Budget Travel

Hiking: A Great Budget Friendly And Healthy Vacation Activity

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For some, vacation is meant to be a time to relax, sit back and drink colorful cocktails by the pool. It’s about recouping from the stresses of everyday life. Who can argue with this mentality? We could all use a break sometimes, and traveling provides the perfect opportunity for it.

However, we’re here to burst your bubble a bit. Sure, take some time while you’re on vacation to relax, soak up some sun and collect cocktail umbrellas. Just don’t do it every day. We’ve all been in a position coming back from vacation just as exhausted as when we left. Traveling by air is a very big culprit of this, but what if we’ve got it all wrong. What if spending a week being completely inactive plays a role?

We’ve all met those people who spend countless hours at the gym a week, and inevitably they make sure to tell us that they have more energy when they exercise as opposed to when they don’t, and there is truth to that. Now, what if we applied that principle to our travel? What if we take the time to explore and get active?

Exercise does increase energy, so taking time to be more active on vacation may help fight the fatigue you feel after returning home from your getaway. One of the best — and least expensive ways — to be a bit active on vacation is to take a hike. If you’re traveling to Costa Rica, maybe go to one of the nature reserves and spend a couple hours walking the trails. You’ll get to see myriad species of animals and other fauna native to the region, all at little or no cost. Maybe you go to a Caribbean island.  Stroll along the island’s beaches. Often different parts of the beach will have completely different terrain, so it never gets too boring.

Why else should you consider a hike or two during your week away? Well, the adverse effects of alcohol consumption are pretty well documented, and travelers often consume more when away from home. This alcohol consumption has a lot to do with how we feel after vacation. It’s known that exercise can offset some of the long-term effects of alcohol consumption, so why can’t it offset some of the short-term effects? One of the main drawbacks of having a few cocktails is lack of quality sleep. Exercise, on the other hand, can counteract that side effect, which means you can fight the post-vacation malaise so many of us find ourselves with.

Also, who’s guilty of overeating on vacation? We all are. It happens, and it should! Just like drinking, many travelers eat more than they normally would. We aren’t advocating you stop this, or not enjoy the local cuisine; we fully support gorging on vacation, 100%. Alcohol and food go with vacation like cold winter nights and hot cocoa. These things should never be separated. Ever. Overeating, though, makes us more tired than we would normally be.

Hiking to the rescue again! There is no secret that eating in excess creates a calorie surplus. There is a way to offset this — exercise. And, again, we recommend hiking. The easiest of hikes will burn close to 300 calories per hour. So, two one hour hikes will help you burn about 600 calories. Excellent! Make one of those hikes a little more intense and you could easily burn 600 calories per hours. Go full force with an uphill hike, and you can burn a whopping 1,000 calories per hour. No gym membership required.

Hikes don’t have to be all about the outdoors, bugs and a blazing sun. Say you’re in New York, how can you hike in the most densely populated city in the United States? Well, check out the local parks. On the west side of Manhattan you’ll find Riverside Park, which extends most of the island. There’s also Central Park, with moderate changes in elevation, making the walk just a bit more strenuous. But don’t discount just walking around the city. We are huge advocates of exploring a city by foot for many reasons. Chief among them is that fact that there is a connection one gets with a locale that can only be achieved by hands on experiences. Walking through New York is a whole different experience than riding the subway or taking a cab, because you never know what you’ll find — or which celebrities you might see.

We know, this whole article seems like a bit of a buzzkill. Don’t let it be. Vacations should be fun, relaxing and leave you feeling rejuvenated when you get back to the daily grind. But also make them an adventure! Explore the area you’re visiting and everything it has to offer. One of the best ways to achieve that is to actually be just a little bit active while you’re away. Don’t forego the tropical fruit-laden beverages. Have a few piña coladas, and definitely have two desserts. Nobody wants to stop you. Just be conscious of how these things are going to make you feel when you get back home, and consider taking a hike or two to offset those effects. We have a feeling you’ll thank us later.

Featured Image Courtesy of National Park Service.

Sam loves having a name that's gender neutral, just to confuse everyone. You'll usually find Sam doing something Sam's not really supposed doing and causing mayhem everywhere Sam goes.