Plan an Active Family Vacation
Active adventure vacations are often marketed to adults craving high-thrill, adrenaline-pumping activities like zip lining, hang gliding, or other extreme sports. But active vacations can be planned for families, too, with just a few special details that keep everyone balanced, safe, and having fun.
What makes a vacation active? Like our daily efforts to live a healthy life, it all depends on what you like to do the most. Going to a rustic lodge near hiking trails, a hotel that offers tennis lessons, ski lessons on the slopes, or incorporating walking tours in a big city can all be examples of active travel.
Here are some ways to infuse exercise & fitness into any trip! Photo: CityPassGuide
Learn About Your Destination Before You Go
I love to stretch out a vacation as much as possible, and our first stop is usually the library. We check out books about our destination, draw pictures of what we want to do on vacation, and research our plans online. When we arrive, we feel as if we have already been on vacation just imagining what it will be like!
Skip the Taxi and Walk!
Big cities often rely on public transportation, which are convenient but can add up in expense. Before your trip, explore the city via Google Maps so you can identify safe walking routes from that morning museum trip to your lunchtime destination. Make sure to add in extra travel time for walking, and consider buying or borrowing a hiking backpack to use instead of a stroller for little ones. Not only does it give them a better view of the sights, the person wearing it gets an extra cardio boost! Wear comfortable shoes, use a smart phone to navigate walking routes, and get ready to explore!
Pack Your Food
Eating in new and unique restaurants can be one of the perks of travel, but eating out for every meal can do a number on your waistline and your wallet. Choose your restaurant meals carefully, and arrange to have a refrigerator in your hotel room to store breakfast items and snacks to carry with you. When eating out, keep it simple by ordering items with few ingredients, and consider sharing your entrée to lower your calories and your tab. Keep the little ones happy by packing small baggies of trail mix, granola bars, and other non-perishable snacks for your backpack, and bring plenty of water.
See the sights AND get some exercise in! Photo: Italy Active Vacations
Get Into the Great Outdoors
Some of my favorite childhood memories of family vacations were not to Disney World or cruise ships, but camping in the great outdoors! Family hikes to waterfalls, swims in the lake, and adventures through the woods have created stories that are retold time and again. Camping teaches children valuable life skills and gives them an appreciation for the world around them. Search for hiking and camping sites at local state or national parks, and burn calories and build muscle by hiking in the fall and winter weather!
Plan for Down Time
Many active families enjoy the fast pace of a packed calendar, but vacations are a time for rest as well as adventure! Plan a day mid-way through your trip to chill out and take things easy. After all, everyone enjoys a vacation now and then.