Healthy Travel Tips from an Experienced Traveler

Hi, Beautifully Nutty readers!  This is Dana, some of you might know me as Melanie’s husband.  I’m the owner of Travel Made Real, a full-service travel agency.  My job is to make sure your family vacation, honeymoon, weekend getaway, special trip, or business trip is one of the most memorable and stress-free experiences.  There are times that I take care of all my clients’ travel plans and there are occasions where I share my expertise to make each moment of your trip as great as it can be.  Having grown up with both parents working for the airlines as well as traveling extensively for work and pleasure myself, I have the experience to share tips and advice to make these memories the best you’ve ever had.  I am so happy and excited to have the opportunity to share some of my knowledge about traveling healthy with you!

dana

Traveling healthy can be challenging and it takes a little additional planning and self motivation sometimes. Trust me, I have arrived at my hotel after driving. flying, or sightseeing for the day and the only thing I want to do is lay on the bed and take a nap, but I know this isn’t the best idea all the time.  This is when the extra work and planning comes in.

The planning starts as I get close to my departure, about 12 hours prior to be precise.  This is when I complete my final packing before I leave.  I like to give myself the extra time to run one last load of laundry or be able to go to the local store to grab one last must-have item.  Allowing this extra time before departure lowers my stress level as I know I am prepared.

Some of the items that always make my trips are tennis shoes, workout clothes, toiletry bag (with my liquids in the proper size plastic bag), refillable water bottle, electronics chargers, and a snack in case of a delay or unexpected hunger.

suitcase

Once I arrive at my destination, I like to get a feel for the area by asking the hotel clerk where there are safe walking/running trails and if there are any areas to avoid.  You would be surprised how many times a safe hotel is located just blocks from areas of town that are not so safe!  Setting aside time to exercise is important, but sticking to that plan is more important.  Take your whole day into account when setting this time.  Some questions to ask yourself are: will I be walking around the city all day sightseeing? what is realistic? what time of day will be best?  Once you have your exercise scheduled, follow through!

Along with exercise, refueling your body correctly is so important to traveling and feeling healthy.  This probably takes the most planning out of anything!  The front desk staff at your hotel can be the best resource, along with many mobile apps, to find healthy, local places to refuel.  Remember, you are paying hard earned money for this food, so be sure to get what you want!  It is okay to have a meal prepared the way you want to have it.  One of the most consistent substitutes I make are vegetables instead of fries or chips.  The next simple thing I am sure to do is eat the vegetables and other greens on my plate first, before attacking my burger, chicken, seafood, sandwich or steak.

tacos chicken salad surf turf veggies fish veggies

Snacks will never be absent from my bag when I travel.  The most common snacks I pack are apples, bananas, various nuts, Melanie’s energy bites, and dried fruit.  These all travel well and give a quick, sustainable boost of energy when I am not able to eat a complete meal (which happens more than I’d like to admit!).

healthy snacks

Being able to see the world is a great experience!  Planning for your trip, whether for business or pleasure, can be a lot of work but it will no doubt pay off.  I hope you can use some of these tips to make your next trip a healthy, fun, and memorable experience.  If you are struggling to find the time or would like some professional help and advice with all the details for your next trip, I would love the opportunity to help you with them!  My goal is to help make your travel as stress-free, healthy and memorable as possible.

Safe and healthy travel!

 

Dana
Travel Made Real
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Our Villa in Turks and Caicos and My First Video

Well after a full day of being home from vacation, I am feeling pretty settled. All of the laundry is done, clothes are all put away, the fridge is restocked, and the house is semi-organized. It feels good.

For some reason my appetite was totally off yesterday (Dana said the same thing too, actually). We didn’t have any groceries in the house when I woke up, so for breakfast I just scooped myself a big ol’ healthy scoop of peanut butter. It was more than what I wanted which was nothing, but I had an appointment to go to and errands to run, so I needed fuel.

When lunch time rolled around, I still wasn’t hungry, but munched on some carrots while I whipped up a huge smoothie. In the blender I threw strawberries, blueberries, bananas, kale, kefir, aloe vera juice , and a touch of water to help it all whirl.

smoothie

It was tasty and very filling, but I wasn’t in it like I usually am. I just ate it t nourish myself.

What I was craving was some comfy veggie soup, so I dug through the freezer and found my last bag of garden tomatoes and my last bag of bone broth and got to work.

garden tomatoes

In a large soup pot I sautéed onions, celery, carrots, and garlic in some coconut oil. Then I added savory spices, dried parsley, a bay leaf, salt, and pepper, followed by the thawed tomatoes and bone broth. Last I added in a bunch of chopped rutabaga (what I feel is the forgotten vegetable). I covered the pot and let it simmer for a good hour. At the end of the cooking time, I added in frozen peas and frozen green beans.

This soup was very similar to this veggie soup recipe I made a short while back.

It turned out fantastic! I had a bowl for dinner while watching the THREE hour finale of the Bachelor. Lucky for me living in central time, it was on from 7-10 pm so I didn’t have to stay up as late as you eastern timers. I was very shocked at his decision and admit I got pretty choked up over both the break-up and the proposal. They seem very happy together. Let’s just hope they stay together!

veggie soup

Moose was super pumped that mom and dad were home from Turks. He spent most of the day catching up on sleep and totally veggin’ out.

moose

When I see him after being away for some time, I am always blown away at just how big he is!

That was my little spurt of normal life; now back to recapping the Turks and Caicos vacation…today I want to show you where we stayed!

Our Villa in the Turks and Caicos

Upon arrival to the airport in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, we had to take a taxi to catch a ferry to get to North Caicos where our villa was. Unfortunately we missed the ferry by 10 minute and the next one wasn’t leaving for another two hours. So, we changed into our swimsuits and shorts and hung out at the pier while we waited.

I was so antsy and anxious to see our place and just relax, so inevitably the waiting time went by real slllooooowwww. But, alas the ferry arrived and we were transported to our island!

ferry tic

 

Upon arrival, we were greeted by another taxi driver, Mac, who brought us to our resort.

The resort we stayed at was JODO resort at Sandy Point on North Caicos, and I have nothing but incredible things to say about this place.

We were greeted by Mark, who manages the resort. He walked us through the villa and gave us some info, suggestions for things to do, and answered some of our questions. We were also greeted with a bottle of wine and a CD full of island music to get us feeling the island life.

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We unpacked, showered, and hit the hay early. We woke up nice and early the next day and were showered with sunshine! And so began our vacation!

The JODO resort has two homes; one is the main house and one is a guest house. We stayed in the guest house which was more than enough space for the two of us.

The front porch:

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The living room:

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I loved all of the vaulted ceilings.

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One of the bedrooms…(this bedroom had AC which was super nice for sleeping)

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Washer and dryer in the bathroom…

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The kitchen…which was fully stocked with everything you could ever need. We were so happy we were able to do all of our cooking (except a couple of meals) while we stayed there.

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The front entry way and steps that lead up to the second bedroom…

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The second bedroom which overlooks the ocean and opens up to a walk-out balcony…

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Here is the main villa…They are still in the process of finishing it up but it will soon be available to rent. This would be an awesome place to bring a bunch of friends.

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We sat in the front of the main house most evenings and watched many beautiful sunsets!

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They provided plenty of toys…stand up paddle boards (photos to come soon), kayaks, snorkel gear, water floaties, beach chairs, boogie board, an electric car, etc etc etc! Everything was so well thought out.

sup and kayak

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We pretty much had the entire beach to ourselves which is something I have never experienced. I felt like we were VIP!

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The people of JODO were so accommodating and we felt so at home in our gorgeous villa. Everyone on the island was super friendly and welcoming. Our villa and the people over-exceeded my expectations. It was hard to say good-bye.

This is a very new place; we were only the third group to stay in the guest house. The main house should be open in a year or so. I really want to spread the word on this place because it is seriously so wonderful. They thought of everything!

We put together a little video of the villa to give you a better look. This is my very first video so please be kind! Enjoy!

Food and Drink in Turks and Caicos

I’m back! It feels SO good to be home after quite the incredible vacation to Turks and Caicos followed by a weekend in Colorado.

I don’t even know where to begin in recapping, but I have to start somewhere so I how about I tackle the food part?!

As I mentioned, while we were in Turks and Caicos we stayed in a villa complete with a full kitchen (serious reviews to come on this villa because it was extraordinary). We did all of our own cooking at our place and went out to eat only a few times.

I loved having our own kitchen and have decided that I prefer it over staying in an all-inclusive resort. Reasons: 1. We can eat whenever we want 2. It helps my digestive system to stay somewhat on track while away from home  3. I know exactly what’s going into my food and 4. I don’t have as many temptations (i.e.: millions of desserts).

We used my meal planning chart as a guide to help with packing food for the trip as well as meal ideas while we were away, and did a pretty good job of sticking to it.

Here come the food photos!

turks and caicos breakfast

We did our produce shopping at a little market near by. There were only a few small markets on our island but we were able to find everything on our list!

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Chicken caesar salad…

chicken caesar turks and caicos

Veggie and turkey bacon omelets…

eggs turks and caicos

Lentil taco salad…

lentil taco salad turks and caicos

My comfy tummy breakfast…

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Homemade piña coladas with pineapple juice, coconut milk, and local rum…

pina colada turks and caicos

Freshly caught red snapper which Dana fileted for us…

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Grilled romaine with olive oil and grilled red snapper…

red snapper turks and caicos

One of our lunch’s out was at a beach called Mudjin. There was a very small menu (and nothing healthy to choose from) so we went with conch fritters and french fries…

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Romaine salad with carrots, quinoa, olive oil, salt and pepper…

salad turks and caicos

I’m thinking a full-on review is in order for one of the restaurants we went to called The Silver Palms. So, more on the restaurant later. The food was outstanding!

Dana and I split the conch stew….

conch stew turks and caicos

And the lobster tail…

lobster turks and caicos

Both of our dishes were so fresh, simple, and absolutely delectable.

I can’t forget to mention the homemade double chocolate cake with cream cheese chocolate frosting and homemade coconut ice cream on the side….

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My mouth watered just looking at that photo again!

We bought plantains which we drizzled with rum and olive oil and placed on the grill…

plantains turks and caicos

They were SO good!

On our last day we had to be out of our place by 10:00 am or so, and caught a ferry over to the main island Providenciales where the airport was, so we stopped at a beach restaurant for lunch. I ordered the Chicken Caesar Salad (I really didn’t get too creative there did I?) and Dana got the fish tacos.

chicken caesar salad turks and caicos

There you have it! Our vacation food in a nutshell. My belly did a pretty good job holding up to the food while we were away, however I am VERY happy to be home where I can really eat completely normal again.

I have so much more to catch you up on but this will have to do for now! I have mungo loads of laundry and unpacking to do.

I can’t wait to tell you more about our trip!

Hope your week is off to a great start! I missed you all!

 

From Turks and Caicos to Colorado

Greetings from Colorado! We are on the second part of our vacation; celebrating a family birthday out in Boulder. We have plans to go snow-shoeing or cross-county skiing today! A little bit of a change from our tropical Turks and Caicos getaway, but so fun!

I’m going to hold off on the recap post from Turks for now because I am typing on the iPad which takes me five years…BUT I just wanted to say hi and give you a couple of teaser photos until I’m able to a share more.

So here you go!

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I look forward to catching up more later! I hope everyone has been well! I’m off to explore beautiful Colorado!

Xoxo,

Melanie

What to Pack for a Caribbean Vacation

The moment has arrived…we are on our way to Turks and Caicos! I plan on taking a break from the computer this week but I still have a few posts that will be coming your way! So while I’m away, everyone behave. 🙂

As much as I love traveling, I always have the hardest time packing. I don’t want to over pack but I don’t want to under pack. The whole process turns into a bit of a fiasco and I wind up packing things I don’t need. You know what they say though, practice makes perfect. I guess we’ll just have to keep traveling in order for me to figure it out! 😉

Once again I did my best and packed what I thought was “necessary”, and I’ll find out very soon if I did a good job.

Lucky for us, the weather in Turks is 80’s during the day and mid to high 60’s in the evening, so we don’t have to pack warm clothes by any means. This means I can pack more light clothes! Kidding, I truly did try to be realistic packer.

Here is a list of items I put together that one should remember to pack when traveling to the Caribbean or any other tropical destination…

What to Pack for a Caribbean Vacation

1. Apparel

  • Swimsuits
  • Swimsuit cover-ups
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Workout type clothes
  • A few “nicer” outfits in case you go out to eat
  • One long-sleeve cardigan or shirt
  • Flip flops
  • Tennis shoes

clothes turks and caicos

2. Sun protection and LOTS of it

  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm with sunblock
  • Sunglasses
  • Hats

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3. Hygiene items

  • Safety kit (Neosporin, alcohol wipes, ibuprofen, tweezer, etc.)
  • Body wash
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Razors
  • Face wash
  • Body lotion
  • Bug spray (the bugs really like me unfortunately—I learned this from our trip to the Dominican)
  • Hairspray if needed
  • Hair dryer

3. Games and Entertainment

  • Card games
  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Snorkel gear
  • Hand paddle ball
  • Nerf footballs
  • Music

books turks and caicos

snorkel turks and caicos

flippers turks and caicos

4. Miscellaneous

  • Camera
  • Camera charger
  • Underwater camera
  • Tri-pod or camera gorilla
  • Backpack for day trips
  • Garbage bags to keep inside of backpack dry on day trips that involve water
  • Beach bag
  • Zip-loc bags to bring snacks on day trips
  • Water bottles
  • Amenity kit for airplane–eye mask, toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, lotion, antibacterial, ear plugs
  • Beach towels if not provided

bags turks and caicos underwater camera turks and caicos

I hope this helps at least one person out there who’s frantically trying to pack for a Caribbean getaway!

This is definitely just what I needed to do to make sure I had everything packed that I would need for this trip. We also packed food, and a lot of it. Watch for that post coming your way soon!

Check in with you later!