Archive for May, 2017

FDA approves first generic Strattera for the treatment of ADHD

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first generic versions of Strattera (atomoxetine) to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in pediatric and adult patients.
ADHD / ADD News From Medical News Today

Posted by Lustige Bilder - May 31, 2017 at 17:17

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Layover in Luxury: The Best Airports for Layovers and How to Make the Most of Them3 min read

Layover Munich Internation Airport

When most of us fly, we do everything we can to avoid a layover. Spending endless hours in some dreary airport terminal sounds like an absolute nightmare. But in some airports throughout the world, the experience isn’t always so terrible. In fact, some are so swanky that you might find yourself looking for flights with a layover on purpose. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most luxurious airports in the world so you know where to go to make the most of your next layover.

Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)

Rooftop Pool Layover Singapore Changi AirportConsistently at the top of the list of best airports, Changi Airport takes layovers to an entirely different level. With full service spas, a rooftop swimming pool, 24-hour cinemas, cultural activities and even a butterfly garden, Singapore’s major airport is a travel destination in itself. If all they have still isn’t enough to occupy you, the airport offers free tours of the city center for passengers with 6+ hour layovers. Don’t forget to take a picture with the Merlion, Singapore’s national icon, on your excursion.

Incheon International Airport (ICN)

The world’s biggest duty-free shopping spot, this South Korean airport is yet another great destination for layovers. Visitors can pass the time between flights by taking laps around the ice skating rink, seeing a live play or concert, playing a few holes of golf, or exploring the Korean Cultural Museum. And once again, if you’re sick of being stuck within the confines of an airport and want a taste of life in South Korea, you can sign up for ICN’s complimentary city tour and go see Seoul’s most famous sites like Yonggungsa Temple or Myeongdong market.

Zurich Airport (ZRH)

Layover Zurich International AirportSwitzerland’s largest airport, ZHR is an ideal layover location for the adventurous traveler. Stay active
between flights by renting sports equipment like bikes, skates, or Nordic walking poles, or watch takeoffs and landings up close from one of the many observation decks. If you have time to spare, head to the city center just eight miles away and check out the Swiss National Museum or Lake Zurich. If you’re on a time crunch or would rather see the sights from a bird’s-eye view, sign up for the airport’s sightseeing flights instead.

Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)

The Chinese capital’s airport is on this list for a few reasons. Built on an artificial island off the coast of Hong Kong, HKG is home to the country’s largest IMAX Theater, an aviation discovery center, a nine-hole golf course, and a variety of sports simulators. If your layover allows enough time to visit the city, the Airport Express will take you directly there. We suggest then hopping on a bus to Victoria’s Peak, where you can get an Instagram-worthy view of the entire city before catching your next flight.

Munich International Airport (MUC)

In true German fashion, Munich International Airport’s biggest claim to fame is Airbräu Biergarten, their on-site beer garden featuring beer from an in-house brewery (pictured above.) Not a big beer fan? Not to worry. There are plenty of other things to do, including a helicopter ride, mini golf, and even surf lessons. If you’re there around the holidays be sure to check out their annual Christkindl Market. And if you have time to leave the airport, the city center is just 17.7 miles away and filled with plenty to do including the shopping and restaurants at Marienplatz, Munich’s central square.

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Posted by Lustige Bilder - May 30, 2017 at 20:34

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Traveling with Heart Disease: Tips for Staying Healthy2 min read

Traveling with Heart Disease

Traveling is stressful in general, and for those with heart disease it can pose an even bigger challenge. But having heart problems doesn’t necessarily mean you have to miss out on the next family vacation or island getaway. With proper preparation and care, travelers with heart disease can easily enjoy a comfortable and healthy vacation alongside their loved ones. Here are some tips to ensure a heart-healthy trip.

Talk to Your Doctor Before You Go

If you experience any unusual symptoms, have had a recent procedure or hospitalization, or have an irregular heartbeat, be sure to visit your doctor prior to your departure.  He or she will let you know if it is safe to travel and, in some cases, provide you with a copy of a recent EKG test to bring with you.

Prepare Your Medications

Make sure to pack enough medication for the entire trip as well as for a few extra days in case of delays or cancelations. If you are flying, keep your medication in your carry-on bag so that it is easily accessible at all times. Be sure that all medications are properly labeled and that you have access to water (and food if necessary) when it is time to take them.

Plan Ahead

Once you’ve talked to your doctor and prepared your medications, there are a few other key things you can do before departure to eliminate health risks:

  • Pack using suitcases on wheels to avoid heavy lifting.
  • If flying, request an aisle seat so you can get up and move when necessary.
  • If traveling overseas, arrange for a day of rest after arrival.
  • Arrive to the airport, train station, or bus depot early to avoid crowds.
  • Pack plenty of healthy snacks and water (if flying, buy water bottles once you get through security).
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages.

Avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

For people with heart conditions, sitting for extended periods of time can increase the risk of swelling in your legs and blood clots. Flying adds to this risk because of lower oxygen levels on the plane. To avoid DVT:

  • Try to move every 2 hours or so. If driving, stop the car and take a walk. If flying, walk around the cabin. If you cannot get up and walk, move your feet around for several minutes while seated.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and socks.
  • If flying for more than 8 hours, wear compression stockings. 

Take Proper Precautions If You Have a Pacemaker or ICD

If flying with a pacemaker or implanted cardiac defibrillator (ICD), make sure you carry your device ID on you and inform a TSA agent. It is safe to walk through most metal detectors and full body scanners now, but you should not permit a hand-held metal detector to be used near your device. If you are unsure of what is safe in your situation, it may be best to ask a TSA agent for a hand search.

Get Travel Health Insurance

If you follow these tips, you should have a comfortable and problem-free trip. However, in the off chance that medical assistance is needed, it’s important to have a travel health insurance plan that covers hospital or doctor visits, prescription drugs, and medical evaluations.

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Posted by Lustige Bilder - May 19, 2017 at 19:40

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The Airline Laptop Ban: What You Need to Know Right Now2 min read

Laptop Ban on Airline Flights

Air travel to the United States soon could become much more inconvenient if an expected expansion of the ban on laptop computers goes into effect. Officials from the Department of Homeland Security are meeting to discuss banning all laptop computers and larger electronic devices from carry-on baggage for any flight departing from Europe to the United States.

Here’s what you need to know right now about the ban.

Terrorism Created the Need for a Laptop Ban

ISIS, al Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations are growing more sophisticated in the weapons they use. U.S. officials now believe that terrorists have figured out ways to plant explosives in laptop computers and other larger electronic devices that could be carried on to an airplane.

According to the FBI, these terrorist organizations have obtained airport security equipment that allows them to test their concealment methods. The FBI also believes that some of these explosives are able to make their way through commonly used airport security screeners.

Detonating these devices is more difficult to do remotely, so forcing travelers to store laptops and electronic devices in checked luggage instead of carry-on bags may help to reduce risks.

A Laptop Ban is Already in Effect in Some Places

There is already a similar ban in effect in 10 airports across eight countries. The proposed expansion would extend this ban to all of Europe.

Currently, travelers departing from the following airports to the United States must check laptops and electronic devices:

  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates
  • Doha, Qatar
  • Amman, Jordan
  • Cairo, Egypt
  • Casablanca, Morocco
  • Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Kuwait City, Kuwait

The ban is also in effect for travelers flying non-stop to the United States on any of the following airlines: EgyptAir, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines), and Turkish Airlines.

The Expansion of the Ban is Likely

It seems likely that the ban will expand and potentially continue expanding as new threats are uncovered. In a statement given to The Daily Beast, the Department of Homeland Security said:

“No final decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins; however, it is under consideration. DHS continues to evaluate the threat environment and will make changes when necessary to keep air travelers safe.”

Last month, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told a congressional committee that the threat behind the ban is “real and getting realer,” and added, “we may take measures in the not-too-distant future to expand the number of airports.”

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Posted by Lustige Bilder - May 11, 2017 at 21:23

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Healthy Recipe: Peruvian Adobo Pulled Pork with Polenta2 min read

Peruvian Adobo Pulled Pork with Polenta

Peruvian Adobo Pulled Pork with PolentaPeruvian cuisine incorporates a variety of influences from Europe as well as the indigenous Inca population. One of the staples, corn, serves as a hearty gluten free grain accompaniment in this recipe, perfect for soaking up all the delicious cooking liquid from the pork. Polenta has a low glycemic index, and is rich in vitamins A and C. Braising a pork shoulder slowly turns a cheap cut of meat into something worthy of company, and allows all the flavors from the chipotle peppers and adobo sauce to really permeate the meat. Pork provides ample amounts of protein, and also offers iron and potassium, while being leaner than red meat. This dish holds well overnight, so feel free to make it in advance. The pulled pork is also a great freezer meal option.

Serves: 6 with leftovers

Total Time: 4 hours (active time: 30 minutes)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pound boneless pork shoulder or pork butt
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 1- 24 oz. can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ – ½ cup water
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar (optional)
  • Fresh chopped cilantro, to serve

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pork, and season the top side with salt and pepper. Sear for 5-6 minutes until golden brown. Flip to the other side, and season again with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, and ground cumin, and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Deglaze with the apple cider vinegar. Add the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, chopped tomatoes, bay leaves, and water. Stir well to combine. Cover and put in the oven.
  3. Allow to cook for 1 hour, then flip the pork over and stir the liquid. If the liquid seems low (less that ½ way up the pork) add more water or vegetable stock as needed. Cook the pork for another hour, and flip it again. Cook the pork for a final 30 minutes to 1 hour, until its completely falling apart and shreds easily when pressed.
  4. Shred the pork using two forks and mix it into the sauce. Season to taste with a splash of apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper as needed.
  5. To cook the polenta, bring 3 cups of vegetable stock up to a boil in a large pan. Whisk in the polenta, and stir constantly for 5 minutes. It will soak up all the stock. Add the shredded cheddar, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  6. Serve the pulled pork alongside the polenta, garnished with the chopped fresh cilantro. Enjoy!

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Posted by Lustige Bilder - May 10, 2017 at 18:17

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Are You Too Sick to Fly? Knowing When to Reschedule Your Trip3 min read

Are you too sick to fly

The dream vacation you’ve planned for over a year is a few days away and you’ve got the worst flu of your life. Or, maybe you’ve been away from home on a two-week business trip and all you want is your own bed – but you’re finding it nearly impossible to get out of the hotel bed because you’re so sick. It can be tempting to try to show a little grit and get on that flight no matter what, but there are sometimes you just shouldn’t fly. When your health is at risk – or you’re putting the health of your fellow passengers at risk – knowing when to reschedule is important.

When It’s OK to Fly

There are times when you’re not feeling 100 percent but it’s still OK to fly. This includes:

  • Traveler’s diarrhea: The dreaded Montezuma’s Revenge is definitely uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing. However, you won’t be putting your health or the health of your fellow passengers at risk if you fly. This one is your call. If you are having stomach issues, taking an over the counter anti-diarrheal medication can help you make it through the uncomfortable hours in economy class.
  • You have a sinus infection or cold: If you’re feeling sinus pressure and cold symptoms at sea level, expect them to get worse once you’re at altitude in the airplane. However, there are no restrictions on flying with a cold, but you should take some precautions to protect yourself and others. Take a decongestant before flying, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and bring hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to clean your area before leaving.
  • You’re hungover: They say “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” unless of course it’s a hangover. That’s coming home with you if you’ve had too much fun the night before your flight. You can still fly but you’ll likely feel terrible. Do your best to rehydrate your body before the flight and stay hydrated while you’re in the air. If your stomach can handle it, eating can help with the queasy feeling.
  • You’re injured: If you have a broken bone or a sprain, you can still fly. Let the airline know beforehand if you need a wheelchair or other special assistance to help with your mobility in the airport.

When You Should Not Fly

Don’t fly when you’re dealing with any of the following illnesses:

  • You’ve had surgery recently: Doctors recommend waiting 10 to 14 days after surgery before flying. These guidelines are especially important to follow if you’ve had abdominal, chest, head or throat surgery, since pressure changes during flight can cause complications. Abdominal surgery also puts you at greater risk for clotting, which can be made worse by flying.
  • You have a high fever: A fever below 100 degrees Fahrenheit is fine, but anything higher should keep you grounded, according to the Centers for Disease Control. If your fever is accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, you should cancel your trip.
  • You have the flu: Remarkably, many people fly with the flu. If you do this, you’re putting your fellow passengers at risk since a cough or sneeze can spread the flu virus as far as six feet away. If you have obvious symptoms of the flu, don’t be surprised if the gate agent denies boarding.

As a general rule of thumb, let your body and common sense be your guide about when you’re too sick to fly. If you have travel health insurance, you’ll be able to reschedule your trip and find the medical treatment you need if you’re stuck somewhere away from home.

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Posted by Lustige Bilder - May 9, 2017 at 15:20

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Traveling with Fibromyalgia: 5 Tips to Make Your Trip Successful3 min read

Traveling with fibromyalgia

Traveling when you’re perfectly healthy can be hard on your body. When you have chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia, it can be grueling. You’ll have to deal with lots of walking through the airport, cramped seating, time changes and irregular schedules, food you’re not familiar with, and a bed that’s not your own. If you’re not careful, any one of these challenges could trigger a fibromyalgia (FM) flare-up that could ruin your trip.

However, with a little planning and help from your travel companions, you can have a successful trip. These tips will help you anticipate some of the potential triggers you’ll encounter during your trip, and how to avoid them or deal with them while you’re traveling.

Changes in the Weather and Temperature

Many people with FM are extremely sensitive to temperatures and changes in the weather. While it’s not always possible to avoid the conditions when you’re traveling – especially if it involves another climate or time zone – you can prepare. And remember that airports can be cold since they crank the air conditioning – I myself spent an uncomfortable 2-hour layover shivering in SFO.

Tip: Like the Boy Scouts – always come prepared. Have a light jacket available at all times in the bag you’ll be carrying with you, so you can pull it out as soon as you need it. Layers are your friend.

Stress

Stress is one of the biggest FM triggers and there’s no shortage of it when you travel. Delayed flights, missing baggage, sick kids – they can all get your heart rate going. Again, these may be unavoidable but remember, as Jack Sparrow said in Pirates of the Caribbean – “The problem is not the problem. The problem is our attitude about the problem.”

Tip: Let some things go when you’re traveling. If you miss a flight, there will always be another one. Remember your deep breathing exercises and forewarn your travel companions that you may need to take some time for yourself to practice them.

Lack of Sleep

You won’t have access to your regular bed and you may have a time change to deal with as well. These factors, combined with the general hustle and bustle of traveling, can lead to missed sleep – a big no-no if you have FM. Know going into the trip that you’re going to have to make sleep a priority.

Tip: Many FM sufferers find it beneficial to bring a thin roll of foam on a trip to smooth out the lumps and bumps of a strange bed. You may also need to schedule a few naps and regular bedtimes, even if it means missing an excursion with your travel companions or some late-night fun. Avoiding an FM flare-up is worth it.

Breaks in Your Treatment Plan

Anything that breaks your normal treatment plan can put you at risk for an FM flare-up. This includes changes to your routine, which the tips above will help you to avoid. But it also includes missing doses of your prescribed medications and other therapeutic approaches you use on a regular basis.

Tip: Make sure you stock up on the medications you’ll need before leaving for your trip, and search online for pharmacies at your destination in case you need them. You can also ask your doctor for recommendations for service providers – such as therapeutic massage therapists and acupuncturists – who can help alleviate symptoms and keep your fibromyalgia management on track.

Image courtesy of The New York Times.

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Posted by Lustige Bilder - May 8, 2017 at 20:17

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Traveling with Fibromyalgia: 5 Tips to Make Your Trip Successful3 min read

Fibromyalgia yoga

Traveling when you’re perfectly healthy can be hard on your body. When you have chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia, it can be grueling. You’ll have to deal with lots of walking through the airport, cramped seating, time changes and irregular schedules, food you’re not familiar with, and a bed that’s not your own. If you’re not careful, any one of these challenges could trigger a fibromyalgia (FM) flare-up that could ruin your trip.

However, with a little planning and help from your travel companions, you can have a successful trip. These tips will help you anticipate some of the potential triggers you’ll encounter during your trip, and how to avoid them or deal with them while you’re traveling.

Changes in the Weather and Temperature

Many people with FM are extremely sensitive to temperatures and changes in the weather. While it’s not always possible to avoid the conditions when you’re traveling – especially if it involves another climate or time zone – you can prepare. And remember that airports can be cold since they crank the air conditioning – I myself spent an uncomfortable 2-hour layover shivering in SFO.

Tip: Like the Boy Scouts – always come prepared. Have a light jacket available at all times in the bag you’ll be carrying with you, so you can pull it out as soon as you need it. Layers are your friend.

Stress

Stress is one of the biggest FM triggers and there’s no shortage of it when you travel. Delayed flights, missing baggage, sick kids – they can all get your heart rate going. Again, these may be unavoidable but remember, as Jack Sparrow said in Pirates of the Caribbean – “The problem is not the problem. The problem is our attitude about the problem.”

Tip: Let some things go when you’re traveling. If you miss a flight, there will always be another one. Remember your deep breathing exercises and forewarn your travel companions that you may need to take some time for yourself to practice them.

Lack of Sleep

You won’t have access to your regular bed and you may have a time change to deal with as well. These factors, combined with the general hustle and bustle of traveling, can lead to missed sleep – a big no-no if you have FM. Know going into the trip that you’re going to have to make sleep a priority.

Tip: Many FM sufferers find it beneficial to bring a thin roll of foam on a trip to smooth out the lumps and bumps of a strange bed. You may also need to schedule a few naps and regular bedtimes, even if it means missing an excursion with your travel companions or some late-night fun. Avoiding an FM flare-up is worth it.

Breaks in Your Treatment Plan

Anything that breaks your normal treatment plan can put you at risk for an FM flare-up. This includes changes to your routine, which the tips above will help you to avoid. But it also includes missing doses of your prescribed medications and other therapeutic approaches you use on a regular basis.

Tip: Make sure you stock up on the medications you’ll need before leaving for your trip, and search online for pharmacies at your destination in case you need them. You can also ask your doctor for recommendations for service providers – such as therapeutic massage therapists and acupuncturists – who can help alleviate symptoms and keep your fibromyalgia management on track.

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Posted by Lustige Bilder - May 5, 2017 at 16:20

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Healthy Recipe: Norwegian Orzo Salad with Shrimp & Spring Vegetables2 min read

Norwegian Salad

TNorwegian Saladhis fresh and springy salad celebrates the brightest Nordic flavors, with fresh dill and lemon taking center stage. Known for its seafood, Norwegian cuisine often features freshly caught shrimp in the spring and summer months. If you’re lucky enough to be there, look for the smaller cold water prawns, sometimes cooked right in boiling sea water for a salty kick. You can also substitute crawfish for a delicious twist. Orzo provides the perfect foundation for lightly roasted spring vegetables and shrimp, but feel free to swap in quinoa, faro, or another grain here.

Serves: 6

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 small box orzo pasta (about 1 ½ cups uncooked)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, tough root ends trimmed
  • 2 zucchini, ends trimmed, and cut into small bite size pieces
  • 1 pound peeled & deveined raw shrimp, tails removed
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • Lemon juice and zest, to taste
  • Fresh dill, chopped, to taste
  • Feta cheese, crumbled, to taste (optional- feel free to swap in any semi-firm sheep’s milk cheese)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss together the zucchini, asparagus, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast until just tender, about 8 minutes.
  2. On another baking sheet, toss the shrimp with a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast until firm and pink, about 10 minutes.
  3. Cook the orzo per package instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Add the frozen peas to the orzo while it’s still warm. The residual heat will cook them perfectly.
  5. Slice the asparagus on an angle into 3-4 pieces. Add them to the orzo, along with the zucchini and shrimp. Drizzle over about ¼ cup olive oil, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Add the juice and zest of at least 2 lemons, more to taste. Add a handful of chopped dill, and feta cheese to taste. Toss everything well to combine, and add more olive oil, lemon juice, salt or pepper as needed.
  6. The salad will taste delicious right away, but the flavors improve over a few hours. Serve cold or at room temperature.

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Posted by Lustige Bilder - May 3, 2017 at 18:39

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The Road Less Traveled: Healthy Vacations Off the Beaten Path11 min read

Mopeds in Bermuda

I had that creepy feeling you get when you know you’re being watched. I scanned the water around me to find three big barracudas floating about 10 yards away, just checking out what I was doing in their neck of the woods. The fisherman’s reassurance that they weren’t aggressive did little to make me feel a whole lot better, but I kept swimming nonetheless.

I bumped into those barracudas just a few short swimming strokes from our little VRBO cottage in
Swimming with barracudaBermuda. The beaches nearby were pristine and empty – possibly because of the giant fish with razor-sharp teeth in the water. When a local fisherman saw me swimming for a little exercise after the plane ride, he flagged me down to give me some advice: “Don’t wear your wedding ring or goggles because the barracudas may mistake them for small fish glinting in the sunlight – and take a chomp out of you. Other than that, you’ll be fine.”

Going off the beaten path on vacation is like that. You’ll have some of the most memorable experiences of your life – both good and sometimes bad. But mostly good. Life outside the resort is a little more real and a lot more exciting. You’ll get to mix with the locals and experience your destination in a more authentic and organic way. Whether you stay at a friend’s house, book a place from VRBO or Airbnb, or seek out a boutique hotel with a unique flare, you won’t be disappointed. All it takes is a slightly different mindset – you have to be OK with not having room service on tap and a chambermaid to clean up your mess.

The following travelers took the plunge and explored their chosen destinations in a different way. Go with them now as they discover the old Mexico of Tulum, traverse the backwoods of The Appalachian Trail, run from strange goats in the Japanese Alps, and eat one of the best home-cooked meals of their lives in a tiny town in Italy. Oh, and of course, more about those barracuda in Bermuda, too.

These stories may just give you the push to take your own trip down the road less traveled.

Local Life, Pristine Beaches, and Lots of Bat Guano in Tulum, Mexico

Tulum is cheap, beautiful, and chock-full of things to explore – from Mayan ruins to freshwater cenotes.

King Lee and his family recently visited as part of an extended trip to Mexico that also included a stay in Playa del Carmen. “It was something we planned to do together as a family, which included me, my wife, and three adult children,” says Lee. “Tulum was a perfect fit for all of us, and definitely different from what we found in other parts of Mexico.”

On the beach in TulumTulum is about an hour south of Playa del Carmen and an hour and 45 minutes south of Cancun. Most visitors fly into Cancun and drive to Tulum. Although those towns are relatively close together, they’re worlds apart in terms of the experience you’ll have. Playa del Carmen and Cancun are built for tourists, and for parting tourists from their money. Some of the vendors you’ll encounter are aggressive in the way they approach sales – which is vastly different to Tulum’s laid back approach where only a few souvenir shops dot the otherwise “authentic” Mexican town.

“Tulum is a real Mexican town,” says Lee. “We rented a house through Airbnb that was right across the street from a local family’s home. You really mix with the local people when you visit Tulum.”

Compared to the almost “Disney-like” atmosphere of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Lee found the pace and atmosphere of Tulum to be more his speed. “It was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had,” he says.

That doesn’t mean that Tulum doesn’t have its challenges. Many of the locals live in houses that would be considered poor by Western standards. The homes are largely made of found-wood without any insulation or sheetrock, so you’ll see families having dinner and watching TV through the cracks in their walls. This authenticity could be off-putting for travelers who are used to resort life.

If living in a home you find on a site like Airbnb is not your speed, Lee says there are tons of options for staying in Tulum’s boutique hotels on some of the best beaches in the world. And even if you’re not staying in one of those hotels, access to their beaches is a very affordable U.S. $ 5 per day. In fact, everything in Tulum is relatively inexpensive.

“You can have a beer on the beach for about 20 pesos, which is about $ 1,” said Lee. “And we had some fantastic meals at the restaurants downtown for very reasonable prices.”

One tip Lee offers is to pay for things in pesos rather than dollars. While both are accepted, you’ll usually be levied a surcharge for using U.S. currency, which negates some of the advantage you would have experienced with the favorable exchange rate.

One of the more memorable experiences Lee had in Tulum was exploring some of the hundreds of cenotes in the area. Cenotes are sinkholes that form in limestone rocks and then fill with water. Along with a guide, Lee and his family snorkeled through a large cenote – largely in the dark using a flashlight. Mayan Ruins in Tulum
Swimming through one cave put them face-to-face with hundreds of bats hanging on the cave roof.

“It was amazing and a little scary to see all those bats,” says Lee.

And those bats created a less-than-appetizing hazard.

“We had to be careful not to drink the water below [the bats] because of all the guano.”

Tulum is also known for its Mayan ruins, which are a short drive outside of town. You can explore these ancient structures and even climb to the top of a few.

Lee says that Tulum was the best of both worlds: “Authentic Mexico with the luxury and convenience of the resorts without all the tourist traps.”

Mopeds and Seaside Grilling in Bermuda

Bermuda may seem like an unlikely addition to an article about vacations “off the beaten path” since it’s teeming with resorts and cruise ships. But any location can offer a unique experience if you know where to look.

My wife Melissa and I rented a small cottage on a large estate on the east side of the island. Yes, there were barracuda in the water – but they were a small price to pay for a relaxed, customized vacation in paradise.

The mopeds were one of our favorite parts of the trip.  It gave us the freedom to get around the relatively small island and it feels like you’re one with the surroundings – unlike traveling in a car or bus.

Mopeds are one of the best ways to travel in Bermuda if you have a little bit of skill and balance. Once you get over the initial jitters of zipping down a road on a fast bike, moped travel becomes a simultaneously exciting and no-big-deal way to get around. If you don’t live in Bermuda, you’re not allowed to drive a car on the island. This means you’ll be scooting around on a moped or taking a taxi or bus.

Staying in the cottage instead of a resort completely changed the pace of our vacation. And it was healthier, too, since we had a chance to barbeque our meals on the beach instead of eating out at a restaurant every night.

When you’re ready to join the tourists and have had enough of the beaches (if that’s possible), two places you shouldn’t miss are the historic Royal Navy Dockyard and the Crystal Caves. The Royal Navy Dockyard – just called “the dockyard” by the locals – has a variety of attractions. You’ll find shopping and restaurants, glassblowing and art galleries, jet ski tours, parasailing, and a movie theater. Plus, it’s steeped in history, since it used to be Britain’s naval base after the Revolutionary War.Bermuda Dockyard

This year, the dockyard will be the headquarters for America’s Cup, the iconic sailboat race series. So if you’re in Bermuda during late May and early June, be sure to check it out.

The other can’t-miss attraction is the Crystal Caves. The caves were really fascinating. You never imagine that something so deep, dark, and spooky will be mere steps away from the bright sunshine on the beach. The caves are filled with pools of blue water bordered by stalactites and stalagmites. They’re a cool change of pace – both literally and figuratively – from the fun on the beach.

Slow Living and Home-Cooked Meals on the Italian Coast

After an action-packed few days in Rome doing all the standard touristy things, Lauren McKissic and her husband were ready for something a little different. And they certainly got their wish when they visited their Aunt Birgid in the small town of Notaresco on the Italian east coast. It was a welcomed departure from hotel life in Rome.

“We took a bus to this tiny town on the coast,” says McKissic. “Not only was the view from our room just breathtaking, but it was so interesting to see the country from the eyes of the Italians. I watched Aunt Birgid cook and we ate dinner with her entire family.”

Notaresco ItalyThat meal was an Abruzzian classic known as arrosticini, skewered lamb meat served with bread soaked in olive oil. It was prepared with homemade red sauce from tomatoes Aunt Birgid grew in her backyard – the same tomatoes that played a starring role in most of the meals they had that week

The following night, she took the visitors to her favorite restaurant, which McKissic says is still one of the most memorable meals she’s ever had. “There’s no way I would have had any of those experiences had I stayed on a typical resort.”

The only downsides McKissic sees are common to every bed-and-breakfast type of vacation. You have to be OK with sharing a bathroom and spending time with the owner. In Notaresco in particular, there was little nightlife and the town was quiet and sleepy, which was exactly what the couple was looking for at that point in their trip.

Hiking Hut-to-Hut on the Appalachian Trail

Dirk Pluschke and his friend did a four-day hike on the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire. They chose the New Hampshire portion of the trail because it was the perfect mix of what they were looking for. The trail was strenuous in some spots, easy in others. They could also hike from one hut to the next within a day, spend the night, and then continue on to the next hut the following day. Along the Appalachian Trail, this is really only possible in New Hampshire. In other states, you’ll need to find different accommodations – like a motel – or bring your own tent.

“The huts were simple but really nice,” says Pluschke. “The ones on the mountain only have cold water, and during the peak season blankets and pillows are also provided.”

Pluschke says he didn’t over-plan the trip since it was just a few days; however, a through-hike on the Appalachian Trail obviously takes a lot more planning. Hiking gear is required, as are good hiking boots (not sneakers) and a base level of fitness.

“We did quite a few miles, between 10 and 20 each day… with elevation,” says Pluschke. “I remember we arrived at Galehead after dark and were completely beat. While it was the hardest part, it was the most rewarding and created such a memory.”

Be forewarned that on the Appalachian Trail, cell phones don’t really work consistently. Pluschke really liked this remoteness since he says it was amazing to spend time in nature without distraction with one of his best friends.

“You really get your mind free,” he says. “The nature there is impressive, I remember a mountain lake we swam in, it was just awesome. We also did some kayaking as we came back from the hike.”

Mountain Goats and a Guy Named Lucky Pete in the Japanese Alps

Kaitlin Loyal and her husband spent a few weeks in the spring of 2016 exploring Hakuba, a village in the Japanese Alps just outside the city of Nagano. Nagano was the site of the 1998 Winter Olympics and the area is well-known for its ski resorts. However, when the snow melts and spring blooms, it becomes a hiker’s paradise free from throngs of tourists.

We stayed in a place called Le Neige Honkan Hotel in Hakuba,” says Loyal. “It was really interesting, like something straight out of a Wes Anderson movie.”

Le Neige is an Edwardian building with stained glass windows and manicured gardens, not exactly something you would expect to find in the heart of the Japanese Alps. It was Loyal’s home base for the three or four days she spent hiking around the area.

One of the goals was to hike to Happo Pond, where the majestic Hakuba peaks of Yaridake, Shakushidake, and Shiroumadake reflect in the crystal clear pond waters. While the hike itself is not overly strenuous, the time of year and time of day you go make a difference.

“We started off a little too late in the day to make it there,” says Loyal. “We saw some crazy mountain goats on the path and the sun started to set, so we turned back.”

The next day, they met an Australian man named Lucky Pete who runs a nearby bar called – you guessed it – Lucky Pete’s. He told Loyal that it was a good thing they turned back when they did, since although it was spring there was still snow on the ground that made the trail to the pond impassable.

If you visit Hakuba, be sure to visit Hosono Suwa Jinja, a historic Shinto shrine in a forest grove near the Happo-one gondola station. The shrine is home to a 1,000-year-old tree over 120 feet high and 30 feet in diameter – it was just a sapling when the shrine was created.

Try a Hybrid Road Less Traveled to Get Started

If any of these trips piqued your interest, you can try one of your own. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to abandon everything you’re comfortable with on your next vacation. Make it a hybrid – chose a destination you like that you know is well-developed for tourists, but stay in a small hotel or house instead. Or, spend part of your vacation in a small town and the rest in a major city. It may just give you a once-in-a-lifetime vacation experience that you never expected.

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Healthy Travel Blog

Posted by Lustige Bilder - May 2, 2017 at 16:42

Categories: Travel   Tags: , , , , , , ,