How to Stay Healthy While Traveling - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog

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How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

A must-read before you travel! These 7 essential tips will keep you feeling energetic and healthy while on the road.

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Is it just me, or don’t you just feel like you have to hit the gym and go on a diet every time you return home from a trip? It’s like you went on a vacation from everything, including your usual routine, so you feel like you have to get back to it right when you get home. To me, this was a huge issue after coming back from two big trips to Greece and Africa. I had fun, but I ate poorly, slept poorly, and didn’t take care of myself at all. It made me realize that I needed to find a way to incorporate healthy habits into my traveling schedule. So I made a list of habits and things that I thought might help and tried them out on the next few trips I took. I felt soooo much better throughout my trip (and after!) that I just had to share it with my fellow Urbanette’s!

Here are the healthy habits I (now) stick to as much as possible when traveling:

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

Packing Workout Outfits

This is the perfect way to make sure that you have the right mentality before you even start your trip. Many people pack by thinking of what they are wearing and when, so if you tell yourself that you have to pack at least one workout outfit, then you’ll be much more likely to find the time for a workout in your schedule. Also, packing an entire outfit with sneakers (which take up a lot of suitcase real estate, so wear them on the plane) will make you try even harder to make sure you use it. A few things that I tend to forget are hair ties, a pair of headphones and a reusable water bottle, so definitely do not forget those. You want to make it feel as much like your normal routine as possible, so make sure you take everything that you would normally use during your workout.

Staying Active

If you are on a beach vacation, take a swim in the ocean. Treading water alone can help you burn between 200 to 600 calories per hour, so all you need to do is jump in. Even if you’re on a relaxing getaway, try to do ten pushups, sit-ups, or yoga stretches every so often to get your heart rate back up. Little exercises here and there will help keep your metabolism up throughout the day. During my trip to NYC, I was shopping and eating the entire time, so I made sure to walk more than five miles each day to stay somewhat active.

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

Stretching

This goes with staying active but it deserves its own explanation. Although stretching in the morning might not be apart of your normal routine, it is the best way to start a day full of activities. Your metabolism starts up and your muscles wake up after a night of sleeping. You can even stretch in the shower, while getting dressed, and in the elevator going to the lobby. Incorporating a stretch here and there will help your muscles stay warm throughout the day.

Try to eat vegan. You’ll remove the risk of getting sick or picking up a long-term stomach parasite (yuk!).

Sticking to Healthy Snacks

Temptations are everywhere, especially at the airport, but try to resist the urge to grab a bag of chips or M&Ms. Instead, grab almonds or fruit and don’t forget your big (reusable) bottle of water! Or, better yet, shop for snacks that are compact and travel well (like nuts and organic food bars) before you go so you never end up hAngry (you know, when you’re soooo hungry you get -ahem- a bit grumpy). Staying hydrated will help you curb your appetite and keep your energy up while traveling. Always opt for bottled (preferably in glass) spring water rather than fake, flavored water like Vitamin Water, which is mostly just sugar (junk food posing as healthy). Your body needs pure, unadulterated water to stay hydrated and healthy.

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

Eating Plant-Based, “Tapas-Style” Meals

Many restaurants do not have a tapas-style menu, but it is easy to split dishes between your travel mate(s) and get a taste of everything. By having your meals “tapas-style”, your brain will interpret the different foods much quicker and register that you are full, faster. This way you can eat less and feel full, which is especially useful ifyou can’t find healthy food. If your brain is concentrating on one entree, it takes longer to register fullness and you tend to eat it faster than you would a “tapas-style” meal where you need to stop and change dishes, and your brain is registering a lot of different flavors. This is a great trick for when you’re at an airport, since the food is almost always seriously unhealthy. Also, if possible, try to eat vegan. You’ll remove the risk of getting sick or picking up a long-term stomach parasite from undercooked meat (this happens more often than you’d like to know!), and it’ll leave you feeling energized, instead of sluggish and sleepy.

Cutting the Alcohol

Yes, you are on vacation, but do you really need to have five beers in one sitting? If you are trying to get that vacation buzz, try a tequila on the rocks, a gin and tonic, or a vodka soda. Much of your calorie intake (and your hangover) comes from the sugar in what you drink, so try to pick drinks with the least amount of sugar and carbs. Your body will thank you in the morning!

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

Taking Coffee Black (or Espresso)

Waking up to a large cup of coffee with sugar and milk may sound like the perfect way to start the day, but if you are trying to maintain your waistline while traveling, watch what you put in your coffee. A shot or two of espresso by itself is the perfect way to amp up your energy while staying healthy on vacation. If you must have milk, opt for almond, oat, or soy milk. Cow milk is inflammatory and causes your body to create mucus (yukkk!) — neither of which sound good at any time, but especially while traveling!

Next time you travel, remember to pack a workout outfit and go into your vacation with an active mindset. Stay hydrated, exchange chips for fruit, and keep your heart rate up! Just those three things alone will help you stick to healthy habits while on the road.

Lauren is a half-American, half-Cuban native of Miami with a passion for writing. She started writing as a freshman intern and found her way to a career in publicity. She is an avid traveler, devout foodie, and frequent shopper, but above it all, she believes that finding a balance is the key to living a wholesome life and staying levelheaded.

Reader Discussion: 65 Comments

  1. Eloise Ferris

    Mmmm.. I love the idea of taking black coffee 😉

  2. Lana Wiliam

    Thanks for writing about staying healthy while on a trip. Travel well, my friends!

  3. Paul Daiz

    Great tips! When I travel I make sure to drink lots of water and limit alcohol!

  4. Angelo Henderso

    Excellent tips! I especially like the one about “eating meals ‘tapas-style'”!

  5. Selli Coaze

    Oh wow! Helpful tips! I’d better start following these. The truth is, I struggle to eat healthily and do workouts when I’m at home… How much more when I’m on a trip?!

  6. The best tip I can share, “fix your attitude before getting on a plane (or car), have your fitness goals ready!” I do this, I’m sure others can to…

  7. Genie Mackenzie

    YES! Making an effort to be active is VERY IMPORTANT!

  8. Juli Woods

    I’d like to add, as much as possible, get adequate sleep and rest 🙂

  9. April Henry

    Whenever I’m on vacation, I start my day with fresh fruit, yogurt or cereals.

  10. Hena Taylor

    Yeah temptations! Can I be honest?! I’m finding it hard to resist bag of chips whenever I travel… *sigh*

  11. Jessi Agusta

    Wonderful ideas. I’m going to bookmark this article to remind me of this when I travel this summer!

  12. Anila William

    Whether you’re traveling for leisure or work, remember to STAY HYDRATED!!!

  13. Cristina Joseff

    Fantastic! It is important to enjoy your trip and not feel deprived. But remember not to overdo it. Always listen to your body and make sacrifices (like waking up early to exercise, avoiding junk foods, etc) if necessary.

  14. Nancy Smith

    Sure, traveling can be exciting and can make one forget certain routines. But for me, it’s important NOT TO SKIP breakfast.

  15. Maria Bruce

    I know traveling can be exciting and can make you forget certain routines, but for me, it’s important that you don’t skip breakfast.

  16. Quin Meri

    Wonderful! Thanks for the list! Indeed, it is POSSIBLE to stay healthy while traveling 🙂

  17. Jackie Lewis

    I do not think people realize how disruptive a vacation is to their schedule. If you are on such a roll with a eating healthier and working out, going on vacation will just disrupt your schedule and make it so hard to get back into the swing of things when you return. All these tips will be so incredibly helpful for making the transition back to everyday life when vacation is over. Wonderful article and wonderful tips!

  18. Well, I must admit that it’s hard to maintain habits while I’m away from home. Thanks for the article! Will try these tips. One step at a time…

  19. Heather Cagle

    When I travel, I love experiencing other cultures through their street foods, do you think that’s healthy?! My bad if it’s not…

    • There’s nothing wrong with street foods. I’m adventurous to food and I make sure to try out street foods as well. But it’s important to learn about food safety. Yeah, I’m pro-street food but we should make good choices to avoid getting sick. My tips: eat hot, freshly cooked food and remember to watch how the vendor handles money (it will tell you how they prepare food)…

  20. As always, impressive tips!

  21. Isabella Ollins

    I believe it’s a great way to have fun and stay active when adventure travel is part of vacation plan. Activities like trekking, climbing a mountain, cycling, running or walking to explore are better activities rather than sitting by the pool.

  22. Kathy Freeman

    My secret to staying healthy and fit while traveling: “I don’t ever get an internet connection for my phone.” Of course, this can’t be done when you travel for work, but when you travel for leisure, why not enjoy your time without being connected to your computer or phone?!

  23. Sharlene Robinson

    When you travel, particularly for leisure, try to get around by foot rather than a cab! I always bring sneakers so I can walk everywhere…

  24. Andrea Clark

    As always, an informative article from Urbanette! Simple tips that can make trips healthful and keep the traveler feeling “bright-eyed” and “bushy-tailed” during and after the trip 😉

  25. Norisna

    Thank you very much Hillary for your article, vey interesting. just I needed something like this for my soon trips . Thanks again!!

  26. Felicia Stewart

    Tapas Style eating sounds very interesting! It’s something you can do during daily life too. I’m going to adapt it into my eating routine. Thanks.

  27. Debbie Jones

    Ugh. I’m horrible at staying in shape on my travels. It’s like I have this mindset that going on vacation means taking a break from healthy habits too. 🙁

    • Camila Hilhorst

      I can say the same about myself. But reading this helped me a little, not going to lie. I’ll try and do better next time I’m traveling. I hope I can turn it into a regular thing for whenever I travel.

      • Debbie Jones

        Good luck Camila! Obviously the article motivated me too, but lord knows if I’ll stay motivated till my next vacation.

  28. Bethany Miles

    Seriously cutting the alcohol does wonders! I stopped drinking 7 months ago and started working out regularly. It made a huge difference on my body shape. I strongly recommend it.

  29. Kimberly Thompson

    Thanks for this very thorough guide! It’s very helpful. Most blogs just give directions *do this* *do that* but don’t tell us how. I hate it when that happens.

    • Alison Hayashi

      Yes!! They just state the obvious and leave it at that. But Lauren here has done some great job, that motivated even a couch potato like myself.

  30. I love the tip about packing workout clothes. It works for me. I feel so guilty when the workout clothes stare at me as if they’re saying “we know you’re slacking. ? ” Helps me get up and exercise LOL!

  31. Dorothy Harris

    I really appreciate this post, Lauren. It’s always helpful to get advice and tips like these, from those who know a thing or two about to stay in shape on the road.

  32. Christina Norelli

    I used to be such a lazy traveler but my mindset has changed a lot by the years that the activities I now do while traveling or some actual physical activities that could count for exercising. I also do my best to eat healthy. Vegan of course!

  33. Jae Medina

    This is absolutely the best article on staying in shape during travels! It’s all so effective but easy to do and follow up. Most other articles on this topic that I read before were too complicated for me.

  34. Helena Stevens

    Very insightful and helpful. Great tips to stay in shape and be fit. I’m sharing this with some friends. Thank you. 🙂

  35. Emma Blackwood

    Great post with real helpful advice. In my case it’s always easier to lose weight and stay fit as long as I’m not tied to a desk at work. I seem to be more active during my travels. But to be honest I never watch what I eat. I’m gonna try to eat as healthy as possible to see what kind of differences it makes! 🙂

  36. Gwen Keaton

    Thank you so much for this informational article. It’s very helpful for those who don’t do much adventure traveling that prefer a more relaxing and sightseeing kind of travel like me. 🙂

  37. Lin Del Rey

    Excellent post Lauren! I found some very valuable tips & info here on how to stay fit while traveling. I’ll definitely be taking your advice.

  38. Monica Collins

    This is some golden value information and advice for travelers! Thank you!

  39. Susanna Milton

    Excellent guide! I’m currently in the beginning of planning stages of my world tour. I’ll do my best to stay active and eat healthy. Hopefully these tips you’ve shared will help me do that. ?

  40. Melissa Princeton

    I don’t know why but it just seems that I always lose weight when I’m travelling. I guess I’m doing it right. ?

  41. Oh come on, Lauren! A man’s -ladies too!!- gotta have his beer from time to time! ? But you’re right! Best to stick to lighter drinks and food -calorie wise- and gotta do those crunches and stretching every morning! ??

  42. Pearl Nguyen

    My problem is the total opposite – for me, it’s easier to stay in shape while traveling – because I’m almost always on the move. But the real problem is when I get back home and go back to daily office job – I put back on all the weight I lost during my travel. ???

  43. Molly Twain

    As a full time traveler who lives out of her suitcase, I greatly appreciate this post. From my experience I can tell you that morning yoga and strength training helps a great deal! What better way to stretch than yoga, am I wrong? ?

  44. Matilda Parker

    Thanks so much for the amazing guide! I’m going on a very long business trip ( a whole month!!!), never been away from home so long before so I didn’t know what I could do other than trying to stick to my diet.

  45. Thanks for this article Lauren. Your advice and your commitment to your healthy lifestyle even on vacation is really encouraging for people like me always try and find excuses not to workout.

    • Kim Hartford

      I have the same problem. I just can’t seem to motivate myself enough to get myself to get up and be more active or exercise. ?

  46. Lauren Gilson

    Personally, it’s very difficult for me to stay in shape during vacations. I workout and diet the whole winter for my summer body, only to lose it by the end of my summer vacation. Such a shame. I need to get more serious about these fitness matters.

  47. To me traveling, especially vacations are more relaxing if I’m at the very least moderately active. I love taking a couple of hours in the morning to exercise. It helps me feel like I’ve earned some time in a beach chair. Works for me. ?

  48. This is such a great post, and is very useful to me as I’m about to go on a family vacation in a few weeks. Was worried that I might have to sacrifice my workout routine for a week, but reading this helped me realize I don’t have to sacrifice anything, that workout and vacation can go alone. Thanks for helping me realize! 🙂

  49. Marina Henderson

    I am embarking on my first trip abroad for a month England which I’m extremely excited about and have already planned a fitness schedule for. I’ve seen some very genius in your article, and I’m adding them to my travel fitness schedule. Thank you for this great article!

    • Wow – a month in England! That sounds like a great trip 🙂 Have fun!

  50. Leah Helms

    Hey Lauren! Great post. I changed my diet and started working out regularly about two months ago. Traveling to Greece in May, but don’t know much about the Greek food. What are some healthy food you ate there that you would suggest I should eat?

  51. Julia MacLean

    Loving these tips! During my travels I just love to tour on foot or even go for a run before I start my day. Sometimes I rent a bike. If I’m by the beach I go for a swim or join a game of frisbee, beach volley etc. You can even make friends this way while staying active!

  52. Lucretia Asher

    Thank you for helping me see that I’ve been doing it all wrong. I always exercise diet extremely hard before traveling only to come back home bloated. I am very determined to find a balance for my upcoming travel and the advice I’ve read here from you is great!

  53. Hi, Lauren. Despite the fact that I’m not even traveling at the moment, I’m just about to go to the nearest park and do some exercise because of this. Really inspired and motivated right now!! I don’t even care that it’s 2 PM here!

    • Lauren Liebler

      That is wonderful! Your body will thank you for that!

  54. Alice Landon

    This is truly inspiring! Who knew it was so easy to stay in shape on travel? I surely didn’t!!! – You’ve hit the nail on the head and convinced me to try and be more active and eat healthier even while traveling. You rock! ??????????

  55. Carol Warren

    Hello there! I have been looking for a guide-article like this for days!!!! Trying to make health and fitness my priority even when travelling and I needed some advice on how to do it. Can’t believe how easily it can be done. Thanks for all the advice and information!

  56. Amanda Roberts

    Thanks for all the great advice, Lauren I’m at the beginning of a trip that will go on a couple of months, and I really needed to hear everything you said here. Keeping my shape and staying active while traveling surely helps me feel better, so I also believe it’s worth all the small sacrifices!

    • Lauren Liebler

      Definitely! Glad you got something out of it, Amanda 🙂

  57. Sibel Jenkinson

    Perfect timing! I just read this article in a cab on my way to the airport. Made me feel glad that I packed some workout outfits and running shoes. Definitely sticking to my plan to stay fit. It’s a matter of dedication.

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