- Staying healthy while traveling is no easy feat. Not only are you away from your usual workout routine and spending time in crowded (germy) places, but you likely want to indulge a little. You can enjoy healthy travel without giving up the fun of your trip with a few tweaks.
ON THE PLANE
- My rule is to stick to the healthiest food possible in the airport and save treats for local delicacies. Airplane food is really bad for you. It’s generally full of sugar and salt, which only makes you tired and bloated.
- Many people don’t know that you can bring your own made-at-home solid food through TSA. As long as there isn’t a lot of liquid, you can pack your own meal to save money at the airport and know exactly what you’re eating. Some of my favorite items to carry on: cut raw veggies, quinoa or farro tossed in a light vinaigrette with some greens, and Lara bars.
- Airplanes are extremely drying, and it’s more earth-friendly (and easier) to bring a reusable bottle. Many airports have filtered water machines where you can refill, and most flight attendants will happily fill your bottle instead of handing you a tiny plastic cup. Chug that stuff.
- You might look like a psycho, but wiping down parts of your seat can go a long way in keeping you healthy on a trip. Ask your flight attendant friends how often the windows, armrest, and tray table get sanitized (hint: not often). Gwenyth Paltrow uses colloidal silver, natural anti-bacterial and anti-viral, to spritz her seat before takeoff. If it’s good enough for GP, it’s good enough for me.
- While not directly health related, I still prioritize skincare on long flights. Having a “bedtime” routine helps me fall asleep. At the very least, wipe your face with a lavender-infused makeup removing towelette and slap on some moisturizer. This sleeping mask is amazing for waking up looking refreshed. Flying is murder on your skin, so do what you can.
FIGHTING JET LAG
My number one tip to fight jet lag is to get on local time ASAP. Stop converting the time in your destination to the time at home and just live like a local. If it’s daytime when you arrive, get as much natural light as possible to help your body adjust faster. Conversely, if you arrive at night, it’s helpful to immediately start your winding down process. That one is the hardest for me because I like to go out and explore immediately, so I’ve been trying to schedule flights that arrive in the morning.
If you can, fitting in a workout as soon as you arrive helps so much. It gives me a jolt of energy and breaking a sweat is a great way to reset after a long flight. When it’s time to hit the bed in your new place, use a sleep mask to get the best rest.
EXERCISE WHILE TRAVELING
- I’d never tell someone to sacrifice time exploring a new location just to get a few more reps in. That being said, I feel SO much better when I make fitness a part of my travels.
Planning for Success
One of the easiest steps to take when trying to achieve healthy travel is choosing a hotel with a fitness center. Most are open 24 hours a day, ensuring you can fit in a workout sometime. My trick to motivating myself to workout is to “earn my shower.” I try to fit in at least a 30 minute workout before every shower. If you’re staying in hostels or getting access to a fitness center just isn’t possible, make a special effort to stay in a walkable/runnable neighborhood.
- If you really want a healthy trip, consider a fitness-focused. getaway. This could be a yoga retreat, hiking trip, etc. Some locations also have more options for active excursions than others. Consider taking a surf lesson, canoe/rafting trip, guided hiking tour, or SUP class on your trip!
Workouts You Can Do Anywhere
- Running is one of the easiest ways to stay fit while traveling, simply because you can do it almost anywhere. Always be aware of your surroundings (no music while running outdoors), and get familiar with the area before heading out. These reflective leggings are my favorite item to pack if I think I might be running outdoors when it’s dark out.
- If running isn’t your style and your hotel doesn’t have a gym, there are plenty of hotel room workouts online! Do a quick search with “hotel workout” and whatever other specifics you need (i.e. low impact, arms) and you’ll find lots of options. When traveling within the United States, I use ClassPass to find great fitness studios! Get $30 off your first month here.
- Finally, if working out on vacation doesn’t sound like your thing, at least try to walk as often as possible! It’s a great way to explore a new place while still being active.
FOOD AND DRINK
When I’m planning a trip, one of the first things I do is research the food culture and any CDC guidelines. Some destinations don’t allow for lots of fresh vegetables and fruit in your diet. Often cooked or pickled produce can be used instead.
I also research and bookmark healthy food spots by saving locations on Google Maps. Wherever I happen to be in the new city, I just look for a nearby star when finding a place to eat. It helps me walk by the 1000th gelato stand if I know there’s an awesome, healthy meal nearby.
As a vegetarian, I frequently travel with supplements that might be unavailable at my destination. It’s helpful for me to know I have a plant protein option somewhere. I also bring lots of organic tea and superfoods if I’m traveling somewhere rural. A few items can make a big difference in how you feel on a trip!
Hope that was helpful! If you have another tip for healthy travel, drop it in the comments!