Healthy living isn’t easy in general, but throw in a city you don’t recognize, food you don’t normally eat and the mindset that you’re on perpetual vacation and you have a recipe for unhealthy behavior. Whether you travel for business or pleasure, stay in hotels or hostels, love carbs or don’t eat meat, there are simple tips for staying in shape while away from home.
Don’t Ditch the Routine
Getting so far from your routine that you’re eating dinner at midnight and waking up at noon isn’t a good move for your body. It’s okay to have these occasional days while traveling (hey, that’s the point, isn’t it?) but jump back in tomorrow and don’t throw routine out the window.
Avoid Eating Out for Every Meal
This can be difficult if you don’t have a kitchen, but try to avoid eating out every meal. Stock up on healthy snacks that don’t need to be refrigerated, like apples, bananas, avocados, nuts, seeds, etc. keep those handy for when you’re hungry. Also consider buying items to make grab-and-go sandwiches for your adventures.
Focus on Fresh Fruits and Veggies
Be adventurous! Research the country’s different fruits and veggies and try them all. Find a friendly local and have them take you to a nearby market. I loved visiting markets in Africa and Southeast Asia—the food is amazing and it’s a great way to get a “taste” of the culture.
Choose an activity you can do at least 2-3 times a week. Try something new like surfing, rock climbing or snowboarding. Take in the sights of the city on bike or foot rather than by car or bus. For experienced sports aficionados, consider teaching lessons to locals for a day—it’s a great way to meet people and an even better way to build your traveler’s karma!
Fuller, Go Easy on the Booze!
Traveling and cocktails seem to go hand in hand, until, of course, you wake up with a raging headache and are forced to stay in your hotel room with the curtains drawn until 5 pm. I’m not a fan of wasting my days, so I try and keep drinking to a minimum, especially when traveling since time to experience things is limited. Choose one big night to go out and imbibe. Also know that you can enjoy the nightlife without alcohol!
Drink Your H2O
You can’t drink the tap water in many countries, but that’s no excuse to skimp on your H2O. Stock up on bottled water and bring it with you wherever you go. Drink more than normal in countries with higher altitudes and hotter climates to avoid dehydration and sickness.
Use the Hotel Gym
If you’re lucky enough to be shacking up in a hotel with a private gym, make use of it! Start your day with a quick workout and get your blood pumping for whatever else you have planned.
Download Exercise Apps
There are a variety of different exercise and health apps to keep you on track. Some of my favorites include Nike Training Club, My Fitness Pal, Daily Yoga, Sworkit, Daily Cardio. With just enough space to move your limbs, many of these apps provide workouts without any kind of equipment needed—a real win for the wayward nomad who prefers to travel light.
Wherever you are, be sure to escape the four walls of your hotel and enjoy the city, countryside or mountains! Walk as much as possible! Spend your day outside jogging, walking or biking, taking in the scenery and meeting new people. Never waste a day of good weather in a new place! Sunshine is a cure-all for stress, negativity and boredom.
Bring Your Tools
Traveling with exercise equipment like your yoga mat, small weights or a jump rope will give your everyday workouts a boost. Jump ropes make small and light travel companions, but pack a mean cardio punch—one that you can reap the benefits of from virtually anywhere.
Don’t Forget Your Vitamins
I love my supplements and always have a supply with me while traveling. Namely my multivitamin, probiotics (good for the immune system and warding off food-borne illness), omega-3 fish oils, glucosamine with MSM and magnesium with calcium and zinc. These are my staples for a healthy body, sound mind and optimally functioning joints and muscles.
Sleep is so important to health. A good night’s sleep helps your body’s systems operate efficiently, provides energy and allows you to enjoy your day with full focus. I sometimes have a tough time sleeping in unfamiliar places or knowing I have exciting plans tomorrow. Sleep tricks like fans, white noise of an air conditioner and soft music without lyrics can usually lull me down, but if I really can’t fall asleep, I make sure to always have a natural sleep aid with me while traveling. If I don’t get my 6-8 hours a night, chances are my day of activities is going to suffer a real cranky me.
Wherever you may roam, don’t sacrifice health on your travels!