Home Travel Tips

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Having recently read this great article on the best cities in Europe, I thought I’d give my own take on it and run through my 5 top cities in Asia. Afterall, if you are planning on visiting Asia, it is important that you know which cities to visit. The more time you take to look into these places, the more likely you will be to visit at least some of them. These cities are extremely popular travel destinations for people all over the world, and each one has something unique to offer.

Bangkok, Thailand

Often referred to as one of the most exciting cities in the world, Bangkok is definitely one place that you do not want to miss out on when you are in Asia. This city has some of the biggest markets in the entire world, and there are also the breathtakingly beautiful temples to visit. The Grand Palace is truly an incredibly sight to behold, as it is home to the Emerald Buddha. There is also the Golden Buddha, which is the largest golden statue in the world.

The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is a very unique and fun place to go in this city, and it will afford you the opportunity to buy some great souvenirs. There are also a lot of great places to eat in Bangkok, such as Apsara Dinner Cruise by Banyan Tree, which offers a fun way to eat gourmet cuisine. It is highly recommend that you at least look into visiting this city before making a final decision either way.

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Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is another great Asian city that has so much to offer in the way of culture, food, attractions, and all sorts of beautiful sights that you do not want to miss out on. This busy and bustling city is known for its incredible restaurants as well as extremely efficient transportation. You will never be bored when you are in Tokyo, simply because there is so much to do and see. If you are looking a historic site to visit in the area, Sensoji Temple may be right up your alley.

There is no doubt that Tokyo is a very big and fast paced city, which can be a bit overwhelming for those who are from smaller cities or rural areas. The Meiji Shrine is one of the more popular attractions in this city, as its beautiful garden attracts people from all over. The Tsukihi Fish Market is a great place to go when you are craving fish. Roppongi offers an exciting night life as well as shopping, art museum, and much more.

Beijing, China

Beijing is the capital of China and has some stunningly impressive imperial palaces at the Forbidden City. While getting around may not be easy, it is still a city that you should consider visiting. Many locals do not speak English, or any other language for that matter, so you will need to keep that in mind. There is of course the Great Wall of China, which draws in millions of tourists from all over the world each year. The Temple of Heaven is yet another sight that you do not want to miss out when you visit this city.

There are so many different historic places to visit in Beijing, but there are also lots of great areas for shopping and partying when you feel like it. You will also need to make a point of checking out some of the different restaurants in this area, because the food is truly incredible.

Shanghai, China

Sometimes referred to as the “Paris of the East,” Shanghai is a beautiful waterfront city that evolved quite a bit from the humble fishing village it once was. This area is definitely known for its excellent shopping, so you will be bound to find some great things to take back home with you. While it’s true that there are lots of tall modern buildings, this city still has somewhat of an old feel to it. The incredible skyline of Shanghai will absolutely take your breath away, and there is so much that you will be able to while you are here.

The Oriental Pearl Tower is just one of the more iconic buildings in Shanghai, dominating the skyline. If you really want to appreciate this city as a whole, take one of the famous boat tours.

Mumbai, India

Mumbai is certainly one city that you’ll need to get to when you are visiting Asia. This city is also known as Bombay, and it’s home to some of the richest and poorest people in all of Asia. The diversity in this city is incredible, and there are quite a few things to do. It is also home to the Bollywood film industry, which is incredible huge and impressive. While this city might not be for everyone, you will definitely still want to at least look into it before deciding whether or not to visit.

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Whether you’re planning a vacation or hoping to travel long-term, one of the biggest barriers can be trying to save enough money. Because your trip or departure date is in the future, it can be difficult to put money away when friends are calling and asking you to go out and party, or those cute shoes are calling your name.

Here are some smart ways to save for travel:

Get your friends on board

It’s hard to keep saving when your friends are begging you to come out and play. One of the best things you can do is to let them know about your travel plans, and explain that you really need their help. People like to be needed, so tell them that the best thing they can do to help you meet your goals is to help you find fun, cheap ways to socialise.

Instead of going out for dinner each week, why not take turns having a potluck dinner? And instead of going out to a bar, how about drinks and a games night? There are plenty of ways to socialise, and as long as you explain to your friends that you’re watching your budget and how important it is that you save a certain amount of money, you’ll find it much easier to save.

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Get creative

There are plenty of ways to make money on the side, but many people fail to think creatively. If you’re the type who loves going out to the casino every few weeks, you don’t need to cut that habit completely. Try websites like 188BET and W88, which will allow you to have fun, play games, and make money, without spending a lot of money on drinks and dinner in the casino.

If you love doing crafts in your spare time, or you have a cool idea for a product, why not consider getting on Etsy? You can have your own business selling your designs and can even take your business international.

Another option is to try freelancing, and use your writing, coding, design, PR, or social media skills to make money on the side in your free time. You may even find that this allows you to travel for longer when you’re away from home.

Cut costs

Do you really need that gym membership when you can’t remember the last time you went to the gym? Cut it, and stick that money straight in your travel fund each month. Commit to working out outside, or look up some of the many great workouts on YouTube.

The same goes for luxuries like Starbucks. Make coffee at home, or allow yourself one or two coffees out each week instead of every day. Watch movies at home instead of the cinema, and choose between either Netflix or Hulu- there’s no reason to have both if you’re trying to save.

You may also find that you can get cheaper insurance, electricity, and internet, so shop around and see what kind of deals you can get.

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With over 2.8 billion people expected to own a smartphone by 2020, it’s clear to see that our modern-day society has become hugely oriented around smartphones. Whilst some criticize the influence of smartphones, there’s no denying they can be extremely useful in a wide variety of situations simply because of all the apps available for download.

These days, there’s an app for almost anything, with traveling being a hot topic for many app developers looking to create the next best thing. And as the average cost of a round-the-world trip is estimated to be at least $20,000, many developers are specifically focusing on saving money whilst traveling – something pretty much every avid traveler would be grateful for! So, if you love nothing more than seeing the world but often feel held back due to lack of funds, here are some of today’s top apps that will help you become a thrifty traveler by tracking your expenses.

TrabeePocket

Simple and user-friendly, TrabeePocket is great for almost any form of travel. So, if you’re going on a long-term adventure or simply taking a family vacation, TrabeePocket will track your expenses every step of the way.

Simply input your chosen destination and each time you spend money, and TrabeePocket will instantly convert your currency from US dollars to the currency of the country you’re going to. This is extremely useful as exchange rates can be confusing and, if you’re not in-the-know, could make you think you have more money than you actually do.

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Level Money

Taking expense tracking one step further, Level Money instantly syncs itself with your bank accounts, meaning you don’t have to manually input anything in order to track how much money you have.

This app will accurately show how much money you can realistically afford to spend on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis, giving you the best possible idea of how much to budget for per day. Then, if you find yourself spending more than you should on a particular day, you’ll instantly be notified and will be able to adjust your next day’s budget to accommodate extra spending!

But whilst this app is great for keeping you in-the-know, it’s important to remember that you still have to take control of your spending. So, if at any point you find yourself needing a financial helping hand when on the road, taking out a small personal loan could be a good option – click here for more information.

Trail Wallet

Simply set your budget for the day and Trail Wallet makes adding expenditures easy with no hassle. Offering a useful categorization system, you’re able to place each expense into a specific category, meaning you’ll always be able to see which areas you’re spending the most money in and whether or not you need to make adjustments.

Being a thrifty traveler is often easier said than done but, with these apps by your side, almost all the work is done for you! Tracking expenses when on-the-go is essential to ensure you don’t accidentally spend too much, meaning you’ll be financially organized without missing out on any fun.

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If you are a traveling enthusiast, then you are well aware of the fact that planning is not a one-day job. You need time to cover all the basics. The itinerary alone can suffer modifications every week, depending on what type of traveler you are. I know mine does. I start with the idea that I want to go somewhere, but sometime along the way, I change everything and end up in an entirely different place. It happens, but the point is that it takes time to put it all together. However, what if I told you that there are a few steps that can be done in less time than usual? It would come in handy, wouldn’t it?

Go for an e-visa

There are several countries that allow the use of e-visas. Going to India, for example, is possible with an e-visa. Of course, it’s valid only at certain points of entry, but who cares? Chances are that you are going that way anyway. But think about the amount of time you save. Getting a visa requires you going to the consulate of the country of destination, you need to stand in line (sometimes for hours), fill in an application, and then wait a long while for your permit. Depending on the time of the year, you could wait several months for the visa to be released. An e-visa, however, requires only 20 minutes (tops) of your time, the same amount of documentation, and the visa can arrive in your inbox in 18 hours. Can you imagine? That is less than a day. It’s every traveler’s dream.

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Itinerary apps

I don’t know if you have ever heard of them, but when I discovered they exist, I was overjoyed. You may think that I exaggerate a little bit, but when you are clumsy and forgetful, such an app can save you a lot of time. Here is how they work. Every time you book a flight, a hotel, a tour, or whatever else you can think of, you receive a confirmation mail. After you finish booking, you can send all those e-mails to the app, and the app will sort them out and turn them into an itinerary. You will have everything about your trip on a single screen. You won’t have to browse through your mail to find the confirmations, and you won’t forget anything. The app can even send notifications. There are several such applications, so you have where to choose from.

Passport photos via webcam

If you are applying for a passport, or if you want to renew the old one, you will need photos. To get them, you must either got to a drug store or a photo studio. Nothing complicated and it doesn’t really take much time. But there is a way you can get passport photos online, and all you have to is stand in front of your webcam. You don’t even have to be fully dressed. Who knew?

Traveling is fun and exciting, but planning…not so much. It takes time, you sometimes get frustrated, you need to go places, and so on. That is why tips like the ones I told you about come in handy. They will not solve all your issues, but they will save you some valuable time.

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Deep History

The eight main islands of Hawaii are, in order of size: Hawai’i, Maui, O’ahu, Kaua’i, Moloka’i, Lana’i, Ni’ihau, and Kaho’olawe. Each of these islands has its own climate, history, controversy, and attraction. The smallest of these islands has no permanent residents as its climate is arid; the largest of these is world-renowned.

There is quite a bit of diversity in Hawaii, and additionally a great deal of misconception surrounding this region. For example, the population of this fiftieth state of America is only three times that of Wyoming, America’s least populous state. Wyoming is under 600,000 in population, Hawaii is under 1.5 million. That’s surprising!

Consider that Denver, Colorado and surrounding area exceeds this population easily, as does Portland and surrounding area, and Seattle’s extended urban sprawl. What this means is that the wilderness of Hawaii is relatively great, and though not untouched by man, you can still get   a sense of tropical wildness from these islands.

The indigenous peoples of Hawaii have been living there for hundreds of years, and the first human settlement is estimated to have taken place sometime around 800 A.D. That’s about 1,200 years of continuous history, predating American history by centuries. Granted, for many years, this wasn’t a “developed” area, but there were people there.

And, to be sure, the climate of Hawaii doesn’t necessarily require a great deal of development. The land is plentiful, peaceful, and truly an area of paradise. The temperature remains relatively similar year-round, and you can find all manner of topography throughout the isles.

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More Heritage Than You Thought

This volcanic archipelago consists of more than the eight primary isles. As it turns out, there are literally hundreds of little islands throughout this region, though getting to them depends on certain native authorizations. As an example, Kaho’olawe can’t be accessed except by special permission.

These islands were first called “The Sandwich Isles” by European explorers after the Earl of Sandwich, but that undercuts the resident culture that had already been there a thousand years. Still, there are good and bad people everywhere.

The United States military has had a presence in Hawaii for decades, even predating the status of this island nation as an American state. Did you know that Hawaii wasn’t “technically” part of the United States  until 1959, when it was incorporated as the country’s 50th state? Of course, tourism had commenced long before.

But this is something to keep in mind when you’re touring this island region. What happened during WWII was a big part of what eventually brought Hawaii under the penumbra of United States rule.

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From The Harbor Of Pearls To Mountains Of Fire

According to DiscoverHawaiiTours.com, you don’t want to miss dropping by Pearl Harbor; according to the site: “Pearl Harbor tours are a must on any trip to Hawaii.” While there are many interesting  Hawaii tours available, this is one of the most integral to embark on.

Pearl Harbor Oahu is beautiful as well. But you can also take hikes through vast jungles, make your way to the top of continuously active volcanoes, and even snowboard. That is in addition to enjoying of some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, as well as exceptional nightlife sure to leave memorable impressions of vacation time well spent.

If you have never been to Hawaii, this is definitely somewhere to go the moment you’ve got the chance. Leave your job in pilot auger boring for a couple weeks, kick back, relax, catch some waves, get a tan, see the jungles, tour the historical areas, and embark on an adventure the likes of which you may not be able to find anywhere else in the world.

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Despite the uncertainty of the economic climate, the world is still a magnificent place to explore. No recession can change the curative powers of a vacation. What’s important is that you manage your travel budget wisely and get more for your money. Here are some tips to help you stretch each dollar, while still enjoying an amazing vacation.

Pack Light

One thing that can slow you way down is hauling around a ton of luggage. That rolling suitcase, laptop, and carry-on bag make it impossible to walk long distances and will increase your baggage fees. The remedy is to think more like a backpacker that travels around the world with only a few necessities. They utilize multi-function items like shampoo/conditioner combos and pants that double as shorts. Their clothes are also pretty light, to avoid adding weight to their bags.

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Change Your Itinerary

You’ll enjoy your trip more if you can learn to embrace spontaneity. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan carefully, but rather that you should be flexible enough to mix things up. If you’ve already booked a room at a local hostel, bring information for other hostels or B&B’s with you, as well. If there are other nearby locations you think you might want to see, get information on lodging and transportation options in those areas, as well.

Travel Alone

Another option that might save you some money is traveling alone. If you look carefully, you can always find cheap alternatives for lodging and entertainment. This can be hard to stick with if your traveling companions prefer more conventional (and/or expensive) accommodations. Instead of being reluctant to travel alone, think about all the interesting people you can meet and share experiences with by yourself. You’d be surprised at how many lifelong friendships have been forged among lone travelers who met in faraway places.

Do Lots of Walking

No matter where you go, walking is one of the best ways to get to know an area. You don’t have to walk everywhere, but you’ll save a decent amount of money interspersing car or train trips with plenty of walking. It’s a great way to experience medieval cities, national parks and scenic coastlines on a more personal level. Walking is also the least expensive transportation option for someone saddled with student loan debt. Click here to learn more about consolidating student loans.

Use Public Transportation

If walking isn’t for you, look into the available public transportation options. In most cases, tickets come with a transfer or some way to get a round-trip. Day passes are perfect if you’re planning on taking several rides to different parts of town. One of public transportation’s other advantages is that you get a chance to interact with the locals up close while seeing the city at a more leisurely pace. It’s easier to enjoy yourself when you’re not fumbling with directions or afraid of getting lost.

As you can see, it is possible to enjoy the trip of a lifetime without breaking the bank. The tips above are designed to help you get the most out of your travel budget, without sacrificing too much. When employed together, they can greatly enhance the experience.

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Airports can be a relaxing first port of call on your way to your destination so long as you plan a few things in advance. Find here a few tips on how to get ready for the ultimate airport experience.

When you book your plane ticket

There is an effortless way to start saving as soon as you have booked your flight: reserve your parking spot at the airport at the same time. Using a dedicated comparison site like Looking4Parking.com can save you a good amount of money. They offer great discounts online, especially if you book in advance! Reserving your place early is also the only way to be 100% sure that you’ll have a parking spot on the day of your travel.

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When you pack your bags

When packing your hand luggage, think about what you’ll need to have on hand at the airport, like your passport or boarding card. Pack these in an easily accessible but safe pocket. Leave your electronics at the top of your handbag – not only are you likely to use them during idle time, you’ll also have to take them out to go through security. Don’t forget to pack an empty water bottle, too. You’ll be able to fill it after going through security without having to buy plastic water bottles.

Regulations change often on what you can and can’t bring on a plane. The TSA have a section on their website that details if you can carry things like scissors, nail clippers, knitting needles or hermit crabs (they’ve really thought of everything!).

Once everything is packed, weigh your suitcase and hand luggage. Are your bags following your airline’s specifications? If not, it’s either time to repack (better do it at home than in the airport hall) or to plan to pay the extra charge.

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Just before you leave for the airport

Generally, you’ll be able to save a lot of time and choose your seat when you check in online. With most American airlines, you’ll be able to print your boarding pass at the airport for free if you can’t print it at home, but this varies depending on the company.

Make sure you eat something before setting off and bring a snack for the airport too, if you want to avoid the expensive food served there.

For international flights, you usually have to be at the airport three hours before your flight. Airports and airlines have different guidelines for domestic flights, varying between one and three hours. Give yourself enough time to go through the airport: you’ll need time to park, get to your terminal, check in your bags, go through security and walk to your gate… In preparation for all this moving around and the dreadful shoes-removal process at security, opt for layers of comfortable clothing as well as easy to put on and take off shoes.

With all this advance preparation, getting to the airport, checking in your luggage and going through security should be easy as 1-2-3. All you have to do then is wait for your plane with your tablet or an enjoyable read in your hands!

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If you’re planning on heading to this beautiful part of southern Ontario, make sure these eight activities, tours and attractions are right at the top of your must-see list…

1.      Take the Hornblower Cruise

The pick-up point for the Hornblower catamaran should always be your first port of call in Niagara. The Falls is actually made up of the American, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe Falls, and you’ll get to see all three on this boat ride – just don’t forget to wear your rain coat!

 2.      Stay in a room with a view

Thanks to the brilliant hoteliers in the area, you can have a panoramic view of the Falls right from your bed! Check in to a Niagara Falls hotel room and sip your evening glass of Canadian Icewine with a view of the Horseshoe illuminations.

 3.      Take a helicopter tour

If you’d prefer to see Niagara from the sky, why not do so in style with a helicopter ride? Perfect for an unforgettable family adventure, each of the Niagara helicopters seat seven people, and will fly you over attractions such as the Whirlpool Rapids, Queen Victoria Park and the Falls themselves.

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4.      Take a stroll through time

If you’re a nature lover, you’ll definitely want to take a guided tour around Niagara Gorge. Discover the geological processes that carved the Niagara landscape over millions of years, and take advantage of the opportunity to get up close and personal with the white water rapids.

 5.      Visit the Botanical Gardens

For anyone green-fingered or those who love the peace and quiet, the beautifully manicured Botanical Gardens are a must-see attraction. You’ll have 40 hectares to amble around, bursting with rhododendrons, azaleas, herb and vegetable plantings, as well as the world-famous rose garden of over 2,400 roses.

 6.      Explore Devil’s Hole State Park

If you’re a keen hiker, there are dozens of trails to choose from in the picture-perfect Devil’s Hole State Park. There are 42 square acres of untamed, natural beauty for you to explore, and it’s also a popular fishing spot with an abundance of trout and salmon.

 7.      Take the new MistRider Zipline

For true thrill-seekers, there is a new attraction in town that has everyone talking. The MistRider Zipline consists of high-speed cable lines that are 2,200 feet long. You’ll hold on tight whilst strapped into your pulley and harness, and zip along the stunning scenery, taking in the Horseshoe Falls and American Falls as you fly.

 8.      Go on Safari

I bet you didn’t think there would be a safari park in Niagara Falls! Safari Niagara isn’t just home to over 500 species of animals though – it’s also packed with activities such as kite flying, paddle boating, bungee courses, and much more, as well as restaurants serving delicious food for all palates.

I hope you enjoyed this post on Niagara’s top attractions. Are you heading there this year? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please leave them below.

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If you are planning to travel to Israel on a short-term vacation or business trip, getting an Israeli SIM card is the best option for you. Getting a SIM for Israel is an ideal option in order for you to avoid expensive data roaming charges on your mobile device.

There are many options in getting a SIM for Israel.  An Israeli SIM card is easy to get in any anywhere in Israel, or you may even order a prepaid SIM Israel online before your actual flight to Israel.  When you order a prepaid SIM Israel online, you even have the option to have it sent to your hotel in Israel or your home address anywhere in the world. This new service is especially aimed at busy travellers who need to be connected right away upon their arrival.  The packages they offer lasts for duration of 7 days, 14 days, or 30 days. The activation day starts upon your pre-set arrival date and the expiration date is set after three months. International shipping of prepaid SIM Israel is from 21 to 30 days, and free shipping to your hotel or apartment Israel is from 3-5 days upon arrival.

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If you are unable to get an Israeli SIM card ahead of time, you can always purchase one in the airport.  You can also purchase prepaid SIM Israel in many cellular phone shops located in every city. A brand-new prepaid SIM card does not contain any balance, so you need to buy additional top-up.

No matter what kind of mobile device you have, there will be a compatible SIM card available for it. You just need to make sure that your smartphone is not locked in to just one network. Purchasing a prepaid SIM Israel does not require any registration. The prepaid SIM will automatically be disconnected after 12 months’ worth of inactivity.

Getting an Israeli SIM card means that you get to enjoy texts, calls, and high-speed internet. In Israel, cellular networks and coverage are far-reaching and fast.  Whether the network type is 2G, 3G, 4G, or LTE, you will get high-speed internet coverage. There are five major cellular telecom companies operating in Israel.  However, those who offer wider reach and coverage are Partner, Cellcom, and Pelephone. Partner’s prepaid plan is named “BigTalk” and it is available in Hebrew, English, Arabic, and Russian. Cellcom has the most number of subscribers in Israel, and their prepaid plan is dubbed as “TalkMan”.  In fact, “TalkMan” is most often referred to by locals as a generic prepaid card. Pelephone’s prepaid plan is”Talk & Go”.

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Some people find going to the gym a daunting task, or they may not want to commit to a long-term membership that they know they won’t stick to. With these tips, you can no longer use a lack of gym membership as an excuse to be lazy so lace up your running shoes, put on your workout gear and get going.

 1.    Find a boot camp

A boot camp such as Prestige Boot Camp is a great way to find a network of people who are all working toward the same goal as you. This means that you’ll always have someone by your side to stay motivated while getting a great workout either in or outdoors. Whatever your preference, you should be able to find a boot camp that operates in or outdoors.

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 2.    Embrace the outdoors

Exercise doesn’t always have to be done inside a gym. When the weather is looking good, get yourself outdoors for a run around the block or train in a park and use the equipment available to strengthen your core, improve your endurance or gain muscle.

 3.    Work out at home

There are so many workout tutorials available online that you can use to exercise regularly at home. One of the most popular fitness activities you can do in the comfort of your living room is yoga because all you need is your body and a mat. At home, you can work out to whichever level you choose which makes it an appealing choice for many.

 4.    Try a fitness class

No matter your level of fitness, finding a class in the area where you live shouldn’t be difficult. Fitness classes can be specialised for weight loss, toning up, gaining muscle or improving strength and endurance and can provide you with support from others in the group.

 5.    Challenge yourself with stairs

Jogging up and down stairwells is a great cardio workout that you can do without stepping foot on a treadmill in the gym. Try running 6-12 flights of stairs as fast as you can, for as many times as you can with three minutes in between. Do this three to four times a week to keep on top of your weekly cardio regimen.

 6.    Turn household tasks into a workout

The key to turning your household chores into a workout is by focusing on those that will burn the highest calories. Scrubbing and vacuuming can be made into a fun workout, especially if you put on some upbeat music to accompany it. Talk about hitting two birds with one stone.

 7.    Head to a park

Parks are full of things that you can use just as well as gym equipment. To train your upper body, head to the monkey bars for some pull ups or use benches to work on your core. The trick with a park is to be creative.