I make no secret about the fact that I work for vacation. If I could figure out a way to travel the world, exploring new places, and get paid for it – I would. Until then, I plan my year around the trips that we can fit into our vacation time. With so many places to see, deciding where we’re going to visit next is always a challenge. You can see all my France vacation recaps here.
In two weeks, we have our next BIG vacation. Two weeks that we’ve been looking forward to for a while now, although we only finalized our plans in the last month. The current exchange rate for the Euro forced focus this trip on one location (instead of the multi-country trip I had originally dreamed up), but I think what we’ve put together is going to be incredible.
Two weeks of fun and adventure in France!
We have had the chance to spend several days in Paris on a previous trip, so we’re spending most of our time outside the city. The outline of the trip looks like this:
- 3 days in Loire Valley
- 8 days in Bordeaux
- 1 day in Verailles
- 2 days in Paris (with possible side trip to Reims)
The focus of the trip is built around wine, with the chance to taste in several different regions. The majority of our time will be in Bordeaux, where we are taking an 8-day self-guided bike tour through the countryside! The trip is described as a mix of vineyards, chateaux, walled towns, abbeys, and medieval castles. This sounds almost too good to be true – I can’t wait to experience it!
There is really only 6 days of riding on the plan, with each day ranging from 21 to 40 miles (most closer to 32 miles). The company we’ve chosen rents road bikes, so we won’t have to lug our bikes around France. We will be bringing our own pedals, shoes, seat, and helmets – just to make things more comfortable.
I love planning active vacations like this!
There are times where I prefer a completely relaxing trip, but most of our vacations are more active. We love snowboarding trips in the winter (from weekend day trips to full week vacations), scuba diving to explore underwater locations around the world, or simply running through new cities that we visit. This I the first time we’ve planned a cycling vacation and I’m excited to see how we like it!
A cycling vacation does involve some training to make sure the vacation is fun (and easily within our abilities). You may have noticed that I’ve kept cycling in my training this year. I first had this idea back in May, so I knew early that we wanted to keep a decent base of mileage. With 6 weeks between my competition and vacation, I planned to ramp up my volume after the show. My focus for the next few weeks is getting on my bike often (so my booty is accustomed to how that feels again) and one more long ride to cover the furthest distance needed on the trip.
The great thing about keeping fitness as part of your lifestyle year-round is that preparing for active adventures is fun and doesn’t take much prep time!
Tips to Plan Your Own Active Vacation
1. Choose your Sport
Start with what type of activity sounds fun to you. Do you want to hike, scuba dive, cycle, run – the options go on! Choosing what you want to do will help you choose where to go. Which brings us to the next tip…
Once you have chosen your sport, think about where you would enjoy doing that. If you chose scuba diving, what locations are best during the time of year you are traveling? For hiking, pick a location that has beautiful views and good weather. For cycling, find a location that is bike-friendly!
3. Fitness Level
Once you know where you want to go, look for trips that match your fitness level. If you are new to cycling, choosing an option with shorter daily mileage will make the trip more fun and less work. If you’re new to hiking, choose a route that covers the mileage at a manageable elevation (probably not a 14er every day). Of course, if you’ve chosen a sport that you have a lot of experience in, you can start to push the limits, knowing what you can handle!
Once you have the trip itinerary planned, don’t forget to plan training to allow you to enjoy the experience. You might consider working with a coach, to ensure that you’re trained for the vacation as you would a race. The goal is to train enough that the active vacation is fun, as opposed to a physical challenge, unless part of the trip is to test your limits and you are prepared for that. For me, I want the vacation to be mostly fun, with enough sweat to work up a good appetite to enjoy the local cuisine!
Questions for you:
Have you taken an active vacation? If so, tell me about it!
If money were no object, what active vacation would you choose next?