Let’s get one thing straight up front, you guys… holidays are for enjoying yourself! So it’s really, really, really important that you do that. If that means having a few cocktails at sunset or a chocolate-chip pancake for breakfast, then do it. You’re on holidays and you should most definitely enjoy yourself. But it’s important to balance all that good stuff out too because, as we all know, there’s no worse feeling than getting sick or being slow and sluggish on holidays. With that in mind, here are a few tips for staying healthy while you travel!
1. Keep an eye on your booze intake
While it is very tempting and extremely enjoyable to get stuck into
a few a lot of cold beers or tasty cocktails every night, try to be selective with how much you drink and how often. Drinking a lot of alcohol will dehydrate you and leave you feeling bloated or worse, hungover! You don’t want to be losing a morning of sightseeing because you drank too much sangria the night before.
2. Drink lots of water
It’s very easy to forget to drink water while you’re travelling, but it’s really important you do! Take an empty water bottle with you on the plane and refill it throughout the flight. Once you land, take your trusty bottle with you everywhere you go and aim to drink a certain number of full bottles each day. Drinking enough water is absolutely essential for staying healthy while you travel! If you’re on a budget, visit the local supermarket and buy big bottles in bulk. Refill your carry bottle at the hotel and leave the big bottles in your room.
3. Keep active
For most people, it’s unrealistic to expect you to find a local gym and go there every day for a workout, or get up early and run each day. But there are things you can do to stay active. Choose to walk between sightseeing destinations rather than catching a taxi, bus or train. Aim to do 10,000 steps each day and use a phone app or tracking device to monitor your steps.
If there is a fitness centre or gym at your hotel, try to set a realistic goal and stick to it. Even if that’s just visiting it twice a week during your stay. Don’t forget, getting in the pool and walking or swimming gently from end to end counts as exercise. Heck, even just waking up each morning and doing a stretching routine will make a world of difference.
You can also plan activities that will get your heart rate up. Visiting Yosemite NP? Plan a day of hiking. Staying near the beach? Go stand-up paddle boarding, take a learn-to-surf lesson or go for an afternoon walk along the soft sand each afternoon.
4. Eat well
This is the big one! You definitely want to try lots of yummy local food while you travel, but at the same time you don’t want to flood your system with huge meals and loads of junk food, so it’s important to find a good balance. A good way to do this could be to choose a meal each day that you go ‘all out’ for. So, for example, you could opt to make healthy food choices for breakfast and lunch, but treat yourself at dinner.
One of the biggest challenges I find is choosing snacks or skipping meals and then overeating because I’m really hungry. A good way to overcome this is to visit the local supermarket when you arrive and stock up on healthy snacks. You could even pack your favourite snacks from home and take them with you in your luggage, provided that’s okay with the country your visiting’s quarantine laws.
Another option is to buy fruit from local roadside vendors or supermarkets and carry it around with you to snack on. Imagine yourself sitting in the middle of Rome’s busy streets, peeling a delicious, fresh orange and watching the world go by.
5. Wash your hands
This relates specifically to getting sick. Our hands are constantly touching things covered in nasties and it’s very, very easy to pick up a yucky bug when you travel because you touch so much stuff. I wash my hands thoroughly and regularly when I travel and always use my hand sanitiser before and after I eat and after I catch public transport. Sometimes I feel embarrassed to be that traveller, but I rarely get sick when I travel so, stuff what anyone thinks! It’s worth it!
6. Get lots of rest
This is a big one. There can be a temptation to really push yourself and exert yourself when you travel. Long days sightseeing, early starts and late night dinners can really eat into your sleep time and throw your sleep patterns off. This is when you’re more likely to get run down or, even worse, sick! So try your best to stick to your usual sleep times and get 7-8 hours of good rest each night. If you struggle with getting to sleep in a new place, bring a pillow from home, take a hot bath before bed and use drops of lavender essential oil in your bath or on your pillow to soothe and calm you.
7. Stay in a self-contained apartment
If you stay in a hotel without a kitchenette you’re forced to go searching for food whenever you’re hungry. A hungry you on the search for food can lead to all kinds of bad food choice disasters… trust me, I’ve been the crazed person scoffing down donuts in a back alley before. It’s not a pretty sight.
Instead, try to get yourself a self-contained apartment that has a kitchen or kitchenette you can use. Go to the local supermarket and stock up on good food choices so you take the guesswork out of things. You wake up each morning and have a cup of tea, eggs on toast and piece of fruit. You’re saving money, getting yourself fuelled up for the day and making a healthy choice.
8. Do a yoga class abroad
It doesn’t just have to be a yoga class, you can do any kind of fitness class in the city you’re visiting. Do some research and find a place that offers a class that you’re into, go to a boxing class in Brazil, join a Jujitsu lesson in Japan or hit up a Crossfit session in Croatia. It’ll get your body moving, you’ll feel great and you’ll probably have an awesome memory from it and make new friends! Remember that time you did Yoga in Paris?!
9. Combine travel and health with a health retreat
Yes, these are real! There are actual, real places you can go where you take time out to relax, recharge and also focus on your holistic wellness. That means detoxing, learning about nutrition, exercising and learning how to move your body correctly and have FUN working out, spending time meditation, practicing yoga and healing and restoring your body. You take a holiday, you come back healthier! These are run by places like Chi of Life.