After combing through infinite details, it can be easy to forget about the most valuable thing while traveling—your body! Treat yourself to a great vacation by following a few easy steps.
This used to be me: “Did I seriously just eat that much and miss all my workouts? I’m sure I just gained all the weight I lost before coming on this trip.”
I know I’m not alone on this one! Finding the right balance when going from planes to hotels and then constantly eating out can be tricky. How do you keep those healthy habits going strong in a vibrant new time zone and new schedule that hosts a litany of alluring temptations? Challenging to ignore? Yes, but definitely not impossible.
Here’s what you need to know to best experience exciting new places and cultures. Plus, plenty of tips on how to avoid getting sick (‘cause ain’t nobody got time for that) and saving yourself from neglecting a healthy lifestyle that’ll just make you feel guilty afterward.
If discovering localized ways to staying active during your trip doesn’t appeal to your tastes, set up your own workout routine that can be done anywhere.
Before you go
This preparatory stage is the most important to ensure you have a fun and successful trip. After all, failing to plan is planning to fail, right? Build up strength for a hearty trip not only through regular workouts, but also by boosting your immune system before departure.
HYDRATE The easiest, most affordable, king of cure-alls is H2O. Drinking plenty of water has an unbelievable amount of benefits, so don’t worry about overhydrating as you gear up for take off. Keeping a good fluid balance will critically flush toxins out of your system. It’ll also help transport nutrients, control appetite and decongest. When your muscles don’t have enough water, they get tired faster, so keep your body refreshed and stay alert during your trip. Move over coffee, you’re no longer wanted! At this point your urine should be clear before lifting off.
REST Get as much sleep as you can before leaving. You don’t know how comfortably you’ll sleep in another bed or how many hours of sleep you’ll need in order to not miss any nights out. Getting enough shut-eye is just as important as what you’re consuming.
DETOX It’s now time to kick your pre-trip preparation phase into turbo gear. Flush toxins and remove as much inflammation as possible by doing a strict detox with only vegetable and fruit juices. It’s okay to shock your body for a day or two with only liquids and then later slowly incorporate solids. Eat cleanly, nourish your body and remain mindful that food is thy medicine and medicine is thy food.
PACKING Go ahead and create a full-scale action plan. Research activities that all the locals do to find something you might enjoy to get your heart rate up. If discovering localized ways to stay active during your trip doesn’t appeal to your tastes, set up your own workout routine that can be done anywhere. Have exercise apps or podcasts downloaded and schedule them into your days.
My favorite piece of travel-friendly exercise equipment is a resistance band. They weigh nothing, take up little space and can be used for an endless list of exercises. Remember a reusable water bottle (TSA approved!) that you can refill at the airport and before you walk out of the door every morning.
The beauty of traveling is also knowing you might never see these people again. Make the most of it.
You should also pack travel friendly foods and snacks. If you’re an athlete or have some sort of competition coming up, you can even get a food suitcase to store your meals.
On a more realistic note, for those of us that still want to venture out and experience the destination’s signature dishes, pack up some delicious protein pancakes, chia pudding, hard boiled eggs, raw nuts, oatmeal packs, nut butters, or granola bars to fight hunger. If you didn’t bring any of these things along, look out for similar items to help you make better snacking choices. You don’t have to resort to eating fast foods or other unhealthy options.
During the trip
IN THE AIR Keep a wide berth from any visibly ill passengers by changing seats or wearing a face mask. Carrying hand sanitizer is an extremely simple way to fight against dirty places with hordes of people. You might be hot from all the commotion, but point the air vent downward, so it’s not blowing you directly in the face.
Minimize touching anything in the airport and aircraft. Though holding handrails or door knobs is sometimes unavoidable, remember chivalry is long dead and opening the door even for that sweet little granny might be the reason why you’re sick all vacation. Keep your hands off other seats while walking through the aisles, door handles and try pretending like all surfaces in the bathroom are made of lava.
Basically, control what you can to avoid getting sick. You’ve already done so much for your body at this point to let it all go to waste. If you’re going to be on a long flight don’t be embarrassed to get up from time to time and do stretches or squats. Looking momentarily silly is worth the shame to help your body. The beauty of traveling is also knowing you might never see these people again. Make the most of it.
ARRIVING & ENJOYING You made it! First things first, take a relaxing walk and purchase a kit of hotel survival goods such as extra water, coconut water, seasonal and dried fruits, snack-able veggies like carrots, nuts and any other items similar to the wholesome foods you’ve hopefully already packed. Whatever you do, don’t forget to listen to your body by acknowledging your needs and cravings.
Now it’s time to live a little! Indulge like the locals and experience all the little things that make you happy like a mind blowing meal of food you’ve never before tried. A true healthy nomad’s mantra should be to make every action memorable!
Eating too many hefty restaurant dishes could make you feel unhealthy, so instead opt for the more colorful dishes that are full of vegetables. You can also box up half the portion and save it for later.
Keep your body moving! One of my favorite things to do when coming to a new place is to take a long run and explore all the sights. If you’re already doing touristy stuff, check out walking or biking tours. If you see a fitness school, jump in a class or two when there’s downtime. Most importantly, remember this is your opportunity to enjoy the joys of traveling, so get creative, go outdoors and improvise.
BACK IN THE AIR Your trip is coming to a close, but it’s not over yet. On the return flight, circle back to the same flying rules you followed before leaving. This is also an excellent time to come together, reflect and focus on your mental health. What are your takeaways? How did your body handle the different foods? Is there anything you must have on your next journey? Journal and set goals to follow during your next trip. Stay hungry, healthy and forever motivated.
HOME SWEET HOME After finally dropping your luggage, veg out with a post-trip detox using the same vegetable and fruit juices to maintain your priceless immune system.
The secret to having the best travel experience is all yours. Have a nice flight!