Hotel In-Room Gym!

Hotel In-Room Gym!


Want to stay in shape on vacation without having to spend half your morning at the hotel gym? With this in-room exercise routine, all you need is 20 minutes to get a full body workout. And best of all, you don’t need any gym equipment, so you can leave your yoga mat at home.

Watch the video here, and then scroll down to find details on number of reps and a breakdown of how to do each exercise.  Even if you cannot or do not do the full exercise routine something is better than nothing and the 5 minute warm-up below will get you on your way anytime, anyplace, even from home!  I have given you the written version below if you would like to print it out and take with you! (you can tell I am old school or put this on your device!)
5-Minute Warm up:
1. Jumping Jacks (60 seconds)
2. High Knees (60 seconds)
3. Leg Swings (30 seconds each)
4. Arm Swings (30 seconds)
5. Shoulder Circles (30 seconds each)
6. Core Twists (30 seconds)
10 Exercises:  Recommended: 2 -3 sets of 12 for each
1. Push Ups: (works biceps, chest, core, shoulders and triceps)
Steps: Place your hands on floor to line up with your shoulders and move into a plank position. Keeping your back flat and core tight, lower down and up. Modified Push Up: Place your knees on the floor, and follow the same steps.
2. Tricep Dips: (works chest, deltoids, triceps and upper back)
Steps: Place your hands at the edge of a chair or bed shoulder-width apart, with your feet out in front of you.  Keeping your back straight, bend your elbows back until they reach a 90-degree angle, and then raise up by fully extending your arms. Modified Tricep Dip: Sit on the floor with your knees at a 90-degree angle. Place your arms directly behind you, and bend from the elbow to dip backwards and up.
3. Single Leg Stand (works core, glutes, hamstrings and quads)
Steps: Sit on a chair with both feet on the floor. Elevate one leg, and lean forward using your working leg and core to stand up. Sit back down and repeat. Modified Leg Stand: Using your core strength, stand up with both legs then sit back down and repeat.
4. Squats (works core, glutes, hamstrings and quads)
Steps: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lower down until your hips and knees are parallel, then come up and repeat. Modification (45-Degree Wall Sit): Place your back against the wall and slide down to a 45-degree angle, keeping your knees and feet aligned. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
5. Hip Hinge (works core and lower back)
Steps: Stand with your hands on your hips, feet hip-width apart, and your knees slightly bent. Keeping your back flat and core tight, slowly lower your upper body down and up. Modified Hip Hinge: Sit on a chair or bed with both feet on the floor, and follow the same steps.
6. Leg Lifts, Front, Back & Side (works core, glutes and hip flexors)
Steps: Stand up with your back straight and core tight. Raise one leg straight out in front of you to a 45-to-90-degree angle, then bring it back down. Hold onto an object for balance if needed. After one set repeat exercise to the side, and then to the back. Adjust height of leg lift to modify.
7. Standing Bicycle Crunch (works core and obliques)
Steps: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, fingertips behind your head, and elbows pointing outward, in line with your shoulders. Bring your right leg up and twist the left side of your body to the right, bringing your opposing knee and elbow together at the torso. Continue by alternating sides. Modified Bicycle Crunch: Place one hand against the wall for balance and do a set on one side before switching.
8. Plank (works core and lower back)
Steps: Go into a push-up position, or, bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms, keeping your back flat and core tight. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Modified Plank: Follow the same steps, only this time with your knees touching the floor.
9. Side Plank (works core and obliques)
Steps: Lie on your side with your body in a straight line. Extend your forearm out, with your elbow lined up slightly below your shoulder. Keeping your hips square and your neck in line with your spine, push yourself up so that your palm is supporting your weight. Hold for 30 seconds and lower, then switch sides. Modified Side Plank: Follow the same steps using your forearm to hold yourself up.
10. Heel Raises (works calves)
Steps:  Raise your heels off the floor while keeping your knees straight. Hold, and then lower your heels to the floor.
This video was filmed at the Nine Zero Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts.

Edited from SmarterTravel, by Olivia Briggs.

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Still Relevant After All These Years

Recently, several people made comments to me about ‘travel agents.’  And what they knew (or not.)  It is interesting that so many think they can do my job.  Also recently, the Boston Globe had an article on how there are more and more people learning we are still relevant: 

You may find it interesting if you did not read the article.

The article gives five reasons to use a travel agent, now called travel advisor.  My favorite reason to use a travel advisor is ‘they may help get you out of trouble.’  Recently, I had two of my clients forget what to do when travel life goes awry: CALL me straight away.  In both situations I could have helped. If I am not at my desk someone is.  At the bottom of your itineraries are lots of telephone numbers: the Main Office: 617-621-0100, After Hours 888-567-9406 and sometimes international numbers.  Call!  Do not stand in line or sit on hold hoping someone will help you.  Remember, we have direct access to airline schedules, hotel availability, and all the telephone numbers of your special reservations.
The world and I are not perfect, especially in travel, things happen.  Most often I can fix it!  But if I do not know until afterwards there is little I can do to help you with your travel plans.  There are many reasons to use a travel advisor, but the best reason is that I am here for you when unplanned situations arrive.  So even if you do all the research, book the reservations with a travel advisor.  And you can relax knowing someone is there for you.
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How Can I Help You Create the Perfect Itinerary?     

Ever noticed how some folks make the toughest trips seem like a leisurely walk in the park? I’ll guess that nine out of 10 times, those travelers created a near-perfect itinerary before they even started packing.

Modern itinerary-making tools, from websites to mobile apps, allow travelers to build colorful trip timelines. But the ability to engineer an effective, seamless itinerary requires more than just bells and whistles — and well-laid travel plans are an integral component of any successful trip. This is where I come into play.
So what’s the secret to creating a great itinerary?  Be realistic first and for-most!  And plan!
Sure, you’d like to milk your trip for all it’s worth by booking a red-eye flight and then scheduling a full day’s worth of activities on day one, despite an eight-hour time difference. But by the end of the trip, you’re likely to look and feel as if you’ve spent the week in correctional boot camp.
Designing all you want to get done into a seamless schedule, especially if you’re visiting multiple cities or countries, can be a massive challenge. Make it easier by creating a list of everything you want to see or do. Then put the list in priority order. I can help estimate how long an activity will take, or how long it will take to get there.  This is an essential part of planning and often underestimated.
Do check the calendar for holidays and festivals in foreign countries. There may be a nifty festival that you want to slot into your schedule, or, at the opposite extreme, you may want to avoid a certain part of town if it’s going to be crowded or blocked off. I had a client once who almost got stuck in Paris on the 14th of July, Bastille Day.  The city was mobbed with parades as a result he was late getting to the airport.  Thank goodness he had already checked in online.                                .
There’s more to consider than just time and location. How do you want to see the attractions plays a big part in the plans and finances.  A private or small group guide may make the difference in learning and enjoyment to total frustration and wasted time.  Do you really want to learn about a place or just see it? What is of interest to one person is not for another.
Your itinerary is not a legally binding contract. It’s more like a rough draft written in sand. Things will go wrong. Restaurants will be closed. Buses will be late. But I always recommend pre-booked lodging.  There is nothing worse than getting some place with no available beds.  I went with a friend one time and her job was to book a few nights.  She decided we would wing it!  In Ponce, Porto Rico we stayed in the owner’s private room.
Now I always have reservations prior to departure. Consider scheduling a free day or two into your itinerary. Time to just explore on your own.  Or some down time to remember how fortunate we are to travel!
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Corrections and Additions

Last week I wrote about how to make the long haul flight more comfortable.  There were several responses. When mentioning how to keep your valuables safe I did not mean to alarm anyone.  Just beware of your surroundings when and where ever you travel.

I neglected to suggest creams!  Face and hand creams are almost essential for any flight, especially the long haul.  Dry skin is so irritating.

And lastly I usually do not promote a destination let alone a product.  But last week I did suggest a drink to help with dehydration and I miss spelled the product.  Check out

Happy Spring.. now is the time to plan your fall and holiday travels.   So call soon!

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Survive the Long Haul

Not all long-haul flights have to be miserable; a good book can result in “No, no, just a little more time!” when the pilot says time to started our descent. Here are 10 tips for preventing boredom, dehydration, sleep deprivation and more so you can confidently say “I got this” the next time you are imprisoned in a metal tube for an entire waking day or night of your life.

1. Upgrade.
When traveling long-haul, (for me 5 hours or more) you have no better friend on the planet than your frequent flier miles. Also this is the best bang for your buck.  Business class seats are very expensive compared to coach class. Buy the coach class and upgrade with miles.  Or even an extra leg room seat is better than straight economy/coach.
If you stop reading at this point you almost need to know nothing more than this — by hook or crook, try to get an upgrade.
2. Escape.
You will want to have a rock-solid plan for frittering away several hours of your flight, and I don’t mind working; staring at spreadsheets and writing proposals may burn up hours, but it does not make them vanish. You want these hours to disappear almost without a trace. Think headphones and Hollywood blockbusters. Getting a lot of work done is fine — rarely do you have 15 consecutive hours without a phone so I encourage bringing some work — but work will fail you when you get to the brutal middle hours of this ordeal. Headphones and Hollywood; don’t stray from this.

3. Don’t carry on too much stuff.
While checked baggage fees are inspiring travelers to carry on more and more stuff, on a long-haul flight this could hurt you; anything that is under the seat in front of you just means less legroom and a more cramped living space. Don’t bring so much on that you compete for your own sleeping space.
4. Bring your go-to gear.
When it comes to surviving flights, I am not a gear person, but I always take my noise cancelling head set, if only I wish not to talk to my neighbor. I can’t be bothered to lug around neck pillows, eye masks, earplugs, etc. As I note above, your total carry-on haul should be limited, but you may want to consider some of these relatively small survival tools. Your body and brain will thank you for every small comfort you can provide, and the inconvenience of packing and carrying these around is dwarfed by the misery in flight with crying children, pilot announcements, engine noise and a major crick in your neck. Gear up.
5. Board relatively rested.
Don’t count on a long-haul flight as a good place to catch up on sleep — it’s not. As attractive and intuitive as it seems to get on a long-haul flight extremely tired, hoping to sleep the whole way, you are in for a world of hurt if you can’t sleep for some reason. You will be on the plane long enough to catch a few winks even if you are somewhat rested, and my advice is to take it when it comes; if your eyes start to droop, get out the eye covers and earplugs, and go with it.
6. Secure your stuff.
A long-haul flight gives unscrupulous travelers all the more time to size up the location of your wallet, wait until you fall asleep and make a move on your luggage. Secure your valuables deep inside your bags where it would take a TSA X-ray machine to find them. Consider keeping items like your passport, credit cards and cash in a money belt under your clothes.
7. Consider a sleep aid.
If you are planning to use sleep aids (including “natural” methods such as melatonin, or drugs such as Ambien), try them before you fly with them. These drugs can vary greatly in how they affect individuals, so you will want to try them at home.  Ask your doctor for recommendation.
8. Use SeatGuru.
The seating chart advises particular seat situations.  I use it often for my clients, especially in business class. Before you choose, also think hard about your usual preference of window vs. aisle seat; it may be different on a long-haul flight than on a shorter flight. If you usually choose an aisle seat, consider whether you want your long, Ambien-enhanced sleep to be interrupted by a window passenger; similarly, if you usually choose a window, you could get trapped in there by a snoring person in a prescription drug-induced stupor.
9. Ask about seats at the gate.
Failing the ability to choose great seats before your flight, try again at the gate. If the flight is not full, the gate agent may be able to see an empty row, or put you and a traveling partner in a “window and aisle” configuration that reduces the likelihood of having someone sit in the middle seat, thereby getting you a seat and a half, at least.  Sometimes I assign these seats in advance or ‘aisle across’ is another favorite I assign.
10. Take care of your health.
Hydration: If you think hydration is a concern on a cross-country flight, try tripling or quadrupling your time in the air. Airplane air is extremely dry. Many years ago, i brought flowers on board and they dried without wilting! How much water should you bring?  Take an empty refillable bottle through security.  Add the water on the other side.  Then ask for more while flying.
Daily, I drink an “electrolyte solutions” know as Intima, like Gatorade but no calories. Maintaining electrolyte balance is important, and that you don’t want to become completely diluted with water, particularly for older folks or people with other medical problems.
In brief…
– Hydrate well the night before the flight, preferably with electrolyte drinks.
– Don’t drink alcohol the night before the flight or on the flight.
– Avoid diuretics such as coffee, soft drinks and even chocolate (all of which contain caffeine).
– If you have no issue with ulcers, take a baby aspirin the night before and day of your flight.
– Get an aisle seat or exit row so you can get up and walk around whenever possible.
Let’s face it: electrolytes, compression socks, movie after movie, and aspirin don’t change the fact that you are stuck inside a metal can for a whole day or overnight. Just keep reminding yourself that this too shall pass — although I recommend saving your “I got this” until the wheels touch the ground.
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Why Do I Travel?

“Have you asked yourself this question? Why do you travel or why do you want to travel? Is it to tick things off your bucket list? Do you want to get your passport full of stamps? Or is it simply to relax? I feel the “why” of travel is much more than crossing items off a bucket list.

The “Why” you want to travel the world is a very personal story. And yours will be different than mine and every other person.
Travel changed my life and help defined who I am today. Through travel, I have fulfilled many dreams, left my comfort zone many times, became more tolerant, met incredible people, learned lots, had fun and it adds excitement to my life. Travel has made me a better person.
I love the phrase: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.” I travel for such moments.
So, why do I travel???….because I simply can’t stop.”   Written by colleague Carol Jaxheimer.
I might add, when I travel by myself I find the experience very empowering! Look what I did all by myself! And I did not get lost! Also when I travel I add to my knowledge as a travel advisor. This last trip to California had a huge learning curve. And of course international travel always does. So go learn or relax, check off the list or experience it again and travel.
P.S. New picture by Gail Huyge, my daughter in Patagonia, Chili.
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Why Do We Travel

Sometimes we travel to see the past and other times to experience the present. We often mix and match the two in different holidays or even the same.  Going to Europe is most often to see how folks lived in the past.  Even the cities have not changed very much over the centuries.  Paris was changed in the early 1800’s and looks the same today.  The wide avenues with their black iron balconies still dominate the city scene.  All the new high rise construction was done on the outskirts of the city. And the small rural towns look just like the 1600-1700’s.   Some even older.  I personally enjoy the quiet calmness these unchanged towns emit.  Stopping at a local drinking/eatery where the neighbors gather is wonderful.  Experiencing the community just chatting away…..It is the present but in a very past manner!

Others, I know, enjoy the action and liveliness of the present.  Going to a modern city like San Francisco or New York where everything is constantly changing is most stimulating.  Old buildings are demolished to make room for new modern high-rise buildings.  Cranes are looming everywhere.  The energy of these cities is most different than the old.  Paris parks are filled with people enjoying their lunch and reading a book, while NYC is more likely to have someone jogging by.  San Francisco has so many of all ages on skateboards!
We often think of a museum as the past, yet a modern art museum or science museum is usually representing the present.  An opera is more the past and a noisy rock band the present.  Theater can be Shakespeare or Steven Spielberg, which do you enjoy?

Before you plan your next holiday think about which you enjoy most.  The past or the present…  And let me help you with the details.

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Where to Next?

I am often asked this question… “Where am I going next?”  And of course I usually do have something on the calendar.  Most often like you, it is to visit family.  I may add a bit of something on the visit, but family consumes most of our travel.  And that is just fine but what about the rest of our lives?  What do we do for adventure, excitement, education and motivation just to name a few?

I get about 100 emails a day telling me of how wonderful this or that place is!  And they all sound so very interesting.  River boat cruising is clearly still very hot.  The Rhine, Rhone and Danube in Europe of course are at the top of the list, but there are now river boat cruises most everywhere there is a river; on the Irrawaddy in Myanmar, Mekong in Vietnam and the Yangtze in China.  Or go to the end of the world and cruise the tip of South America.  I would like to cruise to the Galapagos Island or the Tahitian or Fiji Islands!  I would never come home again!

Some emails I get are for budget travel and others for luxury.  Many are places I know about, like the Adare Manor in Ireland that I just received, but some others are from very unknown places: Asia’s most remarkable landscapes, beginning on the rugged coast of Vietnam and moving on to the spiritual city of Luang Prabang, the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat, a private island in the Sulu Sea, and finally to the buzzing Japanese capital of Tokyo.  Can you imagine?

Some emails are packages with air, hotel and tours while other emails are the airlines or the hotels/resorts telling me why to choose them.  Everyday my brain travels the world to wonderful places.  If you thought about a place, you can go there.  We just need to figure it all out!

Where are you going next?  What is on your calendar for this summer or fall?  Or for that matter, what about next week?  Having something to look forward to experiencing or fond memories of the most recent experience keeps our spirits high!

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Holiday Greetings

A very happy holiday greeting to you all.  This will be my last writing in 2015.  And I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts with you in 2016!  It has been a good year at my desk and I give my thanks all to you!  Thank you.

For me right now it is still before Thanksgiving and my Italian Dream holiday is before me.  After I return on the 7th I will not have time to write.
Would you like a dream holiday in 2016?  But not sure of the best where’s, when’s and how’s?  I can assist! Trust me to design the details without hours of research and spending more money than needed.  Give a dream holiday as a gift!  Just write a note on a gift card and we will do the rest!  I look forward to serving you in 2016.
Meanwhile I need to mention I will be out of the office the entire month of December and back in on the 4th of January. My voice mail and email will indicate who is covering for me.  Calling the main number 617-621-0100 always works. For those of you who are up early and read this newsletter on Thursday mornings, I will be at Mount Auburn Hospital having my Aortic Valve replaced.  This is a very good thing as I will be much more mobile next spring!
Now do not think “hope all goes well and good luck!”  As that simply is not an alternative.. and I do not want the surgeon to need luck!  So send me good thoughts of a speedy recovery!
Peace be with you all and thank you,


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