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10 Ways to Stay Healthy While Traveling.

Updated: Nov 26, 2021

Whether is a festive season or not, all of us travel more and more these days. Sometimes for work purposes, sometimes for leisure, sometimes to simply see our relatives. While I do believe that we should all indulge over holidays, sometimes it might really push us off track.


Here is a list of ten simple steps that will not only help you to stay on track but will also allow you to get back on it after the break.


1. Plan.

Yeah I know, it does seem pretty obvious, right? Especially when we talk about traveling :) I don’t mean your usual travel plans though. Apart from booking a hotel, flight and planning the commute, there are a few more things which can help us spend the days off in a more active and “fit” way. Some of these things might seem obvious, but more than once we might let them slip from our memory.


- Staying in a hotel? Check the facilities for a gym, or swimming pool access.

- Not a fan of indoor workouts? Have a look at the surroundings and check where to go for a morning stroll or run.

- Some hotels offer bicycle rental, so instead of hopping between buses and trains in the city, you might want to opt for a cycling tour.

- No gym, no pool, no bicycles? Fret not, as there is plenty of training programs involving only the body-weight, and remember - in a few days, or weeks, you will be back home and you can hit the gym again and get back into your fitness routine.

*PRO TIP: Whether I’m visiting my family overseas or simply going on vacation, I always pack my resistance band and a mini foam roller (or a foam ball/tennis ball). It's like my mini-gym, in case a fully equipped gym / swimming pool is not available or I don’t have time to go for a run.


 

2. Eat well on the go.


I’ve been living in Asia since 2014, so frequent travels to see my family and friends on different continents are nothing new to me. Over these past few years, I have learned one important thing, no matter which airline you fly with, it will always be tiring. (Unless you can afford first class with private room, bed, and shower, which I can only dream of :D)


So a long while ago I decided to prepare my routine and a list of things that always help me ease the stressful effects of traveling on my body. It all starts with food and hydration and ends on items that I carry in my travel bag. (See point 3.)


- Prep and plan your meals right. For example, if my flight is late at night, and it usually takes around seven hours before I get to the next airport, I will make sure that I have a good dinner just before heading out. Also, I am not a big fan of airplane food, so if I get hungry later on I will grab a salad or sandwich just before boarding. Sometimes I might even take the snack with me on the plane.

It usually takes 3-5 hours to transit to the next plane, so I will try to have some healthier bite at the next airport. Then the following meal, when I reach home.

*PRO TIP: Make sure the items you’d like to carry through security are allowed! Avoid any liquids, gels, yogurts, etc. Aim for dry products, like fruits and sandwiches.

- Hydrate. We all know that hydration is super important on a daily basis, but it is even more important while you fly. Being on a plane for hours can dehydrate your body. I like to carry my own bottle, so I can re-fill it anywhere and anytime.


- Pack a snack, if you feel like finding time for a proper meal might be a struggle.


Examples:

  • Nuts and seeds.

  • Boiled eggs.

  • Celery with nut butter.

  • Raw veggies and hummus.

  • Apples with nut butter.

  • Protein powder (you can carry it in a shaker, and add water when you’re about to drink it).

  • Plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese (top it up with fruits for extra flavor).

  • Napkins, tissues, plastic cutlery (if you think it might be necessary).

  • Quality protein bar (check the protein content, and seek the ones lower in sugar).

  • Fresh fruit or veggies.

- Be smart when eating out.


If you’re dining in a restaurant (or on a plane), make sure you still eat the portion you need. Sometimes we get served more food than usual, and then we force ourselves to finish everything. If you think the portion is too big, ask the waiter to pack half of it for takeaway (best to do before you dig in!).


If you don’t know what to order, always look for meals that contain lean proteins, carbs, healthy fats, and vegetables.

In case you’d be preparing your own meal, you can follow the rule, which I have learned from Precision Nutrition. It makes it super easy to measure the necessary macros!

  • Lean Proteins: 1-2 palms

  • Carbs: 1-2 cupped hands

  • Vegetables: 1-2 fists

  • Fats: 1-2 thumbs

If you’re only choice is a convenience store (e.g. at the airport), try to look for fresh veggies or fruits first (e.g. baby carrots, bananas, fresh salads). An ideal meal would be built of a little bit of protein, like beans or Greek yogurt, carbs (fruits and/or veggies), and fats from nuts, seeds, or guacamole (avocado).


If you don’t like the food options available, e.g. menu in the hotel restaurant, don’t be afraid to leave and look for a better place. It’s okay to be hungry for a little while. Especially if it will pay off with a delicious and healthy meal, no?


 

3. Carry the essentials:


Having a list of things you should carry is extremely useful. Feel free to use mine!


- My own blanket.

I am a very light sleeper and I find it difficult to sleep while traveling, so having my blanket instead of using the one which is offered by the airline definitely helps.


- Bottle of water.

I always empty it before crossing the security scan and then refill it again before boarding the plane. If you don’t find any potable water at the airport, you can always ask the crew on the plane to refill the bottle for you.


- Tissues and hand sanitizer.

A definite must for me. I'm not a germophobe, but planes and airports are really not the cleanest places.


- Thermal spring water spray, or rose water.

Hydrate yourself not only from the inside but also from the outside!

- Eye drops and nose drops.

To avoid my eyes and nose getting super dry from the AC.

- Hand cream and lip balm.

Quite obvious things in every girls’ bag I guess.


- A book. Or two.

Especially if the flight is long or I travel alone.


- Mp3 Player.

Yes, I know, they’re not very popular these days :) But I love to use my favorite Sony Walkmen WS Series, which I also use for my runs and swim sessions. By using it I can also avoid the cellphone and tune in to my holiday mood.


- Sunglasses.

The obvious thing for holidays, not so much for the plane itself. But if you ever took a super early flight you probably understand how intense the sun can be on the plane when it's rising. So yes, sometimes a pair of shades might be quite helpful.


- Make-up remover.

Some airlines do offer them, but if just in case, is you're a person who can't leave the house without make-up, it’s good to carry a small bottle (no more than 100 ml) in your hand luggage. Remove the makeup before sleep, and put on a fresh one once you wake up. Trust me, no one on the plane will even notice, and your skin will be grateful.


- Blindfold. I did mention I have trouble sleeping in places different than my bed :)


- Very, very comfy clothes, like sweatpants, a t-shirt, a sweater or a hoodie. I also bring my fluffy socks, so the minute I take my shoes off I put my socks on and I can freely roam around the plane or go to sleep.


I know that some of these things don’t seem like a typical “fitness list”, but they all help me travel better, and feel more relaxed, which in turn means that I will not feel exhausted after my flight and I will be able to jump into my routine way faster with more energy.


 

4. Get ready for bed.

Speaking of sleep... If you’re flying through different time zones, you should definitely plan when you will sleep. Having a strategy will help to cheat the body a little and in effect avoid jet lag. So pack your favorite stuff in the hand luggage, like clothes to change (if you'd like), fresh socks, pillow, blanket, anything else that will help you sleep better, and that will, clearly, fit into your hand carry! :)


 

5. Exercise! On the plane.


If you ever sit with me on the plane, you will notice that I do love aisle seats :) Once in a while I go for a walk around the entire deck, or if the plane has two decks, I use the stairs to exercise and stretch. If the plane is smaller, I use the space near washrooms, so I can still get at least a few squats and stretches in, especially before and after sleep.


 

6. Cook in the hotel.

I know, I know, you are on holiday, and I'm asking you to cook?! Well, you don't need to go all out and spend hours prepping your lunches and dinners, but if there is an option, aim for the room with a kitchenette, so you can prep other, simple meals.


You can also think about bringing the products you like or the ones you might not find at the holiday destination. My husband loves avocado and always takes it with him on vacation. Once we arrive at the hotel, he keeps it in the mini cooler and doesn't need to run around stores to look for it. If you would like to carry more healthy snacks with you, you can always ask the hotel to clear out the minibar for you.

 

7. Don’t aim for perfection! Just try to make your meals better, and stay a little bit active. If you’re gonna walk around the entire day, maybe it’s not such a good idea to hit the gym or the running path in the morning?


 

8. Make a list of the few most important aspects of the trip, like drinking 2 liters of water per day, getting your 10 thousand steps, or maybe doing a 10-minute workout in the morning. Do the same thing with nutrition, for example, focus on eating at least one serving of veggies per day, or avoiding fast foods. Look for your “minimums” and focus on these, instead of trying to keep everything perfect.


 

9. Keep in mind the basics.


In the worst-case scenario, when it’s really hard to follow the plan, focus on the simple stuff:

  • eat slowly and mindfully

  • get enough sleep and water

  • don’t overeat

  • stay active every day

 

10. Enjoy your holidays!

If you are going on holiday, remember that it is totally okay to let go a little bit. You don’t have to hit the gym every morning, and it’s okay to have a few drinks or eat a little bit too much ;)



If you’re gonna enjoy your time off you will come back home way more motivated and pick up the slack in just a few days!! So don’t beat yourself about all those extra calories, and instead, appreciate local delicacies!


 


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