I just got back from a lovely trip to London, England and it got me thinking about how so many people always ask me; ‘how do I stay healthy while away?’ or how people assume a vacation means they will “go off the rails” and ditch their healthy lifestyle.
Below are my top 7 ways to stay healthy while travelling, but remember number 7 is the most important! Happy travels!
1. Prepare for your flight: Not only is the food they serve on the flight usually not appetizing, it is really unhealthy. Usually filled with lots of preservatives, sugar, salt and added butter or cream, which will make you feel off while flying. If you are on a shorter flight you can always eat something at home before you leave. If you are on a long flight, think about packing a full meal with you, or at least packing a bunch of healthy snacks (as long as they are not liquid you can usually take anything on the flight including fruits and vegetables). Airports now seem to have some healthier options to pick up too. You can usually find some sort of salad but just avoid the creamy dressings. If you are going on a long road trip pack a cooler with healthy options and stop at groceries stores along the way instead of diners.
2. Pack Snacks: Snacks are not only important for long flights but for also while you are away. Even just exploring a city you will get hungry between meals and by having something quickly accessible in your backpack or purse, you will avoid stopping at cafes for donuts and muffins (and save some money too). If you are hiking or doing anything active, snacks are even more important for fuel so pack some healthy energy or protein bars.
3. Do your research: Do some research about your place of travel to see where there are some healthy options around where you are staying. Being prepared with a few names will take the guess work out of where to eat and you will avoid stopping at the local McDonalds because it is something you recognize.
4. Grocery Shop: If you are staying somewhere with a fridge, stop at a local grocery store and grab a few healthy items like some fruit and veggies to have as snacks. If you have a full kitchen, even better! This will not only save you money but anything home cooked will most likely be healthier. Depending on where you are going, there may even be some health food stores or a Whole Foods around (I cannot go to the States without a trip to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s!)
5. Stay Hydrated: Carry a water bottle with you at all times! It is really easy to get dehydrated while on vacation. Bring an empty refillable water bottle with you on your carry on (as long as it is empty you can bring it through security). There are usually water fountains in the airport to fill up after security or ask the flight attendant to fill it up once on the flight (and avoid spending $5 on a water bottle in the airport). Flying itself will cause dehydration so make sure you are hydrated during your flight and avoid alcohol while flying. If you are in sun all day while on vacation you can easily get dehydrated or by even walking around all day without stopping for water will cause dehydration. A lot of the time, you may think you are hungry but it is really thirst. Try drinking some water before stopping for a snack and see how you feel.
6. Get Moving: You don’t necessarily need to hit the gym when there’s an ocean to swim in, a mountain to climb, or a city to walk through. Consciously put something active on the itinerary every day. Paddle boarding, hiking, learning to surf, or taking bike tours of a new city are all great ways to get your body moving without losing the vacation vibe. If you are an avid gym-goer, check to see if your hotel has a gym or if there are any close by. Sometimes it's nice to try out gyms in different countries or cities - I have visited a few Crossfit gyms around the world and not only did I get a great workout, I got to meet some local people!
7. Enjoy and don't stress about the little things!: You are on vacation so enjoy the local cuisine (even if it's not the healthiest). Stressing over keeping your diet or exercise regimen while on vacation can really cause you to not allow yourself to enjoy the local culture. One bad meal will not make you gain weight just as one healthy meal won't make you healthy! If you are eating healthy and working out before your vacation, you will get right back to it when you return!