldmine is a must with an open-air sculpture museum and an awesome bottle house (that's a house made from bottles). 

This might be the trip we visit the Clown Motel's cemetery, check out the Sierra Nevada Zoological Park and even the Nevada Museum of Art. Though we've been to Virginia City before, I'd love to go again. It's about a 30-minute drive from Reno, but up the mountain and totally worth the drive.  

What's coming up after this road trip? 

If all goes well, in February I'll be back in Vegas for the Travel Goods Show, and this will hopefully see the return of our regular travel. A trip to Disneyland/Los Angeles could be on the docket, since our trip to Walt Disney World was postponed twice and then indefinitely now with the horror that is Covid in Florida. 

We are hoping to visit Chicago at some point, though I don't know if that will happen in 2022. I do know that we will be doing more Destination Date Nights to fill in the gaps between traveling. Destinations ahead so far are Reykjavik, Sydney (Australia), Edinburgh/Glasgow, Dublin, Toronto, New York City, India, and Turkey.

I hope you all are doing well. I'll continue to post travel things for you to plan those awesome trips for the future. I'll also be doing plenty of posts from my home entertainment and things around Portland on my Instagram. Stay safe, stay healthy, wear a mask, and be kind. These are the least we can do and hope for in these trying times. 

Are you starting to travel again? What postponed destinations are you most looking forward to?
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