Travelling you can often find yourself sick, maybe from something you ate, or from the many other travellers you encounter so it may not feel logical that travelling can improve our health. But maybe it can?
Travel Exposes you to different environments, which boost your immune system
Some research shows that exposure to some dirt and minor illnesses actually keep your body and gut stronger. This isn't to say you should start rolling in the dirt and stop washing your hands to embrace it, use a little hand sanitizer here and there and be smart about your basic hygiene on the road. When you travel from place to place, your body adapts to thousands of new bacteria, which in turn makes it much stronger.
Travel Lowers Stress Levels
This one may not come as a surprise to you, but it has been scientifically proven that travel will increase your happiness, decrease your depression and make you chill out. And even when you come home this better mood carries on and lasts for weeks afterwards.
Travel improves your brain health
Travel expands your mind with all the different cultures and people you meet as well as the different situations you have to adapt to. This is all good for your health as new experiences increase cognitive flexibility, keeping your mind sharp. Studies have also shown a connection between travel and an increase in creativity as you have to figure out and solve problems and unique situations. And according to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, those who travel and study abroad tend to be more open and emotionally stable.
Travel will decrease you risk of Heart Disease
This is because people who travel away from their homes for a little vacation are generally less stressed and anxious. Because of this the long-running Framingham Heart Study found that men and women who travelled annually were less likely to suffer a heart attack or develop heart disease.
Travel keeps you Fit
A lot of travel is sitting for hours in transport to get from A to B, but once you reach your destination there are lots of opportunities to force yourself to be active. We walk the city streets much more than we would back home, or hike to get the best views of our surroundings. Even if you plan to stay all day at the beach, walking on sand will force your muscles to work twice as hard.
Yosemite National Park in California's Sierra Nevade Mountains is one of the most breath-taking of America's National Parks and an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Four million visitors make their way to the country's third-oldest national park every year and soak up the sights of the skyscraping giant sequoias, the emerald-green Yosemite Valley, the waterfalls and gemstone lakes of the high country's subalpine wilderness. But there are so many amazing sites to visit within the park, and impossible to tick them all off at once, but here is a list of the top things to discover while exploring these beautiful natural wonders.
For stunning views without the effort, Glacier Point is where you can cheat the climb by driving up to the Parking lot and finding the entire Yosemite Valley spread out before you. From Yosemite Falls to Half Dome, as well as the distant peaks that ring Tuolumne Meadows. At the tip of the point is Overhanging Rock, a huge granite slab protruding from the cliff edge like an outstretched tongue, defying gravity and once providing a scenic stage for many handstands, high kicks and other wacky stunts on the rock but unfortunately now the precipice is off-limits.
Yosemite Valley is the main attraction in the park for the majority of visitors, and to enter the valley from the west you pass through the famous Tunnel View entrance. The valley is surrounded by high granite summits such as Half Dome and El Capitan, all within a dense pine forest and the Merced River that flows through the valley. You will also find the big attraction of the Yosemite Falls, the highest waterfall in North America and especially in the spring when the water flow is at its peak.
Wawona Basin / Mariposa Grove
In the Wawona Basin you will find the chunky high-rise sequoias of Mariposa Grove, the largest grove of giant sequoias in the park, which is home to approximately 500 mature trees spread over 250 acres. Walking trails wind through the grove and you can discover some of the most iconic trees including the Fallen Monarch, Grizzly Giant and the walk-through California Tunnel Tree which amazingly continues to survive, even though its hearts was hacked out back in 1895.
Stretching nearly 3 miles from Pothole Dome in the west to Lembert Dome in the east, Tuolumn meadow is beautiful, especially at sunset when the light is golden and reflecting upon the sides of distant peaks. Blanketed in snow for most of the year, the meadow explodes into life in summer, when the wildflowers, taking full advantage of the short growing season, fill the grassy expanse with colour.
Yosemite supports more than 400 species of animals, with approximately 40 species are considered endangered species in California. There are 90 different mammal species in the park, and visitors can observe safely the animals behaviors in their natural habitats. If you are lucky you may spot one of the 500 Black Bears that live in Yosemite or maybe a golden eagle, mountain lion, fox or deer.
In a city where their farmer's markets are legendary, it's no surprise that locals love gorging on farm-fresh fruits and vegetable. So when it comes to their smoothie and juices bar you know your not going to find any additives or fillers just fresh flavours from the seasonal produce. Check out the list of the best smoothie bar in town for slurping down a healthy treat.
Native Juice Co.
Native Juice Co. is a weekend fixture at Oakland's Grand Lake Farmer's Market and the Civic Center Farmer's Market in Marin. The juices and smoothies you will find here are constantly tweaked according to what's in season and each is blended fresh while you wait. The smoothies are based in coconut milk and coconut water, rather than yogurt or sorbet and sweetened by whole fruits. The You've Got Kale is a healthy classic, while the Smooth Lavendator has a fragrant kick from lavender-infused coconut milk.
With it's five locations throughout San Francisco you are sure to find a place to stop in for their cold-pressed juice, "Superfood" smoothies and health-conscious breakfast and lunch menu. The smoothies are 100 percent gluten, dairy, soy and peanut-free made from ingredients like house-made almond milk, coconut meat, vanilla bean, chia jam and maca.
This cute Brazilian juice shop is an excellent detour on the way to an afternoon in Dolores. As well as their juices and smoothies BeBe Bar offers acai bowls, as well as Sandwiches and empanadas. The decor of the shop celebrates the local neighbour with tables, lighting and art created by San Francisco artists and menu items named after a handful of local kids.
Newly opened in South Park this take out bar serves raw vegan food, Paleo and Vegan desserts, cold-pressed juices, raw nut milks, and milkshakes. One of it's popular elixir's, the Master Cleanser, includes lemon, apple, goji berries, mint, stevia, and Himalayan Salt.
With two locations in the Mission, both serve over 40 smoothies - and nearly 100 drinks in all, including juice, kombucha and wheatgrass and ginger shots. They also offer dessert options like the Chocolate Chai and the Nuts about Nutella drinks which are sweetened by vanilla frozen yogurt. A favourite of the mini-chain is their Blueberry Almond Smoothie, made with almond milk, blueberries, banana, almond butter, vanilla and frozen yogurt.
Blue Hawaii Acai Cafe
After starting up in Hawaii this breakfast-lunch spot has come to San Francisco. The restaurant has gained a following for its acai bowls, poke bowls and all natural smoothies. The drinks are dairy and artificial sweetener-free, blended with organic soy milk and apple juice. Highlights includes the Lime Drop, a tongue-tingling blend of acai, berries and fresh lime, and the Pink Dragon, which contains dragon fruit and banana.
With eight outposts throughout the Bay Area, The Plant is a go-to, guilt-free for salads, sandwiches, juice and smoothies. Despite its growing size, the restaurants still sources all its organic ingredients from nearby farms and has a large selection of smoothies, from the eye-opening Banana Buzz (coffee, dates, banana, cinnamon, cocoa powder, almond and coconut milk) to the tart Clean Green (avocado, kale, pineapple, lemon, ginger, almond milk, apple juice and orange juice). All the smoothies offer the choice of almond, coconut or cow milk.
When travelling around the world we can encounter some incredible sights and meet some wonderful cultures, full of some of the happiest people who survive on so little. While back home many of us may be more concerned about having the latest smart phone and the top brands these humble people are more focused on their everyday survival. Though we are only tourists we can still make a difference and impact people lives and environments as responsible travellers.
Responsible Travel means looking at our impact on the environment and local cultures and economies while travelling and acting to make that impact as positive as possible.
Some Ideas on how you can become more of a Responsible Traveller:
VOLUNTEER SOME OF YOUR TIME
Whether you're travelling for a year or a couple of weeks you may find offering even a small amount of time to a worthwhile cause can make a world of difference.
When it comes to spending your money overseas it can have a massive impact on the community. Though when we are at home we think about supporting our local shops this can still be true when overseas, look at having dinner at the small local restaurant instead of the Hotel, or purchasing a trinket from a street vendor over a souvenir store.
THINK BEFORE YOU ACT WITH WILDLIFE ACTIVITIES
Though whenever we think about Thailand we often imagine riding an elephant but wildlife tourism like this are often more harmful than we realise. Make sure that if you are looking at visiting a place where there is wildlife that they are a reputable organisation and they practice animal protection and safe practices. Next time you travel look at visiting an elephant rescue park over riding one.
RESPECT THE LOCAL CULTURE
One of the greatest experiences when travelling is the local cultures and religions but we need to make sure we are respectful when travelling. Many countries dress more conservatively than we are used to, so it may mean covering up more to practice their local customs and traditions. Even learning a greeting or a few common phrases can be a great way to show respect when you are travelling.
MINIMISE YOUR WASTE
In many developing countries awareness of waste management may not be as widely educated as back home, and on holiday we can become more slack with our good practices. But when overseas we should be more respectful of retaining the beautiful environment, so eat at a local cafe rather than going for takeaway, and use a reusable water bottle when you can to reduce your waste.
CHOOSE SUSTAINABLE ACCOMMODATION AND TOUR OPERATORS
It's possible when looking at accommodation and tour operators to find businesses that work actively within their local communities or have practices that help protect the environment. Do some research and pick the local tours that pay their staff well and donate to charities
LOWER YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
To minimise your carbon foot-print look at alternative transport methods, use the local trains or buses when getting around cities over taxis. Or even look at walking over taking the buses those few stops down the road. Or maybe if the area offers it, look at renting a bicycle to enjoy the local landscape as well as getting from A to B.
LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE WHEN BARGAINING
In some regions of the world, bargaining is common practice and part of the culture when you have to buy off street stalls and vendors. But it's important to thing about the bigger picture when bargaining the price down, though it may not seem like a lot of money to you, for the local people those extra $2 dollars can go a long way. So just be aware when you fighting over a price, that this is their source of income, while for you it may just be a trinket or tee shirt.
DON'T GIVE TO BEGGARS
Now this one can be especially hard, and may seem like it goes against your ethic to not give to people less fortunate than yourself, but of lot of times you are just encouraging local people to pretend they are worst off than they are in order to get money off tourists. Especially when the local children are sometimes pulled out of schools to beg on the streets, and in worst cases are part of a larger network run by adults who take all the 'profits' of the begging.
EDUCATE OTHERS TO BE RESPONSIBLE TRAVELLERS
Though a lot of these ideas may seem natural to some, others may need to be better educated or just don't have general knowledge of the impact that their actions are taking while they are travelling. Talk to people you meet, start conversations and spread the word about being responsible when you travel.
Azamara Club Cruises aim is to challenge your perception of cruising, no matter where in the world you travel with them, their focus is on making sure you can experience each destination in-depth, and return home enriched with memories. Their small and luxurious ships are your boutique hotel at sea, taking you to destinations around the world that other larger ships can't. And with so much included, an Azamara cruise holiday has so much to offer.
Smaller Ships, Bigger Experiences
Azamara's ships are just the right size for visiting the smaller ports larger ships can't sail to, making it easier to experience destinations like Venice, Bangkok, Nice, Sydney and St. Petersburg right from your doorstep.
Longer Stays & More Overnights
With more late departures (8pm or later) and more overnight stays than other cruise lines, you'll have more time to explore onshore and see destinations come to life after dark.
World Events & Themed Voyages
Wear your country colours for the World Cup, experience the thrill of the Monaco Grand Prix or get your taste buds ready for a wine-themed voyages.
Introducing Country Intensive Voyages
Azamara's new Country-Intensive Voyages offer an in-depth travel experience with itineraries consisting of most, if not all ports of call within one country. You'll stay late or overnight in most ports, allowing you plenty of opportunity to experience a country after dark and also as the sun rises.
Your Boutique Hotel at Sea
Azamara's two ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, are your perfect sized boutique hotels at sea. Carrying only 690 guests, you'll enjoy a relaxed and refined atmosphere, attentive service from our staff and camaraderie with your fellow guests. In 2016 both ships underwent US$25 million contemporary revitalisations to make your onboard experience more luxurious than ever before. New enhancements include the new Club spa suites with bathrooms overlooking the ocean; a fresh updates of all stateroom; the Living Room, a new space where you can enjoy afternoon wine tasting and tapas; and an 'Inspiration Centre' featuring a 100 inch screen and more.
Distinctive Dining Options
Discoveries Restaurant - Enjoy table service for a la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner in this beautiful main dining venue.
The Patio - Casual "pool grill" by day and a sit-down al fresco dining experience by night.
Aqualina - Speciality dining featuring a contemporary take on some of Italy's most celebrated dishes
Prime C - Delectable dining in warm wood-panelled ambiance, serving steaks cooked to perfection, lobster and much more
Windows Cafe - This casual dining option offers freshly prepared breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
Mosaic Cafe - Start your day with barista-made coffees and teas, and be tempted by the sweets at Mosaic Cafe.
Your Kind of Inclusions
Every Azamara Club Cruises voyage is packed with complimentary, high-value amenities and services so you won't have to worry about a thing.
INCLUSIVE AMENITIES FOR ALL GUESTS:
PLUS ADDITIONAL INCLUSIONS FOR SUITE GUESTS
Cruise Global Connect Local
Azamara's Cruise Global, Connect Local Collection of excursions and activities will take you deeper into the heart of local life. Experience exclusive events and activities, all with a focus on the immersive culture and natural beauty of your destinations. Most group sizes are a maximum of just 25 guests and are designed and delivered by trusted local operators.
Created solely for Azamara guests, complimentary AzAmazing evenings share Azamara's love of local culture through an exclusive, bespoke and fun evening of local entertainment. One AzAmazing Evening event is included on most voyages. And you won't find them on any other cruise line.