United States of America Newsletter – December-2022
ICICI Bank introducing VACATIONS – your monthly Travel Newsletter!
Month’s theme Introduction: A new day, a new year
This New Year is special. After two years of the pandemic chaos, we feel a certain relief and a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ towards life. So while New Year was always a time to make new resolutions, this year, there is more resolve. If you have started to think about those changes you would like to make in your life, starting Jan 1, 2023, the time to start planning for it is now. We are here to help. Whatever changes do you want to see in your life, here are the attitudinal changes that will make them happen:
(1) A desire to get out of the comfort zone: This is the foundation of any change. Be it sleeping early or eating better or getting out of a toxic relationship. First of all, you have to not only be ready, but actually wanting to get out of your comfort zone.
(2) Be glad to take risks: Beyond the comfort zone, everything is unknown so each step is a risk. If you want a different life, be prepared to take a few risks. Not everything will turn out great, but most will be satisfying.
(3) Have a learning mindset: This means that each experience you go through in life is treated as a learning so it being positive or negative does not matter. This also means that you actively seek out new things to learn regularly.
Now if you just read the points again, you will realise that the same three pillars can make for a great travel experience as well. And that’s why we say, to travel is to live life!
Soul Trip: Time to renew
End of the year is not just end of the year if you look at the big picture. It’s end of our one-year round trip round the sun! And as we prepare to do that trip one more time, a little updating, a little renewal is in order.
Renewal can be in the outwardly appearance: A new haircut, a new wardrobe, new exercise regime, new accessories, everything can bring a breath of fresh air into our daily routine. However what is more important is that we renew something more fundamental, something more innate. Like, our attitude.
New Year is a great time to consciously work on changing. And change takes practice.
(1) Practice gratitude: get into the habit of expressing gratitude for small and big things in your life on a daily basis. Even if the day has gone badly there will still be something that makes you grateful for it, however small. Recognise it
(2) Practice kindness: Kindness is not an annual charity or an annual donation you make. Not being overly critical of your subordinate even when he/she has made a mistake, that’s kindness. And many other such acts. Practice this daily. Kindness will make your heart stronger
(3) Practice sleeping well: Most people don’t pay much attention to sleeping, whereas this is body’s primary defense system against all kinds of emotional and mental maladies. Deep sleep can work like a medicine. So observe your sleeping patterns and make necessary changes.
Why is this important from a travel point of view? Because as you embark on the last trips of this year, full of night parties, with friends and strangers, at known places and new, you will see that the triple advice of gratitude, kindness and a good night’s sleep is very well-placed.
Discover Your World
Something for Everyone
Come December, the traveller within all of us starts getting bucketed into one of three main types: The warmth seekers – looking for destinations which are sunny and warm in the final month of the year. The snow seekers – looking for that perfect white powder snow and low temperatures to wear their favourite winter wear. And finally the jingle bell seekers - searching for a fun, festive spot to enjoy the season of Christmas and to herald the New Year.
There’s one country which has diverse climate to satisfy all these three type of travellers: USA. Most people think of just New York when it comes to Christmas and New Years in USA. In reality, USA is full of amazing spots for all kinds of travellers in December. So here we give a selection of the best of the lost, irrespective of the kind of travel experience you seek. In reality, we can make lists and lists of places to visit in the US and still not cover all, but here’s a try:
For the Warmth seekers:
Hawaii: One of the best warm places to visit in the USA in December is Hawaii. Its tropical breezes, ample sunshine, bathwater warm ocean waves, and captivating scenery make this an ideal place to relax on island time.
Miami, Florida: If you are looking for a warm destination with plenty of activity in December, Miami, Florida will fit the bill. Miami has a festive scene in the winter, with holiday performances like The Nutcracker and the magical lights that decorate Zoo Miami. There are lots of local beach events, so you get the best of both worlds by combining the holiday festivities with warm Florida weather
US Virgin Islands: For a Caribbean vacation in the USA in December, the Virgin Islands are a no-brainer. The islands of Saint Croix, Saint Thomas, and Saint John are United States territories and have tropical natural landscapes perfect for a mid-winter getaway. Beach days and snorkelling will top your to-do list, as well as hitting some of the natural park locations on the islands.
Pasadena, California: If you are looking for warm weather and a unique experience for your December vacation, you can head to Pasadena, California where the city is preparing for the famous Tournament of Roses Parade. With Southern California temperatures, it is possible to spend one day at the beach and the next day taking part in one of the biggest events in the city.
For the Snow seekers:
Sun Valley, Idaho: Idaho is one the country’s best-kept secrets, and December is especially a great time to visit the state. Visiting Sun Valley gives you the opportunity to see some of the most picturesque winter landscapes in the United States. Throughout December, the nearby Sawtooth Mountains get that much more magical when a new layer of snow decorates the scenery. With fantastic skiing opportunities, naturally occurring hot springs, and hospitable locals, Sun Valley is one of the most ideal trips for a cosy December getaway.
Breckenridge, Colorado: December means ski season in Breckenridge, so it is one of the best places to go for some downhill adventure. While some of the warm-weather destinations will see crowds in December, Breckenridge will, too, but it is the place to be if you are looking for quality winter skiing. Hotel and resort rates will be at a premium, but you can usually package them with lift tickets for the duration of your stay.
Anchorage, Alaska: For people who are snow-philes, December is a great month to head north to Alaska. December is in the middle of peak season for viewing the Northern Lights, so it is easy to find a tour to see them. You can also take a scenic ride from Anchorage to Fairbanks on the Alaska Railroad Aurora Winter Train.
Stowe, Vermont: Those looking for a romantic vacation, hunkering down in a cosy bed-and-breakfast or cottage, with several feet of snow outside, might be appealing. If so, then Stowe, Vermont is where you need to spend a holiday. December is cold in Stowe, but that is part of the charm for a getaway filled with fireplaces and hot chocolate. You can still spend your days outdoors by layering up and hitting the ski slopes, snowshoeing, or taking a dog-sledding adventure before returning to your cosy accommodations. December in Stowe is marked with traditional holiday parades, celebrations, and tree lightings in the center of town.
Finally, the Jingle-Bells seekers:
Christmas Town USA, North Carolina: Right outside of Charlotte, NC, this town is known as McAdenville most of the year, but each December, they change the name to Christmas Town USA. There are over 375 trees, 450,000 lights, and they hand out free hot chocolate and kettle corn to the first 1,000 attendees each night! It’s free to view the Christmas lights since it’s literally the entire town.
Washington DC: What better way to spend Christmas than with the National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C. This tree is just south of the White House and has been lit every year since 1923. Surrounding the tree are 56 smaller trees representing the 50 states, 5 territories, and the District of Columbia.
Stockbridge, Massachusetts: This Massachusetts town was once depicted in a 1967 Norman Rockwell painting (titled "Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas") — and now, every holiday season, Stockbridge recreates the art, complete with vintage cars lined up on Main Street. Plus, the annual celebration also includes historic property tours, a holiday concert and more.
Bernville, Pennsylvania: On the East Coast, we highly recommend Koziar's Christmas Village for all the holiday fun you'll ever need. This countryside town boasts a Christmas Village unlike any other. You can also take a Winter Wonderland tour, which takes you to Santa's Post Office, a toy shop and an old-fashioned bakery (to name a few)
And how can we end this list without New York, after all! All the movies and TV make New York City to be the quintessential place to spend a Christmas getaway. You can gaze at all the lights, ice skate at the Rockefeller Center or Central Park, see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, or enjoy the laser light show at Grand Central Station. Also, don’t forget to check out the Christmas villages and markets which make up for the quintessential Christmas spirit.
Travelling light is travelling right – Part 2
Travelling light even in winters; what to pack and how to pack
In our last issue, we spoke about some obvious and some not-so-obvious advantages of travelling light. The truth is that there is absolutely no downside to travelling light and once you have tasted the many benefits of the freedom that comes with travelling light, you will never go back.
In some cases, travellers are aware that they must travel light but they are flummoxed how to actually do it. And while it may be easy to do it in summers because of lightweight clothing, it seems especially difficult when you are packing for winter temperatures and snow. So in the spirit of helping you with big attitudinal changes in your life this new years, here are our top trips for packing light for winters:
Layers keep you warmer than thick jackets: Most people carry really thick, unwieldy jackets to keep them warm. In reality, the inner thermals and layers of that will help you stay warmer than one jacket and they are much easier to carry too.
Buy high-performance clothing: When choosing winter wear, always buy from brands which supply mountaineers and trekkers, not fashion brands. Performance clothing is light and well, high-performance.
Figure out your ‘cool-spots’: Everybody has different warmth needs. Head, ears, nose, chest, hands, legs and feet – find your ‘cool spots’ and keep them warm. Typically extremities start getting cold so small items gloves, double layer of socks, ear muffs and caps can go a long way.
Wear your heaviest boots: If you are packing different shoes, wear your heavies boots and pack the lighter one. And again, choose performance brands of shoes over fashion brands.
Make use of hand warmers and feet warmers: For sub-zero temperatures, these sachets can come in handy.
Go on, change your winter travel wardrobe and pack lightly for a new found sense of liberation and lightness of being.
Sustainable Travel Tip of the Month
Let’s all be responsible travellers
“To get a sample itinerary for USA, Click here
COP27 has just concluded in Egypt. As human species, we are heading towards a dangerous future if we do not start taking care of our carbon footprint, global warming and ensuing climate change. We are already behind in the targets that were set in earlier climate summits and the world population just hitting 8 billion, our life as we know it might change drastically.
Air travel, cars, cargo ships etc are one of the worst offenders as they use huge quantities of fossil fuels. As travellers, we can be conscious of our carbon footprint and try to reduce it wherever possible. But before that, we all need a good understanding of what exactly is Carbon Footprint.
Understanding what is Carbon Footprint.
The global average annual carbon footprint per person in 2014 was about 5 tonnes CO2e.
Measuring Carbon Footprint
An individual's, nation's, or organisation's carbon footprint can be measured by undertaking a GHG (Green House Gases) emissions assessment, LCA - life cycle assessment, or other calculative activities denoted as carbon accounting. Once the size of a carbon footprint is known, a strategy can be devised to reduce it, for example, by technological developments, energy efficiency improvements, better process and product management, changed Green Public or Private Procurement (GPP), carbon capture, consumption strategies, carbon offsetting and other methods.
We will continue to explore this topic in our upcoming issues as well since it is not only complicated but also important to understand for all responsible travellers.
‘Vacations’ is powered by OneShoe Trust for Responsible & Mindful Travels – a social enterprise that promotes travelling as a means to raise awareness about climate change and environmental issues. Incubated at IIM Bangalore, OneShoe is the source of most authentic travel experiences around the world.
Link to: oneshoetravels.com
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