Staying Healthy While Traveling: 10 Tips
There is no doubt that traveling can impair your health. Here are my top 10 tips for staying healthy while traveling. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, it’s important to take care of yourself so that you have energy and stay well.
In the past few decades, I’ve had the opportunity to visit such places as Western and Eastern Europe, Iceland, China, Japan, Cuba, and many parts of the U.S. I’m always so grateful for the opportunity to see new places and meet amazing diverse people.
In terms of staying healthy and feeling good, though, I do find that traveling is my biggest challenge. Not only is it often very difficult or even impossible to find a consistent supply of whole foods, but I have a hard time resisting added sugars in food items when I’m tired or out of my comfort zone.
Add to the stress of airports and changing time zones, and traveling can really impair our immune systems and health (don’t miss my other article not he best supplements to support the immune system). However, there are definitely some strategies for staying healthy while traveling and I thought I’d share some of my favorite tips.
10 Tips for Staying Healthy While Traveling
1. Pack healthy snacks
Some of my favorite snacks for eating on the plane or in the car include nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, dark chocolate, and homemade snack bars like my Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies.
I’ve written a whole post just on my favorite gluten-free and dairy-free travel packaged snacks. The bottom line is that traveling takes energy and you want to be prepared and have healthy snack options available at all times.
So, for as much as you can, bring at least a day’s worth of snacks for your travels. This extra preparation will also help you save money as you’ll find better prices at your local stores compared with the airport or hotel gift shops (see my other tips for clean eaten on a budget).
2. Get outside
If you’re in a city environment, it’s not hard to get some exercise while traveling, but do make an effort to get fresh air and physical activity every day. A hotel gym is good as a last resort and if I’m at a conference where I can’t be as active, I’ll choose to stand for at least some of the day.
Ideally, though, you would get outside and stretch your legs at least once a day. Walking is always the best way to see a city and a great exercise routine.
3. Do light stretching daily
City hotel rooms can be teensy tiny, but you can always use an extra bath towel and do some stretching every evening. Sure, it’s not as good as a regular yoga practice at home, but it’s always a good idea and can help with sleep, too.
I finally bought an ultra-thin travel yoga mat that I often bring along, too. If you enjoy yoga, it’s a really nice convenience to have a non-slip mat to keep up with your practice.
4. Get enough sleep
Being in airplanes or around people can expose us to viruses, and it’s a sad reality that cigarette smoke is still prevalent in many places, so it’s important to make a real effort to get at least 8 hours of good quality sleep.
Some of the items I bring along to help with sleep include earplugs, this molded eye cover (my husband calls it an eye bra), passionflower capsules, and this mini-sound machine in case it’s super noisy outside.
See my other healthy sleep tips including how to sleep better with anxiety.
5. Get a hotel room with a fridge
Having at least a mini-bar with some space for my food is essential. It’s worth it to pay extra for the fridge; it’s usually only $10 a night if it’s not included in the rate. I always make sure my request is noted on my reservation and you should too.
Once you have a fridge, you can stock it with fresh fruits or any other healthy salads or foods that you can pick up at a market or restaurant. I also like to bring some oats or granola and almond milk so I can make a quick and easy breakfast when I wake up.
A fridge is also nice to keep cold sparkling water to encourage you to stay hydrated.
6. Research healthy restaurants and markets ahead of time
I like to use the Whole Foods Market store list to search for stores nearby a hotel. You can also use Yelp or a simple Google search for restaurants you want to visit on your travels. Ideally, it’s best to get referrals and directions ahead of time so you don’t have to waste time on your trip to find out where you can find healthy food.
Use your travel experience to try something new including cuisines like Indian or Asian restaurants where you’ll likely find tons of vegetarian dishes. You can also search for vegan restaurants where you will always find salads and vegetable-heavy meals.
7. Eat your veggies
Eating more vegetables will help your digestion, your energy, and your immune system. Try to eat at least one serving of vegetables with both lunch and dinner when you’re traveling.
See my other tips for how to eat clean including what foods you should be eating every day.
8. Consider taking an extra magnesium supplement
Magnesium can help prevent traveler’s constipation, plus aid in relaxation. There are different types of magnesium and some can have a laxative effect, so do your research and even test your formulation ahead of time to see what will work best for you.
My favorite magnesium for travel is Calm. I just portion out as much as I need and take it along in a zip-top baggie.
9. Ask for what you want at restaurants
When you’re traveling and eating at restaurants, don’t be shy about asking for steamed veggies, an extra-big salad, or your preferred method of cooking (i.e. steaming, butter instead of cooking oil, etc.). It’s your body and it doesn’t hurt to ask (nicely) for your preferences.
If you are traveling by cruise ship, you might also want to check out my tips for eating healthy on a cruise ship.
10. Have fun and be spontaneous
Even if you’re on a business trip, make travel fun and enjoy the change of routine or scenery. And, be open to change and spontaneity, it’s the best part of travel.
In addition to the tips above, there are some extra ones that seem relevant.
- Pack hand sanitizer in your purse or backpack. Use it before every meal, especially if you can’t wash your hands with soap and water.
- Pack a water bottle to fill up at the airport (once you pass security) or at your hotel. Staying hydrated is very important to your overall health. Packing your own water bottle is a great way to skip the over-priced plastic bottles.
- Always follow the guidelines from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control).
While it can be challenging to stay healthy while traveling, these tips are designed to get you moving and eating better even while you’re on the road. And, in the age of viruses, always be sure to follow local travel restrictions and the advice of authorities. Stay safe and have fun!
What are your favorite travel tips and where are you going on your next trip? Share with me in the comments!