Many friends and clients are planning for their holidays and a few asked if I could write an article on how to stay healthy whilst travelling and away. And I totally get it – you’ve worked hard on your healthy routine and you don’t want to blow it all on a two-week vacation.
A holiday is supposed to be a time to relax, but how many of us come back feeling like we need another one? Whether it’s over indulging with friends or always on the go with children.
I love to travel, but I know that staying on track with healthy goals and habits can be challenging when away from home.
I say, you can still have fun and stay healthy. Whether you’re having a family trip, exotic adventure, or a staycation, staying healthy doesn’t have to be boring or dictated by strict habits and routines. You just need a little planning to keep your health goals on track.
So with vacation in sight and health in mind – here are my tips for staying healthy on holiday and having a wonderful time whilst you do!
It’s all about balance
You hear me talk about balance a lot and I think that’s even more important when on holiday. It’s ok to sample the treats of the country you are in. If you want that Belgium waffle or those delicious fries, then go for it. I always have a pizza and some gelato when in Italy.
It’s about moderation. If at home you have a healthy, balanced diet and you indulge at every meal when on holiday, you are going to feel it. So be mindful that being on holiday is not an excuse to let go of all of those good habits.
Plan in advance
Taking a little time to plan appropriately can go a long way when trying to remain healthy whilst traveling.
You may be planning to go and visit family or friends, or choosing a holiday based on a tight budget. Whatever you are planning, keep your healthy goals in mind when deciding where to go and where to stay.
Think about staying somewhere you can prepare food so you are not reliant on eating out for every meal. That way you are in control of what you are preparing and cooking. Be careful of the word ‘self-catering’ as this can simply mean a sink, fridge and microwave. Check reviews and photos to ensure you will have the utilities you need.
Research the local area. Are there markets and shops you can buy fresh produce? Check out restaurants and cafes so you know there are plenty of places where you can eat the food you want to eat. This is especially important if you have food intolerances or are vegetarian or vegan. Not every country will have the availability of choices you may have at home.
Perhaps think about booking somewhere you can explore locally, so you don’t have to rely on a rental car. This means you can stroll around and get your steps in whilst sightseeing.
If you are booking a hotel, avoid the ones with ‘all you can eat buffets’. Although they are tempting because of the cost, this can be a recipe for disaster.
Look for a hotel that has a gym, or daily yoga classes so you can keep up your daily exercise routine.
If you are holidaying with your family then find somewhere with activities for children, so you can get some time to yourself.
Tips to stay healthy when travelling
Do not skip meals. Your routine and even your sleep may be a little disrupted, but don’t be tempted to skip a meal. This can mean you may not choose well once out or in a cafe.
When you’re on the go, prepare some healthy snacks to take out with you. Cut up pieces of fruit and vegetables, pack olives, nuts or hummus and have them ready to avoid buying unhealthy snacks.
If it’s hot, then keep well hydrated by drinking lots of water. Take your reusable bottle with you and keep it full.
Avoid the temptation to drink alcohol earlier in the day. Enjoy your wine and cocktails, but remember to drink a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage consumed. Remember, alcohol is a dehydrator.
Stay healthy by keeping active
Keeping up an exercise routine when away will mean you don’t feel so bad about having the odd treat. Go for a run, a simple walk on the beach, or a hike.
Lots of accommodation have bicycle’s you can borrow or hire and this is a great way of exploring the local area.
Missing your usual classes? Incorporate a short yoga or exercise practice in the mornings by following one on YouTube.
If your hotel has a gym, then aim to keep your regular workout.
Swimming is a great exercise so get in the pool or even better, the sea every day – you will also benefit from the salt water!
Staying healthy whilst eating out
When eating out, include plenty of salads or vegetables with your main dish.
Be mindful of your food choices. Allow yourself a treat every day. Perhaps you will have a healthy lunch and a pizza for dinner. Or a healthy dinner and go for desert. That way you won’t feel as though you are denying yourself anything.
Remember to get the balance of eating for nourishment and eating those foods you love just for the flavour, nostalgia, and tradition. Just because you have always eaten a certain food when visiting that country, or city, does it mean you still have to eat it?
Eat the rainbow on the plate! Most hot countries have a wonderful selection of fresh fruit and vegetables. Take this opportunity to sample some of the local produce or dishes. Perhaps there are vegetables you have never tasted before? Set yourself a challenge to try as many as possible and aim for 30 different plant food a week, your gut will thank you for it.
Relax and unwind
Relaxation is just as important as exercising and eating well. We all expect a holiday to be relaxing but sometimes it’s anything but!
If you are going away with children, take advantage of any activities which mean you get an hour or two to yourself.
Don’t over plan. It can be tempting to fit in as much as possible, especially when visiting a new place. Plan in some days simply relaxing, or start your day a little later.
Keep up your mindful routine. Can you spend 10 minutes meditating or journaling? Treat yourself to a massage or holistic treatment.
Above all else, don’t forget that relaxing and having fun is part of keeping healthy. It’s what a holiday is all about, after all.
I hope you manage to relax and have fun whilst Staying Healthy on Holiday. If have any questions or need some support around healthy living then please get in touch.