HOW TO STAY FIT & HEALTHY WHILE TRAVELING
You’ve been planning and looking forward to this trip for so long and finally, it’s time to leave!
We hope you’re in top condition because there is absolutely nothing worse than being sick while traveling and a long way from home.
We asked the travel experts for their top tips for staying fit and healthy while you’re traveling and here's what they said!
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
A. PRE -TRIP PREPARATION
1. Travel Insurance
2. Lists! Lists! Lists!
3. Precious Probiotics
4. Are Your Medications Sorted?
B. FOOD & EATING
1. Staying Hydrated
2. Make Your Own Meals
3. Don't Binge!
4. Finding Healthy Food
1. Take a Local Workout
2. Jogging Around the City
3. Rent a Bike
4. Climb Everywhere You Can
5. Hotel Room Workout
6. Disembark Before Your Destination
D. MORE GREAT TIPS
1. How to Get Enough Sleep
2. Bring your Dog
A. PRE-TRIP PREPARATION
1. TRAVEL INSURANCE.
Have you got your travel insurance sorted? It should be the first thing you do after you’ve booked your trip. The sooner you get this done the better in case of last-minute emergencies.
Even though you might consider yourself a careful person, and fit and healthy, you never know what is around the corner so please don’t consider leaving your country without full travel insurance. Don't forget to make sure you declare any pre-existing conditions or you might find your policy is null and void if you go to make a claim.
2. LISTS! LISTS! LISTS!
You are going to be frantically busy before you go organizing care of your home and work issues that need to be taken care of while you’re away. You don’t need any extra stress by getting run down and weakening your immune system.
Find or make some good pre-trip things to do and packing lists and check off the things you need to do and pack before you go, so that you’re not constantly worrying about “Did I renew my passport?" " Have I packed my rain jacket?" etc.
It’s much less stressful if you have everything you need to do written on a list and check it off as you go.
Click here for a ready-made, comprehensive First Aid Travel Kit List.
3. PRECIOUS PROBIOTICS
Paulette Reid, one of our regular guest travelers, swears by taking a course of probiotics, starting a week before your trip.
After suffering a couple of bad bouts of traveler’s diarrhea she did some research and discovered that probiotics with saccharomyces boulardii in them will help prevent diarrhea. Since she has started taking them when going on a trip, she has never had traveler’s diarrhea again, even when on a cruise and over a hundred passengers suffered, she avoided it. In Tibet when she felt the symptoms coming on she doubled the dose and once again avoided the dreaded diarrhea. She also recommends charcoal tablets to help prevent illness.
4. YOUR MEDICATIONS:
Danielle Lawson from "Live in 10 Countries" says that one thing that's often overlooked when traveling is looking after your regular medicine prescriptions. Your prescriptions might be liquid, but you still need to keep them in your hand luggage. Keep them in their original packaging and in a clear plastic bag, along with a letter from your doctor explaining that you need them.
In many countries, you can only bring a three month supply of medicines. If you are going to be traveling for more than three months, do your research on how you're going to arrange to get your refills.
As if there wasn't enough to think about, you also need to check airline and immigration regulations, because medicines might be legal in your country but not in others. For example, some Chinese traditional medicines can be an issue in this way. I found that out on a layover crossing through Northern Ireland. Some budget airlines can be tricky to deal with too! Keep in mind also, that if you fall ill while away and buy over-the-counter meds, you may not be able to bring them back to your own country.
If you have a serious condition such a severe allergy, it's well worth carrying the epi-pen you need, perhaps with an allergy bracelet too. Hand in hand with that, you might like to program your phone with details of the local health and emergency services.
B. FOOD & EATING
1. STAY HYDRATED! DRINK LOTS OF WATER
Marta Wlodarska from https://backpackerswro.com reminds us that during a long trip, we sometimes forget about proper hydration. Many people don't drink a lot to avoid having to search for the toilet along the way. This is not the right solution, because in this way we can dehydrate the body very quickly. The effects of dehydration are quite bothersome - we feel tired and with no energy. Dehydration also exaggerates jet lag!
Although drinking coffee may boost our energy level for a while, if we overdose, it can also cause much faster dehydration. The best drink during travel is water, which quickly hydrates the body and gives energy.
It is best to drink water regularly, and in small amounts, so we can ensure regular hydration of the body. A good habit is to drink from six to eight glasses of water a day. You may also pack a refillable bottle on your trip and fill it at the airport gate. In many airports, you can fill your reusable bottle after the security check and avoid the plastic from going to landfills.
Make sure that you check in advance if the tap water in the country you are going to is potable. If you are not sure, it is better to look for bottled water instead.
2. BUY GROCERIES & MAKE SOME OF YOUR OWN MEALS.
Holly from “Four Around The World” states that it is very easy to be caught up in all the delicious food and dining opportunities when you travel, but this isn't often great on the waistline.
"We are big foodies and we certainly make the most of dining out when we travel, but we also balance this with making our own meals too.
As we usually travel with our two young children, our preference is for accommodation with kitchen facilities so we can cook a few of our own meals during our stay. This makes it easy not only to keep our costs down but also eat healthier than we may do otherwise.
Eating well while travelling is certainly a big factor in maintaining a good level of health. This doesn't mean cooking massive family meals that require a load of ingredients though either. Sometimes it may simply be grabbing fruit and vegetables from the local market to carry with you during the day for snacks. This means you are less likely to grab the nearest sweet treat or savory snack during your day.
We will often get cold meat and salad items with a fresh loaf of bread or rolls to make quick and easy lunches. For dinner, one-pan meals can be a great option, loaded up with protein and vegetables so they are filling and full of more of the good stuff than eating out may offer."
3. FIND HEALTHY FOOD ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!
THE "HAPPYCOW" APP
Wendy Werneth from "The Nomadic Vegan" highly recommends the HappyCow app, which is an incredibly useful tool for finding healthy food, and particularly plant-based food, anywhere in the world.
It started back in 1999 as a website and later developed into a smartphone app as well. HappyCow is a global directory of vegan, vegetarian and veg-friendly restaurants, and it also lists other types of veg-friendly businesses, such as health food stores, B&Bs, and farmer's markets.
The directory is crowdsourced, which means that anyone can add a listing if they stumble across a veg-friendly business while traveling. And with the growing interest in eating vegan while traveling, the number of listings has increased dramatically in recent years. In 2009, there were 625 fully vegan restaurants listed on HappyCow. Now, there are more than 8,000, and that's only the ones with a completely vegan menu!
And if you prefer to self-cater rather than eating out all the time, the listings of health food stores, vegan shops, and market vendors are super helpful for tracking down ingredients that you may take for granted at home but that can be hard to find in certain destinations. Just click the "search nearby" button, and at a glance, you can see all the healthy and veg-friendly options closest to you.
4. DON"T BINGE! EAT AT LEAST ONE HEALTHY MEAL EACH DAY!
Soujanya Rai from http://thespicyjourney.com/ advises that one of the ways to stay healthy while traveling is to control the eating binges. It's easy to forget your normal routine and lose track of how much you're eating while you are away from home on vacation. One of the ways to avoid piling on the calories is to watch what you eat, even when traveling.
I know that what I'm asking you to do is difficult. There's always another thin crust pizza, masala chicken gravy or a chocolate escargot to devour. The key is to maintain a balance.
If you want to try out delicious local specialties, go right ahead and do it. But for the next meal, keep it light by eating something healthy like fresh fruits, veggies or having a simple salad. Ideally, if you wish to eat a big meal, have it for lunch and keep your dinner light.
Besides, there are other ways to cut back on the calories. If you're having more than a few beers, then skip out on dessert or vice-versa. Alternatively, if you've got a whole day of sightseeing or activity, eat healthy food on that day and reward yourself the next day by taking it slow and having good hearty meals.
1. TAKE A LOCAL WORKOUT!
One of the best and most fun ways to stay fit while traveling is to try a local workout. Michelle Della Giovanna from "Full-Time Explorer" tells us that this allows you to stay healthy while also experiencing something you wouldn’t normally do back home and it gives insight into the culture.
I was lucky enough to try Muay Thai in Thailand. Muay Thai is a martial art that was started in the 16th century when a Thai fighter was captured by the enemy. They allowed him to fight for his freedom.
After winning, the style of fighting became popular throughout the country. It uses eight points of contact including hands, feet, elbows, and knees. The workouts are pretty hardcore and involve pushups, burpees, running, squats, as well as learning to throw a proper punch. Despite being a difficult workout, it really is a lot more fun than going to a traditional gym and hopping on a treadmill.
But Muay Thai isn’t the only option out there. The list of sports and activities to try throughout the world are endless. How about rugby in England, cricket in India, American football in the States, salsa dancing in Cuba, hockey in Canada, or canoeing in the Netherlands? Every country in the world has an interesting workout to try. Not only will you stay in shape, but you’ll also have a great story to share later.
2. JOGGING AROUND THE CITY
Sean Lau from https://www.livingoutlau.com/ realizes that staying in shape while traveling can be tough. Not knowing where you can find nutritious meals, an unhealthy local cuisine, not having a proper gym to work out in, are some of the reasons why it is difficult to stay in shape.
My favorite way to stay fit while traveling is jogging. Jogging is one of the best exercises for cardiovascular health and mental health, which are big concerns if you are traveling long term and always on the move. The benefits of jogging are substantial and I don’t think you need a travel blogger to tell you that. Maintaining a good weight, strengthening your muscles and bones, the list goes on and on.
The reason why jogging has been my favorite way of exercising while traveling is because it also allows me to explore the city more in-depth. Traveling sometimes might feel like you are going from one attraction to another attraction, completely unable to slow down and observe the local customs and culture. By running, you get to see the nitty-gritty, the grandma that is selling her hand-made alpaca wear in Cusco, the family that is struggling to keep afloat and has to sell newspapers on the streets, and many more fascinating local insights. That is why jogging is one of my favorite activities while traveling.
3. RENT A BIKE!
"One of my absolute favorite ways to practice healthy and sustainable travel is to embrace two-wheeled transportation when exploring a new place," says Thea from 'Zen Travellers.' "Not only is it good for the heart, but this planet-friendly mode of transportation is also easy on the wallet, and allows you to take in all the wonderful sights at a slower pace.
Bikes can be rented on-site for an hour, a day, or even several days in a row with many places giving discounts for longer rentals. Shops will often provide essentials such as helmets, locks, and even maps along with the rental, so you don't need to worry about packing those things along. Just bring some snacks and dress for the weather and you'll be good to go!
If you find DIY cycle travel intimidating, there are plenty of guided cycle trips that you can take around the world. They are a great way to get some exercise as well as the inside scoop about your destination.
So next time you're traveling, try cycling to your destination rather than driving and see for yourself how great the world looks from a two-wheeled view. Staying fit while traveling can be as easy as riding a bike!"
4. CLIMB EVERYWHERE YOU CAN!
Noel Morata from "Travel Photo Discovery" highly recommends climbing. "One of my favorite ways of staying fit in between all the snacks and trying new street foods from a new destination is to find some fantastic climbing opportunities to help stay fit and also to capture some amazing views of a location to enjoy and photograph.
It can be an old tower or building or climbing up some historic stairs or even a popular vantage point from a distance that will give you a scenic panoramic of the destination below. The more stairs and climbing venues the better for a personal work out instead of taking public transportation or Uber. Climbing is a great way to explore a new place and get a real sense of place.
If you combine this with using an app to find some of the popular spots in town from above or just attractions that appeal to you, you can then walk to those places for your work out and really enjoy seeing all the street scenes and local places that you may typically be passing by from taking local transportation. This often works better for smaller towns and cities where everything is compact and walkable,
Check out Noel's travel photography at http://noelmorata.com/
5. HOTEL ROOM WORKOUT
For most people, vacation almost always equals weight gain says Ming Lee from "Flyerism.com" While on the road, it is easy to overindulge in both drink and flavorful local dishes. What’s more, gyms aren’t always readily available where you're staying.
The thing is: it is totally possible to stay in shape while vacationing if you are willing to commit just 15-20 minutes a day doing this simple workout. Here’s a list of simple and effective workout exercises you can do in your hotel room:
#1. Push-ups: They are the best arm exercise to improve your upper body strength. If you can’t perform the standard push-up on all fours, try the modified version on the wall or on your knees.
#2. Squats: Squats help to strengthen your lower body. You should aim for repetitions of 10 to 15 with 2 to 4 sets, depending on your fitness level. If this is too easy for you, try jump squats instead.
#3. Crunches: Lie on your back on a mattress. Keep your knees together and make sure that your feet are flat on the floor. Then, with your hands placed on your chest, contract your abdominal muscle and lift your shoulder off the ground. Hold the position for 1-2 seconds. Try doing 4 sets of 12 crunches.
In addition, hiking is highly recommended. In many holiday destinations, you will be able to find hiking trails with great views of the city.
Last but not least, don’t forget to stretch your body before and after every exercise. You might want to consult the professionals beforehand to make sure you are performing these exercises correctly.
6. DISEMBARK ONE OR TWO STOPS BEFORE YOUR DESTINATION
Allie from https://woctravel.com/ has this fitness tip. When you use public transportation get off a little earlier or later (one or two stops) than your intended destination.
Public transportation can be a great way to travel intercity whenever you are on vacation. It can range from trolleys, buses, underground trains, and in some places ferries. Typically, it is reliable, inexpensive, and a great way to get a more authentic experience when visiting a new place. However, you usually do a lot of sitting, and if you are traveling underground or on a very crowded aboveground form of transportation without a window seat you will miss seeing a lot of the city.
As a result of a missed train stop in Italy, I walked about half a mile to my destination. Although I could have waited 15 minutes for the next train I decided to walk, and that decision wound up having a major effect on my travel habits. Regularly when I travel I will take walking tours (guided and self-guided) around cities, but for longer distances ( >5 miles) I will use public transportation.
After missing my stop in Italy I now regularly exit a bus or train one or two stops early or later to see more of the city and get some additional exercise. Train and bus stops are usually about a quarter-mile apart so depending on your cardiovascular condition, the next time you take the train or bus to a major attraction consider getting off a couple stops early. You never know what restaurant, piece of art, or beautiful view you would have missed by staying on the bus or train.
D. MORE GREAT TIPS
1. HOW TO GET ENOUGH SLEEP
“One thing people often neglect when thinking about their health and fitness is sleep,” says Zach & Julie Ruhl from www.ruhlsoftheroad.com Sleep is a HUGE part of everyone's life (at least it should be) but unfortunately many people don't get enough sleep, especially while traveling. Sleep deprivation leads to elevated stress levels both for your mind and body. While you are traveling, make sure to get enough sleep!
Getting the right amount of sleep while traveling can be tricky, especially if there is a time zone change on your trip. Tip number one is to set a bedtime and stick to it. Give yourself a bedtime that will allow you to sleep for at least seven to eight hours, depending on what your body needs. Tip number two is to stop looking at screens at least 30 minutes before bed.
This is a challenge for many people, however, we have a little trick- podcasts! Put on a podcast, and be lulled to sleep by a nice story or educational piece. This doesn't count as screen time, but you can still be entertained!
The final tip for getting enough sleep while traveling is to have a set routine. Your body will learn over time that this routine means it is bedtime, even while traveling, so even if you are in a different time zone you can tell your body when it is time to sleep. As an added push, you can bring along melatonin (we love Emergen-Z-Z-Z) for your first night.
Whatever you do, make sure to not neglect your sleep while traveling. You will be fitter, happier, and healthier when you get enough sleep
2. BRING YOUR DOG!
My name is Candy Pilar Godoy and my pet travel blog is boogiethepug.com.
Want to stay active while on the road? Then bring your dog.
Candy Pilar Godoy from 'boogiethepug.com' has a novel idea to help travelers keep fit and healthy. Bring your furry friend along! This will ensure that you get outside each day, exercise with a walk, and meet locals at the park. Spending time outdoors is not only fun for dogs, but necessary. Bathroom breaks, exercise, and fresh air will keep them busy and happy, and prevent you from being inactive and lazy. Take a long walk, go on a hike, visit the beach, or stroll through a park.
Bringing your dog will also take you to new and unexpected places. While researching dog-friendly locations and activities, you might learn of new restaurants or areas you would have otherwise overlooked. Plus, there's no better way to meet people! It's easy to strike up a conversation with other dog lovers and ask for local tips.
Thankfully, it's now easier than ever to travel with your dog (as long as they're well behaved!). Many hotels and other forms of accommodation are opening their doors to four-legged guests. There are also planes, trains, and ferries with updated policies that allow dogs on board.
So grab water and a leash, and head outside. Your furry friend will thank you for the exercise, and so will your health!
PLEASE! If you have a travel tip for staying fit & healthy while traveling, share it with our readers in the comment box at the bottom of the page.