Being physically active together as a couple is a great way to strengthen your relationship and share each other’s interests. Whether you’re already an avid backpacker or you’ve never tried it before, going backpacking with your partner can help you to feel closer than ever.

Let’s face it, everyone is busy. Combine that with these uncertain times we’re living in, and stress is running rampant. According to the American Institute of Stress, 33% of people claim to have extreme stress. Being in a strong relationship can help with that, and spending time staying active outdoors is a great way to boost your mental health, get more energy, and fall even more in love with your partner.

But, to get closer in your relationship, it’s going to take more than packing a few granola bars and hitting the trail.

Let’s cover a few ways you can actively use backpacking as a couple to get closer and enjoy the personal benefits along the way.

A Romantic Getaway for Two

In a world of social media, smartphones, and constantly being bombarded by news, it can be beneficial to “get away” for a while. Backpacking is a great way to unplug and go off the grid, even for a day.

You can also choose to make a trip out of it by using it as an excuse to celebrate a special event, like an anniversary. Camping or backpacking as a couple are wonderful ways to reconnect with your partner away from the rest of the world. While expensive dinners have their place, there is no better way to strengthen your bond than to go hiking during the day and share a tent at night. If you’re backpacking on a budget, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Borrow your camping gear
  • Bring your own firewood
  • Cook in bulk
  • Bring bedding from home

What sounds more romantic than talking and drinking a glass of wine around a campfire or huddling together for warmth while sharing a sleeping bag? You’ll definitely get closer to your partner – literally and figuratively!

A Staycation to Remember

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed people’s travel plans for nearly two years. While things are starting to open up and return to normal, not everyone feels comfortable flying or going to new locations just yet.

The good news?

You can save money, stay safe, and might even have a better time by planning a staycation with your partner. By staying around your own community, you can enjoy things like:

  • A spa day
  • A movie night
  • City tours
  • Checking out local farmers markets
  • Going to museums

Spending time outdoors is another great way to appreciate your town or city. By going on a camping trip at a local park or in the woods, you can enjoy a long hike together during the day, cook a meal together in the evening, and do some romantic stargazing away from the lights of the city before you go to bed.

A staycation can be just as magical and memorable as hopping on a plane and heading somewhere new. So, get creative with the things you can do, and if you love being active and spending time outdoors, make sure to include plenty of backpacking activities in your plans.

Lean on Each Other

Even if you’re an active couple, you might be new to the world of backpacking or hiking. That makes it the perfect opportunity to get closer. When you go on a backpacking trip with your significant other, you’ll have to rely on things like strong communication, divvying up responsibilities, and leaning on each other for support.

In some ways, it can be a challenge. You might reach your physical limits. You might even argue over which way to go on the trail. But, there is no better time to openly communicate and work through things. By the end of it, you might even surprise yourself with how much better you feel and how much stronger you are as a couple after backpacking.

When it’s just the two of you, and you’re not distracted by work, a social life, or even digital devices, you’ll have the opportunity to build on your connection and really get to learn more about each other, no matter how long you’ve been together.

Maybe you’ll have conversations you’ve been holding back for a long time. Maybe you’ll find out something that you didn’t know about your partner before. Being out in nature can help to clear your head while reducing stress, so both of you might be willing to be more vulnerable.

If you’ve never gone camping or backpacking as a couple, don’t wait. Take your passion for staying active and being outdoors, and use it to strengthen your relationship. Keep these tips in mind to get closer, have fun, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Though we’re willing to bet once you experience the benefits of backpacking, you’ll want to do it again and again!

If you are thinking of moving to the US, then you need to make sure that you are properly prepared. There are many steps that you will need to take to ensure that you are legally covered and to give yourself the best shot at success. Whether you are arriving for new employment or looking to start your own business, here is what you need to know.

Start Preparing Now

Find out as much as you can before you move. Remember that COVID-19 restrictions may still be slowing administration down and affecting travel. Contact your employer for advice on how you can speed up the process. Read city guides for the area you are moving to. Prepare for a background check and a criminal record check. Find your academic certificates, your bank statements, your driver’s license and any marriage or birth certificates.

Get Insurance

Look for a health insurance policy before you move. Provide as much information as you can to avoid losing out on any payments. Remember that healthcare is not paid for by the state in the US as it is in other countries.

Find The Right Visa

Talk to an immigration lawyer about which visa is right for you. Talk to your employer if they are sponsoring your visa. Prepare all your documents and references as early as possible to avoid delays. Ask your immigration lawyer about which visa you need if you are starting a new business.

Consider that you may need to apply for visas for employees for your business. Find out if the requirements have changed in recent years. Look at H2A visa regulations to learn what is needed for an agricultural business looking for seasonal immigrant workers. Apply for a visa even if you are moving with an American citizen. Remember that your partner will need to apply for a visa if they are moving with you and are not a US citizen.

Know Your Laws

Research the laws and legislation of the state you are moving to. Be aware that some laws are different from state to state. Find out what tax you need to be paying as an immigrant and remember that you may be paying taxes in your home nation too. Factor in sales tax on any purchases and remember that it changes depending on the state. Learn the US-specific laws including the drinking age and driving restrictions. Learn about liability in case of an accident at work or on the road. Tip your service industry employees wherever you go (this is not a law, but it is expected).

Being on an airplane is not fun for most people as you’re usually dealing with staying seated for many hours, being in proximity with a lot of other travelers, and probably being quite bored. Frequent travelers however have a personalized list of things they do to make even long haul flights bearable and productive. Here are a few easy air travel tips to follow to ensure your next flight is as enjoyable and as comfortable as it can possibly be.

1. Get Airline Status

Many people may fly fairly frequently but will never have applied for airline status. Airline status is calculated by the number of miles you have flown with any airline and on that basis, you can qualify for certain benefits like extra storage weight, a special shorter line for boarding and the occasional upgrade to first class. Depending on the airline, you could enjoy a happier flight with perks like discounts or window seats.

2. Set Yourself Up For Comfort

The hours leading up to the flight are crucial preparation. To set yourself up for a happier flight, make sure you have your packing done in a timely fashion, so you aren’t running around stressed trying to get everything done, and having your paperwork in order helps you depart from home in a relaxed mindset. For flying purposes, leave the fashion to one side and wear really comfortable clothing. Tracksuits, sweatshirts, and even pajama bottoms may not be the most visually appealing clothes, but they are going to be a lifesaver on a long, cramped flight.

3. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For What You Need

If you are concerned about your seat being uncomfortable or if you get thirsty more than the average person, you need to voice your needs and not be afraid to ask for a reassigned seat, and extra water or snacks. Ideally, you should try to pack homemade food and healthy snacks like granola bars or trail mix. Ask the airline can you fly with edibles beforehand, as they could have restrictions you don’t know about.

4. Keep The Entertainment Ready

A basic air travel tip to follow for all your flights (especially if you make a habit of booking your seat early to get a better one) is to have all your electronics with you fully charged. If you have a streaming service subscription like Netflix, download a few movies or series that you can watch on the flight. The same goes for books and games on your tablet or Kindle. Many people prefer reading electronically since books take up too much space, but they could be a good idea if you get headaches from excessive screen usage. Blue light glasses are important for a happier flight if you’re planning to use your laptop or tablet for a long time.

5. Get Some Sleep

Contrary to popular opinion, a flight is the best place to catch up on your sleep. Get some earplugs, a nice eye mask, and simply doze off. The hours will slip by, and you’ll wake up refreshed when you reach your destination.

If you’ve got a fun hike coming up, it’s easy to feel like a kid on Christmas morning. The excitement and anticipation are unmatched for those who love hitting the trails, and that’s never a bad thing. The more passionate you are about hiking, the better! But, that passion and excitement can also cause you to overlook certain things as you prepare for your trek, leading to common hiking injuries.

You might forget to pack the right essentials, or you might hit the trail with gusto and go at a pace that could be damaging to your body, especially if you’re new to the world of hiking.

The health benefits of backpacking – both mental and physical – are incredible. The last thing you want is to turn them upside down and injure yourself or feel stressed out on the trail because you’re not taking your time or practicing preparedness.

So, what can you do to prevent common hiking injuries? Furthermore, how can you deal with aches and pains that still might occur, despite your best efforts?

Practice Proper Preparation

Avoiding discomfort and injury starts before your hike actually begins. You might be excited to get on your favorite trail, but taking the time to prepare and center yourself is important.

That starts with making sure you’re properly packed. Your backpack should include:

  • Navigation tools
  • Adequate water
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Rain protection
  • Safety items (fire starter, flashlight, whistle)
  • First aid kit
  • Sun protection

That might sound like a lot, but they are very basic items that won’t weigh you down too much and will help to keep you safe and comfortable.

It’s also important to have the right gear on your body. Don’t bust out your brand new hiking boots the day you plan on hitting a long trail. You don’t know how they’ll fit, and if they’re new, they could cause blistering and discomfort. Instead, wear something you know you can walk in for miles. Wear clothing that breathes and doesn’t irritate you. And, make sure you’re carrying extra socks if your feet get wet or sweaty.

How to Avoid Common Hiking Injuries

If you’re a seasoned hiker, you might know about some common hiking injuries and how to avoid them. But, it’s always good to remind yourself of the potential risks out there. If you’re a novice, learning more about these injuries will help you be more aware when you’re on your trek.

First, it’s important to take stock of how you feel before you head out on your hike. Medical conditions don’t have to stop you from heading out. In fact, regular exercise is a great way to manage the symptoms of many conditions, like GERD. But, listen to your body. If you’re in pain or not feeling well before you start, it might be better to reschedule your hike. No one wants to experience GERD symptoms during a hike.

If you’re feeling good and already out on the trail, keep your eyes open. Some of the most common injuries are easy to avoid as long as you’re paying attention, including:

  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Insect bites/stings
  • Poisonous plants
  • Dehydration

It’s not only important to pay attention to your surroundings, but yourself, too. Periodically “check-in” with yourself. Think about how you’re feeling. Are you tired? Take a break. Thirstier than you realized? Drink some water. When was the last time you applied sunscreen? Put on another layer.

By paying attention to yourself and the things around you, you’re less likely to get injured or experience discomfort right away or when you get home.

Recover the Right Way

Speaking of getting home, preventing discomfort doesn’t stop when you’re off the trail.

Hiking is an intense workout, especially if you do it all day in the blistering sun. Taking the time to properly recover is hugely important. To make sure you’re doing that, start by staying as hydrated as possible. Keep drinking water frequently throughout the next day to restore your energy levels and make sure your muscles are hydrated.

Additionally, eat the right things. Working out impacts your muscles, and stretching afterward might help them feel less tight, but they are depleted after a hike. Proper nutrition is the best way to restore them.

There are no hard and fast rules about exactly which foods to consume. But, you’ll want to include plenty of healthy protein, fats, and carbs. That can be found in everything from tuna to avocados. Eat what you enjoy, but make sure it’s benefiting your body, rather than depleting it further.

If you’re dealing with a common hiking injury and trying to recover, rest is best. If you get back on the trails too quickly, you could risk injuring yourself further. When you’re ready, though, hiking can be a great way to ease back into a workout regiment after an injury or condition. For example, it’s a wonderful way to manage the effects of varicose veins without putting extra strain on your body.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much to keep yourself safe and comfortable and avoid common hiking injuries. Staying prepared, knowledgeable, and smart about your recovery will allow you to keep that “kid on Christmas morning” mentality, so you can continue to hit the trails as often as possible.

The pandemic has put a chokehold on the economy, and with it, travel, business, and virtually every other aspect of modern life. COVID-19 has essentially changed the way we live our lives, forcing us to adapt to new definitions of normal with many limitations.

At the same time, the pandemic has allowed us to view (and travel) the world with an entirely new perspective, one that understands how fragile and fleeting life on Earth can be, and one that recognizes how reckless we have been.

There are many risks involved with traveling right now, like, for instance, landing in Thailand’s Sandbox initiative, and there are many other reasons to want to wait until things clear up to start going places.

Although the term ‘post-pandemic’ seems to be avoiding us, vaccinations and country-wide counter-measures are starting to show us the light at the end of the tunnel.

Pros of Travelling during the Pandemic

photo of a group of friends having fun while exploring the Dolomites

Photo by Felix Rostig on Unsplash

People are very hesitant to travel right now—and with good reason. Although rising vaccination rates and diligent testing has been successfully enforced in many areas, the spread of new virus variants has made people wary of travel.

Since folks are less likely to travel cross-country, standard tourist hotspots are seeing less incoming traffic from foreigners, allowing room for visitors to enjoy and take in the scenery more deeply.

Some of the best options people have right now are to be found locally, but there’s a few reasons why ethically safe travel abroad could be a great option for those looking to feed their travel bug.

Less crowds

  • Less incoming traffic means more room for travelers to explore and get to know places in an unhurried, leisurely way.

More room for enjoyment

  • The shift from cross-country international travel to tighter, in-country restricted travel has caused people to adjust by spending more time indulging at their destination throughout their trips, whether it’s art, cuisine, history, or culture. Not that we didn’t do this before, but now we’re seeing an increase in interest to explore places top to bottom.

Cheaper airfare and accommodations

  • Less flights going in and out of places means airlines are more likely to give discounts to travelers. Less hotel bookings can also mean more room availability, and therefore better rates and discounted prices for guests. This has slowly changed as borders open up and more people take to the skies, but there are still many areas where the travel has had a slow start.

Cons of Travelling Right Now

black couple walking down a crowded street wearing masks

Photo by Uriel Mont from Pexels

This one is pretty obvious, but in case you were wondering what it’s like to travel during the pandemic, here’s what you can expect to find in most countries that are accepting tourists.

Less flexibility

  • Curfew in certain areas could mean your nights end at 9PM, that’s a huge chunk of fun in nightly destinations such as Las Vegas or Miami.
  • Bars could be closed as part of ongoing countermeasures, backed up by science.
  • Certain destinations require incoming travelers to isolate themselves for one or two days after arriving.
  • Many attractions, parks, and businesses are operating with limitations or not at all.

More risk

  • Risk of flight delays or cancellations
  • Risk of higher costs due to testing, delays, or hospitalizations
  • Risk of getting infected with COVID

General uncertainty

  • Rules may change suddenly
  • You can be infected with COVID and be asymptomatic
  • Online schedules are at a disarray

Travel Tips During the Pandemic

Weigh the pros and cons of travelling during the pandemic

Photo by Capturing the human heart. on Unsplash

Whether or not you decide to travel right now, you should always keep in mind that the pandemic isn’t over yet.

Before booking your flights, make sure you read up on your destination’s current COVID-19 situation and look up any relevant travel authorities for updates on their COVID-19 response so you know what to expect before you arrive.

As a rule of thumb, you should make plans to wear your mask and follow social distancing rules while visiting so that you help keep yourself and others safe during your stay.

There are many reasons to want to wait until things get better to travel, but there are also reasons for traveling right now that have to be acknowledged, like work- or family-related emergencies that require immediate attention.

Here’s a few tips for travelers who decide to postpone their adventures a while longer and some for those who don’t have a choice or just want to get out.

Do Travel (Don’t wait)

Don’t Travel (Wait)

Research your destination

  • Avoid crows
  • Use masks/social distancing
  • Read up on COVID response
  • Compare flight fares
  • Book early

Start budgeting early

  • Cut expenses
  • Set realistic goals
  • Take your time

Have a backup plan

  • Play it safe
  • Look into insurance

Take time to learn about your destination in advance

  • Learn about history and culture
  • Pinpoint places you want to visit
  • Figure out transportation

Keep an open mind

Make plans to fully immerse and enjoy yourself

Get vaccinated

Research travel credit cards/promotions that help you save on travel costs

If you do decide to hop on a plane in the near future, check out the CDC’s travel guidelines page for the latest information and updates to travel recommendations so you’re in the know.

Why Travel Insurance Helps

airplane aisle during flight

Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash

With the COVID-19 pandemic, travelers are facing a variety of new obstacles at the airport, as well as in hotels and check-ins throughout their trips.

As part of their COVID-19 safety and security response, some countries, like Thailand, Costa Rica, and Jamaica, are now requiring medical insurance coverage for travelers of up to $100K.

The best insurance coverage will provide you with a safety net that can protect your investment from the unexpected. As part of your insurance policy, you should expect coverage in the following areas:

  1. Trip Cancellation
  2. Delays
  3. Baggage Loss
  4. Hospitalizations
  5. Quarantines

Note: not all countries require hospitalization coverage, but having a solid backup plan can be useful in case a sudden outbreak pulls down the curtain on your plans.