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Travel Checklist for a Fit Summer Vacation

By JENNIFER CASSETTA

Wherever you're heading this summer, you want to come back from vacation less stressed, less harried and happier. It would also be great to come back without any extra weight from all the R & R and mai tais you enjoyed.

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Being prepared is key to a great getaway. Here are the items that come with me on all of my travel adventures.

1. Sneakers
Make sure you pack those running shoes -- you can survive with one less pair of fancy heels. Sometimes, I even bring an old pair that I can give away at the end of the trip to make room for new purchases.

2. Nutrition Bars
On a tropical island or abroad, the closest option you may find is a granola bar filled with sugar and soy protein isolates, which may cause adverse side effects in some people. Use this checklist to find the right bar for you and stash a few in your carry-on for long flights.

3. Protein Powder
Many resorts and hotels have breakfast buffets filled with processed carbohydrates like bagels, breads, donuts, cereals, cakes and cookies that have little nutritional value. I stay clear of them when possible and take a travel-friendly pouch of Vega Protein Smoothie with me. I've sometimes borrowed a blender from the kitchen, or you can even buy a small inexpensive travel blender to bring with you. Blend your protein powder with local fruit that is in season and start your day guilt-free.

4. Resistance Bands
Bands are the new weights. You can get just as good results from resistance bands as you can from weights. Plus, they're so much easier to fit in a suitcase! Bring two in case one snaps (it's happened to me) and you'll be able to work your arms, back and chest easily from your hotel room.

5. Water Bottle
I bring my handheld Nathan Quickdraw Plus water bottle everywhere, so I have no excuse not to drink plenty of fresh water daily. It has a handy iPhone pouch that zips up to keep it dry and also conceals your phone so potential thieves don't see it. Safety first!

6. Maps or Apps
One of my favorite activities while visiting cities like London, Paris, Rome or New York -- besides eating like a local -- is to sightsee while power walking, biking or jogging. I usually map out a route before I start to make sure I'll pass by as many of the sights I want to see. If a city is new to you, carry a paper map or download a running app on your phone. I like to use the MapMyRun app to show me where I'm heading, my distance, speed and even my total calories burned.

Travel is good for the soul. Not only is it a time to take a break from work, it's also a time for spiritual renewal. Start a new meditation practice, read a book or start a gratitude journal. Make the most of this special time and return to your world a little lighter.

Bon voyage,

--Jennifer

Readers -- Are you going away at all this summer? If so, where are you going? What are your must-have items when you travel? What would you add to the list? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Jennifer Cassetta is a third-degree black belt, clinical nutritionist and personal trainer. She loves kale, chocolate and wine. She loves to punch, kick, lift weights, meditate and dress up in stilettos. She empowers people to be strong, safe and sexy through nutrition, fitness and self-defense. You can read more at jennifercassetta.com.

Find more from Jennifer on FacebookTwitter and Google+.

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