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3 Tips to Be a Fitness Freak When Traveling

I just returned from a three-day conference.

While there, I was shocked at the number of conversations I overheard and the number of people who mentioned to me (perhaps knowing I am a fitness “guru”) how much fitness they lose while traveling, participating in multi-day conferences, and jetting to and from in planes, trainsn and automobiles without access to their normal daily workout routine or health club.

But I beg to differ. I’m not saying this to brag, but rather to give you a personal example. As a guy who is on the road for an average of two weeks out of every month, I manage to:

Maintain 3% body fat at 180 pounds of mostly muscle

-Compete in some of the most difficult races on the face of the planet

-Get sick an average of once every 3 years

-Squeeze 60-90 minutes of exercise and movement into every busy day

-Return from many days of travel across multiple time zones with zero jet-lag

You get the idea. So how do I do it?

1.    Make the Airport a Gym

No, you don’t have to drop and do push-ups outside the Delta lounge, or perform head-turning, embarrassing burpees at the gate while waiting for your plane to depart. Instead, you can try a few of my personal tips:

-Don’t sling your bags across your shoulder. Instead, hold them in your hands to work on grip strength.

-Duck into the stall of the bathroom and do 50 body weight squats

-Take stairs. Always. No escalators, ever (unless there aren’t any stairs)

-Don’t sit while waiting for your plane to board. Either walk, stand or find a quiet corner and do calisthenics like jumping jacks and body weight squats or stretches that move lymph and blood flow, like arms swings and leg swings.

-While standing in line at security, to board the plane, to get a coffee, etc. always be doing toe raises, arms curls with your bags, knee dips or squats and any other movement you can muster. Don’t worry: there will be plenty of time waiting for your plane to leave the ground for you to do any last-minute phone checks.

2.  Exercise Upon Arrival

Exercising when you get to your final destination is one of the best ways to beat jet lag and establish a normal circadian rhythm (the other ways are via exposure to natural light and eating at the set meal time for the destination you’re traveling to).

And yes, I’m just like everybody else: I find exercise to be difficult when I get done with a long day of travel. My body is stiff, my eyes are tired and all I really want to do is flop on the hotel bed and flip on the TV.

But here’s a few of my key secrets to making exercise happen anyways:

-Get through the first 2 minutes of exercise and it all gets easier from there, probably due to the fact that 2 minutes is about how long it takes for your body to switch from an anaerobic non-oxygen utilizing mode to an aerobic oxygen utilizing mode. So I suggest beginning with something relatively passive and easy that tricks your body into getting through those first 2 minutes, such as jumping jacks, walking on a treadmill, treading water in a pool, etc. Trust me, starting with heavy squats or burpees is much more difficult than easier options.

-Have a plan. On the plane, for example, I’ll jot down on a piece of paper what I will do when I get to my hotel, such as:

-2 minutes jumping jacks

-10 pushups

-20 squats

-30 mountain climbers

-40 vertical jumps

-Repeat 5x

-Reward yourself. I’ll often avoid eating any snacks, food, meals, mini-bar indulgences or anything else until after I’ve done my workout, but I do promise myself that if I can simply get through a 30 minute workout after arriving at my destination, I’ll treat myself to a walk over to a local restaurant that ranks high on Yelp or Trip Adviser, or make a trip to the hotel pool for 15 rewarding minutes in the hot tub with a newspaper and a glass of wine. You get the idea: give yourself a carrot on the end of a stick.

If it’s written down and outsourced to a piece of paper, I’m far less likely to succumb to decision making fatigue, and far more likely to simply set my bags down in my hotel room and get it done.

3.  Use Google Maps

As soon as I get to my hotel or AirBNB or wherever else I’m staying, I open Google Maps and plug in my lodging address. I then use the “Search Nearby” function to identify the following

-Gyms & Health Clubs: any of these often have very affordable guest pass rates or, if you visit the gym’s website, free guest passes you can print or put on your phone to get you a complementary visit to the facility. These facilities are often far, far better and more equipped than a hotel gym.

-Pools: Local city pools, YMCA pools, health clubs with pools and any other pools give you water to exercise in. When combined with the fact that I always travel with goggles and an underwater .mp3 player in my travel bag, this allows me to get instant access to lap swimming, water running, underwater breath holding routines and all my favorite water workouts.

-Parks: the oxygenation from plants and trees, therapy from nature, green and plant aromas, sunlight, and fresh air can make the overall “blah”, stale feeling a body often has during travel to simply melt away. A brisk walk through a local park is something that can easily be mixed with dips and pushups on park benches, burpees, short sprints, pull-ups from tree branches or mini-yoga sessions.

You get the idea. With just a few habits and systems worked into your travel routine, you don’t need to be the person whose body gets wrecked every time you go to a conference, event or other travel obligation. Instead, there’s no excuse not to arrive back from a bout of travel even more fit than when you started!

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Find romance and adventure with the best couples vacations in the US

Is it time to take your relationship to the next level? Or are you looking to treat your longtime love to an adventure aimed at rekindling the flames? You can book a stay at one of the most romantic hotels in America or go bigger and plan a whole trip where memories will be made and love connections will be strengthened. These excellent ideas for couples vacations in America mix travel and romance in dreamy destinations that are the perfect backdrop for love.

Unlike honeymoon destinations—where solitude, sexiness and staying in are the name of the game—these cities and towns offer plenty of activities, gorgeous scenery and amazing dining options for a fun-filled vacation geared towards exploring someplace new.

From the vineyards of Napa to the slopes of Aspen, the beaches of Hawai’i to the deserts of Arizona, there’s a perfect couples vacation for all interests. If beautiful architecture and majestic oaks get you feeling warm and fuzzy, Savannah is for you. Does a great party with a side of incredible food and history give you the feels? Head to New Orleans.

Whatever you and your special someone are into, these couples vacation destinations are sure to entertain, intrigue and hopefully bring you closer. For an extra dose of romance, accompany your invitation with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a lovely box of chocolates.

1. Napa Valley, CA

Majestic, lush landscapes, glorious weather, fantastic dining and the country’s best wineries make Napa Valley not only one of the most romantic getaways in America, but the world over. Whether you’re looking for a scenic bike tour or just want to spend the day relaxing at a 5-star spa, this Northern California destination is perfect for anniversaries, honeymoons or just some couple-time.

2. Maui, HI

Of Hawaii’s islands, this one gets top billing for secluded beaches, scenic hikes and resorts that will make you and your partner forget the worries of the life you left on the mainland. At every turn, expect a combination of island escapades and cultural immersions, backed by famous rainbows and starry skies. You’ll probably forget about all those other islands.

3. Aspen, CO

Snow bunnies who love hitting the slopes for fresh powder in the morning and cuddling up by a raging fire in the evening will find all their winter wonderland dreams come true in Aspen. Couples love Gant Aspen’s luxurious condominiums. Each condo comes with a full kitchen for making romantic meals and a heated ourdoor pool. Located at the base of Aspen Mountain, daily skiing and leisure time in historic downtown Aspen are easily within grasp.

4. Savannah, GA

Horse-drawn carriages, Spanish moss, cobblestone streets and antebellum architecture make this coastal Georgia city one of the South’s most romantic destinations. Lounge on the sandy beach on Tybee Island, then pay a visit to the ruins of Wormsloe, Savannah’s oldest standing structure and the 18th century home of carpenter Noble Jones. A photo together on its oak-lined, moss-shrouded boulevard is the only souvenir you’ll need to bring home.

5. Cape Cod, MA

The eastern peninsula of Massachusetts is one of the East Coast’s finest summer destinations. Harbors with darling lighthouses, chowder shacks, historic architecture, boats of all varieties, cranberry bogs, windswept beaches and small towns make for a relaxing trip enjoying each other’s company.

6. San Francisco, CA

Cable cars, colorful Victorian architecture and Californian cooking make San Francisco a terrific getaway. Traverse the famously hilly landscape for stunning views of the bay and skyline while taking delight in all the ways that the city’s charming history collides with its futuristic, tech-driven present. Dinner-and-a-movie is one of the most romantic dates in town at Foreign Cinema. At this swoon-worthy restaurant, doors open onto a courtyard where classic films are played outdoors under the stars. The elegant menu matches the ambiance.

7. Woodstock, VT

Escape to an idyllic pastoral haven at this quintessential New England village. A fresh-off-the-fields farmers’ market, a general store that dates back to the 1850s, town suppers and some of the most colorful, crisp fall foliage around make this tiny town (population just over 3,000) an off-the-beaten-track destination.

8. Jackson Hole, WY

Whether you can’t get enough of skiing in the winter, want to hike across a beautiful Western landscape or are just looking for a nice place to stay and eat before you venture into Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole is for you. With an ultra-modern domed ceiling, romantic lighting, chic decor and a menu heavy on fresh fish, The Kitchen is a favorite date spot in Jackson.

9. Tucson, AZ

Laid back and full of nature, Tucson is perfect for couples looking to take in a vast and iconic desert landscape, Southwest culture and art, scenic hiking and rest and relaxation in the warm, dry climate.

10. New Orleans, LA

The Big Easy is particularly fantastic for lovebirds. Partners who can’t agree on what is most important on a vacation—sightseeing, excellent food, adventure or relaxation—will find their perfect compromise when indulging in live jazz music, river boat rides, strolls through the French Quarter, Cajun food and ghost tours.

11. Miami, FL

While many destinations in Florida are reputed tourist-heavy, there’s something to be said about Miami’s vibrant art scene. Worry not: Plenty of beaches and fantastic pools will satisfy your hunger for some tanning time.

12. Charleston, SC

Founded in 1670, Charleston is as historic as it is gorgeous: streets lined with pastel antebellum architecture and an exquisite French quarter. Make sure to stop by the Battery Promenade for views of the Charleston harbor.

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How to Use Your iPhone to Take Good Travel Photos

So, your iPhone is all packed in your bag and you’re ready to embark on the travel journey ahead.

From getting the right light to taking those scenic panorama shots — we’ve put together a list of 12 tips and tricks that will help you get the best travel snaps possible!

1. Learn the Basics.

When it comes to iPhone photography, there are a few basic (but essential) rules that should be brought along in your back pocket while traveling and used for capturing great images. Let’s cover some of the most useful ones.

The Rule of Thirds

Apply the Rule of Thirds by using the grid lines on your iPhone to align your subject. To switch your grid lines on, simply go to Settings – Photos & Camera – Grid Image. Your image will be divided into nine equal parts (two vertical lines and two horizontal lines).

To achieve a compositionally beautiful photo, just place your subject along the places where the lines intersect.

Leading Lines

The use of Leading Lines is extremely powerful for creating travel images that engage the viewer and draw them into your scene. You can use bridges, painted yellow road lines, trees — anything that forms lines and leads people to your subject.

These lines will add symmetry, depth, and intrigue to your travel snaps.

Diagonal Rule

With the Diagonal Rule, one side of your photo is divided into two parts — and each of those halves is then divided into three parts.

The lines connect the points and lead to a diagonal frame. According to this rule, crucial parts of your photo are then placed along the diagonals.

Lines and diagonals in the same picture

When you’re traveling, you’ll find elements like waves, fences, bridges, rocks and more. If you place them diagonally in the image, rather than horizontally, the elements are said to become more dynamic and visually interesting.

2. Don’t Zoom In.

This is an easy but important tip to keep in mind when you’re traveling — don’t zoom in!

iPhones have a fixed lens and do not feature optical zoom (expect for IPhone 7-8 Plus and IPhone X). Digital zoom just crops the image and causes it to be pixelated. Instead, snag your photo as you normally would — then crop later.

3. Get the Light Right.

When it comes to the iPhone flash, you might notice using it tends to wash your images out. To avoid this, go for natural light when shooting.

During the daytime, this is easy! But as the evening progresses, you might find you need to get creative with what’s offered in your environment.

Use objects like twinkle lights, candles, and street lamps.

4. Focus.

Setting focus on the iPhone is one super easy way to ensure a better-looking image.

To do so, just tap on your screen at the point where you’d like the camera to focus — hold — and watch elements of your photo become crystal clear from there.

5. Adjust exposure.

You may or may not have come home from your travels abroad only to find an assortment of under and overexposed travel shots. The under-exposed images look too dark — the overexposed ones look too bright.

Even though the iPhone featured a fixed aperture, you can still manually adjust your exposure. With iOS 8, tap and hold the phone screen to focus then opt for using the small slider with the sun icon to adjust from there.

Sun icon is for the exposure; square is for the focus.

As you swipe, you’ll notice the exposure slider moving, and your image becoming magically more enticing.

6. Try HDR.

You might have noticed the letters HDR written out on your iPhone when you’re snapping your shots.

But are you utilizing it? With the iPhone, HDR photography combines three different exposures of the same setting to create one perfectly exposed final image.

Give it a try in your close-up photos or for scenes where there are both dark and light elements.

7. Create Depth.

The technology within the iPhone is capable of creating rich scenes full of dynamic depth that help to draw your viewer into the photo.

To add some depth to your images, try using leading lines or including certain elements in the foreground of your photo to frame the scene.

Say, for example, you’re shooting a horizontal landscape of the ocean. Why not experiment with a couple palm trees in the foreground to frame those alluring teal waters?

8. Think of Different Angles.

The great thing about shooting with an iPhone is that the shots can easily be taken from a whole bunch of different angles. Try getting low to the ground and shooting up into the trees. Or standing on a chair and shooting your plate of food from the top down.

If you want to test yourself and your creativity, stand with your feet fixed in one place and see how many different angles you can capture.

9. Experiment with Filters.

Filters are a fun way to bring creativity to your images. Filters for iPhone on the app store offer 800 ways to quickly (and radically) transform your photos.

From vintage film and black and white, to vibrant hand-painted textures — there are a lot of different ways to enhance your photos depending on the vibe and feel you’re looking to create.

The best news? If you change your mind after applying your filter, simply tap edit and select the “No Filter” option to try again.

Instead of filters, you can always edit you’re your photos right on your iPhone by adjusting some setting. For that, open your picture and tap “Edit” to choose from the options given.

Try different ones to improve your picture!

10. Try Shooting Panoramas.

Panoramic images are perfect for those moments when you find yourself thinking, “How can I fit all this into one photo?” The panoramic feature is often underutilized on the iPhone — but the end results it creates are incredible.

To use this feature, switch to PANO when you open your camera and tap the shutter to begin capturing your scene. Try using PANO with ocean images, sunset shots, and horizontal street snaps that seem to stretch for miles.

11. Try Burst Mode.

Burst mode works wonderfully if you’re looking to capture golden candid moments or images with moving subjects. If you hold down the shutter while in burst mode, your iPhone will capture an assortment (or a burst) of images.

Then, choose your favorite from there! Using burst mode can make the difference between capturing an epic shot of someone mid-air — or capturing a shot of them on the ground, instead.

12. Sharpen Your Photos.

If you’re looking for an excellent way to make your travel images clear and blur-free — try the self-timer. By clicking on the clock in the upper section of your iPhone, you’ll be able to select the amount of time you’d like.

As you press down the shutter, you’ll be given a few extra seconds to get that shake-free selfie or steady landscape image you’ve been dreaming of.

Whether you’re shooting close-up photos of your breakfast or wide-angle shots of long, green forests — we hope these 12 tips and tricks have given you the necessary tools to get out there and snag the best travel photos you can.

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7 Tips for Creating Happier Travel Memories

Whether it’s trying new things or appreciating our surroundings, we can all do more to connect with the places we visit. Happiness Research Institute CEO Meik Wiking shares how we can make the most of our time on the road.

1. Go to a New Place Every Year

Travel is about being brought out of your routine,” Wiking says. “It’s experiencing new things, new culture, new food, new people. And that’s the quick route to [making] memories: novel experiences. There’s nothing wrong with going back to the same place over and over again. But if we want a trip to stand out and be memorable, we have to seek out new experiences.”

2. Leave Your Comfort Zone

The right kind of stress can help cement moments in our memories. As Wiking explains, “People remember emotions. When they do something that frightens them a little bit, it gets the adrenaline pumping.”

3. Engage All Your Senses

Experiences that stimulate several senses have a better chance of making a memorable moment,” Wiking says. “Listening to stuff, smelling stuff, and tasting stuff—they are crucial memory triggers. Recording sound from a special place can help us remember it.”

4. Go Ahead, Buy That Souvenir

Objects that remind us of a time and place relieve our brains from having to remember everything. “It’s good to ‘outsource’ some of our memories—the photos, the soundtrack,” Wiking says. “Souvenirs are an easy fix. And I don’t mean a tacky Eiffel Tower; it can be a really nice vase you bought in Paris.”

5. End Your Trip on a High Note

Psychologist Daniel Kahneman developed the Peak-End Theory, which posits that we remember experiences by their most intense moment and how they ended. “So you might want to finish on a high,” Wiking says. “For some, it might be [eating your last meal] at a luxury Michelin restaurant; for others, it might be skydiving.”

6. Reduce the Risk of Digital Amnesia by Printing Your Pictures

Photos can trigger your memory five, 10, 20 years down the line. Pick the top photos—the happiest memories, the best experiences you had—and bring them into print.”

7. Don’t Be Afraid of Things Going Wrong When You Travel

Struggles are always annoying when we are in them, but they also make better stories, because we fought to get through them. That doesn’t help when you are in the situation, but five years down the line, that’s the story you tell.”

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