Travel can be one of the toughest obstacles when trying to live healthy. Whether it’s holiday travel or for work, we know from personal experience that it can quickly unravel your health momentum. But have no fear, because today we are bringing you our tips to stay healthy while you travel.
Let’s start off with giving you our overall philosophy on healthy travel. Because of all the added challenges, we recommend that your goal is all about maintaining your health and feeling good. Don’t stress over keeping your exact routine, eating perfectly, or shunning every temptation. You should enjoy travel (especially during the holidays!) and more important than anything else, your goal should be to return from travelling refocused and re-energized.
But the most critical action you can take to get through your holiday travel as healthy as possible is… plan for it. Before you go, make sure you spend some time to set yourself up for success using our tips below.
Part 1: Eating
Bring Lots of Snacks
To give yourself the best chance possible at staying healthy on the road (or in the air), we recommend coming prepared with plenty of snacks. We know that when we are hungry, tired and don’t have good food available, that’s when we’re most likely to slip and end up in a food coma. Some great options are nuts, jerky, fruit, or your favorite nutrition bar. These will curb your hunger while you’re travelling and can even work as a meal in a pinch.
Bring a Cooler (Note: We only recommend this option if you are driving)
Bringing a cooler is a great way to ensure a healthier trip and also save some dollars. This can go even further if you are staying at a rental or house where you have access to a kitchen. Most hotels will have at least a fridge so you can store food and snacks.
You certainly don’t need to pack for every meal, but if you have some healthy food available you are going to be a lot less likely to eat out 3 times a day. For instance, bring some healthy breakfast (or brunch) food which means you will always start the day with something nutritious. This will help you keep you on track for the rest of the day. Even if you splurge a little later in the day, it won’t have as big an effect.
Choose Wisely When Eating Out
Some people don’t want to cook while travelling and we totally get that. We want to put you in a position where you can choose when you want to indulge a bit, and not have it forced on you by circumstances. When you do eat out keep in mind most restaurants will have some healthy options. Base your meal around protein, veggies, and healthy fats. Be wary of mystery sauces and never hesitate to ask your server what they suggest for healthy yet tasty options.
Don’t Be Afraid to Fast a Little
A lot of people use travel as an opportunity to intermittent fast. We won’t go into all the benefits of intermittent fasting here, but just know it can be great for your health! The best meal option may be no meal and that’s ok. You don’t have to go overboard, we are talking about skipping one or two meals max and then going about your normal eating for the next meal. If you’ve done intermittent fasting before, this can be an ideal time for it. If you are new to it, you may want to read up a little and try it before your trip to see if it’s right for you.
Part 2: In Transit
While you are travelling you are most likely going to be doing a lot of sitting. We are big advocates of movement throughout the day and sitting for long periods of time isn’t great for you (haven’t you heard the saying sitting is the new smoking?). Here are some tips to minimize the impact of your long distance sitting session.
In the Air
While flying, we recommend getting up every hour or so to walk down the aisle. We know it can be a hassle waking up the napping person next to you, but it’s worth it. Go to the bathroom and do a few minimal stretches. A great mini stretch routine is to interlace your fingers and reach your hands above your head for 10-20 seconds. Keep your hands up, put your palms together, and extend your hands to the right and left getting a good stretch along your sides. Finally, keep your arms extended overhead and reach your hands slightly behind your head for a mini back stretch. If you are feeling ambitious, you can finish off your routine with a few air squats.
Pro Tip: Flying is a great opportunity to sneak in a meditation session. Travel can be stressful, so we recommend relaxing and doing a short session to keep calm. At your seat, close your eyes and focus on your breath for 5-10 minutes. Your flying companions will just think you are napping. If you happen to have some noise cancelling headphones and your favorite meditation app, even better.
On the Road
If you are driving, we recommend stopping to walk around every couple hours. We know you might be on a tight travel schedule, so use your gas stops as an opportunity to walk around a bit. You can also do the mini stretch routine at the gas station. If you are taking a longer trip (6+ hours) we recommend taking an extra 10 minutes to take a longer walk or even get in a short 10-minute bodyweight workout. If you are trying to keep it quick, knock out 10 burpees!
Part 3: Working out
Commit to 10 minutes a day
Our golden rule for travel is to commit to 10 minutes a day of activity. This can be in the form of a walk, a bike ride, or even a quick bodyweight circuit. Really anything that gets you sweating a little will do. If you are a gym person, find a place to stay that has a gym or one nearby so you don’t have any excuses.
One of the best 10-minute workouts we know can be done in your room or anywhere you like. Just pick three basic movements like pushups, leg lifts, and air squats. Do 10 reps of each as many times as possible in 10 minutes. If you have access to other equipment, feel free to use those (pull-up bar, chair, etc.) for some different movements. You will be surprised what you can do in 10 minutes!
One of our favorite things to do on the road is to go for a walk or run in our new location. Whether you are in a new city, at the beach, or in the country, this can be a great opportunity to learn your surroundings and see some sights. You might even meet some locals. We also recommend making this social and doing it with your family or those you are travelling with.
Try Something New
We kicked off this article talking about coming back from travel re-energized and one of the best ways to do this is to try new things. If you have the time, take a class that you don’t normally do. Find something ahead of time that interests you and give it a whirl. You likely won’t see anyone there again, so don’t be afraid to do something that pushes you out of your comfort zone (this may be a great chance to try that hip hop class!). Think spin class, a new type of yoga, or a boxing class. This will shake things up and allow you to refocus on your usual routine when you return.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our tips to help you stay healthy while travelling. Remember not to stress about staying perfectly healthy while travelling and enjoy the journey!
Yours in wellness,
The FC Squad