We all know it.
Finding balance with health while traveling is hard. How can you enjoy it all and feel your best? There are so many new foods to try, sleep can be elusive, stress is present, drinks are flowing, and we just want to relax our efforts for a bit. But if we totally give in we can end up having low energy, less focus, digestive issues, and/or grumpiness, all things we don’t want while exploring a new place.
We want to be feeling our best. Full of a calm, effortless vibrancy.
So what do we do? How do we find this balance?
Let’s see what the experts in adventure, travel, health, and fitness have to say, shall we?
Rory Bosio: Ultra Trail Runner and Nurse
“Sometimes when people go on vacation they take a vacation from their healthy habits such as eating enough fruits & veggies & exercising. Big mistake!
To avoid being forced to eat whatever junky food is offered at airports, I always travel with nutritious snacks, such as carrots, nuts, LaraBars, apples, etc. Also, when I’m traveling I make a point to start my day with activity, whether its going for a run around a new city or doing yoga in a park. That way the remainder of the day is free for other activities. I always pack running shoes for this reason. I love to explore new cities via running. I also take advantage of layovers in airports to get in some push ups, stretching, & other calisthenics such as squats & lunges. Makes me feel much better than just sitting on my butt, which is what I’ll be doing in the plane anyway! I could care less if other people think it looks weird to be exercising in the airport. Makes me feel so much better!”
World Wanderers: Podcasters and Digital Nomads
“When it comes to making healthy choices while traveling, the biggest mistake that many people make (and that we’ve made!) is thinking that you have to make healthy choices 100% of the time.
Food is a huge part of enjoying culture, and sometimes that means saying “yes” to the matcha soft serve ice cream or indulging in a German pretzel. And you should say “yes” sometimes!
We follow the 80/20 rule, where we make the commitment to eating healthy 80% of the time, while allowing ourselves to indulge the other 20% of the time. This allows us to feel good without feeling like we missed out on anything.”
Breakfast Criminals: Breakfast and Health Expert
“The most common mistakes are not eating your breakfast the day of travel and not preparing snacks.
When you eat a nourishing, nutritious breakfast in the morning, you reduce your chances of overeating and craving “bad” food later in the day. So make sure you take the time to eat a proper meal to start the day right. Try a green smoothie or a blueberry ginger oatmeal.
Also make sure you take your vitamins a few days before and on the day of the trip, as your body needs support while changing time zones. My go-tos are Life Equals multi, omega-3, a probiotic, and Vitamin C. I also noticed that Wellness Formula really gives my immune system a boost, especially if I feel like I’m about to catch a cold (it’s great to have handy while traveling!)”
Travis Ganong: Professional Downhill Ski Racer
“It is tempting to watch a bunch of movies and eat and drink your way across continents.
I have really long flights overseas to compete in The World Cup and have be on top form soon after landing. If you want to feel better and be able to enjoy your trip once you land, have a healthy meal before you board the plane and drink a lot of water. Once I take my seat I take a melatonin, which is a natural sleep aid and I’ll watch half a movie, then put in my ear plugs and eye mask and sleep as much as possible. It is like time travel when you do it correctly and it’s so nice to wake up hours later fresh and ready to go!
The first thing when I get to my destination is to go on a hike or walk to get my heart rate up and get my bearings.”
Anne Lowrey- Freelance Travel Writer
“I think the biggest thing for me when I think about traveling and health is considering what healthy habits from home I can bring with me on my trip.
I make an effort to find yoga classes or markets with fresh produce wherever I am in the world, just as I do at home. Though it’s not always possible for every destination, the more consistency I can find around my health, activity level, and nutrition, the better I feel. I also often pick up healthier habits while traveling, like walking everywhere, that I then try to implement back at home. It’s a challenge to stay healthy whether you’re on the road or not, but one worth thinking about!”
Megan Michelson: Freelance Adventure Writer
“For me, the biggest thing I tend to ignore while traveling is high quality sleep. It’s also the thing we all need perhaps the most to feel our best wherever in the world we may be. From pre-dawn airline flights to beds that aren’t our own to staying up late to enjoy a new place, it can be tough to get the quality and quantity of sleep we need. (And if you’re traveling with your kids, which I’m doing now, sleep is even harder.)
What works for me is bringing a few items from home that’ll ensure a good night of sleep — an eye mask in case the room’s too bright, a sound machine app on your phone in case your neighbors are partying late, your favorite bedtime tea to help you decompress before sleep, whatever make you comfortable in a foreign place. And you’re on vacation so don’t be afraid to take a cat nap in the middle of the day if you can!”
Jay Wild: Professional Paddle Athlete
“Common health related mistakes people make while traveling that hinders them from feeling their best and getting the most out of their trip: #1 Pre-trip: Expectations/Anxiety/Stress
#2 During trip: Drinking/Eating poorly and the ‘oh I’m on vacation so I deserve this’ (whatever it may be) and then that creates guilt/ stress/ anxiety.
#3 Laziness: they feel like they need to do absolutely nothing when they actually could be doing fun stuff and seeing cool things and getting out of their comfort zone.
#4 Not being prepared or open minded enough to deal with the unknown obstacles of travel and then getting super stressed which leads to self medicating by drinking more alcohol or binge eating.
#5 Not drinking enough water causing dehydration.”
Hilary Paris: Yoga Teacher and Strength Instructor
“The most common thing I see people do is stay at hotels and eat out for every meal.
I would suggest staying at an Airbnb and cooking as many meals at home. This is also a great way to meet the locals. If you go to a local farmer’s market, you are supporting them directly, getting the freshest ingredients and saving yourself from more stomach aches.”
Jackie Nourse: Travel Blogger/Expert
“Have some go-to pills to pack for traveling.
I encourage people to take shelf-stable probiotics everyday and bring enzymes to help them digest foods that may be foreign to their systems.
Also Nutribiotic Defenseplus to prevent getting sick. Of all the things I’ve tried to stay healthy and avoid colds and flus on the road, nothing has worked like these tablets. As soon as I start to feel a tickle in my throat or think I may be getting sick, I start taking 1-2 of these per day, and I’d say 4 out of 5 times it will pass and I won’t get sick at all. For as hard as we push our bodies on the road, it doesn’t hurt to have a natural supplement to aid in immune support when we need it.
Plus melatonin for getting good sleep on long flights.
Ambrose WB: Fitness and Health Coach
Randi Dukoff: Wellness Travel Specialist and Corporate Wellness Coach
“One common mistake is associating traveling and vacations with a week of bad eating habits where you break all the rules.
Do the opposite and take advantage of the restaurants and chefs to try local foods, new foods that sound delicious and be adventurous. Foods can be delicious and healthy for you. Accept that you may eat an extra dessert or drink an extra cocktail. Have it with no guilt, the expectation that it’s part of the week (it falls into the 20%) and then move on.
What you eat will affect how you feel and experience each day. Take time to review menus and make reservations ahead of time. Make sure there are options for you at each meal or surrounding restaurants.
Also plan to keep a consistent workout schedule but feel free to mix it up and try workouts that may be specialized to your location and hotel.”
Two Sundowners: Digital Nomads
“This goes for full-time travelers: Take time for yourself and breathe. Do not travel too fast. It might not seem like it in the beginning but changing locations quickly and packing your days full of adventures needs to come with some form of balance. No one has unlimited energy.
Our advice for this is to pick your destinations carefully and stick to them for a while. This way you have a more authentic experience and have the option to allow your body to relax for a day without missing out. We try to stay in one place for a month at a time. On the weekends we do the exploring and the adventures. During the week we work or relax.”
Mike and Suzie: Personal Trainers and Health Advocates
“The biggest mistake we see people making is treating “travel” as an extended vacation. It’s easy to get to a new place and want to eat EVERYTHING new and exciting, but this will usually leave you feeling sluggish, bloated, and weighed down — which isn’t exactly fun when there are so many other things to experience about a culture besides their food.
We instill simple trade-offs when we’re dining in new places. We only eat the ‘treats’ that are really appealing to us, and if there’s something we know we want to try that isn’t exactly nutritions, we make sure that the other meals of the day are extra nutritions. We also try to find accommodations with kitchens so we can cook some of our own meals. Finding local markets is always a great way to get fresh veggies and delicious authentic dishes.”
Travis Sherry, The Extra Pack of Peanuts: Travel Hacker
“The biggest mistake people, including myself make, is thinking they have to either stick completely to their regimented diet that they have back home OR that they should completely ignore it and do what they want.
Basically, they see eating well when traveling as black and white – either they don’t enjoy the place and their food and cuisine because they feel they can’t “cheat” or they indulge too much, every meal, all the time, and feel gross (trust me, I’m speaking from experience).
Instead, I recommend people adhere to a super simple rule: Never eat two bad meals in a row. If you pig out at an awesome breakfast buffet, fine. But then get something sensible and healthy for lunch or dinner.
Do this, and you’ll at least keep some semblance of balance.
Oh, and always take the stairs instead of an escalator or elevator. It’s a little thing, but it’ll keep you feeling a little bit better!”
Ryan Lambert: Boat Captain
“The most common by far health related mistake is constipation, I would say that 60-70 percent of people that come onto the boat suffer from this. So plan ahead by hydrating and find a natural remedy that they are familiar with like senna or something.
Also, I find the people that come to a place like this to decompress really need it more than they ever knew. It is common for people to be exhausted and they can’t figure out why. It can be a source of frustration of them not fulfilling their idea of what the first few days should be like. So I guess people need to prepare themselves for time for their body to recover from the stress and the load of a busy Babylonian life and just chill, recover, rest, and be stoked that they have this opportunity.”
Yoga Nomads: Traveling Yoga Business Coaches
“Staying healthy while traveling is a top priority to us, given that we lead a very nomadic lifestyle.
One tip we always recommend to other travelers is to drink enough water! It can seem to obvious (or not) and simple, but increasing your water intake can make a big difference in your overall well-being while traveling. Just think – our bodies are made up of nearly 75% water. That alone is reason to drink up! Drinking water also helps flush toxins through your system, allowing you to look and feel your best. But! Ensure it’s safe to drink. We usually bring charcoal sticks and/or Grapefruit Seed Extract to clean and detoxify water to make it safe for drinking.”
Now that you have an idea of what these experts do to stay feeling their best while traveling, it’s your turn. Pick one area to focus on for your next trip: sleep, eating, movement, or staying hydrated. Or pick one little thing you can do for each.
Just make sure you come up with a plan that will support you in realizing your goal and then implement it! No need to try to be ‘perfect’ right away. Start small for your next trip whether its camping with the family or adventuring in Greenland.
Now go and have the best trip possible, through feeling your best!
Please share below in the comments section: Which tip inspired you the most? Which one will you implement on your next trip???
More healthy travel tips for you…
- 2 Crucial Guidelines to Eat Healthily While Traveling
- Healthy Travel Items to Pack
- #1 Thing That Prevents Healthy Habits While Traveling