Essential Things You Should Always Pack

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Most travelers plan their trips carefully. One issue is not to forget the most essential things for your  travel; you don’t want to create problems by forgetting something really important. Our clients often ask us about the most necessary things to bring with them on a trip.

Here is a list of those essentials:

First Aid Kit

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This is essential, especially for adventure travelers. Even if you’re just planning to do a little shopping and sightseeing, it doesn’t mean you won’t need a first-aid kit. Accidents can happen anywhere.  Especially if you travel to a different climate, your body may feel stressed and weak as it struggles to acclimatize. Always bring medications you require in your travel kit, especially if you are allergic to something. Health is a primary issue everyone should think about in their lives, and there is no exemption when you go on a trip.

Copies of Your Travel Documents

Collection of Travel Documents - Passport, International Driving Permit, International Vaccination Certificate and Airline Boarding Passes.

An important thing for any traveler is identification documents. Today, if you have lost your passport in a foreign country, you can face a lot of troubles and difficulties. A lot depends, of course, on the country and its laws, but keep in mind that there are always positive and negative aspects of going abroad. You may need several copies of documents for bureaucratic purposes, or in case you misplace the original.

Wet Wipes

Essential things for travelers

From refreshing your hands to wiping dirty surfaces – wet wipes come in handy when traveling, especially with kids. There are different types of wet wipes that you can use: facial, for hands, hypo allergic, for the whole body, for sensitive skin, antimicrobial, and many more. They are useful and compact so it shouldn’t be a problem to take some in your travel kit.

Chargers for electronic devices

different types of chargers for phones and tablets on white background

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There are numerous apps that you can be useful on your cellphone, tablet or notebook. There are lists of extremely useful apps to use for travel. Think about taking several chargers with you to be sure that your devices will keep working for long periods of time.

Cash

Essential things for travelers

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Try to take some currency of the countries you plan to visit in case there are problems with card payments, ATM withdrawals, or currency exchanges. Be prepared for unexpected circumstances and to buy something you need urgently.

Published: 16/08/2017

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Traveling with Your Cat or Dog: Essential Tips

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  1. Check the policy of your airline before taking a flight with your animal.

 All necessary information is usually available on a company’s website. Check it carefully and note the most important things.

  • Carefully read all the info about the veterinary certificate every pet must have before boarding a flight. This document is necessary to confirm that your pet is healthy.
  • Consider rules regulating the size, weight, and type of carrier.
  • Attentively read the entire pet travel policy of your airline to avoid problems and know your rights (rules can vary depending on the company you choose).
  • Carefully read all the regulations concerning bringing pets into the country you plan to travel to. Rules vary and are sometimes contradictory.
  1. Arrive at the airport early

Remember, when you have a pet with you, there will be additional measures required to verify your documents at the security check point. These will probably include weighing and measuring the pet carrier, and may involve paying a fee.

travel with cat

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  1. Book a direct flight

The most important thing that every pet owner should consider when traveling with pets is the health and safety of other passengers (besides his own well-being and that of his pet, of course).

You should understand that long layovers, airport transfers, and even changes in climate and air pressure can have an effect on your pet. Moreover, they can influence the animal’s behavior, health, and psychological condition in unexpected ways. Don’t make your pet suffer from being overly stressed.

Don’t let your animal drink for 4 hours before the flight, and don’t administer any analgesics or sedatives. They could have negative side-effects on your cat or dog as their temperature rises or falls during a flight. Pills might just complicate your whole trip.

two twin brothers sitting around a campfire in a birch grove

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  1. Make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian well before the flight

You’ll need a special certificate about your pet’s vaccinations dated within 10 days of departure. Have a specialist check your pet’s physical condition, and discuss the upcoming flight with them – especially if it’s a long one.

Preparation of your pet is A MUST. If you are planning a long trip, you might need to take your pet on several short trips to gauge its reaction and ability to stay calm while traveling. Consult your veterinarian for more information concerning your pet’s breed, health condition, and other circumstances.

YYZ Travel Group, TICO:#04332359. 7851 Dufferin Street, Suite 100. Thornhill, Ontario L4J 3M4.

Published: 15/08/2017

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My Luxury Is Personal

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What’s your luxury? A YYZ Travel advisor can help you create your personal journey.

How Virtuoso and YYZ Travel Work

Step 1

1

Choose an Advisor

Tell us your preferences and we’ll quickly match you with the perfect advisor to plan your upcoming travel.

Step 2

2

Plan with Your Advisor

Your advisor will collaborate with you, catering to your travel needs to create a truly personalized trip.

Step 3

3

Travel like a VIP

Our travel network allows your advisor to book exclusive perks and upgrades only offered to Virtuoso travelers.

 

Published: 15/08/2017

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Contact our Travel Advisors:1.877.999.4768

Tips for Travel Addicts

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  1. Book tour packages rather than discrete services

Tour packages have a lot of advantages since everything is included in one deal; so, you don’t have to think about each step of the trip – booking flights, reserving hotel rooms, and planning excursions– by yourself. A tour package is a time-saving and problem-solving proposition.

You don’t have to adjust anything according to availability of hotels and tour guides, or to think about possible variations. It is all done for you in the best possible way!

  1. Reserve panoramic restaurants

They offer incredibly beautiful views, and they usually prepare the most popular traditional dishes of the local cuisine. Besides the restaurant, such places often have a bar area where the prices are more affordable – and the fantastic overlook is the same.

Hiker woman in Bryce Canyon hiking looking and enjoying view during her hike wearing hikers backpack. Bryce Canyon National Park landscape, Utah, United States.

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  1. Buy tours and cruises through travel agencies

There are many benefits to using the services of an agent to arrange travel. Bookings made through travel agents are more effective for tourists as they can provide bonuses and discounts.

For example, cruises booked through travel agencies may cost the same as when purchased online or through the cruise company itself, but you might also enjoy bonuses like “sip and sail” promotions or other discount opportunities.

  1. Use travel gadgets

While traveling to diverse destinations, you should take advantage of the great variety of technological gadgets available to make your life easier. New technologies are ubiquitous these days, and they generally make our lives more comfortable. So, why not use them while traveling? From smart suitcases to cozy high-tech pillows, a lot of shops have everything to satisfy the needs of even the finickiest traveler.

Travel addicts

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  1. Get acquainted with locals

The best way to learn about the culture and traditions of a foreign country is to communicate with local residents. That is the easiest and most effective way of learning interesting information about a country,  finding out more about popular attractions, and getting to know native traditions.

  1. Visit less popular places

If you want to explore a country beyond its stereotypes, and avoid thousands of tourists at the major attractions, try exploring less popular locations where you will encounter the unique atmosphere of out-of-the-way places and get acquainted with the country’s hidden gems.

Nothing but friends and road ahead. Group of young happy people enjoying road trip in their white convertible and raising their arms up

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  1. Study foreign languages (at least at a beginner’s level)

If you don’t speak the language in a foreign country, you start feeling like an outsider who will never quite fit in. On the other hand, when you know some of the most important words and useful phrases, you can more easily find your way, order properly in a café or restaurant, and possibly make friends with locals!

Published: 14/08/2017

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Here’s the Scoop: Five Ice Cream Shops Around the World You Can’t Miss

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Nevería Roxy’s – Mexico City, Mexico

Indulge in Mexico City’s most beloved ice cream produced using artisanal methods. Fresh, fruity flavors shine, including strawberry, pineapple, and lemon – try any of the four locations across the capital.

 

Nevería Roxy’s
Nevería Roxy’s, Mexico City.

Amy’s Ice Creams – Austin, Texas

Many Austin locals will send you to Amy’s for your sweet tooth cravings – their colorful parlors and funky servers stay true to the city’s pledge to weirdness.

Amy’s Ice Creams.

Berthillon – Paris, France

Perfect your Parisian stroll across Île Saint Louis accompanied by a double scoop of Berthillon’s iconic glace, introduced to the city over sixty years ago.

Berthillon, Paris.

Glacé – Sydney, Australia

Known for their inventive ice-cream-based desserts, such as bombe Alaska and checkerboard terrines, this shop (located in the Summer Hill neighborhood) is a must for all the Australia-visiting gourmands out there.

Glacé, Sydney.

Kurt Farm Shop – Seattle, Washington

In the heart of Capitol Hill, you’ll find an ice cream shop that stays true to the “go green, go local” spirit of Seattle. The owner, Kurt, somewhat of a Seattle food legend, provides fresh products (notably ice cream!) from the cows and crops he raises on his small farm in Vashon. Try one of the more unusual flavors, like rose and fig, or tomato jam.

Published: 11.08.17
By Evan Upchurch

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A Travel Advisor On When (And Why) You Should Buy Travel Insurance

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Like any form of insurance, travel insurance can be overwhelming. When do you need it? Do you need it all? What does all the fine print mean? We turned to Virtuoso travel advisor Tiffany Figueiredo, who is based in Fort Worth, for details on when and why she advises her clients to purchase insurance.

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Should clients purchase travel insurance for every trip, even a weekend getaway? 

“I recommend insurance on domestic trips that have non-refundable components like hotels, transfers or tours, and on all international trips. In fact, if clients are traveling internationally and choose not to purchase insurance, I require them to sign a waiver. I want them to have medical coverage in the event they are sick or injured while traveling. People assume their regular insurance will cover them abroad and that is not always the case. The companies I work with offer policies on a trip-by-trip basis, but I also recommend MedjetAssist, which offers annual plans.

What insurance companies do you work with the most, and why?

I work mainly with Travelex because of my good relationship and history with them. They have gone to bat for my clients in several instances, and while filing an insurance claim is not something anyone wants to do, Travelex has provided assistance with the process and has been very fair. In some cases, vendor insurance, like that offered through a cruise line, is sufficient.

travel advisor

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When has travel insurance mattered for a client of yours?

The primary purpose of travel insurance is to cover the cost of delays or cancellations, but the medical assistance benefits cannot be overstated. Last year, I had a client traveling alone in Europe who suffered a serious, totally unexpected heart episode on her second day in Rome. She had purchased Travelex insurance, and they stepped in right away, talking with her family, making sure her doctors in Italy communicated with her doctor at home, and even covered the cost to upgrade her return flight once she was released, as her doctors would not let her fly economy. They provided assistance for the five days she was in the hospital and again once we were ready to file the claim. That same week, I was on a work trip in Spain when one of my fellow travelers took a hard fall over a loose cobblestone and broke her hip. She was flown home via medical jet with a nurse onboard thanks to travel insurance.

What do plans actually cover?

Each policy is different. You may not get 100 percent of your money back for a thunderstorm that causes a huge delay. It’s up to the client and agent to thoroughly understand what they are buying and what they foresee needing to cover.

Terrorist activity is usually only covered when the client’s exact destination has been attacked within a specific timeframe. So, you can’t cancel Normandy because there was a subway bombing in Paris. And you can’t cancel Paris because of something that occurs more than 30 days before your trip there. However, I haven’t had a single client want to cancel a trip because of a terrorist attack.

To get a policy that you can cancel for any reason, shop early, because this benefit is only available for a short amount of time from the initial trip deposit date. Once the first payment is made toward the trip –  whether for a flight, lodging, cruise, or other –  travelers have between 14 and 30 days to buy coverage. Most policies offer this benefit as a selectable upgrade, which will raise the premium cost by about 50 percent.

“Cancel for any reason” requires that all prepaid and non-refundable trip costs be insured on the policy. This means travelers don’t have the option to only insure a flight and not the cruise. Bottom line, if it’s paid before the departure date and the money would be lost if the trip were cancelled, it has to be listed on the policy.

travel advisor

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Any tips or tricks to filing claim paperwork and getting the maximum reimbursement?

Save all receipts, first and foremost. I will have already documented the cost of the trip, but if it’s delayed or cut short, clients will have to provide receipts for the cost of meals, taxis, hotels, clothing, and toiletries that were incurred as a result. For a medical situation, they’ll need to make sure the doctor fills out his or her portion of the paperwork very specifically and correctly. Don’t be vague – that’s the general trick to not having the claim kicked back or denied.

There are gray areas on the forms, and my best advice is to fill out the claim with your travel advisor, who can call the insurer directly to clear up any questions. If the claim is denied, the advisor can help again, providing additional details or calling his or her insurance company rep to see if it’s something that can be remedied.

travel advisor

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Any more tips?

If you feel that the cost of insuring a trip is prohibitive (or don’t care about getting your money back), you can purchase a plan without trip cancellation.

You won’t be reimbursed for the cost of the trip if it’s cancelled, but you will still get many of the in-travel benefits such as trip delay, emergency medical, lost or delayed baggage, and so on. The cost is quite a bit lower and worth looking into for those services.”

Published: 10/08/2017

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Why Cuba is One of the Top Caribbean Destinations

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Colorful kayaks and sailing boats on a tropical beach in Cuba

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Cuba remains one of the top Caribbean destinations in 2017 and continues to be a favorite holiday location. It is on the list of most popular tourist spots in the region – along with Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, and Guadeloupe. Every year Cuba attracts millions of visitors to its hospitable culture and wonderful natural sights.

There are reasons why many Canadians choose Cuba over other Caribbean destinations: Cuba has seen huge advancements in the tourism sector in recent years, especially in its accommodations infrastructure, with many new hotels and resort complexes built and high quality services instituted. Moreover, a number of new agreements were concluded with various air companies to develop new routes – making Cuban destinations more accessible to many travelers.

Cuba

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Cuba is a favorite Caribbean destination where people return over and over again.  Among the factors which contribute to this tendency are undoubtedly Cuba’s nature and crystal clear turquoise waters – as well as its very special atmosphere.

The beautiful nature is specifically and exotically Caribbean and has been declared a Biological Reserve by UNESCO. Not all Cuba’s territory is considered a Biological Reserve, but there are many protected areas around the country which have unique biodiversity and fragile ecosystems.

HAVANA, CUBA

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In the seas of the western coast, for example, Guanahacabibes Peninsula has one of the best preserved coral reefs in the world. Furthermore, you can see here special kinds of animals and plants, 22 distinctive beaches, and, the most exciting thing – along the shore are the remains of some pirate ships from the colonial period.

In addition to coastal regions being protected Cuban territory, marine areas – which reach depths of 200 meters – are protected zones as well. In total, reserves cover one fifth of all Cuban territory; the most famous are Sierra del Rosario, Guanahacabibes National Park, Cuchillas del Toa, and Buenavista.

Although the tourist sector in Cuba is developing quickly and attracting a lot of investment into the country, ecological issues are studied thoroughly – assuring visitors a holiday in a safe and ecologically balanced environment.

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The Most Inclusive Luxury Experience

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YYZ Travel Group, TICO:#04332359. 7851 Dufferin Street, Suite 100. Thornhill, Ontario L4J 3M4.

*To view the terms and conditions applicable to the product, please click on the link.

Published: 09/08/2017

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Best Rooftop Swimming Pools

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There is nothing better than swimming in the pool of a luxury hotel – unless this pool is on the rooftop of a 55-story building!

Rooftop swimming pools are a popular trend in hotels these days, so we are going to tell you about some of the most stunning:

  1. Infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

This pool looks really endless. There’s no visible border at the edge of the pool, so the water fuses with the horizon. Swimming in this pool, you feel immersed into infinity!

This Sands Hotel consists of three elegant skyscrapers with inclined walls at angles of up to 26 degrees. Over them hovers a giant gondola-terrace with a total area of 12.4 thousand square meters (about three football fields). The pool stretches for 150 meters and is the largest swimming pool built at this level.

Infinity swimming pool of the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

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  1. Fullerton Bay Hotel, Singapore

If the first hotel on our list is too expensive for you, no one will prevent you from admiring the grandiose building from the roof of another modern Singapore hotel – Fullerton Bay. There is also a great pool on the top of it!

  1. Habita Hotel, Monterrey, Mexico

There are two rooftop pools in this hotel: with warm and cold water. In the heated pool you can swim 12 months a year. And if you are from Russia and love cold water, you just need to dip into the second pool. During your leisure time you can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

  1. Joule, Dallas, USA

This bold architectural project is located in Dallas at the height of the tenth floor in the five-star hotel “Joule”. Part of the pool is hanging directly above the central road. The side of the pool is pushed out from the building, so only thick glass separates bathers from the ground.

Swimming pool on roof top with beautiful city skyline view,early morning with mist ,  kuala lumpur malaysia.

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  1. Hotel the Vino, Funchal, Portugal

In a small Portuguese town, drowning in lush greenery, there is a designer hotel with an outdoor swimming pool, which of course is located on the roof. From this viewing platform you can see almost the entire island of Madeira.

  1. Hotel Udai Kothi, Udaipur, India

This rooftop will reward you not only with views of the ancient palaces that encompass it – it will allow you to find yourself in the rooms of the Maharaja: you will be surrounded by figurative carved arbors, ornaments and paintings in Rajasthan style.

Romantic sensual couple alone in infinity swimming pool over beautiful tropical and sunset sky background

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  1. Harbor Grand, Hong Kong

On the roof of this Hong Kong hotel, there is an amazing outdoor pool with glass walls, so you can admire the stunning views of the city from underwater. It is not disinfected with chlorine – so it is okay to swim with your eyes open.

  1. Thompson, Toronto

Seven years ago, on the roof of the Thompson Hotel, a new point of interest was built – a rooftop pool which offers a panoramic view of Toronto’s skyscrapers, including the CN tower.

  1. Hilton Molino Stucky, Venice

Even if you are not going to take a walk along the Grand Canal in Venice, you can still enjoy it if you stay at the Hilton Molino Stucky. The rooftop pool opens on a breathtaking view of the city’s best attractions and practically hangs over the Grand Canal. It is located as close to the edge of the roof as possible, and you are separated from the channel only by a row of glass panels.

  1. Vine, Madeira

Hotel Vine, located on Madeira in Portugal, boasts a magnificent panoramic roof-top swimming pool and a 20-meter Jacuzzi. From here you can see a memorable view of the fort of San Juan and the mountain looming over it.

  1. Hotel Arts, Barcelona

This unique hotel, stylized for artistic themes, was built in Spain. From the rooftop pool there is a great view of one of the most famous works of contemporary urban art: the huge goldfish sculpture specially created by Frank Gehry for the Olympic Games held in Barcelona in 1992.

  1. Athens Ledra Marriott, Athens

Athens Ledra Marriott, located in the heart of Athens, is considered the most luxurious place in the city. In addition to the magnificent rooftop pool, it offers a unique panoramic view of the Acropolis. On a clear night you can even see the distant lights that highlight the Parthenon.

roof pool

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  1. Intercontinental, Hong Kong

Visually, the pool on the roof of this hotel gives the impression of merging with the waters of the harbor of Hong Kong. The overflow type of pool design provides a special enhancement of this effect.

  1. Old Sydney Holiday Inn, Sydney

Do you know from which point the best view of Sydney opens? From the Old Sydney Holiday Inn’s rooftop pool! Only from this vantage can you simultaneously see the opera house and the huge Harbor Bridge.

  1. Grand Hotel Central, Barcelona

This pool is located above the Gothic quarter of Barcelona, one of the most beautiful European cities. Grand Hotel Central is also a great starting point for city tours.

A rooftop pool is a great vantage point where you can rest any time from your visual excursion. It is definitely not an economy class vacation, but it sure seems worth it!

How to Stay Healthy During your Summer Trip 2017?

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Staying in shape while on vacation does not seem such an easy task. Seeing the abundance of delicious food and exotic drinks around you, the temptations are hard to resist.

Happy family walking at the beach at the day time. Concept of friendly family.

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However, a sense of proportion will help you stay healthy and enjoy your holiday. Getting some physical exercise and eating healthy food on a trip is not that difficult! Let’s see what else will be useful for your health on vacation:

  • A strong immune system is the best defense against disease. So, take some natural remedies for 1-2 weeks before departure to increase your immunities.
  • It may seem obvious, but pay attention to clothes and shoes. Clothing should be from natural fibers when changing climates since synthetic fabrics can irritate the skin. For winter trips, always choose loose clothing. Shoes should be comfortable, preferably of natural leather and not new; otherwise, you risk getting calluses.
  • Because of the heat, your water consumption will need to increase. You should drink 3 to 4 liters of water per day.
  • Try to drink alcohol only in the evening and stick to one beverage choice. Ideally, it should be a transparent cocktail with minimal sugar content, for example, gin and tonic. Avoid beer and ale.
  • Also avoid desserts in the evening. Yes, it’s hard, but if you must satisfy cravings for sweets, it’s better to eat things like ice cream early in the day since the sugar is more likely to be used by the body to produce energy rather than turn into fat
  • Do some quick physical exercises right in your hotel room every morning for 20 minutes. Work with your own weight, such as doing squats and lunges without heavy stress, as well as push-ups. Go for a run every two or three days – it’s a good time to admire the views.
Young couple riding mountain bike in spring meadow nature on sunny day

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  • Swimming is also very effective. This is the perfect exercise, especially if you are in a hot country. If the hotel has a swimming pool, dive in and do a few laps.
  • An effective way to remain mobile is walking long distances. In addition, you will quickly get accustomed to the terrain and a different climate – maybe even start to understand the local language. (Just be sure to minimize noshing on éclairs at the pastry shop.)
  • Cycling is an ideal option for a detailed city tour! Rent a bicycle and blow like a breeze through the city or go for a ride through the suburbs, parks and forests.
  • If you are going to the coast, why not take a few surfing lessons? This is both comprehensive training and fun entertainment for the whole family. You can even get a photo of yourself on the crest of a wave.
Mother and daughter playing with balloons on the beach at the day time. Concept of friendly family.

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  • Many hotels have tennis courts – book some time for a couple of sets.
  • Yoga: Put a yoga mat in your suitcase and enjoy a relaxing workout on your vacation. Yoga is ideal because you do not need any heavy equipment for it. Yoga is also perfect when it is very hot outside.
  • When traveling abroad, try not to use public transport all the time. Imagine how much you are NOT seeing through the window of a bus! Plus, walking from point A to point B has a number of benefits for your body.
  • Take care with protection from the sun. Use sun screen according to your skin type and take medication if you do get sunburned. Consider when solar activity is greatest and try to stay indoors at this time.
  • Do not go outside without a hat, because getting heat stroke in a hot climate is easier than it seems.
fashion and lifestyle concept - beautiful woman in hat enjoying summer outdoors

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  • If a large number of people touch something, it is a potential problem. Specialists strongly advise washing your hands thoroughly with soap as often as possible, or use an antiseptic gel. No matter how trivial it may sound, stay away from coughing and sneezing people: the distance that a flu virus can travel via airborne droplets is about 6 feet.
  • Prepare for the change in time zones. From the first day of your trip, go to bed and wake up two hours earlier (or later) than usual, and the change in time zones will not be a big deal.
  • A problem with airplanes is recycled air in the cabin. It increases your chances of catching a cold if one of the passengers is sick or recently ill. High doses of vitamin C can really strengthen your immune system and help you to not get sick.
  • As you know, prolonged stress can lead to illness. Healthy sleep, morning sun baths with proper protection, plenty of time in the open air, the possibility of being distracted from work and electronic devices for a while – these obvious measures will support physical and mental health. Let rest be your main objective and only responsibility throughout the vacation.
  • Finally, stay positive! It is your long-awaited vacation, so enjoy every minute of it – even if it is raining outside. Remember, that rain always ends, and the sun will shine again!

Published: 04/08/2017

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Contact our Travel Advisors:1.877.999.4768