I think we can all agree that one of the best parts of traveling is enjoying local cuisine. However, eating the majority of your meals at restaurants is a big adjustment, especially if you’re particularly health-conscious and put a lot of thought into having healthy meals on the table. Rather than deny yourself the opportunity to enjoy local flavors, consider using these 5 tips and tricks on your next trip!
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If you want to eat well and stay fit while traveling, you’re going to have to plan ahead… and by ahead, I mean WAY ahead. Ideally before you even book a hotel, and definitely before you leave. Some level of planning is a natural part of travel (for us and our four kiddos, extensive planning is completely unavoidable, but I digress…), so a little extra won’t be difficult.
Tip #1: Choose your Accommodations with your Health in Mind
For the sake of efficiency this post is primarily geared toward staying in hotels, but most of these tips can be adapted based on other options such as rental homes, hostels, and so on. If you’d like some extra guidance feel free to leave a comment and we’ll do our best to help out!
Let’s take a moment to bask in the amazing benefits the internet has to offer. Relying on travel agents is a thing of the past – today we have access to tons of accommodation booking websites and apps that allow us to easily compare our options, all while finding the best prices! With health in mind, we look for a couple of specific amenities no matter where we’re traveling:
- a gym (or easy access to things like trails for biking or running) and
- healthy food options
Of course, your options will vary dramatically based on your destination, budget, and preferences. If any of those factors affect your options, a great alternative is to pack travel-friendly workout equipment such as resistance bands or TRX GO and map out the closest options for healthy food ahead of time. At a minimum, a simple pair of athletic shoes and some healthy snacks will do the trick! Which takes us to Tip #2…
Tip #2: Pack Snacks!
Think about the last time you had to resort to fast food. Did it have something to do with being hungry, short on time, and unsure of what other options were? You’re definitely not alone, and it’s even more likely to happen when traveling. It might seem like overkill, but creating a meal plan for your upcoming travels is absolutely worth it.
Don’t worry- you don’t have to deprive yourself of baklava in Greece, mango and sticky rice in Thailand, or pasta and gelato in Italy, but balance is key! You don’t want to feel sluggish before a long day of activities or fill up on junk just before a special meal. Make a list of any foods and/or specific restaurants you simply MUST enjoy on your trip and then think about how to distribute them depending on what you’ll be doing each day.
Keep in mind, snacks aren’t just for the kids! Our favorite healthy options that travel well with minimal mess are nuts, dried fruit, jerky, and protein bars. These snacks are going to help you avoid munching on overpriced airport or gas station junk food on travel days, as well as keeping you satiated between those carefully planned (and delicious!) meals. They will also come in handy if you’re planning activities such as hikes or long days at the beach where food for purchase is less accessible.
Tip #3: Be Intentional about Staying Active
You don’t have to overthink this one because it often comes naturally when traveling, but maintaining a healthy level of activity on a daily basis is essential. Once again, balance is key. You’re likely looking forward to rest and relaxation and we’re not here to tell you not to enjoy the opportunity to do just that! However, there are small things you can do to be sure you don’t start feeling sluggish.
The first step is (you guessed it!) putting together a plan. If you’re planning to go snorkeling in the morning, you can easily spend the rest of the day lounging in the sun, but if you don’t have anything specific planned on a particular day you’ll want to balance that out. If you have access to a gym and that’s your jam, go for it! But you could also just take a walk on the beach, wander around town, swim a few laps, etc. Anything to get your muscles working will help keep your healthy lifestyle on track.
On the other hand, if you’re going on a high activity level trip such as multi-day hikes or white water rafting, your focus on activity should actually be before your trip. You want to ensure you’re in shape and ready to enjoy your adventure to the fullest! Tailor your pre-travel workouts to the activities you’ll be taking part in to be sure you’re prepared.
Tip #4: Stay Hydrated
While this is a tip to keep in mind for daily life and not just when traveling, it’s especially important to stay hydrated whenever you’re on vacation. Dehydration can worsen the effects of jet lag, and don’t even get us started on how dry airplane cabin air is! Be sure to pack a refillable water bottle wherever you go and keep sipping throughout the day. Staying hydrated keeps you refreshed and energized for all those planned activities!
Did you know you can stay hydrated by eating certain foods? Bananas are a great source of potassium, which helps your body retain water. Eating water-rich foods, like watermelon, pineapple, cucumber and berries are always a great way to stay hydrated.
If you find staying hydrated throughout the day a challenge, make sure you start and end your day by getting your fill of water. Try drinking at least 2 cups of water when you wake up, and when you’re winding down for the evening.
Tip #5: Maintain Vitamins & Supplements
We take a number of vitamins and supplements in our everyday life – and that doesn’t change when we go on vacation! If you follow a vitamin/supplement regimen, there’s no reason to take a week off when traveling. Pick up a travel pill container and measure out what you need to maintain throughout the trip. Having them neatly packed into daily doses makes sticking to your regimen easy, even if your internal clock might be off from a time difference!
Using vitamins to complement a healthy diet and lifestyle gives your body a much-needed boost, especially under higher-stress times such as traveling. A few staples we like to keep on hand, particularly when we travel, are activated charcoal, airborne, and melatonin. Activated charcoal is great for an upset stomach, airborne for any motion sickness, and melatonin to make longer trips and adjusting to time zones that much easier!
The simple strategies outlined in this post can be just as effective (with a couple of small adjustments) when it comes to transitioning back to real life. Being intentional and making choices with your health in mind are great habits to create and maintain the healthy lifestyle you want. Wherever you vacation this summer, and beyond – have a happy, healthy and enjoyable time!
Looking for more healthy tips and tricks, or have a great tip you’d like to share with others? Let us know in the comments below, and check out the rest of our blog for more useful posts on finding the path to Uncommon Freedom™
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