My friend Ed Pizzarello of Pizza in Motion fame, hosts a podcast called Miles to Go. On his show he often laments/ humblebrags that he has never been to Hawaii.  I almost think that people on his show are so amazed by that fact that he takes it as a point of pride to have never been there.

Ed, sure that’s fine for you, but think of the children!  Sure it will look good on their college essays to list the hardship of never having been to Hawaii, and that’s not a bad strategy to get them into Harvard, but look at the life experiences you are denying them.  They may harbor resentment for the rest of their lives.  You may be labelled as a bad father.  Sure, you take them to Disneyworld like ten times a year, but still…

Most of us in the frequent flyer community consider this crazy since that is a prime destination for users of points and miles.  My wife and I lived there for three years and have returned every year to vacation at one of the islands. We find it very easy to get there and always get there with a great deal.  Today, I am going to lay that strategy out for you and see if you won’t be tempted.

Items required to make this work for a family of four:

Two Bank of America Alaska Airlines credit cards

Two AMEX Aspire Hilton credit cards

480,000 Hilton Honors points for two rooms for five nights

Optional – Gold Guest Upgrade Certificates

Optional – AA or AS Lounge membership

Now, Ed, you may be questioning the first item on the list.  Alaska Airlines? But I live in D.C., not Seattle. Actually, Ed, you might be surprised how much AS has expanded in the last few years.  They fly from all three Washington airports, BWI, DCA, and Dulles to most of the West Coast and then have flights from there to all the major Hawaiian islands. Here is the route my wife and I flew a few weeks ago.

Ed, I know you are concerned with a 10-12 hour flight to Hawaii.  Alaska also allows you a free stopover on their flights. One of my favorite ways to get to HNL from WAS is to fly BWI-SAN, spend a couple of days in San Diego, and then SAN-HNL a couple of days later. You could also do the same for LAX or SFO. In the summer, SEA is also a good stopover. Likewise, you can do the same on the way back.  This breaks up a long journey and is probably easier for the kids to handle, plus they get to see another city or two.

 

Why Alaska and no the other airlines? Because of one of the best CC benefits out there – the BoA Alaska Airline CC’ Companion Certificate.  As the name implies, this is a $99 ($122 with takes) ticket for someone travelling on exactly the same itinerary as you.  Right now, BoA has a deal where they will they are waiving the $99 fee the first year so that companion ticket only costs the $22 in taxes. So it really is two tickets for the price of one.  Ed, if you and your wife each get this CC, your family of four flies for half price (~$1800). Don’t forget to have AS FF accounts as each person earns full distance-based miles for these tickets. At about 10,000 miles round trip, that’s quite a few very valuable AS miles. My being a MVP Gold and my wife a MVP Gold75k, we earn 100% and 125% bonuses, respectively, on these trips meaning almost enough for a free award ticket for this one flight.

If you have a REALLY good friend, they may also give you a Gold Guest Upgrade (GGU) that they get from being an AS Gold. You need to select that from the pull down menu when searching for flights.  Look for flights with blue “F” boxes. If you are fortunate enough to find a flight with both legs showing as upgradeable that still only takes one GGU. Note that these fares may be slightly higher but way cheaper than outright buying First Class as shown below.

So that’s how to get there, but what about an inexpensive stay once you do get here? Here is a strategy for that with Hilton.  The AMEX Aspire card came out about a year ago and offers an interesting way to maximize value.  The card is $450/yr., but comes with Hilton Diamond Status and a $250/yr. credit for incidentals (everything but the room rate) at Hilton hotels. It is really meant to offset the ludicrous resort fee of $50/night, but here is a better way to use it.  Hilton does not charge the resort fee if you stay on points, meaning you can apply that credit to restaurants, surf lessons for your kids, or your morning coffee at Starbucks.  The most economical strategy is to get a room for four nights on points and then Hilton will give you a fifth night free. This applies whether you use points or cash, but let’s stick with points for now. We recently stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village for 240,000 points for five nights. That might seem like an incredible number of points, but Hilton points are very easy to earn.  In fact, the sign up bonus for the Aspire card is 150,000 right now so you are already over halfway there just with that.

 

Another benefit from the Aspire card is a $250 credit for airline incidentals including lounge membership. That will almost pay for an annual lounge membership for AA or AS (which also gives access to AA lounges) and make your voyage a little bit easier, especially with a family.

Your new Diamond status should get you an upgrade at the property and also comes with the benefit of a $10/ person (max two)/ night for food and beverage at any of the ten places to eat on the property.  For a five night stay this worked out to $100 off the bill. Note that they simply take off the $100 rather than force you to spend at least $20/day. Here is our recent bill illustrating what I am talking about.

And then my AMEX bill showing the credit. Note that I had used $31 of the credit earlier in the year, but you should get the full $250 if you follow this plan.

So there you go Ed, an inexpensive way for you to take the family to Hawaii. This plan would also work with going to Maui or the Big Island, although most of the things your kids would like are probably on Oahu. Make sure they try the Dole Whip at the Dole Plantation!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by glenn | One Comment

All Veterans’ Days are special, but this one commemorates the 100th anniversary of the end of the War to End All Wars – which unfortunately didn’t. First called Armistice Day, it was changed to the more familiar name of Veterans’ Day.

Many establishments want to recognize the selfless service and sacrifice that was made , and is still being made, by those who can call themselves proud veterans of military service.

Here is our annual list of all the various free meals that veterans can get.  Use this as an excuse to take a veteran to a meal to thank him or her for their service.  If you know of other meal deals, please post them as a reply.

Be prepared to show an ID verifying you are eligible.  Pretty easy for those of us still serving, but veterans should show a Driver’s License with veteran status on it, or a VA card, even a DD214 should do.  Most of the time, they just take your word for it, but you don’t want to be called out in a restaurant because you couldn’t prove it.  Enjoy!

In honor of Veterans Day, Red Lobster will be offering a free appetizer or dessert to veterans, active-duty military and reservists with a valid military ID on Sunday, November 11 and Monday, November 12.

Guests may choose an item from the following special menu:
• Appetizers
o Sweet Chili Shrimp
o Mozzarella Cheesesticks
o Parrot Isle Jumbo Coconut Shrimp
o Seafood-Stuffed Mushrooms
o Lobster and Langostino Pizza
o Signature Shrimp Cocktail
• Desserts
o Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
o Key Lime Pie
o Warm Apple Crostada
o Chocolate Wave
o Brownie Overboard

Denny’s – In observance of Veterans Day 2018, Denny’s will give a free Build Your Own Grand Slam breakfast to any guest with military ID from 5 a.m. to noon on Monday, Nov. 12.

IHOP – IHOP® RESTAURANTS THANK VETERANS AND ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY ON VETERANS DAY WITH FREE RED, WHITE & BLUE PANCAKES. Servicemen and Women Are Invited to Savor Time with Family and Friends Over a Made-to-Order Breakfast at IHOP on November 11, Including a Free Pancake Offer From 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

BJ’s Restaurant – 11 Nov., Any meal under $12.95 is complimentary along with a free Dr. Pepper (don’t ask me why Dr. Pepper).

Spaghetti Warehouse – 11 Nov., BOGO free on any entrée. You need to print out the coupon on their website.  www.facebook.com/SpaghettiWarehouse or http://www.meatballs.com/ 

Applebee’s – Join Us On Veteran’s Day, November 11th, As We Honor Veterans with a Free Meal! This Time, Let Us Serve You. Stop By For One Of Our Signature Entrees On Us. Family Friendly. Online Ordering. Grill & Bar. Lunch Combos. Late Night 1/2 Price Apps.

Black Angus – Opening – 1500, 11 Nov., Free top sirloin steak dinner and non-alcoholic beverage

Bob Evans – 11 Nov., Free select menu items

California Pizza Kitchen – 11 Nov., Free items from special menu

Cattlemen’s Steakhouse – 11 Nov., Free 8 0z. steak dinner

Chevy’s – 1100-1400, 11 Nov., Complimentary Fresh Mex 3-item Combo

Chick-fil-A – 5:00-8:00 pm Friday, active and retired military personnel, veterans, and their immediate families can receive one free specified Chickfil-A meal. Valid ID or proof of service is required.

Chuck E. Cheese – 11 Nov., Free cheese pizza

Cici’s Pizza – 11 Nov., Free pizza buffet

Cracker Barrel – 11 Nov., Complimentary Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake or one of its Crafted Coffee Beverages

Dunkin’ Donuts – 11 Nov., Free donut

Famous Dave’s BBQ – 11 Nov., Free two meat combo

Friendly’s – 11 Nov., Free breakfast, lunch, or dinner

Green Turtle – 11 Nov., Free meal up to $12 or $12 off a more expensive meal

Hooters – 11 Nov., Free meal

Logan’s Roadhouse – 11 No., Free American Roadhouse Meal. Not valid in CA, NC, SC or Augusta, GA.  Note that vets always get 10% off throughout the year.

Little Caesar’s Pizza – 1100-1400, 11 Nov., Free $5 lunch combo

Menchie’s Frozen yogurt – 11 Nov., Free 6 oz. yogurt

Mimi’s Café – 11 Nov., Free items from special menu

Mission BBQ – 11 Nov., Offering free sandwiches and cake for all veterans and active duty military personnel on Sunday, November 11, 2018 from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.  On a personal note, try to eat here at noon on any given day and watch what happens!

On the Border – 11 Nov., Free combo meal

Outback Steakhouse – 11 Nov., To honor the military this Veterans Day, Outback Steakhouse is offering all veterans and active military a completely free Bloomin’ Onion and beverage, in addition to a discount for police, firefighters, and first responders.

Ponderosa Steakhouse – 1600-close, 11 Nov., Free buffet

Red Lobster – 11 Nov., Free appetizer or dessert

Ruby’s – 11 Nov., Free adult entrée

Ruby Tuesday – 11 Nov., Free appetizer

Shoney’s – 0600-1100, 11 Nov., Free All You Care to Eat breakfast

Sizzler – Before 1600, 11 Nov., Free lunch and beverage

Texas Roadhouse – 11 Nov., Free special veterans lunch

TGI Fridays – 1100-1400, 11 Nov., Free lunch

UNO – 11 Nov., Free entrée or individual pizza

Village Inn – 11 Nov., Free Inn-Credible breakfast

White Castle – 11 Nov., Free breakfast combo or Combo Meal #1-6

Wienerschnitzel – 11 Nov., Free chilidog with small fries and small Pepsi

World of Beer – 11 Nov., Free beer or $5 off check

Golden Corral – 12 Nov., Free dinner

Country Cookin’ – Tuesday, November 13, 2018. Free meals for Veterans from 2pm until 8pm.

Posted by glenn | No Comments

Most people think of the best places to vacation in Italy as the famous cities of Florence, Venice, or Rome. However, let me pass along to you a second-class city that rates as a first-rate destination that you might find more enjoyable than all those famous destinations.  Located in the Tuscany region, it is in prime wine country, and fairly easy to get to.  We flew in to Pisa and took the dedicated train to the downtown train station where a local train took us to Lucca.  You can also fly into Florence, Milan or Venice and get to Lucca by bus or train although that will take about 2-3 hours.

Lucca is a very old city founded by Etruscans over two thousand years ago, then became a Roman colony in 180 BC.  Here is the link to Wikipedia for you to find out more.  It was a major city throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.  Notably, the city was never conquered and still has its Renaissance-era walls surrounding the old city.  They have done a great job of preserving the old architecture from that era and you will see almost no modern buildings there.  The city is full of very nice modern restaurants and shops but all contained within the narrow streets and facades of a quaint bygone time.  The ancient river still runs through the town in a canal with fountains that the locals still use.

Free concert from the local music school

A couple of shots from the ramparts.  The walls make a great running route if you feel like getting some exercise.

We stayed at an AirBnB which was very reasonably priced.  There are no major hotels within the old city although they can be found in the larger city of Lucca.

I likes the categories of the pizza!

As you would expect, great food is plentiful in Lucca.  The pizza shown was only 5 Euro and the four scoops of gelato was only another 5.  Much cheaper than the main tourist areas of Italy.

Did I mention they have wine here?  Lots of wine, very, very good wine.  We happened to be here when they had a wine tasting event to demonstrate all the new wines that had been bottled last fall.  It was called the Gandi Cru Della Costa Toscana and is held the first week of May every year.  There were over 140 wineries here and it was all you could taste for 25 Euros. Even tasting and spitting left us pretty tipsy after so many wines.  Here are labels from my favorites if you ever see them in a store.

So give Lucca try if you want a great vacation spot in Italy that is off the beaten path.  You’ll probably save some money too.

 

 

Posted by glenn | 4 Comments

Moxy is one of the 30 brands of the new Marriott/ Starwood family.  It was invented a few years ago to appeal tot he Millennial generation, but you may find it to your liking even if you are over 30.  We used it to stay cheaply in New Orleans while helping our daughter move after graduating from Med School.  We could stay there, only a few blocks off of Canal St., for less than $100/night.

The building looks to be a renovated old hotel or office building.  The neighborhood felt fairly safe, but I would still watch yourself walking around at night.

The hotel tries super hard to be “hip”.  They fail in some thing, but succeed in others.  Such as offering free drinks at check-in.  In fact, the check-in desk is just an extension of the bar area.

We stayed in Room #7.  Eclectic art is a big theme here.

The room was very Spartan, but being a military guy, I was OK with that.

They tried to be whimsical with the décor and some was actually very smart, such as hanging the extra chair and ironing board on pegs on the wall.

You can get both happy hour finger food and breakfast downstairs at the bar for hot food or this pantry for make your own stuff like bagels or cereal.

Our take on Moxy was that it was a great value for the stay and an interesting experience.  We plan on repeating next time we are in New Orleans.

Posted by glenn | No Comments

Just received an email a couple of hours ago from Chase:

So 5,000 miles is not huge and is basically one extra point per dollar.  The UA Club Card already give 1.5 UA miles/ dollar so getting 2.5/ dollar is not a bad every day spend deal.  UA miles are valued at about 1.7 cents each by other Boarding Area bloggers, so that is about a 4.25% return – pretty good.

I use my UA Club Card not only for cheaper access to the UA Club system, but also as my way to get Platinum status on UA.  Fares just don’t add up enough for me to make it otherwise given how cheap fares are now.  $25,000 spend  grants you a PQM exemption for Platinum status.  Unfortunately, that’s the limit for UA.

I am not going to get to the $12,000 PQD required for 1K which is even getting worse next year with the limit raised to $15,000 as detailed by my friend Ed Pizzarello.  Looks like I will never get back to that level.  Hey, Platinum is not bad and even gets free upgrades some of the time.

In the meantime, I follow the standard rule of signing up for everything whether you think you are going to use it or not.  Never hurts to register and you never know when circumstances might change and you can use the bonus.  For this particular deal, I was going to spend on my Chase UA Club Card anyway, so it is a no brainer.

Anyone else get this offer?  Did others get a different incentive?

 

Posted by glenn | 7 Comments

My wife and I went on vacation to Lucca, Italy in May.  Being typical frequent flyer junkies, we went there by the roundabout route of IAD-FRA on UA Economy and them FRA-IST(Istanbul)-PSA (Pisa) on Turkish Business Class.  I wanted to have my wife experience the Turkish Lounge in Istanbul which I think is one of the best in the world.  You can read about it in my previous post.  Note that they have since moved the IST airport to a new location.

Anyway, back to our tale.  We traveled from FRA to IST , spent ten hours in the lounge, then flew IST-PSA.  When we arrived in Pisa, my wife’s bag came out, but not mine.  At PSA, they have a generic baggage claim office for all airlines.  When I checked with them, they inquired and said my bag was still in IST.  Apparently ten hours was not enough time to transfer my bag!  I’m sure that was the problem actually.  They probably stuck our two bags somewhere since they had ten hours and forgot my bag.  At least my wife got her bag.  If one of us had to have no clothes or toiletries, it was far better to be me rather than my wife.

With only the clothes on my back, we grabbed the train and headed toward our AirBnB.  I called the baggage office later and they said they thought the bag would be on the next TK plane in two days.  I said that flight flies everyday, why couldn’t it be on the flight tomorrow.  They gave me the European salute, which we call a shrug, and I knew I wasn’t going to get a better answer.  My spirits were lifted however as I remembered one of the protections I had from the Chase UA Club Card.  I had baggage delay insurance which would pay up to $100/day of expenses – max $300.

Since the next day was Sunday, I was kind of out of luck as most shops are closed in Italy.  I also was forced to start growing a beard which was a new experience for me.  Went shopping the next day and quickly spent over $200 on underwear and new clothes.  The next day I picked up a set of sneakers while in Pisa.  We stayed in Lucca an extra day since the Italian ATC went on a one day strike.  The baggage office confirmed that the bag would arrive the next day – about an hour after we would fly out!  Once we got to our next destination of Copenhagen, the office said they had the bag and wanted to know where to send it.  I was afraid of having the bag chase us around Europe so I told them just to send it to our home in the U.S.

After arriving home, I started to process of claiming the $300 allowance.  The call to Chase referred me to a website to start the claim.  Seemed pretty straight forward.

Thus started the nightmare.  I sent in the obvious documents, would wait about two weeks and then get sent an automated message saying that my application was incomplete without telling me what was still needed.  Then I had to call in to Chase and they would read their notes and tell me to send in something else.  Initially, this was no big deal, but then they would ask for things I didn’t have such as a note from the company that delivered the bag that proved the bag was delivered.  I also had to go make a claim with TK even though I had read they almost never pay such things.  That took like a month to get the denial.  The Chase agent would make a note when I called every time, they would think about it for two weeks and then I would get the same message.  I submitted a total of 13 documents.

Finally, the ran out of excuses and said they would pay.  I had probably called 6-7 times and this took three months.  One wonders if they limit their payouts by just wearing people out!

So the conclusion is that this is a real benefit, but be prepared to work for it…

 

Posted by glenn | 3 Comments

United has come out with their annual promotion.  In the past, they offered bonus award miles if you flew a certain number of miles in a short period.  The requirement was tailored to a MileagePlus member’s relative amount of travel.  Those with little travel being required to travel only a little, but also getting only a few thousand miles.

 

This promotion is a little different in requiring a certain number of flights rather than a certain number of miles.

Note the dollar requirement for each of the flights to count to avoid gamers finding the two very cheap commuter flights to get the bonus.  While others (notably Angelina of Angelina Travels) seem to have gotten fairly unattractive offers, I am quite tempted by mine. 31,000 UA miles are worth $527 if you value UA miles at 1.7 cents each.

This offer is most attractive to those of you who already have one or more flights planned for Sep/Oct already.  I have one flight at the end of Oct. already set, so tempted to fly one more flight over $450 to get those bonus miles.

What about you?  Anyone else get an offer.  Please post it here so we can compare.  For reference, I am a Lifetime Gold on UA with about 55,000EQM so far this year.

Posted by glenn | 6 Comments

Here is a post from a guest blogger, Michael, on a Soldier’s tips for fitness

5 Fitness Tips from  an Army Soldier to Stay Fit and Healthy

Traveling can teach you a lot of things. And if there’s someone whom you would always see during your travels, they are the army soldiers. Apparently, they travel anywhere from time to time. They get different assignments and posts which are inevitable. And it’s just suitable to wonder how they were able to manage their physical fitness and health.

Do they train always? Are there any restrictions when it comes to food consumption? How often they exercise?

These are only some of the probing questions that most people have for army soldiers. And it’s undeniable that they are physically fit and healthy because it’s largely part of the job. Nevertheless, here are some of their most helpful answers and tips that could help you with your fitness concerns:

  1.  Nutrition and Hydration

As a soldier, they get to have ready meals on hand. Apparently, they are being provided with sets of foods for the day. So, there are times that they cannot choose what food to eat and what not to. But, it is ensured that the food they consume will not be a factor that can deteriorate their physical strength and fitness.

Nevertheless, they make sure that the calories they are consuming are much lesser than the calories they burn. This means that there must be a control when it comes to eating. And while they are served with foods in the army, they make sure that they still follow their personal eating routines and practices.

These include the proper chewing, efficient vitamin and mineral consumption such as the best protein powder of today, and appropriate times of drinking water before and after a meal.

As for hydration, they give enough importance to this matter. Water is a very important factor in their fitness and health. In fact, it is much better for them to consumer lots of water than consuming lots of food.

 2.  Endurance and Strength

Endurance and strength are very important for every soldier in the army. So, they spend a great deal of time to improve these. Now, the best way to boost strength and endurance is to do resistance training on a daily basis.

Start with exercises that largely utilize the joints. These exercises would include squats and deadlifts. Once done with these routines, you can now move on to the additional exercises that will complement the primary sets. Lunges and pull-ups are great examples of these.

3.  Flexibility

Flexibility is also a matter of importance for army soldiers. When you are flexible, the chances of obtaining injuries are very low. Hence, soldiers pay attention to their flexibility too.

During the flexibility training, it is important that you find comfort first even you don’t reach yet your goal. Safety is still the priority. Pushing your muscles to stretch beyond its maximum capacity for flexibility improvement would only strain you. So, starting with a few moves is fine until you already find comfort in pushing yourself to the limit.

4.  Do quality reps over quantity

Soldiers would always go for quality over quantity. According to them, it’s useless to have hundreds of crunches if you are not doing it right. So, it’s better to have 3 repetitions of 20 quality crunches than pushing for 5 repetitions in one sitting.

And if you are really aiming for an effective fitness routine, you should do the same too. You must always keep in mind that quality is much more important than quantity.

5.  Prep meals to help hit caloric goals

As mentioned above, soldiers get to eat packed and readily-prepped meals. Although they cannot choose what foods to eat because of this, they would take it as a positive thing as well. According to them, it helps them fully control their food consumption. When they are given scheduled meals, they only get to eat what is prepared for them. So, this hinders the unwanted cravings and the munching of in-between meals.

Accordingly, if you want to control your calorie intake on a daily basis, you should prepare your meals beforehand. This will enable you to mind what you eat and control your hunger and cravings.

Now, these tips from soldiers in the army are very challenging to do. But, it will definitely show you results. Also, there are more fitness routines that they do aside from the ones given above. So, the next time you see a soldier on your travel abroad, try to approach them and ask for other tips too!

 

Posted by glenn | 2 Comments

Folks, here is another fitness post from our guest blogger Ryan of Ryan Fitness Goals

Ahh, the sun is shining and you’re sitting on a beach with a cocktail in hand. Life couldn’t get better, right? Suddenly, you feel dizzy and start feeling a lack of energy and focus so you run back to your hotel room and try to find a thermometer to measure if you have a fever or not. One of the residents has one and, well, you’re sick. How did this happen – you might ask. If you did nothing wrong, surely there’s no way to get sick, right? Wrong. Here’s why:

When we change environments, our bodies need some time to acclimate to the new, well, everything! If your immune system is extra strong back home, it might end up being nothing in the face of bacteria it has never faced before. This is a fairly common occurrence and it’s neither surprising nor impossible to deal with. Luckily, there are a couple of steps and secrets you can follow if you want to avoid getting sick for no reason. Without further ado, here are 5 secrets that will help you stay healthy while on a vacation.

 

Never Skip Breakfast

Skipping breakfast is always a bad thing, but it’s even worse when you do it abroad. See, when you wake up, your body slowly starts activating fully. Soon after you’re awake, you’ll feel the need to eat. Do not skip breakfast. Your body needs energy supplies and vitamins from the get-go, and by declining to give some to it, you’re causing your body to work slower to suit the current situation. You might lose a little bit of weight, but this comes at a price:

Your body will burn through anything, and that includes muscle. Additionally, skipping breakfast has been linked to issues with digestion. These problems can be even worse when you’re abroad, and your body is working extra hard to stay healthy and strong. Always eat breakfast; it doesn’t have to be anything too strong, but a relatively large meal should be considered.

Drink Bottled Water and Avoid Raw Food

This might come as a surprise to some, but, tap water from a foreign place can seriously harm you. This isn’t because their water is impure and dirty; rather, it’s because your body (again) isn’t used to such a change and difference. Bottled water is your best bet for staying healthy and avoiding indigestion and stomach cramps (in some cases, you might even get diarrhea).

Raw food is another big no – you can’t know whether that food is safe or not unless you’re an expert. Some traditional raw food (such as Japanese Sushi) is mostly safe, but if you want to try it, we recommend paying extra and going to a reputable restaurant (which adheres to safety standards and hasn’t had a history of guest illnesses).

Walking is your Secret Weapon

Walking improves the overall status of your immune system, as well as keeping you healthy and strong. You might feel fatigue due to traveling to a place that you just aren’t used to (and neither is your body), and it can also occur due to jetlag. In any case, there’s no better way to get back on track and help your body recuperate than walking. Avoid using the car or even a taxi; unless you’re in a hurry, a walk or two through the woods will do wonders for your health!

Stay Hydrated

 

Thinking of going somewhere cold like Iceland or Norway? Go for it, but, remember to stay hydrated! Even colder places affect our bodies, and it’s in your best interest to stay hydrated by drinking water whenever you’re thirsty. Avoid fizzy drinks and other similar beverages because you’ll need H2O more than anything. Again, our bodies can’t instantly get used to the outside; especially when the difference is so significant between your vacation location and home. If you’re going somewhere hot – pack extra bottles of water! You don’t want to end up dehydrated.

Additionally, make yourself some Kratom tea before going out! Kratom is a potent herb that can help you with energy issues. Check out Kratom Crazy for more info on this topic!

Pack Snacks

 

Snacks (not the junk food kind) are essential to staying healthy abroad. Some nuts and maybe even an apple or two are amazing choices because they’re packed with energy, and they’ll revitalize you like nothing else.

You will need some extra energy because you’ll end up tired quicker than at home (even basic tasks such as walking can be tiresome), so be careful!

Posted by glenn | One Comment

Getting ready for an upcoming vacation or a business trip? Well, make sure to follow the below-mentioned tips to spend healthy holidays, stay perfectly fit, and have fun.

Undoubtedly, regular exercise offers you loads of benefits. Not only it makes you feel better and energizes your body, but also it reduces your stress and anxiety. However, when you are traveling or on a vacation, your regular exercise regime may get hindered. In such situations, you are highly recommended to precisely follow these seven simple fitness tips to staying fit while you’re traveling. Rest assured that all of these tips are extremely easy to follow and do not require much time to accomplish them.

7 Simple fitness tips to staying fit while you travel

1. Always start with a healthy breakfast

Never forget to start your day with a healthy breakfast. In fact, starting your day with a healthy breakfast is utmost essential when it comes to accomplishing your specific fitness goals. Breakfast is considered to be one of the essential meals of the day. Starting a day without healthy breakfast is same as driving a vehicle without filling up its fuel chamber or gas tank.

When you wake up in the morning, the glucose and blood sugar level of your body is at the lowest point. Please note, glucose is the primary fuel for your brain & central nervous system. That’s why you must eat a healthy and balanced breakfast to ignite your glucose and blood sugar level. A good breakfast will prevent your body from being tired, irritable, and exhausted by mid-morning. Otherwise, you will probably observe some of these effects, such as lack of alertness, low blood sugar, longer reaction time, and decreased work productivity etc.

2. Do mobility work

As we age, we tend to lose our mobility. Working on your mobility aspects will help you break through the plateaus, improve your posture, and promote a better health cum fitness level. Mobility work will even allow you to maximize your progress when it comes to increasing the size of your core muscles, developing movement skills, and building strength.

The best part is — these mobility based workouts are very easy to perform and do not require any gym equipment. For example, you can try performing the following mobility workouts, such as slides, hip flexor stretches, and deep squat holds.

3. Always have a water bottle with you

Are you drinking adequate water? If not, then please make sure to carry a water bottle with you. Adequate water content is quite important when it comes to maintaining the fluid balance of your body. Plus, it even helps regulate your body temperature, digest food, and transport essential nutrients into the body.

Water should be your perfect go-to drink whenever you’re feeling thirsty. Instead of having sugar-filled drinks, please ensure to drink plenty of water. As a result, it will automatically reduce your intake for empty-calories. Thus, always keep a reusable water bottle with you whenever you’re traveling.

4. Pack healthy travel snacks

While you are traveling, you may often end up making bad food decisions. Please note, the food you consume is directly related to your overall health and fitness level. Following a healthy diet is truly important when it comes to attaining your fitness goals.

Thus, instead of having artificial and preserved food while you’re on a trip, pack some healthy travel snacks for a quick bite. Protein bars, dried fruit, and trail mix are some great choices that you can carry during any trip.

5. Make fitness a part of your travel plan

Fitness should be an integral part of your travel plan. For example, if you prefer to perform some morning workouts, then use Google and search on the internet if there’s an adjacent park (that’s ideal for brisk walking and early morning jogging).

Alternatively, if you want to undergo a “sweat training session” within the facility of a gym or fitness center, then make sure to check if your hotel includes a well-equipped gym or not. Apart from that, you can even perform a plethora of simple yet helpful exercises that do not really require any special equipment. These workouts can be easily performed within the comfortable and convenient atmosphere of your hotel room, such as pilates and yoga.

6. Walk instead of ride to stay fit while traveling

Do you know the benefits of regular walking? Well, it helps you maintain a healthy weight. It even prevents various conditions, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Furthermore, regular brisk walking strengthens your muscles and bones. On top of that, it improves your mood, balance, and coordination. Hence, in order to stay fit and healthy (while traveling), you are requested to walk for short distances instead of riding a car.

7. Every hotel has a fitness center – use it

Nowadays, almost every hotel features a gym cum fitness center that’s loaded with various instruments and equipment. So, if you are staying at such a hotel that has a fitness center, then make sure to take advantage of it. Visit the gym and practice some of your favorite workouts (like walking on a treadmill, weight lifting, and more).

Posted by glenn | No Comments

Continuing on from the review of the Conrad Bangkok yesterday.

This hotel is proof of the importance of having enough status to access the lounge.  It was first class and saved us untold amounts of money by providing a good breakfast every morning and even a few meals at their nightly happy hour.  They even had afternoon tea!

The lounge covers half the 29th floor and has a wide variety of hot and cold foods.  The waiter or waitress will happily get you any drinks you wish.

There is a custom omelet station and serves breakfast to suit travelers from around the world including German coldcuts and Chinese Dim Sum.

The leftover pastries make a reappearance at afternoon tea.  And still taste just as good then.

Happy Hour from 1730 – 1930 is really a light meal and drinks, including mixed drinks made to order.  You can start with salad or cheeses.

They have gourmet spoons which I am not sophisticated enough to enjoy, but my foodie wife really liked.  I had a hard time getting the Peking Duck as it disappeared as soon as they brought out a plate of it.

The waiter or waitress will come by and top off your drink or you can help yourself to a variety of beer and wine.

The views cover three sides of the building and are interesting day and night.

When you are not stuffing yourself in the lounge, you can go relax by the poolside.  Although, it is a little too hot and sticky to enjoy it during the day.  Early evening was lovely though.

They have a full spa and a huge gym with its own dance studio.  Unfortunately, I seem to have lost the photos of those.

There is also a couple of restaurants and a café, although if you get lounge access, there is no need to visit those.  On the ground floor is a nice bar, although it seemed empty much of the time.

Lastly, they had a Buddha, in celebration of Songkran to pour water on and wish for good fortune.  Here is my wife wishing for good luck in shopping.

On the whole a great hotel and probably the best time of year to visit.  April is hot and dry in Thailand, but there are plenty of ways to cool off especially the traditional water fights!

 

Posted by glenn | No Comments

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