Traveling is one of my favorite activities. I love exploring new places or revisiting places I have loved in the past. I love being surrounded by unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells. I also love trying new food and taking a peek into the daily lives of other people experiencing a different culture, locale, environment than the one I currently inhabit. However, there is a part of the healthy, fit-minded me that feels slightly uncomfortable with the thought of leaving my routine of knowing exactly what, how much, and when I am eating and when I will squeeze in my workout. This feeling stems from the fact that I have spent so much time and energy focused on getting in to the best shape of my life and there is a small fear that all of that hard work could disappear over the course of my vacation.
First, I want to clarify that I believe we should let go of rigid thinking while traveling (and in life in general, but that’s another post! 🙂 ). It’s ok to taste and try everything or have days of complete rest where you don’t leave your beach side hammock (the dream, right?). It’s also ok to completely forget about your fitness goals while on vacation. The definition of vacation is a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday, which definitely includes turning off that 5am alarm clock that wakes you for your daily workout. Where vacation mode becomes a concern for me is when I return home. If I have completely gone buck wild on a trip, I find it a little difficult to get my mind back in the game when I get home. It’s so easy to continue vacation mode – eating out often, sleeping in instead of working out – if I haven’t kept my goals in mind while I was away. Your health and fitness shouldn’t consume you or your ability to explore the world, but here are 5 simple tips to help you stay on track while you are away from home.
Tips for healthy traveling:
1. Pack food for the road
The transportation to your destination is one of the best ways to start a trip off right. If you are on a road trip, pack as many healthy snacks and meals as possible. Nuts, homemade granola bars or bites, and fruit (dried and fresh) make excellent munchies for the road. You also have the option of packing salads or sandwiches for meals along the way. This not only saves on calories, but you will save major cash if you aren’t eating fast food or snacking at gas stations. I’d rather use that money for a couple of better dining experiences, admission to a national or state park, or some other adventure I come across 🙂
The same applies for flying, but you may be limited in baggage space. Still, make some room for a few snacks for the flight. The snacks available on planes are often full of sodium, artificial flavorings, and other nasty chemicals and they aren’t even filling. You can also pack a whole meal if you want. There aren’t security restrictions on the food you bring, it just cannot be over the limit for liquids (so no water, juice, etc). Last week, I took a short flight to Santa Barbara and packed an apple with cashew butter and Shakeology. To get through security, I put the Shakeology powder in a shaker cup and filled the cup with water once I got to the terminal. Easy peasy!
2. Adapt your accommodations to your routine
Once you arrive at your destination, seek out ways to adapt your accommodations to your routine. If you are staying in an Airbnb, hotel, hostel, or family home that has space in the fridge to store food, go grocery shopping for snacks and meal items. This is also another money saver. When Nick and I traveled to Japan in 2013, we moved around to many hostels and didn’t really have access to a kitchen most of the time. However, on the nights that we did we purchased breakfast items and made food before heading out for the day. You can also do this for lunch and pack a meal for when you are on the go.
To get your sweat on, you can pack work out DVDs that don’t require equipment. DVDs take up very little room in your bag and you can pop them in to your laptop or a nearby TV to get your workout in. I love to pack PiYo on trips because it is low impact so I don’t have to worry about jumping on unfamiliar floors (oh hello, neighbors!) and it doesn’t require much space. Last week, I did PiYo on my grandmother’s porch. Running is also an exercise that doesn’t require much equipment aside from your clothing and you get the extra sight seeing in too!
3. Choose according to your goals at restaurants
When eating out, be conscious of what you are ordering. Like I said before, you don’t have to continuously be thinking about how each meal will affect your muscle definition. On the other hand, it is totally possible to eat healthy at restaurants. It is up to you and your goals for your fitness/health and your vacation.
4. Skip the rental car and get active
Skip the rental car and walk as much as possible. I love walking and taking public transportation everywhere when traveling because it is an awesome way to take in the sights and live like a local. The added bonus is the extra exercise you get! You can end up walking several miles each day while taking in the sights of your destination. You can also seek out adventurous ways to explore the area: If you are somewhere tropical rent a kayak or stand up paddle board. If you are near mountains go hiking or rent snow sport gear. You get the idea – just get out there and be active and you won’t need to worry one bit about your missed work outs!
5. Relax and enjoy yourself!
This is the most important step. You spend the majority of your time on the grind: working out, eating clean, working and paying bills, taking care of family, maintaining your home….the list goes on and on. You are now on vacation! I think the mental health benefits of taking time to actually relax outweigh the benefits of you continuing an intense exercise regimen. Unless you are in the middle of training for a race, you should be able to skip a day or two…or seven…and it won’t be the end of the world. Stick to your goals the best you can and you’ll feel refreshed and ready to hop back on that horse when you get home. 🙂