Geez…Jake and I just got done with almost a month of being on the road! And while I can’t say we were “perfect” (anything but) we did implement several practices into our trips that helped to keep us healthy, sane and not gain a million pounds!
It’s so easy to view travel as a party or as a grueling work experience to be endured. Tight schedules, limited options, other people to work around all become excuses to not exercise, stay up too late, drink too much coffee, alcohol and other liquid toxins and eat foods we wouldn’t normally eat in much higher quantities than we normally would.
Interestingly, some folks do better, in terms of healthy habits while traveling for work but almost EVERYONE slips when traveling for pleasure; it just seems built into the whole experience UNLESS you do one of those “healthy vacations” bicycling, spas, hiking, etc. Which are all excellent ideas.
However, short of planning a wellness trip, here are 5 tips to consider adding to your vacation or business trip to help ensure you come out of your trip as healthy as you went in. Biggest tip, however, is to go into your vacation or business trip with some kind of plan in mind.
1. Use a 40 oz hydro-flask (or other model) and, if you like cold water, like Jake and I do, fill it with ice. In the US, ice can go through the security detectors, unlike water. Take advantage of the free water filters most airports have now or ask the coffee shop to fill it for you They normally filter their water. At your hotel, get to know where the fitness center is both to exercise AND to fill your water bottle regularly. I also travel with a simple carbon filter I can use if I can’t find filtered water elsewhere. When we travel, our water needs are higher than when we’re not so make sure you are prepared!
2. Plan to get enough sleep. This can really be a challenge whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure. You may need to get pretty demanding about ending the day with enough time to give you the proper amount of sleep…most of us need 7-9 hours AND allow for at least 30 minutes of exercise before the day starts. Starting your trip well-rested will also give you a great head-start.
3. Which leads us to the next point: exercise! If you can make your regular exercise schedule work without missing out on sleep, that’s AWESOME but many travelers who are also exercise fanatics, miss out on sleep to get in an extended workout session. This is never a good idea. I remind people that you want to think of your health regimen like a hat: sleep is the brim, nutrition and hydration are the crown and exercise is the top…what you can do if the others are managed first.
There are SO many ways to fit exercise into your day when you travel:
- Use the facilities where you’re staying
- Have equipment brought up to your room
- Travel with a light weight yoga mat and resistance bands
- Take the stairs…always.
- Walk whenever you can. Encourage your family or colleagues to walk with you!
- Institute fun activities with others on the trip that will involve exercise: starting the day with a walk or yoga. Adding a fun, social game of tennis, volleyball, etc.
- Now, think of some ideas yourself and take a minute to jot them down.
4. Pack and/or Plan your food. If you’re staying somewhere with kitchen facilities, this will be much easier, but we have found it possible to bring healthy choices even when staying at a hotel without a kitchen. (I have a video on this on our YouTube Channel, “Cook With Jake & Joy”) Consider bringing fruits and vegies that travel well: apples, carrots, etc. nuts and dried fruits, dry oatmeal or muesli (see Cook With Jake & Joy) that can be quickly made by soaking in water for 30 minutes for a quick, inexpensive and delicious breakfast. I like to add cinnamon and nutmeg to the oatmeal or muesli before packing for even more flavor and anti-oxidants.
Jake and I are never without the whole food nutrition snack bars and smoothies that our company makes. They are about $2/serving and are lifesavers. You can get more info on them HERE.
If you’re going to be dining out, I try to look at the menu ahead of time and either decide what will work best for me or phone ahead to ask if the chef can prepare something with my dietary preferences in mind. I’ve had very good success with this and find that the chef often likes to show me that he can cook both healthy AND delicious dishes. When ordering, I like to ask them to go sparingly with oils, dressings and frying and opt for things that are steamed or even raw. There are so many choices today.
5. If you want to go even deeper, here are a few more suggestions: try packing essential oils, arriving early so you’re not stressed by rushing, watching comedies instead of scary or dramatic shows, travel in comfortable but stylish clothing with comfy shoes, bring a head and neck pillow, consider using noise cancelling headphones or really any headphones and listen to books on Audible or meditations, bring an eye mask. SO MANY ideas.
Take a minute to jot down your favorites or even build on this list.