If wanderlust has you searching for your next bucket list destination and then the next and the next, you may have already given some thought to how you are going to stay healthy as you travel.
With gourmet delicacies, pastries, long travel days, and jet lag “weighing in”, it isn’t always easy to stick to your good eating habits, fitness schedule or the healthy choices you usually make.
If you don’t want to be sick or feel sluggish as you travel, discover travel wellness tips to keep you on track. There are tips to follow to eat healthy on vacation and avoid weight gain as well.
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1. Stay Hydrated
The #1 tip to stay healthy as you travel is to Drink Water. Drink Water. Drink Water. I just can’t emphasize this enough. The American Heart Association also recommends staying hydrated as the number one healthy habit for summer road trips.
Make a plan to stay hydrated every day as you travel. How?
- Bring a refillable water bottle and fill it once you get through security at the airport.
- When flight attendants offer water throughout your flight, take it.
- Plan to bring water with you everyday as you sightsee.
One of the must-have items on a Kline family vacation is a Camelbak 3.0 Liter Hydration Pack Reservoir with a high flow, self-sealing, bite valve.
Chris’ NorthFace Recon Backpack, with its padded laptop section, is perfect for a day trip pack which we fill with our lunch, snacks, the Camelbak, and extra water bottles.
The laptop section is padded enough to keep the water in the reservoir cool as well as our lunch and snacks and minimizes any leaks to other sections of the backpack.
Refill your water bottles each night and freeze/refrigerate. (Tip * Only fill half full if you plan to freeze your water bottle and be sure to lay it on its side.)
>> Related: My Favorite Crossbody Bag for Travel
2. Get Plenty of Sleep
To stay healthy as you travel, be sure to get enough sleep before you travel. If you can, sleep during the flight. Once you arrive, do your best to adjust your schedule to local time.
Rather than take a nap once you arrive at your destination, try to stay busy throughout the day if you can. When it is time to go to bed, you should be more than ready to fall asleep. While this may not always work for you, I usually take a sleep aid for the first couple of nights when I travel to ensure a full night’s sleep and adjust to the time difference.
Chris and I started using the Timeshifter app early in 2022 and found it convenient in preparing for the inevitable jet lag that comes with international travel.
Long before your flight ever takes off, the app begins to give tips on when to avoid caffeine, when to drink caffeine, when to avoid or seek out day light, and when to adjust your sleep schedule.
Follow the recommendations prior to flying, during your flight and again after you land to ease the effects of jet lag. When you add your flight info to the app, the app gives notifications as you prepare to leave and then again when it is time to fly home.
Your first jet-lag plan is free, the second trip is $10, or you can sign up for the unlimited plan for $24.99 per year.
3. Tips for Staying Health as You Fly or Drive
Being proactive as you fly can help you stay healthy while flying the globe. These travel wellness tips can help:
- Eat during your flight. If you don’t think a meal will be provided, be sure to pack some healthy snacks in your carry on: applesauce pouches, Built Bars, nuts [affiliates].
- Drink plenty of water during the flight.
- Get up and move around during your flight.
- Wear compression socks for the flight.
- Find the barf bag in the seat pocket. Make sure there is one available at your seat that is readily accessible. You may never ever need it, but if and when you do, you will want to be able to grab it quickly.
- Wear a mask. That’s just the world we live in right now. But no doubt, it cuts down on the spread of germs.
- Use disinfectant wipes to wipe down the armrests, buttons, and tray table—places you think you will touch.
- Be picky when you choose your seat on a plane. Sitting by the window not only allows for some great views but hopefully less germs. And what if you are stuck next to someone who is sick? Use your wipes, hand sanitizer, and wear a mask.
- Always, always, always wear your shoes into the lavatory. Never go barefoot or wear only your socks!
What can you do to stay healthy as you travel on road trips?
- Again, keep the hand sanitizer handy and use after stops.
- Try to plan stops regularly to get up and stretch.
- Bring healthy snacks and picnic lunches.
- Wear sunglasses.
- Apply sunscreen.
4. Stay Healthy as You Travel by Staying Active on Vacation
If you ever wonder how the hotel concierge can help you while on vacation, ask them about the gym facilities in the hotel. If there are no facilities available, the concierge may direct you to a local gym where hotel guests have privileges.
The concierge can also give you tips on local walking tours, scenic hikes, walking paths close by, yoga classes, or fitness classes.
There is also the option of working out in your hotel room. Check out the packable items that make working out doable and what you should consider bringing with you.
When my husband and I travel and plan to sightsee, we routinely walk 10 miles or more in a day. However, if we are going on a cruise where we may be lounging throughout the day and eating more than we should, you will find us working out in the gym most mornings.
Staying active can help as you overcome jet lag and manage your efforts to stay healthy as you travel.
Other ways to stay active:
- Ride bikes
- Go river rafting
- Zipline through a forest
- Kayak in the ocean
- Swim in the ocean
5. Use Hand Sanitizer and Other Hygiene Tips
In our Covid world, practicing good hygiene is essential.
- Bring hand sanitizer and use it often, especially after using the restroom, grabbing door handles, shaking hands, eating, and after touching a fuel pump.
- Wash your hands often.
- Use disinfectant wipes to wipe down key areas in your hotel room—door handles, faucets, light switches, and the remote control. This is one of the key tips The Points Guy suggests too.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue (or your sleeve) when sneezing or coughing.
- If you feel sick, wear a face mask. If you are around someone else who appears to be sick, wear a face mask and wash your hands often. Wearing a mask as you fly may not be a bad idea either.
- Try to keep your distance from crowds of people if possible.
6. Bring Healthy Snacks
When Chris and I plan a trip, we are sure to travel with snacks. Our girls like Goldfish Crackers and some types of gummy treats that come in single-serve or small packs. Chris also includes Peanut M&Ms, Built Power Bars, Microwave Popcorn, Trail Mix, Nuts, Applesauce Pouches (ingenious), and Zipfizz or Crystal Lite [affiliates] single-serve drink mix. Dried fruit and nuts packets make a great snack too.
Bonus * Use Code SJTRAVELS at checkout for 10% off your Built Bar purchase.
Bring your own healthy snacks to avoid the temptation of grabbing a candy bar or picking up a bag of chips and a soda while at the airport.
If you are stuck on a long layover, get stuck on an airplane due to a mechanical error, or miss a meal as you travel, having snacks to tide you over is essential.
If you are traveling with young children, pre-teens, and teens…well, you know they like to snack a lot. Bring the snacks they enjoy.
7. Stay on Your Vitamins and Rx Schedule
Be sure to pack 2 or 3 days of your prescription medications in your travel backpack. You will want to have them to take as you fly if your flight is long and to take precautions in case your luggage is delayed or misplaced.
Also travel with over the counter medications such as decongestants, meds for a headache, or something for an upset stomach.
Tip * Pack a few of these items in an empty Tic Tac container. Be sure to label it clearly.
If you start to feel sick, take preventative measures. Include Airborne (or something similar) in your travel backpack or bag. Having access to a small first aid kit is also a great idea.
8. Eat in Moderation
I know for me personally, I work too hard all year long to maintain good eating and fitness habits to want to blow it on french fries or lots of pastries while on vacation. That being said, I try to make good choices most of the time while traveling and to be moderate and selective in my indulgences.
You may wonder, “Is eating healthy even possible as you travel?” Yes, it is possible and do-able.
If your accommodations allow, prepare at least one of your meals each day as you travel. If you stay in hotels, check to see if you have a small fridge in your room. Purchase lunch foods such as meats and cheeses or plan for yogurt and a muffin for breakfast.
Another option? Look for hotels that include breakfast with your stay.
If you choose an apartment, condo, beach house, or similar lodging, you should have access to a kitchen in your unit. Shop local markets or grocery stores for fresh and less expensive breakfast items and lunch or dinner fixings.
Bring a foldable cooler that folds neatly into the bottom of your luggage without taking up too much space. If you have a rental car, fill the cooler with lunch and healthy snacks and bring it with you on your daily adventures.
On a typical travel day for our family, we will have a simple breakfast of local breads and pastries, cereal, yogurt, and fruit. For lunch, we often find a small grocery store and buy bread, sandwich meats, cheese, and fruit and enjoy a picnic lunch in a nearby park.
You may find one of your greatest travel memories is the time you stopped for a picnic lunch along a French country roadside.
Plan ahead to eat healthy, and if possible, do some research in advance.
Allow yourself some indulgences. Who goes to Italy without trying gelato, gnocchi, or pizza or sampling crepes in France?
TIP: When traveling with kids, going with what is familiar every once in awhile is a good course of action. And honestly, you can find a McDonald’s or a pizza place pretty much anywhere in this world. If you travel with smaller children (or even picky eaters), a sense of familiarity in an unfamiliar country can do wonders for their attitude.
We aren’t a family of foodies, nor do we drink alcohol, so if you love trying new foods with a glass of wine for dinner, great. Just remember, moderation is one of the key travel wellness tips that I recommend.
9. Use Sunscreen and Other Self-Care Tips
Let’s start out with the most important self care product of them all—PCA Skin Active Broad Spectrum SPF 45 sunscreen with zinc oxide, sweat and water resistant. I’ve got my whole family, husband included, hooked on this stuff. It should be one of the first things you wear everyday. I recommended it whether you are traveling or not, but with extra emphasis on those days when you are sightseeing and traveling and in the sun all day long.
Sunscreen is essential!
How else do you plan to implement self-care as you travel?
The answer to that is different for everyone. Perhaps it means planning a romantic getaway and adventure with your favorite someone. Maybe a trip with your girl friends or guy friends. Maybe you are ready to set out on a solo trip.
Here are a few ideas to spark your planning and travel resolutions:
- Schedule a massage or spa treatment while on vacation. Yes, please!
- Travel with a friend or loved one
- Set aside time to meditate as you travel
- Read or listen to a book while on vacation
- Find a favorite podcast to listen to as you take the train from one destination to another
- Get up a little earlier on vacation and enjoy the sunrise or visit tourist sites at a less crowded time
- Enjoy nature with a hike.
- Plan more outdoor adventures
- Disconnect from social media while you travel
- Take more pictures – Check out tips to take better travel photos and look good in them too!
- Be in more pictures
- Laugh more
- Plan your adventures so you don’t stress
- Reconnect with your partner
- Don’t over plan adventures or day to day activities…sometimes just wing it
- Book a flight and enjoy the anticipation of an upcoming adventure
- Make travel resolutions to fly somewhere new
- Explore off the beaten path and try a new adventure
You may find that the anticipation and planning to accomplish your travel resolutions is almost as much fun as the travel itself. And you will likely come home rejuvenated to jump in to your day-to-day life again.
10. Invest in Good Walking Shoes
Taking care of your feet is an important part of how you can stay healthy as you travel. I love my Asics. If you plan to purchase new shoes for your vacation, be sure to spend some time breaking them in before you leave home.
Our family walked over 140 miles during a two-week trip to Italy and Austria. That’s a lot of wear and tear on shoes and feet.
Take care of your feet.
- Wear a Hat
- Don’t Forget Your Sunglasses
- Pace Yourself
- Enjoy Your Vacation
- Just GO!
These tips are NOT a guarantee of safety! Unfortunate things sometimes do happen. I recommend that you consider investing in Travel Insurance.
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Final Thoughts on the Top Tips to Stay Healthy as You Travel
Often, the busiest days fall right before you leave for a trip. As you are trying to finish up all of the last minute to-dos, double check on reservations, and get work ready to hand off to a co-worker while you are gone, you may find that you aren’t getting enough sleep or eating well. Don’t let yourself get worn out.
Alternately, as you travel and have a change in your schedule, whether you are an avid exercise enthusiast or not, try to find ways to be active every day. Practice all of these Super Tips to have the best adventure of your life and stay healthy as you travel!