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If you’ve done any amount of traveling, you probably found yourself wondering how to stay healthy on a vacation. Believe me, with the amount of travel I’ve done this year, if I was eating every gas station sausage (you know those ones that glisten as they’re rolling around…) or airport pizza, I’d be packing an extra 30lbs.
I have no idea how many miles we’ve travelled in the past 10 months, but suffice to say it’s a lot. In January we moved from the mountains of Tennessee to the pine trees of North Carolina. A few months later we went on a family vacation to the big smoke of New York City. And then a couple months after that, my toddler and I flew from North Carolina to Abu Dhabi, then onto the beautiful beaches of Western Australia (which is where I’m writing this from!)
You can stay healthy while on a vacation, but like most things in life, it requires a bit of forward planning.
How To Stay Healthy On a Vacation
1. Pack healthy snacks
Airports and gas stations are notorious for unhealthy food options. And when you’ve just stepped off the plane after one long flight only to find yourself racing through the terminal to catch your next flight, or enduring a painful hours-long layover, it can be tempting to just grab a candy bar or a bag of chips.
That’s why I always try to pack healthy snacks with me whenever we fly or go on road-trips. I like being prepared and knowing I always have a healthy option in my bag. Some ideas for healthy snacks include:
- Air-popped popcorn
- Fruit leather
- Mini nut-butter packets
- Apples & bananas
- Dried fruit
- Homemade energy bites
2. Walk everywhere
There are various factors that go into how many calories you will burn by walking, but in general, it’s around 65 calories per mile for a 120lb person. And when you’re traveling, it’s also a great way to explore your destination and see things you might not have seen if you always took a cab.
When we were in NYC, we walked so much I thought my legs were going to drop off by the end of the day (and my poor husband had to carry our son in the carrier the whole time – we swear by this carrier which is comfortable for adults and keeps baby in an ergonomic position.)
I have an Apple Watch Series 1 which tracks your steps in the Activity Tracker – I love the Apple Watch for so many reasons, but I really love the activity tracker – the competitive side of me always wants to show that little circle who’s boss :p
3. Stay hydrated
If you’ve ever been on a long-haul flight, you’ll know how tired, headachey, and parched it can make you feel. The reason? The relative humidity inside an airplane cabin is kept at between 10-15%. Given that the Sahara desert has a relative humidity of 25%, being stuck in an airplane cabin is basically a recipe for dehydration.
It’s recommended that you drink 8oz of water per hour while flying. An easy way to keep track of this is buy grabbing one of these water bottles with a time marker that’ll ensure you stay on track. (They’re also a good idea for everyday, too – it’s important to stay hydrated and most of us aren’t!)
Cesspool of filth. <<<That’s how I describe airplanes and public restrooms. I’m not a huge germaphobe, but I’m aware of the reality that airplanes, airports and public restrooms are an absolute breeding-ground for germs.
That’s why it’s a good idea to take a bottle of hand-sanitizer and a small packet of sanitizing wipes with me when I travel. Trust me, when you see someone sneeze into their hand and then use that same hand to punch their pin number into the ATM that you’re lining up to use, you’ll be glad you have your wipes and sanitizer bottle.
5. Get enough sleep
A lack of sleep has been associated with a number of health problems, including a weakened immune system, high blood pressure, weight gain and mood swings.
Vacations and travel often mean late nights out, but making sure you get enough sleep will help you feel energized for the day ahead. If you have trouble sleeping while you’re traveling, try these chocolate melatonin sleep supplements. Each piece contains 1mg of melatonin along with chamomile to help ensure you get a good night’s rest.
6. Go grocery shopping
Whenever I go on vacation, one of the first things I like to do is find a local grocery store and buy some healthy staples to take back to my hotel room.
The types of things I usually buy include:
- Peanut butter
- Bottles of water
- Rice cakes
- Fruit leather
- Quick oats (if there’s a microwave in my hotel room.)
This helps to ensure that I always have healthy snacks on hand and I’m also able to whip up a quick, healthy and cheap breakfast.
(*Bonus – If you’re vacationing in the states, make sure you download the free Ibotta app, which gives you cash back on a ton of grocery store items.)
7. Wholefood supplements
As much as you might have the best intentions, it can be difficult to eat healthy, nutrient-dense meals when you’re traveling. And let’s be honest, sometimes you just feel like splurging on a piece of New York cheesecake or a shrimp po’boy – calories be damned.
While there’s no replacement for eating fruits and vegetables, I always make sure I take my fruit and vegetable wholefood supplement. This floods my body with nutrients and bridges the gap between what I know I should be eating and what I am actually eating.
I take these everyday (so do my husband and son) but they’re particularly important for traveling.
8. Don’t quit exercise
While you might not have the time, equipment, or desire to be sticking to your regular exercise routine while you’re traveling, it’s important not to quit exercising entirely.
Take advantage of your hotel gym or download a workout app to follow along with. Resistance bands are another great way to get in a workout. These resistance bands are super light and easy to find into your suitcase.
9. Stretch, stretch, stretch
Who else loves the feeling of a good stretch in the morning? We all know that it feels good to stretch, but you might be surprised to know that stretching has a whole host of health benefits, including:
- Increases blood flow
- Helps to wake you up in the morning
- Improves fine-muscle coordination
- Relieves stiff muscles
- Decreases risk of injury
- Decreases stress levels
It’s particularly important to make sure that you stretch regularly during long haul flights. This will help to decrease the risk of deep vein thrombosis.
10. Eat breakfast
We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but this doesn’t seem to stop us from skipping it. In fact, studies have shown that more than half of all Americans skip breakfast at least once a week.
Eating a healthy breakfast every morning will jumpstart your metabolism, give you energy to power through the day, improve your cognitive function plus a whole host of other health benefits. It’s easy to eat a health breakfast while you’re traveling. Buy some bananas and quick oats and make oatmeal in your hotel room, pack some homemade granola in mini ziplock bags for road trips, even energy balls are a good, healthy pre-made breakfast option for road trips – just pack them in a cooler with an ice block or two.
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