It’s tough to stay healthy while traveling. The temptations of great food and drink, the time spent in transit, and the lure of new experiences can easily throw off your workout and sleep routines. Too often, this means you come home feeling like a wrung-out, pudgy slob.
This doesn’t have to be the case. With a little discipline and some focus, you can experience all the wonders of your destination while still maintaining a healthy routine.
Here are five tips I’ve learned that can help you stay healthier on the road:
Order With Restraint – Experiencing new foods is one of the joys of travel. But order within your limitations. If you normally prepare a small dinner at home, order a portion of similar size while traveling. Don’t be tempted by also adding on the appetizer and salad, also wolfing down the bread, and then layering a dessert on top of all that – at least not nightly.
Beware the Airport Concessions – Be very, very wary of airport (and airplane) food! It’s too easy to slip into bad habits while stuck in an airport somewhere, or simply keep noshing out of boredom. I suggest always traveling with some natural snacks to help avoid the temptations of the high-fat, high-carb foods that abound in airports.
Plan Realistic Workouts – A quick, 20-minute workout a day will go a long way toward helping you feel healthier and more energized on your trip. Some suggestions when there is no hotel workout room:
- Pre-plan a hotel room workout routine with exercises like push-up’s, sit-up’s, chair dips, wall squats, and others. There are numerous websites out there with suggestions, such as http://hotelroomworkout.com/
- Consider a packable addition to your workouts, such as a stretch bands (but learn how to use it before you leave).
- If you run at home, then run! Running is ideal for travel, as it allows you to get out and see your destination while also working out at the same time. (Be sure to first check with a concierge or other trusted local to find a safe route.)
- Walk. Forget the cab or the bus and hoof it (when it’s safe). There’s no better way to actually see a place than to walk through it.
- Rent bikes. Bikes are a fantastic way to get around many destinations to see the sites you’re longing to see.
Sleep! – It might seem obvious, but the temptations of staying out and partying, or pushing through your jet-lagged state to see another ruin, museum, or artifact are sometimes so strong that your sleep suffers. Don’t be afraid (once in a while) to turn in early. An eye-mask and ear plugs are great traveling items for cancelling out the excess lights and noise. Getting a few extra hours of sleep will re-energize and recharge you and enhance the quality of your experience for the next day.
Hydrate – This can be tough in some environments, especially in those where the tap water is not potable. But make an effort to hydrate as best you can, as often as you can (make sure to bring your own re-usable bottle). Never turn down an opportunity to drink clean water whenever it’s presented (you never know when you might get another chance…) – and make sure to top off your water bottle and/or hydration system as often as you can as well. Another hydrating tip: while it sounds like an oxymoron, there is actually dehydrated coconut water, which is full of electrolytes and minerals such as potassium. Another great option is Emergen-C. They are both incredibly light to pack and a great way to stay hydrated – especially before, during, and after a big night out.
Taking these tips to heart will allow you to feel healthier, energized, and better-rested during your next amazing adventure – and you’ll be relaxed, well-rested and feel better about yourself when you get home.
Chris ‘Chez’ Chesak is Vice President of Business Development for the Adventure Travel Trade Association, which powers the consumer adventure directory at Adventure.Travel. He travels nearly 100 days a year.