There’s truly nothing like a really good vacation to look forward to in the summer. While I love traveling with friends, some of my most memorable trips have been with family. My mom and I have traveled to Los Angeles, New York, Utah, London and Paris over the past few years, but this year we decided to go to Italy with the rest of my family. We settled on the Amalfi Coast as the destination and of course I immediately began googling all of the iconic pictures of the beautiful coast side.
This trip had a sentimental piece to it, my grandfather passed away last year, and Italy is his homeland. He was actually from a town closer to Florence, so my family flew there first to spread some of his ashes. I met them in Naples a few days later and after spending the night there we all drove to Positano. I will do a separate post about Positano itself because it truly is spectacular. This post however will go over some of things I did to make sure I was feeling my best during the trip and able to fully enjoy every moment.
As a disclaimer, I completely believe there are two different types of vacations: Partying/relaxing vacations and adventure/sightseeing vacations. Going to Italy for me definitely fell in the later category- as much as I love wine and staying out really late checking out bars and clubs in new cities, I did not want to spend a second of this trip hungover. Here are my top tips for having a healthy summer getaway.
1.) Do not give in to the jet-lag
In order to maximize your time at your destination, try to get on to the local time as quickly as you can. In my experience, the best way to do this is force yourself to stay awake until a reasonable bedtime. If you arrive at 11 AM but it’s 2 AM in your timezone and you are exhausted, go for a quick walk to familiarize yourself with where you’re staying. Try eating at normal intervals so your body can get used to a new clock. If you have trouble sleeping at night, bringing a natural sleep aide like melatonin can help.
2.) Walk between as many destinations as you can
Walking is the best way to learn the lay of the land and will help you discover so many new spots you wouldn’t have seen by taking an uber or train. When I go on trips with my mom, we literally walk until we can’t anymore. In New York a few years ago, we walked over 100 miles during our stay and felt like quasi-experts by the end. You’ll also save money on cabs and time waiting for slow buses or trains!
3.) Bring vitamins/supplements
I bring so many weird vitamins and remedies for different ailments on long trips that I’m always afraid TSA will think I’m trafficking drugs. It probably doesn’t help that I pack them in random, unmarked bottles. I should find a new system, because having my own mini drugstore has been a lifesaver on certain trips! (I’m looking at you Mexico…) I always recommend a B vitamin for energy, medicine for digestive issues, milk thistle (helps your liver digest alcohol and cuts your hangover), electrolyte packets and of course aspirin. I always throw in some of my favorite protein bars in case I’m stranded with no snack.
4.) Eat the local food
You’re on vacation to enjoy a different culture! Enjoy what they have to offer and don’t worry too much about the caloric intake/nutritional values. I ate pizza or pasta every single night I was in Italy. It wasn’t really what I planned to do (I rarely eat pasta at home) but I figured if I was going to eat it, Italy is the place. I can absolutely say I didn’t regret a bite of it. 🙂
5.) Limit alcohol/rich drinks
This is a tough one especially if you’re in a fun, party type atmosphere and eating out a lot. However, I’ve been hungover on vacation before and it sucks. Not only do you feel guilty for wasting precious time but you also feel like shit. You can help alleviate some of this by taking a milk thistle like I mentioned above or by drinking slowly, limiting yourself to three drinks or less. And of course if you have one night where you want to go all out and only have plans to lay by the pool the next day by all means go for it. I put “rich drinks” in this category to mean sugary drinks and milkshakes. Those can mess with your stomach sometimes (particularly in a new environment) so proceed with caution.
6.) If at all possible, work out outside
I always try to get in at least a 30 min jog each morning wherever I am. Italy was so exception, but we had to get up pretty early to beat the traffic that crowds the tiny one lane roads. We ran each morning through the hills of Positano and it was probably one of the best parts of the day.
7.) Put your phone on airplane mode
One of the best parts of being on vacation for me is getting to feel disconnected from real life even for just a few days. Try to limit checking Facebook and Instagram to just a couple times a day. By setting your phone to airplane mode, you can still take pictures, but you won’t be constantly bombarded with notifications from home. It will save you on your roaming charges too! 🙂