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Traveling with your kids can be incredibly rewarding and exciting, as you’ll have the opportunity to see new destinations throughout young, curious eyes. Even traveling by bus, car, train, and plane can be a fun, new experience for even the youngest world travelers. But, whether traveling by yourself or with kids, unexpected hiccups, like losing your luggage, facing a delay, or a flight cancellation, can put a damper on plans. Missing a flight or having a delayed flight can really upset young travelers who may not be old enough to understand why they are aren’t arriving where they’re meant to at the time you told them. Though facing a flight delay or cancellation is very frustrating, it is important for us parents to play it cool and be prepared in case we are faced with upset travel plans. 

Prepare first with snacks, toys, and television

Before setting off on your fun family trip, prepare at home with extras — and when I say extras, I mean extras of everything. Because most airports are unfortunately not very kid-friendly, pack your carry-on luggage very strategically, so if you do face a delay or cancellation, you have everything you need for your child. If you have a child still in diapers, make sure to pack more diapers and wipes than needed. Likewise, if your child is eating pureed food or formula, think ahead and pack the maximum the liquid limit allows — you typically can’t find these items at an airport. I’d even suggest bringing a banana, bowl, and spoon, so you can mash extra items if you have a long delay.

For entertainment, especially of toddlers and older children, think ahead with a fully loaded and charged tablet, battery pack, and charger, so you can watch movies and TV while stuck at the airport. New toys and books are also fun to keep little ones occupied.

Check to see if you are entitled to money back

When traveling within certain regions, such as within Europe, people who face long delays or flight cancelations are often entitled to a significant amount of money back. Recently, when a flight I was taking with my family was delayed for several hours, we filed a claim and were able to receive more than 50% of our money back. So, if your flight is delayed or canceled, it pays to look into local rules and regulations.


Related: 8 Essentials To Pack In Your Carry-On When Traveling With A Toddler


Find a place to sleep

If your flight is delayed overnight or has been canceled and rebooked for the next day, talk to the airline staff about putting your family up in a hotel overnight. Many airlines will be authorized to do this, especially if you are traveling as a family.

If your flight is delayed for a few hours during the day, you might be able to encourage your children to nap (thus giving you and your partner a break) by finding a quieter corner of the airport. Just be sure to keep an eye on the clock so you don’t miss your flight!

Calmly talk to the airline staff

I can’t stress this point enough; it is so, so important to speak calmly to the airline staff when the delay or cancelation first gets announced. First and foremost, staying calm shows your kids that a delay or cancellation isn’t going to ruin your vacation, helping them to stay more positive in the face of their own disappointment. It also models to your children that you should be respectful when dealing with other people, even when you are frustrated or upset. And finally, the airline staff are much more likely to be able to provide helpful solutions and respond positively to requests you may make.

When faced with a cancelation, some airlines may be able to provide your family with a free accommodation as well as meal vouchers for use in the airport or at the hotel. They should also be able to reschedule on a similar flight for another day without charge. If you are delayed, the airline staff should help you to reschedule a connection or maybe even provide you with meal vouchers for the airport. Just remember to speak calmly with the airline staff and wait your turn in line.

Look for a family-friendly spot to wait

Though airports are typically not kid-friendly, some have indoor playgrounds, TV stations, and videogame areas. If your flight is delayed a few hours, you could easily pass the time having fun. If the airport you’re stuck at is lacking these fun features, you could try enjoying a meal at a more family-style restaurant, especially one that has a view of the planes taking off and landing.


Related: 6 Secrets To Stress-Free Travel With Baby


 

Whether your last-minute trip is for a birthday, anniversary, career advancement, or otherwise, you don’t have to submit your wallet to jacked up airline and accommodation prices. With more affordable accommodations already booked up and flight prices creeping up as the flight date gets closer, it can be hard to book a budget-friendly last-minute getaway. But it is possible to plan an affordable surprise getaway, especially if you allow for some flexibility in your travel dates and/or destination choices. Also, consider other modes of transportation and nearby destinations as overall budget savers.

Choose the destination carefully

Opting to visit Disney World during the height of the summer or at Christmastime is definitely not going to be a budget-friendly option, as these are the most popular times of the year to visit. But, if you are looking for a last-minute trip in September, October, January, or February and have the freedom to travel during weekdays, Disney World would be a great option. These four months of the year are least crowded and you can often find accommodation deals and beat the lines on many rides.

Similarly, visiting areas typically known for skiing will offer bargains in the summer when there is no snow. These destinations will offer beautiful accommodations and great options for hiking and outdoor activities.

Search deals

If you don’t have a destination in mind and/or have flexible dates, try using a search engine such as Skyscanner. This flight search engine allows you to select flexible dates or see prices for multiple destinations if you are unsure where you’d like to visit. Having a degree of flexibility can help you to book a great last-minute trip for a budget-friendly price.


Related: 3 Things You Should Never Ever Post To Social Media


Read blogs and websites

Blogs and websites, especially those local to where you live, often have great suggestions for feasible weekend getaways that you may not have thought of yourself. If you have a car or live in a region of the U.S. with access to great public transportation, you could easily seek out a destination from one of these local blogs and book a budget-friendly accommodation.

U.S. based travel bloggers that I like to read for trip information and ideas are Local Adventurer, Getaway Mavens, and C’est Christine.

Don’t underestimate a nearby vacation

Maybe a staycation is exactly what you need to break routine and help you relax or celebrate. Or maybe, heading over to a nearby town or city would be a great short-notice getaway. I think we tend to ignore local trips in favor of more far-flung options, but that isn’t necessary; great trips can be had nearby as well.

Check your paperwork

If you are traveling outside of the U.S., you’ll have to be sure to check if your passport is up-to-date and if you need a visa. As it takes time to secure a new passport or apply for visa documents, it is essential to think of this prior to booking tickets for your last-minute getaway. And don’t forget to leave enough time to prepare yourself and your home before your trip.


Related: 11 Important Things To Do Before Going On Vacation


Your turn! Which apps do you use to save money on travel?

Maybe you or your spouse have been offered a job abroad or would like to take a sabbatical. Or maybe you’ve always dreamed of immersing yourself in a different language and culture by moving to a different country. Whatever it is that might take your family abroad, it is important to think carefully about the decision beforehand to ensure that choosing to move abroad is the right option for your family.

I’ve lived abroad in three very different countries so far (China, Lithuania, and Italy), and have been living outside of the U.S. for almost eight years. I’ve gone from being insanely unprepared for the move, to knowing what to expect and how to make better choices about the countries we choose to move to.

If you are faced with the decision of moving abroad for the first time, don’t go into it as unprepared as I was the first time around by considering the six points below.

Financial health

One of the most important things to consider before moving abroad is if you can afford it. Take a hard look at your family’s financials and inquire about the financial support that a job might be providing. Even if you aren’t planning on moving furniture or anything more than a suitcase or two, moving is expensive and almost always costs more than planned. From paying a deposit on an apartment to unexpected costs that pop up here and there, moving is a cost to carefully consider.

Along the same lines, it is important to look into the cost of living and tax laws in whatever country you plan to move to. Consider how your income might change or cover the predicted cost of living.

Responsibilities

What are your responsibilities in the U.S.? Do you have pets at home that you’d need to arrange a new home or passport for? Or perhaps you own a home and a car and must decide whether to sell these items, rent them, or keep them for your return. When you have “stuff” (e.g., a house, car, furniture) it is more difficult to simply get on a plane and enjoy the wild ride that is moving abroad, but it certainly is possible if you plan for it.


Related: 6 Secrets To Stress-Free Travel With Baby


moving your family abroad

The age of your children and their personalities

If have children or would like to have children when you move abroad, think about the care you’d like for them to have, considering everything from safety, to health care, and childcare options. Some of the countries I’ve lived in have been fabulous for children and maternity care, while other places are lacking. In other cases, other countries have limited childcare options because maternity leave it typically long or grandparents are traditionally the primary childcare providers. You can research family life online by reading expat blogs, finding relevant Facebook groups, or talking to colleagues at your potential new workplace.

In addition, think about your child’s personality. If your child is old enough, you can even talk with him or her about the opportunity to move abroad. If your kids are too young to express their opinions, you could look towards their personality, but I do think it is a bit easier to move abroad if you have very young children compared with older children.

Your extended family’s health

As your parents and other family members grow older, considering their health and your role in their care is important. If you are the main care-giver for your aging parents or you support them in other ways, this is clearly something to consider before making the jump abroad. Even if your parents and close relatives are young and healthy, they’ll likely miss their grandchildren, so researching flight options, cost, and the ease of visiting (i.e., do they need a visa) is something to think about.

Long term goals

Before saying “yes” to an opportunity abroad, take some time to talk with your spouse about your long-term goals as both an individual and as a family. Maybe you hope to save a certain amount of money for retirement, buy a house, have another baby, or go back to school — can you work towards these goals while abroad?

Career opportunities

In my experience, many families move abroad for one of the parents’ jobs, not both. While it can be possible for the other parent to find a job once you arrive in country, this can be challenging (though not impossible) without speaking the language and/or with visa regulations. If you or your spouse must put their career on hold for a life abroad, it is important to reflect upon the competitiveness of the field and the option to re-enter the position if and when you do return back to the U.S.


Related: 10 Things Every First-Time International Traveler Should Do Before Their Trip


Are you considering moving abroad? Share with us in the comments below!

Toddlers are energetic bundles of fun, but when they are cooped up for too long, they can turn into screaming tyrants. I’m sure everyone on a plane, train, or bus has experienced the frustration of a toddler who can’t to do what he or she wants. But, if you are prepared and packed correctly, you might manage to make it to your destination mostly problem free.

1.  Lots of snacks and drinks

To prevent the wrath of a hangry toddler, I’d suggest packing a variety of your toddler’s favorite snacks — now is not the time to introduce new foods, especially if you have a fussy eater. Snacking on a variety of textures and favorite finger foods will keep your toddler occupied, happy, and their tummy’s full.

2.  Tablet

I don’t think I could ever travel without a tablet when traveling with my toddler. If on a long flight, don’t put all your entertainment chips in the in-flight TVs — those frequently don’t work, don’t have toddler-friendly shows, and must be stowed at takeoff and landing. But, a small tablet can often be used throughout the flight, and can be loaded with your toddler’s favorite shows. Oh, and don’t forget the charger and an external battery pack!

3.  Toys, toys, toys

Other than a tablet, provide your toddler with entertainment in the form of manipulative toys to keep their little hands and curious minds busy. Some of our favorite toys to travel with are Duplo Legos, coloring books and crayons, and toy cars. Did you ever notice that your child becomes instantly fascinated by new toys? Take advantage of this by purchasing a few small, inexpensive toys that you can unveil in-flight. For example, toy cars, play food, or small dolls can provide a needed distraction. Also, easy to peel off stickers or decals (the ones that can be re-used) are awesome.

4.  Extra clothes

Prepare for the worst — an accident, spill, diaper leak, or any other disaster — with a complete change of clothes for your toddler. I’m sure they’ll be much happier to not sit out the flight in wet clothing.


Related: How To Make Any Destination Family Friendly


5.  Change of clothes (for you)

Didn’t make it out of that messy disaster unscathed, did you? Treat yourself to a quick change out of clothes covered in who knows what by packing a change of clothes for you, and maybe even whoever else you are traveling with. Toddlers are messy. You’ll hopefully arrive to your final destination looking fresh.

6.  More than enough diapers

If your toddler is still in diapers, be sure to pack more than enough. Delays do happen frequently and more often than not, airports are unfortunately ill-equipped to deal with their youngest travelers. Filling the extra space in your carry-on with diapers is always a good idea. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to bring a changing pad because diaper changing facilities aren’t always well-maintained.

7.  Wipes

Even if your toddler is potty trained (please teach me your ways), wipes do wonders for cleaning up both little and big messes. From messy hands and faces to purple crayon “decorating” the fold-out table, you’re going to need them.

8.  Books

I know books are heavy and you’ve already jammed your carry-on full of clothes, diapers, and toys, but I’d still suggest packing a couple of your child’s favorite, smaller-sized books. My little one really mellows out when reading (most of the time), so it could be the break they need. Also, if you will be traveling during nap or bedtime, keep in mind their routine — do you read before bed? The few books you bring along could help your child to prepare themselves for a snooze while in-flight, which is really a dream come true for parents.

An added bonus of packing so much in your carry-on is that you’ll be prepared if your luggage gets lost. I know we all hate to think about that, but it can happen. At least you’ll have a change of clothes and stuff to keep your toddler entertained while you sort things out.


Related: 8 Places To See With Your Kids Before They Turn 18


What are your traveling essentials?

I’m all about making travel work within your budget, whatever that may be. But, after you’ve booked your vacation, it can be really easy to overspend while on your trip. Whether you are tempted by shopping, constant eating out, taking cabs around the city, or if you are just clueless about the exchange rate, every little bit spent adds up and can turn a budget-friendly vacation into a splurge in no time. However, I’m not saying you have to completely tighten the belt or give up on fun. Doing a bit of preparation beforehand will help you save on this vacation so that you can put your hard-earned income towards your other savings goals or another trip!

1.  Research in advance

I always advocate for doing research in advance before arriving at your destination, sometimes even before booking a flight. Spending an evening with a cozy cup of tea, your computer, and the comfort of travel blogs and websites can help you save so much money on a trip, and prepare you to not miss out on any of the sites, museums, or architecture that you are interested in seeing.

2.  Take public transportation or walk

Many cities offer excellent public transportation options that are incredibly affordable. Once you arrive at your destination, simply study the map, check the ticket prices, and you are set to go. By taking public transportation or even opting to walk, you can save your hard-earned cash for something else. Remember that in many European countries, your public transportation ticket isn’t valid until it has been validated and stamped.

The only time I suggest taking a cab or Uber is if it is dark, if the area seems sketchy, or you feel uncomfortable for some reason. It is always better to be safe than worry about spending a bit of extra money.

3.  Write a wish-list

While I’m traveling, I’m always tempted by the unique shops and handcrafted items that aren’t available at home. It could be very easy for me to overspend with the justification of we can’t get this at home. Instead of justifying each and every purchase you make, consider writing a loose wish-list of items that you actually need instead of wanting to buy every unique thing you see.

If you are working within the bounds of a capsule wardrobe, saving the shopping step creating a wardrobe suited to use is perfect for when you are traveling because you might be able to find unique pieces that fit within the vision for your wardrobe.


Related: 10 Easy Ways To Save Money While Traveling


4.  Look for discounted activities or free museum days

If you are a museum-lover or hope to visit every amazing site in the guidebook you’ve read, the entry and activity fees can get very pricey. To save a bit of money here, check museum websites to see if they offer any free days or visiting times. Many museums offer discounted or free visiting times once per month, so check to see if your visit overlaps with these more affordable dates.

As a rule of thumb, other free and cheap options include parks, churches, and free walking tours offered by tourism boards. Purchasing tickets online vs. in person often tends to be cheaper as well.

5.  Set a daily spending budget

Setting a daily budget can help to prevent yourself from overspending on food, shopping, or sightseeing. Allow yourself to be a bit flexible with this budget, considering that some days you might spend more and other days you might spend less. To keep your spending within budget, I recommend trying to eat breakfast in your accommodation, choosing a free activity or sight to see daily, and opting for a cheaper meal, such as a meal from a food stand, picnic, or groceries to cook at your accommodation, at least a few times during your trip.

6.  Know the conversion rate and be familiar with the currency

One of the biggest mistakes many travelers make is not paying attention to the exchange rate or learning the currency. Feeling as though you are carrying Monopoly money can seriously burn a hole in your pocket. When you are working with cash, learn the exchange rate and look at the currency so you can actually know the amount you are spending in U.S. dollars.


Related: How To Pack Bras and Save Space In Your Suitcase


 

As you’ve probably guessed from my many travel articles written for Parfait, I travel a fair bit, mostly with my family.

Throughout my experience traveling with a child, I’ve found that you don’t always need to go to destinations that are considered family-friendly, like Disney World for example.

It is possible to travel just about anywhere with your kids and find ways to entertain them while still enjoying the destination yourself.

1.  Seek out parks and playgrounds

In between museums and sightseeing, stop at parks and playgrounds to allow your little ones plenty of time to run free. Not only does this wear them out a bit, it gives you all the downtime needed to connect and have fun together.

2.  Look for kid-friendly activities

While you don’t need to only do kid-focused activities, a trip will be much more pleasant for you and your family if you take your kids’ interests and ages into consideration. Maybe your daughter is really into animals, so look for a zoo or aquarium. If your son is obsessed with cars, then look for a transportation museum or car show. Or, if you have a pre-toddler who needs some time to crawl around, try to look for a children’s museum or kid-focused restaurant or café with a play area. It is easy to take your children’s needs into consideration in countless destinations around the world.

3.  Consider staying in a private rental apartment

Rental apartments, such as those through Airbnb or VRBO, often provide a lot more privacy and space than a traditional hotel room. Having the freedom to prepare breakfast or dinner for yourself and your family not only saves you a ton of money while on vacation, it also allows you to avoid the late dining times that countries like Spain and Italy adhere to. Additionally, having separate bedrooms for you and your children or a living room to retreat to really helps if you need a bit of “me time” at the end of the day.


Related: 10 Easy Ways To Save Money While Traveling


4.  Bring entertainment

Little kids have short attention spans, so sometimes providing a bit of a distraction in the form of a book, toy, or tablet is absolutely necessary. Entertainment will give you a bit of extra time enjoying a museum or savoring a leisurely meal before a little one starts to protest.

5.  Remember that kids have little legs

Depending on the age of your child, traveling with a stroller or carrier can give those little legs a break from walks around the city or countryside. A stroller or carrier may also double as a place for a child to take a nap without you needing to return to your accommodation, which is a win-win in my book.

6.  Carry snacks and drinks

When your child gets hungry, do they need to eat immediately like my son? Just like when you are at home, having a few snacks handy can help prevent a hangry crying child.

7.  Leave space in your itinerary

One of the most important things to do when making any destination family-friendly is to not completely fill your itinerary with activities from dawn till dusk. Kids need downtime to run through parks, count ants, or simply play with toys. Let your itinerary be flexible enough to take your children’s typical routine into mind when planning a day out. And also, try not to feel guilty if you have to skip seeing a major site to avoid a meltdown; just enjoy relaxing and being together.


Related: How To Pack Bras and Save Space In Your Suitcase


 

Watching your child’s glee as he or she crawls through the sand for the first time; laughing aloud at the slurping noises of satisfaction your child makes as he or she feasts on his/her first massive bowl of pho; marveling together in an awed silence as you stare up at the David — what do these snippets have in common?

They’re all pieces of memories from family trips that you’ll be able to smile while remembering for a lifetime. Memories created together is just one of the many reasons you should travel with your family.

1.  Create memories

All of the memories I mentioned above are actually from trips with my own family — and they are certainly memories that I probably could not have created while at home. Traveling together puts you in new situations, different environments, and gives you the time away from the normal responsibilities of life to spend quality time together and create lasting memories.

2.  New experiences

Can’t try Vietnamese food at home? No problem, because you can travel to Southeast Asia together or closer to home, perhaps a nearby large city, and try new cuisine. Maybe you’ll like it or maybe you won’t, but the giggles, slurps, and even yucks will expose you to something completely new.

Don’t live near the beach? Taking a vacation as a whole family to the ocean is such a special experience, especially if your kids have never seen the beach or such a massive body of water.

It is truly special to be able to expose your kids to such amazing sights, no matter their age. And the new experience doesn’t have to be something just for your kids; traveling to a different city or country can expose you to so many new things to see, taste, smell, and touch.

3.  Cultural exchange

Learning about different cultures, religions, and beliefs can add depth and richness to your life and your children’s lives. Being exposed to different people will help to grow understanding and empathy, and doing this through travel can be incredibly immersive and beneficial.

Learning or practicing second languages is also a wonderful way to learn more about the world. And practicing these languages with native speakers in an immersive situation is also a great reason to travel together.

4.  Get out of your routine

Wake up, work, school, sleep, repeat day after day — breaking out of your regular routine for a trip with your family can help you to find balance, rest, and connect with each other in ways that you may not be able to at home because of responsibilities. Traveling together will help you let go of the day-to-day grind, even if just for a short time.

5.  Learn about history

Are your kids really interested in Greek mythology or Roman warriors? How about being the “best mom ever” with a trip to Greece or Italy to explore those ancient times as a family. Learning about history through visiting the place is a special way to expand upon lessons school and create a life-long interest or hobby.


Related: 8 Places To See With Your Kids Before They Turn 18


6.  Connect with each other

Between work, school, afterschool activities, and everything else on your plate, it can be hard to keep up. Taking even a few days of vacation to just be together with no work or school distractions is so valuable for connecting and building relationships.

7.  Limits picky eating

Toddlers and kids are notoriously picky eaters. But I’ve found that traveling and exploring frequently has exposed my toddler to such a huge variety of food that he’ll pretty much at least try anything put in front of him. Imagine not having to endure a fight at every mealtime!

8.  Have more time to play

Find joy during your vacation by spending more time playing with your kids. Whether you chase each other through a park along the Siene River or hang out in a giant indoor playground in Rotterdam, try to detach yourself from your phone and other distractions and just play.

9.  Figure out challenges together

Lost amidst the winding streets of Paris? Park it on a bench, pull out an old-fashioned paper map, and see if you and your kids can figure out the right street to take. Or, if your kids are older, involve them in planning your day of sightseeing together. This gives your children responsibilities, teaches them to research, and helps them learn invaluable problem solving skills.

10.  Learn more about each other

With breaking you out of your routine, you’ll have new options to learn about each other — not only you learning more about your kids, but your kids will learn about you, outside your role as a parent. Let your kids see your innate sense of direction in action, or marvel at your partner as he/she drives effortlessly on the left side of the road. Stepping outside of your typical role as a parent and showing your strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes will show your kids a new side of you.


Related: How To Decide If Moving Abroad Is Right For Your Family


 

I’m pretty sure we’ve all looked at a chocolatey slice of cake or an extra croissant while on vacation and said, “When’s the next time I’ll be here? I might as well stop for x…!”

Whether you travel often or infrequently, going on vacation is an excellent excuse to forget normally healthy eating habits, throwing moderation to the wind and indulging in food. That, often combined with a lack of exercise, can wreak havoc on our waistlines and potentially cause our immune systems to temporarily weaken. But going on vacation doesn’t mean you need to throw typical cautions to the wind, nor does it mean you can’t treat yourself.

Keep these ten simple things in mind and you’ll be able to have an excellent vacation with your health and wellness in check.

1.  Check the CDC for important information

Okay, this may sound scary, but it absolutely isn’t. When traveling to a different country, different diseases may be present that are either mosquito, food, or water borne that our bodies aren’t familiar with.

Checking the CDC website for information regarding the country you are visiting can help you ensure that you get any appropriate vaccinations if necessary, and avoid other things that could make you sick.

The CDC webpage does err on the overcautious side, so if you have further questions, turning to long-term expats in the country either via their blogs or via expat specific Facebook pages can provide additional more relevant information.

2.  Pack appropriately

Are you traveling to somewhere hot or cold, wet or dry? Though it sounds super straight forward, packing for the weather can ensure that you stay comfortable no matter the weather. Overheating in too warm clothes or underdressing in rainy weather can contribute to illnesses, especially if your immune system is already impacted by late nights and too few vegetables.

3.  Check the water quality

In the U.S., safe drinking water is something many of us take for granted. But the water isn’t safe to drink everywhere, and in some cases must be boiled, treated, or simply avoided to prevent illness. This also means that you must take into consideration uncooked vegetables and fruits that are washed in water; produce should either be peeled and not washed or washed and cooked prior to consumption. Also, don’t forget about using treated water to brush your teeth.

4.  Bring basic first aid from home

We all have our favorite brand of painkiller or stomach settler — bring these from home as pharmacies around the world carry different medications. A basic first aid kit is always a good idea to keep on-hand when traveling.

5.  Eat fruit and veggies

Whether you are eating out or cooking at your accommodation, try to incorporate fruits and vegetables into at least two of your daily meals or snacks. Even if your diet isn’t quite as healthy as at home, at least you are getting some of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body needs.


Related: 7 Easy Ways To Squeeze In A Workout While Traveling


6.  Stay hydrated

Dehydration can cause crankiness, upset stomach, headaches, and severe health issues. Bringing along a bottle of water throughout your day can insure you stay hydrated and strong.

7.  Sleep and rest

While you might be tempted to have a jam-packed itinerary with late nights, early mornings, and days crammed with sightseeing, never pausing for a break can really take its toll. Remember that vacations are also meant to be a rest from your daily grind — you shouldn’t need a vacation from your vacation.

8.  Limit your alcohol intake

Though you might be tempted to try every aperol spritz or frosé you can find during vacation, alcohol, mixed with late nights, and a poor diet can cause a whopping hangover, putting a damper on the next day’s plans. Not to mention that over indulging in alcohol can be unsafe in cities you are unfamiliar with, particularly if you are a woman traveling solo.

9.  Walk

Rather than taking a cab or public transportation, staying fit while on holiday could be a simple as getting in your 10,000 (or more) steps while strolling through picturesque cobblestone streets or along pristine, white sand beaches.

10.  Try some active sightseeing

Seeing as many sights as you can squeeze into a day might be your priority while on vacation. How about seeing those sights in a unique way by hiking, kayaking, standup paddleboarding, or biking throughout your destination? Even walking tours, which many cities offer, can have you exploring different parts of a destination in a healthy, active way.


Related: 6 Ways To Avoid Overspending While On Vacation


 

A while back, I found myself sitting at the airport gate for the third straight hour when my flight was delayed… again. I was on my third coffee and second muffin of the day. I might have been wearing yoga pants, but I certainly hadn’t done any in a while. It had been a great trip, but my fitness routine was wrecked and I was feeling it.  Right then, I placed my hand on my sacred paperback romance and took an oath to find better ways to stay in shape while traveling.   Since then, I’ve gotten creative about my travel workouts and learned to stay in shape without a gym. The best part is, I haven’t sacrificed any of the fun of traveling. In fact, my trips are better because of my commitment to fitness.

Here are my top seven tips for working out on the go:

1.  Use the gaps

travel workout

The truth is, no matter how much I want to stay in shape, I’m never going to miss a visit to a museum to go to an exercise class and I’m never going to choose the hotel gym over an evening of sampling the local nightlife. For me, the best way to stay in shape on the go is to take advantage of the downtime. Even packed itineraries have lulls that can be filled with healthy activities. Power walk around the airport instead of sitting at the gate, do stretches in the aisle of the plane during long flights and entertain the crowds by doing a few lunges while waiting for the bus. And of course, you can always set the alarm for a half-hour earlier to hit the hotel gym while the rests of your group snoozes.

2.  Pack your gym

travel workout equipment

Pesky luggage weight restrictions mean the kettle bell will need to stay at home. But, there is plenty of other fitness equipment that takes up virtually no room in luggage.  A jump robe provides a high-intensity cardio workout. Resistance bands are versatile enough for a complete workout right in your hotel room. Toss in your running shoes and you have all the equipment you need for staying fit on the go.

3.  Take a virtual fitness class

travel workout no equipment

Whether you are a Soul Cycle addict or a Bikram yoga regular, missing your favorite fitness class can be the hardest part of traveling. Luckily, YouTube is full of excellent instructional videos that can get your heart pumping. Fire up your phone or laptop and try a new dance routine or the latest HIIT workout.

4.  Turn sightseeing into exercise

couple workouts

From architectural wonders to cultural hotspots, part of discovering any new place is taking in the local sites.  Bus tours are an efficient way to see everything at once, but they are also quite sedentary. Instead, create your own adventure by exploring on foot. Many areas offer app-based walking tours.  Or, rent bicycles and pedal your way around town.

5.  Have a new adventure

sexy couple workout

Who says workouts need to involve weight machines or yoga mats?  Travel offers the perfect opportunity for exercise disguised as adventure. Pack your itinerary with active pursuits for a workout that builds muscles and memories. Get close to the local marine life with a day of kayaking, snorkeling, or stand-up paddleboarding. Schedule a surfing lesson, take a dance class or experience rock climbing.

6.  Take in the views from above

traveling workout

What do the Sun Gate above Machu Picchu and the top of the Eiffel Tower have on common? They both offer sweeping, once-in-a-lifetime views and getting there is a challenging climb. From mountain hikes to ascending the stairs of ancient castles and cathedrals, going higher gives a unique perspective on your travel destination. And, the steeper the incline or the more stairs, the better the fitness payoff.

7.  Wear a fitness tracker

waterproof fitness tracker

The best way to stay in shape while traveling is to hold yourself accountable. Wearing a fitness tracker will serve as a constant reminder to get up and move.  Even better, it can give you a much-needed confidence boost. On days when I’m feeling guilty about not squeezing in a traditional workout, my fitness tracker reminds me that all my strolling, hiking, climbing and exploring has added up to a significant workout.

Exploring new cities, countries, and continents is one of the best ways to learn about history, languages, foods, religions, and even yourself. But traveling isn’t cheap and it certainly isn’t an impulse purchase. Traveling can be affordable as long as you know where to save — let me show you how. Consider the two largest costs for travel: transportation and accommodation; if you can save on these from the get go, you might even be able to squeeze in an extra trip this year.

1.  Traveling during the off-season

One of the best ways to save while traveling is to travel during the off season. How about February or March in Paris or Rome? While the weather at that time of year certainly isn’t the best, tourism is much lower allowing you to score budget-friendly prices and avoid massive crowds. Just do consider the destinations carefully since northern Europe tends to be very cold and grey in the winter and early spring.

2.  Choose cheaper destinations

If traveling during the off-season doesn’t work for you, you can still save money by carefully choosing the destination or destinations you visit. For example, in Europe, Paris and London are popular tourist spots, but they are expensive. Instead, how about visiting Prague, Tallinn, or Puglia? These destinations are just as marvelous, and much more affordable. If thinking of traveling to Asia, Japan and Shanghai are rather expensive, but Laos and the Philippines are more budget-friendly.

3.  Flight alerts

Flights are easily the most expensive part of any trip, but if you can be a bit flexible with your flight day and time, you might be able to find a budget-friendly option. Booking websites, like Skyscanner, have the option to create deal alerts, so this could be a great option if you have a slightly flexible schedule.

In addition to having a slightly flexible schedule, searching with budget airlines, such as Wow Air, can save a ton of money if flying from the US to Europe. Though food, drinks, and other comforts don’t come standard on most of these budget airlines, it can worth the savings.

4.  Budget-friendly accommodations

Accommodation prices add up during the course of a week-long vacation. But they don’t have to! Searching for a lovely apartment through rental sites such as Airbnb or Booking.com can help you save money. Alternatively, if you prefer the comfort of a hotel, it is possible to select budget-friendly but still very nice hotels for under $100 per night in most cities.

5.  Free walking tours

Free walking tours given in English can be found in many cities across Europe. These allow you to see the best of the city and only require a tip at the end of the tour. I’d suggest taking tours at the beginning of a trip when possible, so you can get ideas for where you’d like to return to see more of later on in your trip.


Related: 10 Tips For Saving and Hustling Your Way To Vacation


6.  Eat a few meals in your accommodation

Whether you’ve booked an apartment or standard hotel room, it definitely saves to eat a couple of meals in. Eating breakfast at your accommodation or enjoying a picnic dinner with fresh foods from the market can not only save money but also be a nice way to become familiar with food available at local markets.

7.  Pack carry-on only or at least follow the luggage rules

Save money and make transit easier on yourself by packing light. Airlines charge hefty fees for overweight luggage or multiple checked suitcases, so packing light will surely save you money. Check the airline’s luggage policy ahead of time to see what you are allowed.

8.  Take public transportation where possible

To save some serious dough while traveling, opting for public transportation or walking will help save a decent amount of cash. Subways and buses within a city and trains or buses to other nearby destinations are great options when traveling in numerous countries around the world. Remember though that safety comes first, so if you are concerned with the area, spend that extra money and take a cab.

9.  Look for free museum hours or book ahead

Many museums offer free days or free admission if visiting at specific hours during the day. Student and teacher discounts are also sometimes available. Doing a bit of research beforehand can definitely save you some cash.

10.  Bring snacks to the airport

I don’t know what it is about airports, but food and drinks are always much more expensive. Save by bringing a couple snacks to enjoy on the plane and a refillable water bottle if the drinking water in the country or countries you are traveling to is potable.

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