13 Tips for Fun and Active Travel

Take a break from lounging by the pool and try these fun, calorie-burning activities on your next vacation.

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1. Make morning time your activity time. The weather will probably be friendlier, your energy levels higher and your agenda emptier than later in the day.

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2. Reacquaint yourself with sunrises and sunsets. A walk at dawn or dusk is rejuvenation defined. Try to make this a daily ritual of life away from home, and you will guarantee yourself both physical and spiritual replenishment.

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3. Get into the water as much as you can. Don't allow yourself to spend all your time sitting in front of the water. Whether it is the ocean, a swimming pool or a tree-lined lake, make sure you get into the water for swimming or games or even walking. Merely standing in waist-high water is a good workout, thanks to the action of the water.

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4. Fly a stunt kite. If there's a good wind blowing, buy a stunt kite and take it to the beach or other large open space. These kites can be easily assembled, then taken apart, making them perfect for traveling. You'll give your upper body a great workout as you struggle to control the kite. You may also have to run or walk to keep the kite in the air - or chase it down once it plummets to the earth.
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5. Choose a cruise. It's amazing how active you can be while stuck on a boat in the middle of the ocean. Most cruise ships offer numerous options for seaworthy exercise. Many have pools, golf simulators, climbing walls, fitness centers, jogging and walking areas and instructor-led fitness classes - and that's just what's on board. During any ocean and land excursions you can burn calories as you snorkel, hike, scuba-dive and horseback ride.

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6. Get out of the car every 2 hours. Many of us spend a large part of our vacations on the road, either getting to and from our destinations, or using the car for sightseeing. But no matter how beautiful the scenery is, great, memorable trips don't happen in a car seat.

Don't wait for exhaustion or the call of nature to get you to pull over. Get out frequently and stretch, walk, picnic, shop, visit and have fun. It's important for your health and energy, and it makes traveling a lot more interesting.

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7. Play active games. When most people think of outdoor games, they think of team sports such as hockey, baseball or soccer, all of which can be both intimidating and excessively strenuous for adults who stopped playing such sports a long time ago. Opt instead for gentler games - badminton, table tennis, lawn bowling. Your goal: to play an outdoor game every day while on vacation.

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8. Create a silly tournament. Particularly if there are children on the trip, it can be a riot to create your own mini-Olympics. For example, if you use the swimming pool every day, have a daily competition, such as holding your breath underwater, swimming between people's legs or having a big splash contest. Or maybe a week-long badminton competition. 'Silly' is the operative word - don't make it a serious competition, just a chance to have active fun.
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9. Play miniature golf. You burn more calories sitting rather than lying, standing than sitting, and walking than standing. Although miniature golf won't incinerate fat, it will burn more calories than lying in a hammock. Plus, your children will have a great time. You probably will too.

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10. Beware the food obsession. Let's be honest: for many of us, vacations are about eating splurges. That means fresh seafood by the ocean, amazing restaurants in great cities, unlimited buffets at the hotel. This is the stuff of great vacations and you shouldn't deny yourself these pleasures. Instead, limit yourself to one such indulgence a day. Any more and the uniqueness of the splurges fades away. And you'll spend too much time sitting in restaurants - then sitting some more, recuperating from the overindulgence.

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11. Explore on foot. Of course, you can rely on your travel agent, travel guides, maps or a tour bus to get you acquainted with a new location. But only by getting out and walking can you truly get the feel for a place. Spend the first few hours at your vacation destination walking around the area. If you're in a city, pick a few restaurants to try to make your reservations in person. Locate the parks, museums and shopping areas.

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12. Get on the water as much as you can. Paddle boats are fun. Canoeing is a joy. Row boats are romantic. Powerboats exhilarating. Sailboats serene. Kayaks pure adventure. Even standing at the rail of a steamboat is exciting. Boats make you feel young, and whether you are propelling them or not, being on a boat burns calories and engages your muscles more than being on dry land.
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13. Schedule an activity-based vacation. Plan your entire vacation around an activity, such as sailing, hiking, cycling or swimming. No expertise is necessary - just a willingness to take on a new challenge. There are any number of vacation packages targeted at novices to experts, adolescents to older people, singles to whole families. A skiing vacation with lessons for different ages and ability levels is perfect.

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