How My Friend Elyse Stayed at the Ritz-Carlton in Jamaica for FREE by Teaching Yoga Classes

Posted on May 5, 2009. Filed under: Health & Beauty, Travel & Leisure | Tags: , , , |

I met my friend Elyse about 15 years ago at a health club in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  She was my aerobics instructor and we also became workout buddies.  Her warm, friendly personality clicked with mine and when I found out Elyse also had a career in high tech marketing, I knew we would become good friends. I was even a bridesmaid at her wedding.

Elyse has her own PR consultancy.  One of the things I have long admired about Elyse is her ability to juggle and balance all the aspects of her life – her busy career, her husband and two kids, her extended family and friendships, and time to take care of herself.   She is very organized and efficient so she finds ways to combine her lifestyle and interests whenever possible.  For example, she teaches yoga and spinning classes at her local healthclub in the suburbs a few days a week and her entire family of four enjoys a free club membership.

In February, Elyse went on a fabulous week long vacation to Jamaica with her family without spending a lot of money.  They were even able to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort in Rose Hall for free.  How, you ask?   Elyse signed up at a website called http://www.fitnessprotravel.com which facilitates the exchange of services between specialty professionals and numerous all-inclusive resorts and vacation destinations.  Resort locations currently include the Caribbean, Brazil and Mexico.

The website helped match her skills as a certified yoga and fitness instructor with resorts that offer teaching opportunities in exchange for a comped (i.e., free) room for Elyse and one guest (kids under 12 at no additional charge).  In this case, she also received a $150 daily food allowance which they usually used for dinners. Another way they saved money was by shopping at the local market and using the fridge in their room.  They were also able to use frequent flyer miles for 3 of the 4 tickets to Jamaica.

The teaching contract was for 3 one hour classes a day, 7 days, Sunday – Sunday. Elyse taught 2 classes each morning, a core training for abs and and back, and then a vinyasa flow yoga class and was done teaching by 10:00 am.  She also taught another yoga class at 5:00 pm.  She had the bulk of each day to spend with her family.  Elyse was able to swap classes with another visiting instructor to have a full afternoon free to go on a longer day trip, to  Ocho Rios and Dunn’s River Falls.  They saved money on the day trip by negotiating a flat fee with a local taxi driver and hired him for the day, which also gave them much greater flexibility over the tour bus option.

Elyse said it was one of their best family vacations  and the first one she has taken where she ate really well but didn’t gain any weight.  Click here to see photos of Elyse teaching her yoga class outside overlooking the beach and some from their vacation in beautiful Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Kind of inspires me to want to go get certified in something.  You should register on the fitnessprotravel.com site if you are any of the following:

CEC Provider Chiropractor
Club/Studio Operator Dietician
Fitness Enthusiast GFI & Yoga Combo
Golf Pro Grp Fitness Inst.
Health/Fitness Biz Masseuse
Nurse Personal Trainer
Squash Pro Tennis Instructor
Yoga / Pilates
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