Not All Who Wander Are Lost: A Blog for Adventurous Women

Travel Tips: Surviving Holiday Air Travel

Posted by Katie Flanagan on Dec 14, 2012 5:00:00 AM

Neck Pillow resized 600

If you are leaving on a jet plane this month to spend time with friends or family, then airports are likely a part of your holiday plan. Planning ahead with these five airport travel tips can bring a bit of cheer to your holiday air travel experience, turning long days in airports and airplanes into productive and peaceful periods when in route. 

  • BYOWB. That’s Bring Your Own Water Bottle. By now, most of us know that liquids are a “no, no” when going through security lines. But empty water bottles are not! On the other side of the body scanner, you can fill your bottle up FOR FREE (as opposed to the $2.00 or bottled water costs from vendors). It is easy to get dehydrated when flying, so having a water bottle in hand can help you water your body. If water doesn’t satisfy you – pack a few Crystal Lights to go packets. And if HOT beverages make you smile, bring along a packet of hot chocolate mix or a tea bag; Starbucks (and most airport vendors) will give you a cup of hot water for FREE – no questions asked.

  • Sleep Easier. I may look silly with a bright red cushion wrapped around my neck – but waking up rested without a kink in my neck is worth a little awkwardness. I swear by neck pillows. I have literally slept for multiple hours on planes using mine. I have a fluffy red one that deflates (for easy stow). At about $10 a piece, they are worth the small investment. Two other items that help me sleep easier on planes are ear plugs (we’ve all had crying babies on our flights) and sleep masks (not sure about you – but I snooze better when it’s dark). At takeoff – when you’re decked out in your sleep gear, you may look a little funny – but the other passengers will envy your preparedness and ability to arrive at your destination rested.

  • Food. It’s no secret that airport food is expensive and offers few healthy options. And News Flash – airlines have drastically cut back on free inflight food. So bring your own! Suggestions include – dried fruit or trail mix in a Ziploc bag, string cheese, beef jerky, an apple, banana, or a JIF peanut butter “to go” cup. These are healthy and inexpensive snacks to hold you over until a sensible meal is in reach.

  • Move. So you have a two hour layover? Explore the terminal via foot. Your travel day does not have to be completely sedentary. Wear a comfortable pair of shoes (or keep a pair of sneakers in your carry on). Instead of plopping yourself down at your gate for a couple hours – people watch while walking. You may even tire yourself out a bit… making it easier to catch some zzz’s on the plane.

  • Lists. Call me crazy but I love making lists. My brain is less cluttered when my “to dos” are written down. And while I love traveling/vacationing – my flight home can be clouded by all the things I need to do when I get home. So when I am in route out of town – I start making a “When I get back list” – that way as things come to mind I jot them down and they STAY on the list for the duration of my trip instead of nagging me throughout.  It also passes time – you can get really wild and make lists for home, work, people to call, fun things you want to do, places you want to visit, Christmas lists, or New Year’s Resolutions (extra bonus if your New Year’s resolution is to be more organized). By the time you are done – your mind is clear, and your post vacation life is planned out (at least on paper).

Topics: travel tips, health and fitness, food and drink

Hydration made Easy for Active Vacations or Everyday Living

Posted by Katie Flanagan on Jun 14, 2012 5:00:00 AM

HydrationIts summer time and temperatures are rising. So, whether participating in active travel or staying close to home – hiking, biking, walking, or gardening – a well hydrated body will lead to a more pleasant experience. Drinking water regulates body temperature, flushes out toxins, aids in digestion, and balances blood sugar. But if you're like me, there are times that plain water is not enticing. So here are six ways to make meeting your daily water dose more of a treat than a chore on or off the trail.

Get Creative with Ice

Make your water extra "cool" by adding flavor to your ice cube tray. Add things like mint, cucumber, or fresh fruit to your usual tray then plunk these funky cubes into your water glass.

Water Down Juice

Give your regular glass of water an extra shot of flavor with a few drops of your favorite juice (the natural kind, with no sugar added). Cranberry, pomegranate, grape, and apple work well for this trick, but go with your taste buds.

Add Fresh Fruit

Natural, fruit-infused water is trendy these days. Make your own at home by smashing raspberries, strawberries, or watermelon right into a pitcher. Cucumber is refreshing, too. Prefer a citrusy taste? Go for lemons, limes, and oranges.

Sip Tea

Drinking tea – which is essentially water infused with leaves and herbs – is a great way to increase your intake without feeling like you're guzzling more plain, old water.

Switch Your Appetizer

Can't squeeze in another glass of water? Have it for dinner by eating soup. Water-based bouillons, broths, and consommés are a great way to sneak in extra H2O. If you go the canned route, make sure to buy low-sodium and avoid soups that contain cream, which adds extra fat and calories.

Eat a Salad

A good 20 percent of our water intake comes from food, according to statistics from the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Lots of foods contain varying amounts of water, but fruits and vegetables have the highest percentages. Iceberg lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers, celery, red cabbage, radishes, broccoli, and tomatoes are all more than 90 percent water so stack up a big, healthy, water-filled plate the next time you don't feel like a glass of water. Fruits like watermelon and strawberries are also jam-packed with the liquid.


Topics: active travel, health and fitness, food and drink

Hydration Packs - staying well-hydrated in the outdoors

Posted by Deb Malmon on Mar 29, 2012 3:12:00 PM

We have written in previous blogs, newsletter articles and even in the notes section of our packing list about hydration packs. But I wanted to emphasize again why this piece of equipment can be superior to water bottles for outdoor adventure travel.

For those of you who are not familiar: a hydration pack is a water bladder (usually 50-100 oz./1.5 -3 L ranges) that fits inside a backpack and has a long tube that stretches from the water bladder, through the pack, over your shoulder and to the front of you (when you wear it). There is some type of soft silicone valve on the end of the tube that allows you to “bite and suck” when you want a drink, but it closes off when you want it to just hang loosely.

I got my first Camelbak hydration pack for bicycling, but now I carry it on hiking adventures and sometimes even bring it for sea kayaking tours as well. DSCN2664


1) You will drink more, drink more regularly and stay better hydrated. With the tube in easy reach of your hands and mouth, you can drink as often as you want or need to. You don’t need to stop and get your water out of your pack, take your hands off the handlebars to get your bottle out of its cage or even stop paddling very long for a quick drink.  Plus it is fun to drink from a long straw.

2) It easily fits in a backpack (or fanny pack). Most backpacks made for hiking these days come with hydration pack compatibility.  Typically there is a separate pocket on the pack for you to put the bladder in and a portal in the top of the pack for the hose to fit through so it easily can reach around your shoulder strap to the front.  While there are still some backpacks with the hydration system built into the pack, more are separate, which means if your hydration bladder gets a leak, you do not need to buy a whole new pack; just a new bladder.   Also, with it being carried in a backpack you also have the room to carry camera, wallet, rain jacket, bike tools, snack, etc. The packs vary in extra cargo sizes, so pick one that is right for you.

3) The water stays cold/cool longer. How many times have you stopped to drink out of your water bottle on a hot hike only to find it like bath-water? The hydration pack keeps the contents of the water bladder cold for quite a while, especially when you put ice in it. You can also freeze the bladder when it is half full, take it out the following day, top it off with water and the ice chunk will melt even more slowly than ice cubes throughout the day. The top layer of water is not always cold, but there is nothing more refreshing than sipping through that layer and hitting icy cold water in the middle of a 30-mile bike ride or 10-mile hike.

4) You can carry a larger quantity of water. Getting a 70 oz or 96 oz. bladder allows you to carry a lot of water pretty easily and all in one space. You would need 3 to 4 water bottles to equal that. You don’t have to fill it totally full if you don’t want, but I have been on several hikes and bike rides where I drank it dry. And as you drink, the bladder empties and gets smaller, as opposed to drinking out of a bottle where you still have to carry the bottle around once it is empty. This feature also means it takes up less space in your luggage when traveling for the equal water capacity as bottles.

5) Cleanliness: I have found that my bladder has stayed much more clean and less smelly than any of my water bottles.  However, they do need to be cleaned, as does the tube. It is inadvisable to put flavored beverages in the hydration bladder due to the difficulty of thoroughly washing the tube. In that case bring a smaller water bottle for your Elixir/Gatorade/Crystal Light/etc and leave the bladder for water only. Most bladders have wide mouth/ziplock-type opening which makes it easier to clean as well as to fill with ice and fill in a variety of water sources (though many bladders are not a compatible fit with water filters)

The hydration pack is certainly not suitable for every situation (like winter sports or high altitude trekking - due to freezing temperatures). But more often than not it is the ideal choice for staying superbly hydrated while being active in the outdoors.

Hiking Tips for Women

Topics: hiking, outdoors tips, safety, food and drink

3 snack suggestions for your next adventure trip

Posted by Marian Marbury on Nov 14, 2011 8:51:00 PM

On any adventure trip, you can be sure of one thing - you're going to need some extra snacks to compensate for all that energy you're putting out. There is now a huge market for high energy bars - Power Bars, Clif Bars, Luna Bars etc.  But not only are they expensive, if you read the ingredients for most of them, you might reach the conclusion they are candy bars with extra vitamins and sometimes protein. So here are three lower cost healthier alternatives.

1. Trail mix. Don't buy already made trail mix as you just end up paying a lot for peantuts and raisins. Instad, make your own. My favorite place is Trader Joe's, where I buy bags of dried fruits (mixed fruit, cherries, cranberries, raisins) and nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanuts). A sure-fired treat are their honey sesame coated cashews and cinnamon almonds. Then I add a bag of M&Ms. If there isn't a Trader Joe's, I use the same approach in a grocery store. Yum!

2. Homemade Power Balls

1 cup peanut butter
.75 - 1 cup honey
3 cups old fashioned oats (but not steel cut)power balls
.5 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup combination of nuts and soft dried fruit (I like .5 cup chopped walnuts and peanuts and then .25 dried cranberries and raisins)

Mix together peanut butter and honey until smooth. Gradually add in the oats and flaxseed. Add the chocolate chips, nuts and dried fruit and mix together in a mixer or mash them all together by hand. Roll into Ping-Pong-size balls. You can eat them right away, but they'll be less sticky after a night in the fridge. If you've made them for an extended trip, pack them in a plastic sandwich box to keep them from getting smashed.

3. Bagels and peanut butter
When your time to shop and/or prepare is limited, bagels and peanut butter are an easy alternative. Both are durable in your daypack and don't go bad. Together they supply protein, fats and carbs; and you just tear off what you want.

But this post would not be complete without one of my favorites - bite size Snickers bars! They are my favorite way to celebrate getting to the top of something tall, and just knowing that I'll have one keeps me going. Yum!!

Topics: backpacking tips and trips, hiking, outdoors tips, food and drink

How much water should you drink a day?

Posted by Marian Marbury on Jun 27, 2011 9:26:00 AM

The question of how much water you should drink a day is both common and important. When you're ondrinking pure water in the Austrian Alps outdoor adventure trips, staying adequately hydrated is critical not only to your enjoyment and efficiency, its also important to your safety: being dehydrated can lead to clumsiness and poor decision-making. But it's also full of myths, many of which I used to preach when I talked about staying hydrated on trips. So here's what you really need to know.

1. Myth: You need at least 8 glasses a day and should plan on doubling that during outdoor activity, maybe more if it is hot, you're sweating alot etc.

Truth: People vary widely in how much they need to drink. You want to drink enough to avoid the common problems of headache, irritabilty. and fatigue. If you are experiencing any of those, drink more. Over time you learn how much you need to drink. Carrying enough water is essential but its also heavy, so you don't want to carry alot more than you really need.

2. Myth: If you let yourself get thirsty, you're already dehydrated so you need to drink before you're thirsty.

Truth: You need to drink as soon as you get thirsty. It's the body's way of letting you know that it needs more liquid; if you drink at that point, you'll be fine. So its important that it's easy to get to your water because otherwise you'll tend to put off drinking until you stop.

3. Myth: Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages actually dehydrate you so you need to drink more water to make up for drinking them.

Truth: While caffeine is mildly dehydrating, on average people retain about two thirds of the liquid from these drinks. And if your body is used to drinking them, then the water loss is even less. Alsohol, however, is dehydrating and its much better to wait until the end of the day before you enjoy it.

 4. Myth: You need gatorade or some other electrolyte replacement drink.

Truth: Nope! Read our blog article on hydration beverages. Even on some of our desert trips, like Hiking the Southwest or Exploring Utah's National Parks, we carry salty snacks and that provides all the electrolyte replacement you need.

Staying hydrated isn't difficult. You just need to learn to listen to your body and act on what it's telling you.

Topics: safety, health and fitness, food and drink

Outdoor Tips and Topics: Hydration Beverages

Posted by Deb Malmon on Jun 8, 2011 6:40:00 PM

Women on outdoor trips need to increase the amount of water they typically drink during the day to keep adequately hydrated while exercising. Of course a dogsledding trip in Minnesota requires a different amount than a hiking vacation in Utah or a kayaking trip in the Bahamas. In general, we recommend 1-2 liters a day, depending on weather and activity level.

Many women want to add a hydration beverage, such as gatorade. Outdoor tips and topics: a hydration systemThe thinking is that the energy drink can refuel electrolytes as well as hydrate. This can be a good idea in a very hot, humid climate or on a grueling hike or run. However, a lot of time you eat regularly enough that you really do not need to resupply electrolytes, especially if you are balancing the salty/sweet foods. And your best source of fuel/electrolytes is still from food.

In addition, most of these energy drinks supply an unnecessary amount of sugar into our diets. You may want to factor in the amount of calories you are drinking into what you are already eating, which is often more than you can burn off.

I have also seen women rely only on energy drinks solely for hydration (or at a proportionally higher rate than water alone) who become actually more dehydrated than if they had sipped small amounts of water. Some people also get stomache aches from drinking only energy/hydrating drinks on a day hike or paddle. So, my advice is: be conservative with energy/hydrating drinks. Either dilute the powder you mix into your bottle with a lot of water, or fill one small bottle with the energy drink and your camelback with 1-2 liters of water and alternate. Or, stay away from them all together unless the situation/weather/activity really calls for it.

Of course some women just enjoy drinking flavored water - and that this alone will help them drink more and stay hydrated. If you are one of these people, take care in adding any sort of hydration/drink mix into your camelback. The sugar and other ingredients in the drink mix (yes, even from sugar-free drinks like Crystal light) can really gunk up your camelback bladder and hose - sometimes beyond what you can clean out. Instead, have your camelback for water and a quart water bottle for the hydration drink mix.

There are also non-sugary hydrating mixes that you can add to your water as well. One of our guides, Anne Flueckiger, who is not opposed to sugar ("cake is good" she says) recommends Nuun tablets as a great way to add flavor and/or electrolytes to water without added sugar.

Topics: outdoors tips, health and fitness, food and drink