Going on an active vacation may seem like the least relaxing trip you could take, but I just got back from such a trip in Baja, Mexico, and I found it was just what I needed to decompress.
Now granted, I enjoy working out, but I've never made physical activity the point of a getaway before. I stayed at Rancho Pescadero, where tons of activities were at my fingertips, and I learned a few do's and don'ts along the way. Here are my tips for taking a vacation that's perfectly balanced with a little rest and ramped up activity.
Above dress by Apiece Apart ($530; apieceapart.com)
Do: Look at Your Options
First, consider what activities you want to do or learn, and schedule them so you don’t burn out your muscles (or yourself). On Day 1 of my trip, I did a late-morning workout involving lower body strength and a little bit of cardio, which was the perfect warm-up for the surfing I had planned later in the day.
Don't: Be Intimidated by Those Options
Taking a surf lesson can feel really daunting, I always get a little nervous before jumping in the water with that ginormous board. But after the instructor has pushed you into your first wave and you pop up, it is so much fun! The key is to let the instructor help you out to the right break, and to not exhaust yourself paddling through the waves. Save your energy for getting up and coasting onto the sand!
Do: Pack the Right Products
After being in the sun and and salt water it’s so nice to take a few minutes to take care of your skin and hair. I love Bumble and Bumble’s Invisible Oil Spray ($27; bumbleandbumble.com) for before, during, and after the sun (I always spray a little extra on my scalp if I get sunburned). La Mer eye gel ($145; cremedelamer.com) will cure any wrinkles you’ve racked up while squinting in the surf. If you need a little tone on your face Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Smooth Effect Makeup ($47; chanel.com) is just what you want for a touch of glow. Aesop Perfect Facial Hydrating Cream ($120; aesop.com) and body balm (starting at $35; aesop.com) are the perfect thick moisturizers your skin will need. A nail polish touch-up never hurts either!
Makeup bag by Mulberry ($310; mulberry.com)
Don't: Overdo It
Take a low-key day as well. I always enjoy time in the pool. Swim a few laps if you feel the need!
Lynn swimsuit by Flagpole ($378; flagpoleswim.com)
Do: Add an Element of Style
While relaxing by the pool, I love big -- but comfortable -- sunglasses. These Illsteva shades are perfect ($290; illesteva.com). And always SPF on the face and lips!
Do: Have a Plan
Plan your days ahead of time, and take into account the time of day your activity will be taking place. Will the hot sun be beating down on you? Then maybe you should wake up on the early side (this is vacation, after all!) to do an ab workout or some yoga.
Do: Take Care
For me, being in the sun is the hardest on my platinum-blond hair, so I've learned to take really good care of it while on vacation. I always leave in a thick conditioner, like one by Davines (starting at $25; us.davines.com), and I never walk out of the hotel room without Bumble and Bumble’s Color Minded UV Protective Polish ($28; bumbleandbumble.com). It has UV protection, so I put it on root to tip.
Don't: Forget to Eat!
Going on an adventure like an afternoon hike sounds like work, but it won't feel that way if you've fueled your body properly. Don’t forget to eat enough food (and the right kind of it!) so you don't come back feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation. Exercise body and mind by hiring a tour guide who can give you a history lesson of the place. You'll learn about different plants and animals, and burn a whole lot of calories!