Happy New Year! I hope this New Year’s Eve you’ll be inspired to live your best life in 2019. If you didn’t know already, this year’s blog theme was the “Year of Active Travel,” and we got to have a lot of fun with it! In 2018, I’ve shared only the best with you: the best hikes, the best runs, the best fun! This is a compilation of the best activities the year had to offer, and a look forward to a fun and active New Year!
The Best Hike: Pipiwai Trail and Bamboo Forest, Maui, Hawaii, USA
This is quite possibly the most beautiful, mystical, awesome-inspiring hike I’ve ever done! There are banyan trees along the way, waterfalls to see, and beautiful views all around, but the real treasure is the mile through the bamboo forest. It really was like walking through a dream! For all the details, check out Hiking Hawaii: Maui.
The Best Playtime: Snow Hiking in the Alps, Zermatt and St. Moritz, Switzerland
Snow hiking in the Swiss Alps will always be one of my favorite memories! Neither Steve nor I had seen so much snow in our lives, and between the views of the Matterhorn, waking up to a fresh foot of snow in St. Moritz, and making snow angels on a hillside overlooking an Olympic outdoor skating rink, hiking in that much snow was more memorable and fun than we could have imagined!
The Best Workout Spot: It’s a TIE!
Boardwalks and Beaches, Corolla, NC, USA
How’s this view for a good morning? I had a firm, flat stretch of beach for my morning run, and a great setup on the boardwalk—complete with benches for a full bodyweight strength workout, too! My running companions were ghost crabs, the ocean was my playlist, and the view was my motivation.
Front Yard at Seaside Condos: Kehei, Maui, HI, USA
I love that the Hawaiian islands have this awesome grass next to lots of their beaches. Our rental on Maui did not disappoint us this year. It was perfect for bodyweight work, I could run through the palm trees like an obstacle course, and who doesn’t love to workout by the ocean? The view was just as stunning as the photo below every morning!
Best Post-flight Activity: Tourist Run through Sydney Harbor, Sydney, Australia
After a 17-hour flight from Houston to Sydney, we needed to move our bodies! The sun is almost always out in Sydney, and that’s what we needed to help our bodies understand it’s time to be awake and acclimate to the new time zone. A run down at Sydney Harbor is such a treat because not only are there world-renown icons like the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House around every turn, you can also go for miles without worrying about crossing streets or watching out for cars. Check out our route:
Best Ride: Camels, Doha, Qatar
Camels have been getting desert people from place to place since the dawn of time. And they are really good at it! It’s true that once you’re on the camel, all you really have to do is sit there, but the ups and downs require a firm grip, so be prepared! People say camels are mean, but that was not the case. This is me with my new camel friend, Sawsan, in the deserts of Qatar!
Best Long Walk on the Beach: Kihei, Maui, Hawaii
Steve and I are the cliche… we love sunrises and long walks on the beach! Maui is officially Steve’s favorite Hawaiian island, Me? I’ll take any and all of them! The beach outside our vacation rental was long, largely unoccupied, and it sounded like the ocean–what more could you ask for? We took a long, romantic walk one morning, and it was like the “aloha spirit” took us in.
Best Hotel Gym: Heritage Christchurch Hotel, Christchurch, New Zealand
This hotel gym didn’t have a view, didn’t have the shiniest equipment, and it wasn’t the biggest I’ve ever seen, but it was the best! They had battle ropes, they had boxes for box hops, they had open space, they had big rubber bands, they had kettlebells, they had Bosus, they had traditional weights of every kind, they had squat racks, they had weight machines, they had bikes, treadmills, rowers, and ellipticals. In short, they had everything I needed for a fantastic workout before a long road trip!
Not impressed? How about a lap pool and hot tub? They had those, too! Totally unpretentious, totally uncrowded, totally perfect for making my body move to beat jet lag. My only complaint is that it’s not 24 hours. But it was worth the wait!
Best Treadmill Views: Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, VT, USA
Because sometimes, you just have to use a treadmill. The Trapp Family Lodge is like an active traveler’s retreat. From the lap pool to the miles of trails to the climbing wall, it’s a fantastic place for an active traveler to be!
Best Hotel Brand for Staying Fit: Westin by Marriott
The Westin brand goes above and beyond to keep you excuse-free and help you stay active while on travel! Forgot your gear? For just $5 you can rent New Balance shoes and clothing for your whole stay. Just call down to request yours. Bonus: you get to keep the socks! Oh, and the shoe inserts are changed after every rental and all pieces are cleaned and sanitized.
Not only do you get to pack lighter, you will also have a full gym equipped with TRX brand equipment (one of my favorite brands) at your disposal and every Westin provides either a guided running tour of their area at least two days a week, or a clear running map with route options nearby! They call it runWESTIN, and this year I got to experience this amenity in both Denver and Guam!
Best Travel Exercise Equipment: It’s a Tie! Gliders and Bands
There are some fantastic pieces of travel-friendly exercise equipment, but to me, one of the most effective is a simple set of gliders. You can get a full body workout with this one kind of equipment, and then you can change it up the next time! I have a set that works on carpet or wood, and they are so thin they’ll fit into even the most over-stuffed luggage!
The other exceptionally effective piece of traveling exercise equipment is a set of rubber bands. They are inexpensive, weigh next to nothing, and take up so little space you can toss them in your personal item last-minute and even use them on the plane!
Click the images below for yours!
Best Outdoor Tourist Walk: The Freedom Trail, Boston, MA, USA
Okay, so this is the thing that basically any self-respecting Boston visitor must do. And you’ll feel like they’re all on the trail with you. Because they are. But far fewer make it all the way to Bunker Hill! So put your walking shoes on and commit to walking the whole thing to the end and back. It’s all about meeting those goals!
Best Relaxation Location: Park Hotel Sonnenhof, Vaduz, Liechtenstein
Rest and relaxation are just as important as fitness and activity. However, Steve and I are admittedly not strong relaxers. But then little Liechtenstein caught us both off guard with its friendly people and scenic mountainsides! I mean, there’s a real castle on a mountain there, where a real prince lives! The Park Hotel Sonnenhof’s indoor spa and swimming pool was the best place to sit a spell and relax, and that’s just what we did one afternoon.
So what does 2019 have in store for you? Comment below with what excites you the most about the coming year!
One more thing… Are you ready for this next announcement? Next year’s blog theme is: The Year of Movie Moments! I’m headed to some epic destinations in the coming year, many of which have inspired movies or served as perfect settings for some of the best movies ever. I’ll be letting you in on some fun facts, telling you how to have your own movie moments in your travels, and of course, recommending some great movies to inspire your own wanderlust!
Want to see all my Year of Active Travel posts? They’re all on my 2018: Year of Active Travel Page!
My first “Movie Moment” post is coming on Friday, so make sure to subscribe to the blog (to the right and under the header image on your desktop, or at the bottom of this post on your phone or tablet) and follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter so you don’t miss out!
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