It isn't easy to bring teenagers on a family vacation. They tend to be moody, attached to their electronic gadgets & may prefer to sleep until noon than get up for an early morning activity you suggest. However, luxury travel with adolescents can be just as relaxing & enjoyable with the right planning & strategizing. Next time you're planning a getaway with your kids, consider these tips for a smooth & memorable trip from start to finish:
Involve them from the get-go
Teenagers are typically Internet-savvy, so be sure to include them in the research process when you're planning a vacation. They may even be able to discover some information about resorts or attractions that you would not have uncovered. Additionally, having a say in the trip gives them a sense of control. Whatever your teen's specific interests are, they can be incorporated into the trip. Are they passionate about art? Have them look into local galleries or museums. Are they a budding foodie? They can pick the restaurant for your first & last night. Plus, it takes some of the planning pressure off of you.
Have a no-tech zone
Taking a teen's smartphone, tablet or any other type of gadget away from them for an entire week might cause a major screaming match. Instead of going to an extreme, set some ground rules for when they can plug in. For example, you might decide that they can text, Facebook & search the Web all they want after dinner. You could also simply decree that they can only use their mobile devices when in the hotel room. This kind of compromise will mean your teens aren't miserable & you still get ample bonding time.
Give them some freedom
Teenagers are on the brink of adulthood, so they crave independence. Consider booking a suite that gives them enough space as well as privacy. Additionally, consider things they can do safely on their own – even if it's just a poolside lunch. It's helpful to research resorts that have age-appropriate on-site activities, such as surfing lessons or a teen-friendly nightclub. Setting them free to explore will allow you some time to breathe & will give them something to tell you about at mealtime.
Don't forget chill time
When you're tired & stressed, an argument is far more likely to erupt. So although you may be tempted to squeeze in back-to-back activities on your vacation, it's important to factor in some downtime. After teenagers get their energy out jet-skiing or hiking through the rainforest, make sure you have a couple hours just to chill in a hammock or in the hotel room.
Set in crystal-clear cerulean waters, the Exuma Cays are a dream come true for snorkelers, divers, kayakers or just vacationers with a curious mind. With diverse aquatic & bird life, there are a bevy of critters to observe on these Bahamian Out Islands that are unlike any you would witness back at home.
There's no better place to get up close to these creatures on a luxury vacation than at the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park. The park, which was established in 1958 & was the first of its kind in the world, offers a glimpse into a marine environment that has essentially never been touched, as fishing was prohibited. Here's a glimpse at what you'll experience on a visit:
Start by checking in at the Visitor Center, which is set on a point overlooking Warderick Wells. You can check out some of the educational displays, pick up a souvenir T-shirt or just sit on the deck & watch the tides change. Be sure to check out the Emerald Rock Mooring Field, which is south of the park visitor center. The Wall Trail offers breathtaking views of the sound, while Beryls Beach boasts a perfect spot for taking a dip.
Little Wax Cay
Because of dying vegetation, this cay is inhabited by the Hutia, the only native Bahamian land mammal. You'll be lucky to catch a glimpse of these creatures, as they're endangered. In fact, these mammals were believed to be extinct until a small colony was discovered in the Plana Cays. After being distributed throughout the park, there is now a growing population in two locations.
This uninhabited cay features an archipelago of rocks set amidst a mangrove where lobster, conch, sea turtles & many other kinds of fish are plentiful. Because the water is shallow, it's easy to see a variety of aquatic life. However, this also means you need to be careful to keep your dinghy at an idle speed & be wary of a rising tide. That way you won't disrupt the marine nursery's delicate atmosphere, nor will you get stranded there.
Keep in mind that anchoring is prohibited anywhere in the harbor. Fishing, shelling, lobstering & conching are also not allowed in the confines of the park. For the safety of the fish, don't attempt to feed them – they have plenty of natural food sources available.
The whole mission of the park is to preserve the organisms in these waters, so that means no human contact – even with the coral.
If you've never been snorkeling before or are still a beginner, the park recommends using a flotation device or glass-bottom bucket to hold onto while swimming to safely observe life underwater. The park office provides charts that will help you navigate the reefs.
Taking a luxury vacation is no doubt a perfect way to get closer to your significant other. Did you know, though, that volunteering could take that bonding time one step further?
The benefits of giving back are plenty, & they can have a serious impact on your relationship long-term. Next time you're booking a trip to Mexico or the Caribbean, consider helping underprivileged children & their families by participating in Beach Bum Cares. These are just some of the ways in which your efforts will strengthen you & your partner's ties:
There has been a significant amount of research on the health advantages that come with volunteering. Recently, the United Health Group reported that the Doing Good is Good for You: 2013 Health & Volunteering Study found 78 percent of adults admit that volunteering reduced their stress levels. As a result, volunteers reported an overall higher feeling of physical, mental & emotional wellness than those who didn't. It's common for many couples to experience strain on their relationship due to busy schedules, demanding careers & other obligations. Giving back can help to alleviate some of that, meaning a more relaxing getaway & better home life once the trip is over.
Enhance your empathy
The ability to feel for others is key in any relationship. By volunteering, you'll be faced with the plight of people who live very differently than you. That fresh perspective may be just what you need to fine-tune your empathy for your sweetheart's worries & problems. Plus, it'll help you both to appreciate things that you may have previously taken for granted.
Serving others can be deeply satisfying. By sharing that experience with your loved one, you'll benefit from an even stronger connection. That sense of unity can mean deeper intimacy, which is something that some couples may struggle to maintain. While an ocean-side dinner is no doubt romantic, it means a lot more when you know you've both made a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.
Find a new passion
Sharing a hobby is something that can keep couples on the same page, but some may struggle to find a common interest. After volunteering with Beach Bum Cares, you could be inspired to continue your humanitarian acts back home by joining a local organization or even starting your own.
On a luxury vacation, there's nothing more blissful than laying on the sand, closing your eyes & listening to the Caribbean waters lapping at the shore or soaking up the Mexican sun. Still, there's no reason beach bums have to leave their fitness aspirations at home.
In fact, all it takes is 15 to 30 minutes a day to see results. Not only will you be able to sport your bathing suit more confidently, but you'll also get a boost of energy to fuel you through new activities & nightlife at your destination. Plus, you'll be able to enjoy the exotic cocktails & rich cuisine completely guilt-free. Ready to make a move? Use these tips to stay in shape on the sand, no equipment or tools required:
You might already be aware that lunges help to sculpt & tone your legs, but did you know they're even more effective on the beach? Because it takes effort to balance on the sand, more of your muscles are engaged for every move you make. She Knows reported that according to a study conducted by researchers at the Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, merely walking on sand burns off twice the amount of calories as strolling on hard ground – so imagine what lunging across it can do!
Start with a walking lunge: Place your hands on your hips & step one foot forward until you form a 90 degree angle with your knee, then step in your other foot to meet it. Keep repeating, alternating legs. Plyometric lunges are a more intense, calorie-torching alternative. Simply assume a straight posture with your feet together & place one foot forward like before. Instead of stepping in to meet it, jump into the air & quickly switch legs so that you land in a lunge position on the other. Keep repeating & you'll feel the burn but definitely see the benefits.
The challenging sand terrain also makes for an optimal cardio session. Dru Barrios, owner of the Laguna Beach-based Ladera Fitness, told That's Fit that you'll do less damage to your joints on sand than on a hard surface & making more effort to balance will also give your core a phenomenal workout. After warming up with a four- to six-minute jog, alternate between speed walking for one minute & sprinting as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Gradually work your way up to alternating between one minute of each. Interval training is a great way to get your metabolism into tip-top shape.
If you need to cool off, She Knows suggested wave jumping at about thigh- to hip-level for 30 minutes. Use your arms to propel your body through the water, & the resistance will force you to use all of your muscles for a full body workout.
There are plenty of reasons to plan a luxury vacation to Cancun. It's a quick plane ride away, it boasts stunning beaches & there's plenty of activities to keep you occupied when you're not just relaxing & working on your tan. Though you may already know that a getaway here promises abundant sun & fun, did you know it also includes some of the most delicious fare in Mexico?
On your next trip to this energetic city, be sure to visit these hot dining spots:
Whether or not you're a steak lover, Puerto Madero is sure to delight your taste buds. CNN News explained that this restaurant is known for its bevy of beef dishes, each of which is cooked to perfection. The rib eye Madero for two is a great shareable option, but the tenderloin & surf & turf are just as succulent. If you're craving seafood, there are plenty of options for you to get your fix – but the grilled octopus, which comes from the gulf of Mexico, is prepared simplistically yet remains big on flavor. Black cod with hazelnut butter & capers is another unexpected highlight. Depending on the ambience you're looking for, tables in the enormous dining room offer an energetic feel, while the tables outside, which are set right on the lagoon with a view of the city lights across the water, are perfect for a quieter, romantic dinner.
Cocina de Autor
Eating at Cocina de Autor feels like a special treat – with only 38 seats, it has an exclusive & elegant air. Travel Age West reported that the chef, Cristian Morales, does more than cook up gourmet Mexican cuisine: He also acts as a sommelier & host as well. All of his fare offers a unique twist on classic recipes, such as the Caribbean lobster risotto & huitlacoche ravioli. If you have trouble making a decision with a variety of tempting options, you might consider the tasting menu to sample multiple dishes. Since Morales knows that every person has unique tastes, he is always happy to make recommendations & customize flavors depending on your preferences.
True foodies or gourmands-in-training will find paradise at this adult's only restaurant, which is located at the Azul Sensatori resort. Though it is a 15 minute drive from Cancun, CNN Travel reports that it's worth the trip. Start with an aperitif in the swanky lounge area & prepare for a palate-pleasing eight-course meal complete with wine pairings. The fixed price for this indulgent & innovative dinner is $150, but because this establishment is part of the Gourmet Inclusive experience, guests of the hotel pay just $25. Save room for the ultimate dessert decadence: the foie gras crème brulee.