With the summer more than halfway over, chances are you’re planning one last trip while the weather is still agreeable.
Whether a weekend road trip or a flight overseas, travel lovers tend to agree that the destination is well worth the journey.
Until we’re smack dab in the middle of it all and we’re reminded of just how stressful it can be. Think: Packing. And airport queues. Zero leg room. And crossing one too many time zones.
But the pros outweigh the cons, right? Perhaps that’s why we allow ourselves to forget how truly tough it can be to simply get to where we’re going.
We’re here to share some healthy travel tips that will make it easy to pack healthy, eat healthy, and simply be healthy during your travels.
What to pack
If you want to remain as healthy as can be, you can’t assume that your destination is going to have all the same healthy foods and products you buy at home. So think about what you can’t live without, then write a list of ‘must-haves’ and stick them in your bags before you go.
Not sure where to begin? Not to worry, we’ve created two packing checklists to give you a head start — one to keep with you (in your carry-on bag or beside you in the car) and one for your destination (to check-in at the airport or throw in the trunk).
1. What to carry on / keep with you:
- to ward off germs or illness
- to keep yourself fed and hydrated
- refillable water bottles (just make sure they are emptied before going through security!)
- easy-to-pack snacks (try to avoid items that contain nuts out of respect for passengers with allergies; not to mention, many airlines ban nut products these days so you wouldn’t be able to eat your peanut butter protein bar anyway!)
- to get a good night’s sleep
- earplugs (great for light sleepers — or if crying babies are on board!)
- travel pillow
- sleep mask (say good-bye to all that artificial light you can’t turn off!)
- to help with blood circulation
- compression socks (try replacing a blood thinner, like Baby Aspirin, with this much more natural option to reduce swelling of the feet while flying
- to prepare for unexpected medical emergencies
- travel insurance (you’ll need it whether out of country OR out of state/province)
2. What to check in / throw in the trunk:
- to keep your gut happy
- probiotics (in addition to a plethora of other health benefits, probiotics are a great way to avoid bloating and constipation during your travels)
- to encourage yourself to walk
- comfortable shoes (the socks you wear matter too!)
- sun hat, sunglasses, sunscreen
- to get a workout in
- workout gear
- multi-use gym membership (if you’re staying in-country)
- workout app (like Aaptiv!)
How to eat
We all know how hard it can be to eat well when you’re on vacation. Whether it’s the inedible food served on an airplane, the fast-food we grab out of convenience during a road trip, or the junk food we eat in the hotel or while we lounge on the beach, we aren’t exaggerating when we say: It’s all pretty bad.
But it doesn’t have to be. While it can be tricky to feel in control of our food options while in an aircraft, the simplest solution is to pack some healthy, portable snacks that will keep you fed and nourished from Point A to Point B.
Just be sure you’re aware of your destination’s rules when it comes to bringing in outside food before you go to the trouble. If you’re travelling to the US, for example, your innocent fruit salad will get thrown in the trash — and we’re speaking from experience!
Same goes for road trips. Get yourself a cooler and some ice packs, then start meal planning. This way, you decide what you’re going to eat on the road. Not only will your homemade sandwich and cookies be a whole lot healthier, they will most likely be tastier and cheaper too. Win, win, win!
If you’re one of the growing number of travellers opting for the local experience through Airbnb, use your home away from home to your advantage. Get yourself a place with a kitchen, and you can be in charge of (at least) 1 meal each day. Imagine starting your day with oatmeal, plain yogourt and fresh fruit instead of yet another unhealthy breakfast that makes you feel bloated, sluggish or both — not great if you want to spend the day being a tourist!
Other travel hacks
There’s more to healthy travels than packing the right stuff and eating well. Keeping up with healthy habits while away is a must!
The good news is that staying active on vacation is as simple as walking. Did you know the typical traveler walks an average of 6-8 miles a day? (So, don’t feel guilty about indulging in local cuisine.) A few ways to up the number of steps you take each day:
- Walk to the nearest grocery store to get the foods you need to prepare breakfast each morning.
- Explore your new surroundings on foot.
- Register for local walking tours.
If you’re headed to a beach resort, commit to incorporating 30 minutes of exercise into your ‘lying on the beach all day’ schedule. Many resorts have an onsite gym, and may even offer health and wellness classes or activities. If yours doesn’t, just be sure to start and end your day with a scenic walk along the beach.
If you’re sticking close to home, check what your gym membership offers. You may have unknowingly signed up for cross-country access — which means there’s no excuse not to hit the gym at least once while you’re away! If you’re feeling extra creative, you can try turning your hotel room into your own mini gym.
Think there’s no time to meditate during your travels? Think again! Try walking meditations while you’re touring a new city or doing a nature hike. Or, meditate on the airplane to help alleviate any anxieties you might have about flying.
Speaking of airplane anxieties, a few other de-stressing techniques include making sure you’re dressed for comfort, reading for pleasure, and avoiding alcoholic beverages while in the air — yes, even if they’re complimentary!
To avoid jet lag, do your best to stick to a sleep schedule. That means getting a good amount of ZZZs in the days leading up to the trip — no staying up until 2am to get your last-minute packing done! — while on the airplane, and once you’ve arrived at your destination.