Travel is a huge part of my life and I’ve learnt the hard way that it can have a enormous impact on how healthy you feel. I believed overindulging and not feeling my best were the part of travelling that I needed to live with.
On one particularly long European trip, on our way home from living in London, we went overboard with the traditional foods. We had pizza, pasta and gelato in Italy, champagne and pastries in Paris. Pretzels, pork knuckles and steins in Germany. Gyros, gyros and more gyros in Greece. And the list goes on. By the end of the trip I had put on weight and lost muscle tone, had no energy and overall felt like a blob. This trip and this feeling was a catalyst for me to study holistic nutrition.
I’ve been on a number of trips since then, and by no means do I aim for perfection. The biggest difference is. I choose to make healthier choices each day. I still indulge and enjoy myself but my goal is to feel good. Staying healthy while travelling doesn’t just happen though. It takes planning.
My tips for staying healthy while travelling
1. Drink plenty of water
Travelling can be extremely dehydrating for the body and it’s important to drink enough water, especially on flights. I usually carry a drink bottle everywhere I go and aim to drink between 2-3 litres a day. If you’re travelling to a hot destination, coconut water can be a great addition because it’s full of electrolytes such as potassium, sodium and magnesium which help hydrate the body.
2. Take supplements with you
Everybody is different when it comes to the supplements they needs so I’d recommend checking with your Nutritionist or Naturopath first. For example, a client of mine came in to the clinic before she went overseas, hoping that this trip she wouldn’t get gastro. Every other trip she’s been on, she falls ill. We prescribed her a probiotic strain to help reduce the risk of this type of travel sickness and she finally experienced a trip without gastro.
Personally, while travelling, I take:
- Probiotics – I have a sensitive digestive system so I take a probiotic daily while travelling to keep my gut flora balanced.
- Multivitamin with activated B complex – These are a part of my daily routine so, of course, they come travelling with me. I take these for stress, anxiety and energy.
- Digestive enzymes – I pop a few of these before each meal to help my body digest the nutrients I’m putting in. I find that my digestive system becomes sluggish while travelling so these help it along.
- Magnesium powder – This is another one that is a part of my daily routine. I use magnesium at night to help me wind down and improve my sleep quality. If I’m on a long-haul flight I like to take magnesium to help me relax and sleep.
3. Research healthy cafe’s and restaurants at your destination
I always read foodie blogs before I go to make sure I have healthy options in the areas I’m staying. When I started travelling 10 years ago, I would make a list of places I wanted to eat and physically mark them on a paper map. These days it’s so much easier to be prepared when you have access to Google maps wherever you go.
Before each trip I login in to my Google account, bring up a map of my destination and drop pins on all the places I want to go. This way, when I’m walking around that destination, I can use my map to easily see the healthy cafe’s and restaurants are nearby. You do this by looking up the place you plan to go (eg. a cafe) and from the menu, save it to a list. Google maps have three default pins including favourites (pin will be a pink heart), places you want to go (pin will be a green flag) and starred places (pin will be a yellow star). This is also really handy for if you ever return to that destination or when you want to recommend places to a friend.
4. Stock up on healthy snacks
When you arrive, find a health food store, supermarket or farmers market and stock up on healthy snacks. Having things like fruit, veggies, nuts, protein bars and raw chocolate, means you’ll be less likely to snack on junk and prevents you from reaching the point of hunger where you make unhealthy decisions. It also helps you save money.
When booking your accommodation, keep in mind that a fridge in your room means you can store dips, coconut yogurt, fruit and drinks.
5. Walk more often
I love to walk or ride a bike whenever possible. It’s amazing the experiences you have and the sights you see that you would have driven straight past. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes (unlike me in the photo below) and start exploring. If you’ve created a Google map of places you want to go, you can plan in advance which places you can walk between.
6. Make time to workout
I’ve spent plenty of trips just relaxing and taking a break from my workouts and I’ve spent plenty of other trips making time every other day for a quick workout. From my experience, the trips where I’ve moved my body more are the ones where I’ve felt more energetic, less bloated and healthier overall. My workouts are usually body weight circuits in my hotel room, a YouTube yoga session, a quick run or even hill walks. If we have access to a hotel or resort gym, we pop in for 20-30 minute weights session. It’s not a hassle when you know it makes you feel good. If you feel like taking it easier, go for less intense forms of movement.
7. Stretch each night
Keep you body feeling great by stretching each night before bed. If you’ve followed tips five and six then you’ve been walking around quite a bit and you’ve squeezed in a workout. Make the time to stretch out those muscles. It’s a great way to wind down at the end of the day. This is something I also do each night at home (and usually foam roll too).
8. Get out into nature
If you are near the ocean, go for a swim, kayak or snorkel. Go for a walk or hike through a park. Find activities to do that are outside in the fresh air and sunshine. Not only will this help you feel great physically, but it will also contribute to you feeling mentally positive.
9. Take a good book
Take a good book and allow yourself the time to read it. I usually take a health-related book (that’s the nutrition nerd in me) and also a fiction book. Some of my favourite healthy books include:
- How Not To Die – Dr Michael Greger
- Anything by Dr Libby Weaver – Womens Wellness Wisdom, Accidentally Overweight
- High, A Party Girls Guide to Peace – Tara Bliss
- The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin
- You Are a Badass – Jen Sincero
And a few on my list to read:
- The China Study (Revised and expanded edition) – T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell
- The Cheese Trap – Neal D. Barnard
- Proteinaholic – Garth Davis
- Wheat Belly – William Davis
- Whole – T. Colin Campbell and Howard Jacobson
- Low carb fraud – T. Colin Campbell and Howard Jacobson
- The Plant-Based Journey – Lani Muelrath
10. Enjoy yourself without the guilt
I aim to eat healthy about 80% of the time and for the other 20% I allow myself to indulge. For me, this includes trying all kinds of plant-based foods, drinking wine and eating desserts . The key is to enjoy it without the guilt. Remove the stress.
I hope you find these tips useful for your next trip. Do you have your own healthy travel tips? I’d love to hear them. Comment below.0