It is an issue of many, and the question of ‘how to stay healthy while traveling’ keeps popping up. I can imagine why: during travels you eat different and more, and you will have less time to exercise due to busy schedules. And who can resist that delicious dessert in that fancy restaurant, or that huge Starbucks with whipped cream in the morning after leaving your hotel.
No judging.. I tend to do the same.
Over the years I have collected advice and tips about how to stay healthy while traveling. Because believe me: I’ve been there. Two years ago I went on a roadtrip through the west coast of the USA. Being a vegetarian in the USA isn’t always easy, and my diet changed into a pancake, pizza and black bean burger one. You can imagine how healthy I was being. After a week I started feeling tired and dizzy, and after four weeks I could barely walk the stairs without having to take a breather. All because my body simply didn’t have enough energy left.
Since that trip I realize how important it is to stay healthy whilst traveling and since that trip I haven’t had any problem skipping French fries to go for a salad instead.
So here they are: my tips for staying healthy while traveling:
Become a vegetarian – It is funny that I start with this tip after my story about the USA. I know that I just said it isn’t easy to be a vegetarian in the States. I didn’t try my hardest though: whenever a restaurant only offered pizzas or burgers I choose the pizza. Instead I could have also asked the waitress if she could make me something vegetarian or I could have gone to another restaurant.
Being a vegetarian isn’t hard when you make an effort for it. Especially not in Asia or Europe. There are more and more vegan restaurants opening and more and more restaurants expand their menus with vegetarian options.
Why turning vegetarian whilst traveling? Simple: greens are good. The moment you eat vegetarian you leave out a lot of unhealthy menu options like burgers and red meat. And that changes your diet into the better!
Skip unhealthy breaks – Don’t keep stopping for cafes, don’t go past Starbucks all the time and don’t order a three-course meal as soon as you enter a restaurant. It’s obvious, but I’m just saying: skipping unhealthy breaks helps. Just to give you another tip: buy a bottle of water rather than walking into a café every time you get thirsty and bring your own snacks with you. Saves you money as well.
Walk more – You have no idea how much you actually walk on a day during your travels. At least.. I didn’t. I never take the subway when I travel alone (citytrips): it seems like it is too much effort, a waste of money and a waste of time: walking leads you to such beautiful places!
During my last citytrip to Berlin I was curious to find out how much I actually walk while traveling. So I checked my Iphone: first day I walked 17 kilometers, second day I walked 20 kilometers and the third day I walked about 10. I couldn’t even believe I walked so much! You barely notice you walk a lot because you are busy, and because the kilometers are spread out over the day. But at the end of your trip you’ve been so much more healthy than you would have been if you chose to take public transport.
So yeah trust me: while you don’t feel like you are very active, walking definitely helps you to stay healthy during travels.
Treat public places as public places – Ok, I’m not saying that you have to become all weird and spray your hand sanitizer every two seconds but treat public places as they are: public places. Luckily this isn’t an issue everywhere you come – most countries and places have good cleaning policies (especially in restaurants) so you don’t have to worry about weird germs and crazy disgusting bathrooms.
However, you have no idea where you’ll end up during travels so always bring your flip-flops (for showering et cetera), hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes with you.
Sleep well – I think we all know how a good night sleep is one of the most important things to keep our immune system strong. So as obvious as this tip is, it is also one of the best ones I can give you: sleep, sleep and sleep some more. I know that your travel plans are more exciting than sleeping and that you don’t want to give in to your jetlag but the moment you don’t sleep enough your immune system will weaken and you will have more chance to get sick. Who wants that during travels? Hotel beds are comfortable for a reason: they want you to sleep in it!
Bring extra vitamins – So when you know you can’t eat like you normally do and therefor eat less good and healthy products.. be prepared and bring some extra vitamins with you! This could never hurt, so why not? Bringing extra vitamins will help your body to stay fit and your immune system will stay healthy.
Exercise – Obviously: exercise. Exercising during travels is the best kind of exercise I can imagine. Especially hiking and jogging: it can lead you to such beautiful places!
But the best thing about exercising during traveling? You can do all kinds of things while not even thinking about it as an exercise. How about a stay at a yoga retreat, surfing or swimming in the ocean, running through Central Park NYC, rock climbing or hiking? Double the fun!