Ask nearly any person about his or her dream trip and watch a smile appear as the perfect personal excursion is described. Now, ask why the trip has yet to happen, and time and money will be the likely culprits. Carving out time and saving funds to make travel possible, even during the busiest travel seasons, can be a challenge, but these tips can help you travel the world in style.
Pursue Your Travel Passions
(Family Features) Ask nearly any person about his or her dream trip and watch a smile appear as the perfect personal excursion is described. Now, ask why the trip has yet to happen, and time and money will be the likely culprits.
The misconceived notions that may be holding you back from traveling can feel especially exacerbated during busy seasons when travel costs rise and coordinating vacation schedules with coworkers becomes a challenge.
Carving out time and saving funds to make travel possible, even during the busiest travel seasons, can be a challenge. Lee Abbamonte, the youngest person to travel to every country in the world plus the North and South Poles, and Bank of America recommend these tips to travel the world in style.
Book Based on Your Interests
One of the easiest ways to make time for travel is to book based on your likes and hobbies. When you plan a trip around your passions, it helps you prioritize the experience over the cost.
"When I worked in finance, I noticed a lot of my colleagues made excuses about why they couldn't travel," Abbamonte said. "I've found that booking travel based on your personal interests can help you stay motivated to follow through actually taking the trip. For example, I love watching and playing sports, so I often use that as a reason to travel to various countries."
One area you might be passionate about is food. In fact, 23 percent of Americans say they have planned a trip around a culinary experience, according to a Bank of America survey. Local cuisine also offers a unique glimpse into a culture.
"I love attending local food festivals and cultural celebrations," Abbamonte said. "Just one day at a food or wine festival can give you a great understanding of an area's culture and people, which is quite literally great 'food for thought.'"
Have a Credit Card Rewards Strategy
Earning points through travel spending is especially popular today. In fact, 65 percent of Americans have a rewards credit card, according to the same Bank of America survey. Yet when it comes time to reap a card's rewards, 55 percent admit they don't have a strategy to maximize points.
Abbamonte recommends using a credit card that rewards all your purchases and offers extra points where you spend most.
"Since traveling and eating out are easily my top two expenses, the Premium Rewards credit card from Bank of America works perfectly for my lifestyle," Abbamonte said. "I earn two points for every dollar I spend on travel and dining - which works out great to maximize my rewards earnings, plus I earn 1 1/2 points on all of my other purchases."
For example, think of it this way: Every time you use your card, you are earning points for your next trip. Even your morning coffee can help you earn points toward a plane ticket.
Have a Plan but Be Flexible
To get the most out of your travel experience, make a general plan for what you want to do. However, be sure to leave time for exploring charming side streets and unexpected surprises. You never know what will catch your eye once you arrive.
"I often visit multiple countries in one trip," Abbamonte said. "While I usually know where I want to travel, I don't always buy my flights between countries beforehand. You may want to adjust how you planned to allocate your time once you're on a trip. Maybe you fall in love with a bed and breakfast, and just can't part ways to catch your flight out of town. Travel shouldn't be a mad dash from destination to destination. It's a time to truly live your best life in a new place."
Maximize Financial Rewards
"If you qualify for a banking rewards program, you can really max out on your credit card rewards," Abbamonte said. "For example, Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients receive up to a 75 percent bonus on their credit card rewards - which means you could earn up to 3 1/2 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases with the Premium Rewards credit card."
To maximize rewards, consider layering your airline, hotel, banking and credit card rewards programs together. Abbamonte, for example, includes his frequent flier and hotel loyalty program membership information while booking airline travel and hotels, allowing him to earn benefits from other loyalty programs on top of the points he receives with his card.
Find more ways to save for travel at bankofamerica.com/getmorerewards.
Maximize Your Rewards
An analysis of Bank of America's over 50 million debit and credit cards during 2017 showed travel and restaurants to be top areas for spending. Using a credit card that rewards you for where you spend the most can help pay for upcoming travel.
On average, consumers spent in 2017:
Photos courtesy of Getty ImageSOURCE:
Bank of America
Whether you’re planning a cross-country vacation or just a weekend getaway, packing for a road trip doesn’t have to be a daunting task. This handy packing guide can set you on the road to success and help you avoid buying a new set of sunglasses or portable charger en route to your destination.
Road Trip Ready
(Family Features) Whether you're planning a cross-country vacation or just a weekend getaway, packing for a road trip doesn't have to be a daunting task. Creating a packing list of essentials can be the first step toward avoiding unnecessary stress and making your trip one to remember.
Of course, that list should start with the items you should never leave home without like your driver's license and proof of insurance, but it should also include pertinent information about your destination, like the trip's itinerary and reservation confirmations. Don't forget a map or printed directions in case your GPS dies or your phone loses service.
While even the most experienced travelers have reached their destinations only to find they left a necessity or two behind, this handy packing guide can set you on the road to success and help you avoid buying a new set of sunglasses or portable charger en route to your destination.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (women with map)SOURCE:
(BPT) - U.S. residents logged 1.7 billion trips for leisure purposes in 2016, according to the U.S. Travel Association, and this number will likely grow in 2018. Whether you’re traveling for leisure or business, you shouldn’t lose sight of nutrition. It’s common to think, “Hey, I’m on vacation, so I can throw my healthy diet out the window.” Wrong. Traveling can throw the body for a loop with time zone changes, shifts in sleep schedules and the availability of fast, convenient and highly processed foods.
Use these five easy steps to make sure you stay healthy on the go this year.
1. Pack healthy snacks.
Dining while on the go usually translates to getting a quick hunger fix that involves processed, high-fat foods. Make a conscious effort to pack healthy snacks. Apples and nut butter, pretzels and hummus and dried, no-sugar-added fruit are a few healthy options.
2. Lighten your luggage.
It’s all too common for travelers to try to max out the weight of their checked luggage, which often weighs in at 50 pounds. Carting around heavy luggage and bags can take a toll on the body.
One easy way to lighten your load is to condense cumbersome toiletries. For instance, look at the prescription medications and dietary supplements you’re packing. A 2018 Wakefield Research study, conducted for Vitamin Packs, found that more than half — 51 percent — of respondents tote along five or more different types of pills when they’re traveling. And with age comes ailments. Baby boomers are the pill pack mules, with 64 percent taking five or more types of pills along for the ride when they travel, compared to only 35 percent of millennials who bring the same amount.
The good news — you can leave dietary supplement bottles and days-of-the-week pillboxes at home. Look for personalized vitamin subscription services, like Vitamin Packs (www.vitaminpacks.com), that combine customized dietary supplements into individual daily packs that can easily tuck into your carry-on luggage.
3. Don’t forget essential nutrients.
The introduction of personalized nutrition has made it much easier (and lighter) to bring your vitamins and supplements with you when you travel. It may not always be convenient to grab a bright orange pepper or a bowl of fresh spinach while on the go. Therefore, your body may be craving folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin A, lutein, and just about every other phytonutrient.
“We shouldn’t sacrifice our nutrition simply because we’re away from our kitchen,” commented Elizabeth Somer, registered dietitian, author of "Eat Your Way to Happiness" and Vitamin Packs medical advisory board member. “I always pack nutritionally rich go-to snacks when I’m away from home and pack a multivitamin that delivers the essential nutrients my body needs to perform at its best.”
4. Keep your blood flowing.
If you’re planning a U.S. cross-country flight this year, direct flights can leave you sitting for five hours or more. These long periods of sedentary travel can lead to blood clots. Before you go, check with your doctor about adding an omega-3 supplement to your diet to maintain healthy blood flow.
5. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
Water should be your No. 1 travel companion. Pack a reusable water bottle, so you can quickly fill up at water fountains located in many airports, train stations and bus stops.
As you take to the air, road or track this year, make nutrition a top priority. Your body will thank you and it will give you the energy you need to enjoy your time wherever your travels take you.
(BPT) - Taking a vacation is more than a fun getaway from the daily drudges of life. Turns out, travel has a multitude of benefits that can impact your health and wellness, too.
Beyond stress reduction, vacations can improve heart health, mental health and personal relationships. In fact, men who take annual vacations are 32 percent less likely to die from heart disease, according to The Journal of the American Medical Association. Women benefit too: Those who take vacations twice or more per year are “less likely to become tense, depressed or tired, and are more satisfied with their marriages,” according to the Wisconsin Medical Journal.
Wellness travel is growing 50 percent faster than travel as a whole, according to a survey from the Global Wellness Summit. This includes spas, adventure and fitness-themed trips. But that doesn't necessarily mean you need to go on a yoga retreat to get the healthy benefits of travel. Consider these five tips for adding a healthy dose of wellness to your next vacation.
Intentionally disconnect: A whopping 42 percent of employees feel obligated to check email during vacation and 26 percent feel guilty even using all of their vacation time at all, according to Randstad. Make it a point to focus on the present and ignore your phone or limit checking it to once per day. If email or social media is hard to resist, sign out of those apps for the length of your vacation.
Relax by the water: Water is a natural element that inspires relaxation, but also provides lots of opportunity to play. For example, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, offers visitors an incredible 60 miles of ocean to explore, including the famous Intracoastal Waterway. Go to visitmyrtlebeach.com to learn more about how to relax on the sand by day and fall asleep to the calming waves of the ocean by night.
Try a new activity: Trying something new can have positive mental and physical benefits. Never tried kayaking or paddle boarding before? Give it a whirl. Want to take a yoga class? Sign up for an introductory lesson on the beach. Feeling brave? Go skydiving, zip-lining or parasailing. Whether you end up discovering a new hobby or just have a one-time adventure, you're sure to fully enjoy the experience.
Get into nature: Many health studies show the benefits of being outside, so make sure to plan plenty of time to explore Mother Nature on your trip. In addition to fresh air, take a hike at a local park and explore new scenery. When in Myrtle Beach, for example, you can take a morning jog through Huntington Beach State Park, meditate at Brookgreen Gardens or plan a family bike ride at Myrtle Beach State Park.
Eat well by eating right: Going out to eat is a fundamental part of vacationing for most people, but that doesn't mean you need overindulge so much that you feel sluggish throughout your trip. To eat well, plan sensible meals that feature fresh local ingredients, such as fruit, vegetables and the daily catch of fish. You'll enjoy regional flavors that tantalize the palate without the heavy foods that drag you down.
(BPT) - No one wants to come home from vacation packing extra pounds in addition to great souvenirs and fond memories. Yet even the most dedicated, healthy eater can find it difficult to maintain good dietary habits while traveling. New surroundings, new cuisines, a need for convenience and all that appetite-building activity can tempt you into making poor dining choices. Nevertheless, it is possible to stay on track while on the road.
“Just because you’re on vacation, it doesn’t mean your food conscience — that little voice inside that tells you what’s healthy or unhealthy to eat — needs to go on vacation, too,” says Millie Wilson, a registered dietician with My Fit Foods, a unique retail concept that specializes in handcrafted, fresh, grab-and-go meals as well as meal-planning services. “In fact, when you’re on a trip, eating well is even more important so you can feel energized and healthy, and able to enjoy every moment of your vacation.”
However, healthier dining while on vacation doesn’t have to mean sacrificing flavor. Here are four tips to help ensure you make better food choices while still savoring the fun of your trip:
1. Don’t delay dining
With so many things to see and do on your vacation, it’s easy to forget to eat — until you find yourself so hungry you’ll eat just about anything. Extreme hunger is a recipe for binging and unhealthy choices.
“After about three hours without food, blood sugar begins to fall,” Cleveland dietician Amy Jamieson-Petonic says on WebMD. “Once you’ve crossed the five-hour mark, your blood sugar begins to plummet, and you grab whatever you can to refuel.”
Instead of letting your hunger reach crisis point, try to stick to your regular dining schedule. Pack some healthy snacks in your travel tote or handbag to tide you over in case you get hungry between meals.
2. Map out healthy meals
Just as you planned other aspects of your trip — the sights you’ll see, how you’ll get there, etc. — it’s important to plan meals, too. Make a map of where and when you will eat to avoid unhealthy temptations.
Resources like HealthyDiningFinder.com can help you locate restaurants that serve healthy and delicious fare, like My Fit Foods. The retail concept is the first-ever restaurant to have its entire menu certified to meet Healthy Dining’s nutrition criteria.
With more than 50 locations in California, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona and Illinois, My Fit Foods serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and specializes in handcrafted grab-and-go meals made with fresh and flavorful ingredients. The menu emphasizes lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and unsaturated fat, making it easy – and delicious - to stay on track while traveling. Visit www.myfitfoods.com to learn more.
3. Avoid liquid calories
It’s fine to indulge with a little imbibing, but avoid going overboard and look for lighter options. Cocktails can be loaded with calories; a pina colada can pack more than 600 calories and a Long Island Iced Tea can ring in at nearly 800 calories! Since those calories are in liquid form — and taste so good — it’s easy to consume a lot of them at a time and not realize the impact until you step on the scale later.
Choose less calorie-intense alcoholic options such as wine, light beer, a rum and Coke (about 65 calories), gin with diet tonic (115 calories) or a cosmopolitan (150 calories).
4. Walk, hike, bike, swim and jog it off
Maintaining your physical activity level can help keep you in the healthful mindset you need in order to make better food choices. But who wants to take the time to exercise while on vacation? You do — and you don’t have to spend a single minute in the hotel gym to get in plenty of physical activity. Many fun things to do on vacation also involve beneficial exercise.
Walking is one of the best ways to see and experience a new location, and it’s a great way to offset any extra calories you might consume on your trip. Whenever possible, get out of the car and walk through the city or town you’re visiting. Go for a long, brisk walk on the beach, climb that challenging nature trail, frolic in the surf, climb that mountain or bike through town. It’s always possible to find ways to incorporate everyday exercise into your vacation activities.
Making better dining choices while on vacation can be as simple as planning ahead, trying new things and listening to your food conscience.
Photo courtesy of My Fit Foods.
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