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by Celece Krieger

Active Hiking to the Vineyards with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises in France, courtesy of Rob Krieger

While diet and exercise are very important to our health, most people don’t realize that leisure travel can play a key role in our overall wellness. Lessons in history have taught us that Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon searched the globe for the Fountain of Youth. Although he never found it, he discovered what many people consider the key to youth and happiness: Travel!

Over the years, I’ve watched river cruise companies, ocean cruise companies, and tour companies design active vacations around the globe. While some travelers are perfectly happy relaxing on the sun deck, others want to stay active on their vacations. If you want to combine exercise or your favorite sport into your vacation, consider some of the vacation packages with exercise included:

Bicycling: This past summer, on my Bordeaux River Cruise with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, several tours included bicycling. Passengers combined fresh air, gorgeous scenery, and fine wine with a bicycle ride among the prestigious Médoc vineyards. Imagine pedaling through the lush landscapes of historic estates that have remained unchanged for centuries. Luckily, this adventure included a stop at Château Lynch-Bages for wine tasting – a reward for all that exercise! Most of the river cruise companies carry bicycles on board for their guests to use at their leisure while in port, or for bicycling tours.

Of course, there are tour itineraries for serious cyclists. Backroads for example, offers bicycling, hiking, and walking tours around the world. From our own national parks to Holland and everywhere in between, Backroads will take you there. They offer itineraries for adults and families, too. In fact, you may see them passing through town on their way to Zion and Bryce.  

Rob Krieger golfing in the Dominican Republic

Golf: This past summer, I had the opportunity to travel with my husband and a small golf group to Ireland and Scotland. Though I am not a golfer, I enjoyed watching our clients discuss their experiences at historic courses where they had to carry their bags and walk in the footsteps of legends. The icing on the cake was watching The Open at Royal Birkdale. From Scotland to the Caribbean to South Africa, there are cruise vacations and tour packages designed for avid golfers and their guests.

Walking: Country Walkers offers walking tours throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, the South Pacific, and North America. Their motto is “Explore the World One Step at a Time®.” They offer itineraries for every level, from easy to challenging. Perhaps one of the most well-known is the Camino de Santiago, a nine-day pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Many say the journey is life-changing.

Yoga: From Costa Rica to Hawaii and India, yoga retreats are very popular. Many luxurious resorts and even river cruises have added yoga packages. Wellness and meditation vacations offer the ultimate relaxing getaway to some of the most scenic destinations around the globe.

We know that exercise is the best thing we can do for our bodies. An active vacation is a great way to get your heart pumping, and you probably won’t realize that you are exercising because you are surrounded by such beautiful scenery. While I am not the most athletic person, I’ve had the opportunity to kayak under a Roman Aqueduct and hike through vineyards in the South of France, paddleboard off the back of our cruise ship in Tahiti, and rappel down waterfalls in Costa Rica. There are always ways to include sports and exercise in your vacation, no matter where you go.

These are just a few of the ways in which travel can enrich your life. Take some time for yourself in the upcoming year and discover the many rewards of active travel. Where in the world will you find your Fountain of Youth in 2018?

Celece Krieger paddle boarding in the South Pacific with Paul Gauguin Cruises, courtesy of Rob Krieger
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