Travel Tips

Finding the Perfect Retreat

In this post our guest writer, Jesse Clark, provides ideas for a relaxing retreat-type of vacation. Her bio information is below. 

Holidays and year-end work and school projects can be overwhelming, so much so that if you can squeeze in a quick self-care retreat at the beginning of a new year, it can work wonders on your mental and emotional health. When you’re scouting out locations, consider places where you might ultimately like to buy a vacation home and “test drive” the city or state on your quest for relaxation. Today, The Independent Tourist offers some tips and resources to help you on your way.

Southern Arizona

There’s a real sense of calm in the desert, and visiting in January, February, or March offers beautifully temperate daytime temps in the mid-50s and 60s. It’s also “spring” in the desert, which makes for beautiful hikes at Camelback, Santan, or Four Peaks. While you can certainly commune with nature, if you’d like a more traditional wellness retreat, consider any one of the city’s 5-star hotels with award-winning spas, or a hidden gem like CIVANA in the aptly-named Carefree, AZ. Wellness packages include a variety of options, including healthy vegan meals, yoga and meditation, spiritual wellness consultations, and traditional spa treatments and amenities.

Southern California

If you’re in the mood for a wellness beach trip, San Diego is home to pristine beaches, seaside dining, and historic landmarks. It’s also home to a 600-acre Japanese-style mountain retreat, the Golden Door. A true zen experience includes an array of class offerings, hiking trails and labyrinths, traditional spa treatments and offerings, and one-on-one coaching from renowned clinicians and personal wellness experts. While you’re in SoCal, consider a visit to Malibu’s famed Ranch, an exclusive, immersive experience that includes specialized eating and fitness regimens, and personalized experiences.

A trip to California doesn’t have to be exclusively for gardens and spas. If you’re in Los Angeles, you can catch a Dodgers game in the afternoon or evening. Simply choose your price point and select from your choice of great seats at great prices.

Southern Colorado

If you prefer the smell of pines and mountain air, the Crestone Mountain Zen Center in San Luis Valley, Colorado may be the right fit for your rejuvenation needs. This real-life Zen Buddhist monastery offers truly personalized plans intended to be wholly transformative. If you’d rather explore the solitude of nature treks, consider hiking through the Great Sand Dunes National Park, or explore Mesa Verde National Park. While Colorado weather can vary during the winter months, it also offers opportunities for invigorating snow sports like skiing and snowboarding.

International Destinations

If you really want an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and rest and recharge, Destination Deluxe recommends you consider an international trek. Explore the Bodhi Tree House in Costa Rica and find yourself at one with the jungle, or explore the mountains of Positano at Italy’s Dolce Vitality.  If you need a true detox, SHA Wellness Clinic in Alicante, Spain takes a holistic approach that includes stress and anxiety relief and unconventional therapies that are sure to please.

Taking a Permanent Vacation

You may very well fall in love with your wellness destination city and decide you’d like to take return trips on a regular basis. Buying a vacation property typically requires a 20% down payment, which can be steep for many homeowners. A home equity loan or second mortgage may be an option for making your vacay dreams become a reality. According to Bankrate, a mortgage lender can help you crunch your numbers, and a qualified real estate agent in your destination city of choice can help you find the perfect long-term retreat. You should also look into forming your own LLC if you’d like to get into the vacation rental business!

We all need an opportunity to rest, relax, and recharge, and having a vacation home in a beautiful city can be just what you need. You can likely rent out your property when it’s not in use, and be better suited to managing the stress of everyday life when you know you have a special escape that’s all your own.

Jesse Clark is a traveler, so she’s no stranger to experiencing wanderlust and that strong desire to travel. She’s already had enough experiences to last a lifetime, but she’s not stopping anytime soon. Find out more and contact her through soulful-travel.com. 

Featured image credit: Pixabay

3 Ways to Optimize Your Self-Care Vacation

In this post our guest writer, Jesse Clark, provides some excellent tips on taking a vacation that takes care of you. Her bio information is below. 

Feeling stressed or overwhelmed by your everyday life? If so, then taking a self-care vacation may be your ticket to feeling calmer and more at ease. Planning a mental health-boosting escape is actually easier than you think — you just need the right tips and tricks to get you in the right headspace to relax and unwind. If you’re looking for more ideas to help you plan your self-care escape, then you need to read through these tips from The Independent Tourist.

Leave Work at Work

Being able to work from anywhere is one of the blessings of living and working in the modern day. It’s also one of the curses. If you’re one of those people who lives with this double-edged sword, and especially if you’re in a management role, think twice before allowing your work to stowaway on your vacation. Of course, you’ll want to complete necessary tasks before you take time off so nothing is lingering unfinished, but also do a metal check to not bring work-related concerns with you on vacation. It’s called “downtime” for a reason, so leave work at work, where it belongs.

Another tactic to increase your peace of mind is to automate some processes. You can automate any number of concerns these days, from payroll to social media outreach. Knowing that even while you’re vacationing it’s “business as usual” is a great way to ensure you are comfortable leaving work at work. 

Photo Credit: Pexels

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone on Your Trip

Livening up your travels might mean something as simple as switching up your hair, but if you want even more of the empowering emotions that go along with doing something fresh, Develop Good Habits suggests booking a trip that really challenges your normal routine.

We tend to think that our routines and comfort zones protect and guide us, but those routines can also be limiting. When you get too caught up in feeling comfortable, you are more likely to feel fearful and anxious about trying new things, and about life’s inevitable changes. So, Nomadic Matt says to treat yourself to some ultimate self-care by facing your fears during your vacation!

Photo Credit: Pexels

This could be as simple as getting onto an airplane for the very first time or planning something truly adventurous during your self-care vacation. You could swim with sharks in Hawaii or climb mountains in Colorado. Whether you stay in the States or travel abroad, there are endless options for testing your limits and conquering your fears. So, start small and then work your way up to more on your next trip.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Relax, Unwind and Refresh While on Your Trip

If shark-diving and mountain-climbing sound way too stressful, know that you can always plan a more calming mental health break. If you are still looking to get away from your current location, you could always travel to one of the top wellness destinations in the country. Seaside towns such as Amelia Island in Florida or Wailea in Hawaii can provide the perfect environment to refresh your mind and recharge your senses. There are plenty of activities in these destinations to help you unwind, or Fix.com suggests just spending your entire vacation relaxing by the ocean.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

If a pampered escape sounds more like your ultimate version of self-care, a spa trip could be your best bet for de-stressing. From a desert oasis in Palm Springs to a getaway in the heart of Oregon’s wine country, there’s truly a spa destination for everyone.

Stress doesn’t have to get you down, especially when it can be so simple to plan a self-care retreat to recharge and unwind. You can challenge your fears or calm your senses, but either way, your health and well-being are sure to improve when you make self-care a focus.

The Independent Tourist shares information and advice for those who wish to travel independently all around the world. Reach out for more info today! theindependenttourist@gmail.com.

Jesse Clark is a traveler, so she’s no stranger to experiencing wanderlust and that strong desire to travel. She’s already had enough experiences to last a lifetime, but she’s not stopping anytime soon. Find out more and contact her through soulful-travel.com. 

Featured Image Photo Credit: Rawpixel

Post-Pandemic Travel: 3 Mistakes To Avoid

In this post our guest writer, Jesse Clark, provides some excellent tips on post-pandemic travel. Her bio information is below. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, people have been spending most of their time in or near their homes. Travel of any kind, especially nonessential, recreational travel like sightseeing and vacationing, was heavily frowned upon or outright prohibited until very recently when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a major policy change. Even if you were able to travel a bit, you likely found many attractions and accommodations either closed completely or operating at a nearly unrecognizable level.

As the nation’s vaccination figures rise and the number of new COVID-19 cases declines, travel is making its comeback. However, don’t expect everything to bounce back to the way it was immediately — or, in some cases, ever. The pandemic has inflicted some permanent changes on the way businesses and travelers operate, and some of those changes may be here to stay.

Go ahead and strap on that fanny pack. But before hitting the road or taking to the skies, The Independent Tourist gives you these three common mistakes to watch out for.

Mistake No. 1: Thinking There’s Only One Safe Way To Travel

Condé Nast Traveler points out that health experts and travel industry leaders alike have been debating for some time about which mode of transportation has the lowest COVID-19 risk for travelers. As it turns out, the safest travel method may depend on how far you’re traveling.

For a shorter trip of fewer than 500 miles, car travel is likely your best bet. On a road trip, most of your time is spent in a vehicle with just a few other people whose vaccination records are easy to verify. You’ll avoid spending hours at the airport being in close contact with hundreds or thousands of strangers who may or may not be vaccinated, and you won’t be seated inches away from a stranger who will share your airspace for the entire flight.

That said, car travel requires more frequent stops than air travel, and each stop means interacting with new people. Beyond a one-day trip — roughly 500 miles — the COVID-19 risks of all those necessary road trip stops begin to outweigh the risks of airport crowds. For longer trips, air travel is likely the safest choice.

Mistake No. 2: Choosing the Wrong Destinations

You may be itching to get back to your favorite beach or shopping mecca, but so are thousands of other people. Avoiding crowds is still critical to staying safe on your travels. Outdoor destinations, such as parks and campgrounds, are a safer choice than crowded resorts and hotels.

A surprising silver lining to the COVID-19 cloud is that, with international travel bans still in effect, there has never been a better time to visit some of the country’s most stunning national parks. These destinations are seeing smaller-than-normal crowds due to the absence of international tourists.

Mistake No. 3: Not Updating Your Tech Gear

In a post-pandemic world, expect to have your smartphone always glued to your hand. From navigating trails in the great outdoors to taking advantage of contact-free reservations and check-ins, your phone is more important than ever. If you need an upgrade, now’s the time. Because your smartphone will be everywhere you’re venturing, the risk of damage from the elements — rain, dirt, the sun — as well as drops increases, so you’ll want to invest in a rugged, durable screen protector to protect your lifeline. Many of today’s screen protectors go through extensive testing for things like scratches and impacts.

Also look into a good phone sanitizer to keep germs at bay. Noise-isolating headphones may help you remember to practice safe distancing, and a backup battery or power bank will keep you connected on the go.

While you’re no doubt excited to start traveling again, it’s important to prioritize your health and make smart choices to keep you and your travel companions safe on your adventures.

The Independent Tourist is your source for worldwide independent travel, a blog and guide written by an independent tourism enthusiast for independent tourists. Check us out today! theindependenttourist@gmail.com

Jesse Clark is a traveler, so she’s no stranger to experiencing wanderlust and that strong desire to travel. She’s already had enough experiences to last a lifetime, but she’s not stopping anytime soon. Find out more and contact her through soulful-travel.com. 

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Post-Pandemic Travel: 3 Mistakes To Avoid

In this post our guest writer, Jesse Clark, provides some excellent tips and links to great advice for post-pandemic travel. Excellent suggestions for those getting ready to hit the road again! See her other posts here. More about Jesse below. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, people have been spending most of their time in or near their homes. Travel of any kind, especially nonessential, recreational travel like sightseeing and vacationing, was heavily frowned upon or outright prohibited until very recently when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a major policy change. Even if you were able to travel a bit, you likely found many attractions and accommodations either closed completely or operating at a nearly unrecognizable level.

As the nation’s vaccination figures rise and the number of new COVID-19 cases declines, travel is making its comeback. However, don’t expect everything to bounce back to the way it was immediately — or, in some cases, ever. The pandemic has inflicted some permanent changes on the way businesses and travelers operate, and some of those changes may be here to stay.

Go ahead and strap on that fanny pack. But before hitting the road or taking to the skies, The Independent Tourist gives you these three common mistakes to watch out for.

Mistake No. 1: Thinking There’s Only One Safe Way To Travel

Condé Nast Traveler points out that health experts and travel industry leaders alike have been debating for some time about which mode of transportation has the lowest COVID-19 risk for travelers. As it turns out, the safest travel method may depend on how far you’re traveling.

For a shorter trip of fewer than 500 miles, car travel is likely your best bet. On a road trip, most of your time is spent in a vehicle with just a few other people whose vaccination records are easy to verify. You’ll avoid spending hours at the airport being in close contact with hundreds or thousands of strangers who may or may not be vaccinated, and you won’t be seated inches away from a stranger who will share your airspace for the entire flight.

That said, car travel requires more frequent stops than air travel, and each stop means interacting with new people. Beyond a one-day trip — roughly 500 miles — the COVID-19 risks of all those necessary road trip stops begin to outweigh the risks of airport crowds. For longer trips, air travel is likely the safest choice.

Mistake No. 2: Choosing the Wrong Destinations

You may be itching to get back to your favorite beach or shopping mecca, but so are thousands of other people. Avoiding crowds is still critical to staying safe on your travels. Outdoor destinations, such as parks and campgrounds, are a safer choice than crowded resorts and hotels.

A surprising silver lining to the COVID-19 cloud is that, with international travel bans still in effect, there has never been a better time to visit some of the country’s most stunning national parks. These destinations are seeing smaller-than-normal crowds due to the absence of international tourists.

Mistake No. 3: Not Updating Your Tech Gear

In a post-pandemic world, expect to have your smartphone always glued to your hand. From navigating trails in the great outdoors to taking advantage of contact-free reservations and check-ins, your phone is more important than ever. If you need an upgrade, now’s the time. Because your smartphone will be everywhere you’re venturing, the risk of damage from the elements — rain, dirt, the sun — as well as drops increases, so you’ll want to invest in a rugged, durable screen protector to protect your lifeline. Many of today’s screen protectors go through extensive testing for things like scratches and impacts.

Also look into a good phone sanitizer to keep germs at bay. Noise-isolating headphones may help you remember to practice safe distancing, and a backup battery or power bank will keep you connected on the go.

While you’re no doubt excited to start traveling again, it’s important to prioritize your health and make smart choices to keep you and your travel companions safe on your adventures.

The Independent Tourist is your source for worldwide independent travel, a blog and guide written by an independent tourism enthusiast for independent tourists. Check us out today! theindependenttourist@gmail.com

Jesse Clark is a traveler, so she’s no stranger to experiencing wanderlust and that strong desire to travel. She’s already had enough experiences to last a lifetime, but she’s not stopping anytime soon.

How to Save Money on Your Next Vacation

In this post our guest writer, Jesse Clark, provides some excellent tips and links to great money-saving resources for travel. Saving a bit here and there can really add up and allow you to visit even more great destinations! Her bio information is below. 

We all love going on vacation, but few of us actually love the effort that goes into organizing one. Planning for a trip can be a constant headache when you’re trying to scour for the best deals possible and save money across the board. You want to hit everything on your to-do list in your destination city, but you don’t want to break the bank to get there. If you’re planning a trip on a budget, we’ve done some of the work for you! Here are some of our favorite ways to cut costs when arranging your next vacation.

Book a Room with a Kitchenette

An easy way to save money when traveling is to forgo eating out for every meal and instead cook at home. Book a hotel room or vacation rental that offers a refrigerator, microwave, and maybe even a stovetop. You’ll be able to save plenty of money by cooking your own food instead of going to restaurants or ordering room service. Carry snacks with you when you’re out and about so you can eat a little throughout the day. Not only will you be less hungry overall, but you’ll also have the energy you need to enjoy all the activities. A win-win for everyone.

Consider an AirBnB

Hotel rooms are great for single travelers or for couples, but when traveling as a family or with small children, it’s often more economical to look to rentals through sites like Airbnb or HomeAway. With these websites, you can rent an entire house, apartment, cabin, or vacation home complete with a full kitchen, separate bedrooms, and an outdoor space. You’ll usually have more room for a cheaper price than a standard hotel room. Be sure to read the reviews under each listing to get an idea of what the space is like and how easy the host is to communicate with, in case you encounter any problems during your stay.

Be Flexible with Flying

Plane ticket prices eat into a huge chunk of anyone’s vacation budget, but there are only so many ways you can save money there. One of the best ways is to just be flexible with your travel dates. Tickets are cheaper during the week than on the weekends, so if you plan your trip to avoid flying on Saturday or Sunday, you could save a few hundred dollars. Likewise, being open to flying at less opportune times of the day, like early in the morning or late at night, can save you in the long run, as well.

Look for Deals with Enterprise

If you need a rental car on your next trip, look no further than Enterprise. This agency is the largest rental car company in the world, with thousands of cars in circulation and more than 7,000 locations around the world. Chances are good you’ll be able to find an Enterprise location near wherever you’re heading, and it’s highly probable you can find an excellent deal on a rental. Search online for Enterprise coupons and promotional codes for an even better deal!

Avoid the Tourist Traps

It’s easy to stick with touristy activities when you’re on vacation, but try to stray off the beaten path so have a chance to see more and maybe save some money. Many restaurants and attractions geared toward tourists are overpriced on purpose. Check out a few of these sites, but don’t be afraid to ask around for places the locals recommend. This gives you a better feel for the area and could even point you toward an incredible experience.

Traveling is all about immersing yourself in new experiences, cultures and opportunities. Getting hung up on your budget can be a drag. By digging around for deals and taking a different approach with your vacation, you could save money and still have the time of your life.

Jesse Clark is a traveler, so she’s no stranger to experiencing wanderlust and that strong desire to travel. She’s already had enough experiences to last a lifetime, but she’s not stopping anytime soon. Find out more and contact her through soulful-travel.com.