Do you put a lot of effort into leading a healthy lifestyle on a daily basis?
You will agree that it's often quite challenging to maintain those healthy habits while traveling. You may end up either gaining weight or losing weight after their trips. Or you may just feel exhausted after a holiday (which let's face it absolutely should not be the case!)
Sometimes I felt guilty after returning home from a trip, and I felt an urge to get back to my normal habits. I realized that the key for an overall better vacation experience was to find a good balance between self-deprivation and falling into an infinite loop of saying "I'm on vacation so I deserve it".
So here are some tips that I've learned to adopt during my travels to help you stay healthy while away from home.
UNDERSTAND WHAT YOUR DESTINATION HAS TO OFFER
It's important to research what your options are in the destination country, especially if you have food allergies or a specific diet to follow. You need to keep in mind that every country has its own food culture and not every country has a wide range of restaurants offering food for all dietary preferences.
In Europe, we don't customize the dishes that we order as it is considered to be very rude. The only exception would be that you may change the side dish in some cases. Just a simple example: if you're in France and you order a dish that is traditionally fried with butter, NO ONE will prepare it for you with olive oil.
Maintaining your healthy lifestyle starts with understanding what your destination has to offer regarding food, exercise, or other relaxing and wellness habits that are important to you.
Planning ahead will prevent you from feeling stressed out about where to go to eat, what to eat, how to keep your energy levels high and how not to feel overwhelmed while traveling.
Check out these points before departing:
- Do research on the food culture and the eating out options in your destination.
- Check if you will have easy access to food that fit your dietary preferences/food allergies.
- What are some local dishes that fit your dietary preferences?
- Is there a grocery store near to your accommodation?
- Book an accommodation that offers a refrigerator in the room.
- Does your accommodation have a fitness center or a swimming pool?
- Where you can find the nearest fitness studio if you need a workout?
- Does your destination offer outdoor activities?
Doing research on your own can be time-consuming and overwhelming. Instead of doing all the work yourself, you can contact a travel expert that can help you to answer all your questions and find the proper accommodation for you.
KEEP HEALTHY BALANCED EATING HABITS WHILE TRAVELING
We often give ourselves a lot of excuses to eat whatever we want because we're on vacation and we deserve it. Or we do the opposite and we hold on tight a specific diet and we don't even try out local specialties.
I truly believe that trying out local cuisine is a quintessential part of experiencing the local culture. But you don't have to try out everything at once. If your accommodation offers buffet breakfast or all-inclusive services that don't mean that you have to eat 3 rounds at breakfast and put everything on your plate.
Make simple conscious decisions and observe how your body reacts. Enjoy all the unique and delicious foods your destination has to offer while giving your body the nutrients it needs to keep you feeling your best.
Here are some tips on how to keep healthier eating habits while traveling:
- Try to avoid over- and undereating. If you have buffet breakfast included in the room rate, try to eat a normal amount of food for breakfast and don't end up eating 2-3 serves just because you can. Choose something for breakfast that you would normally eat on a typical day at home and don't fill up your plate with all the fatty/sugary options that you can see there (bacon, sausages, etc.) Instead of filling up yourself with breakfast eat a normal portion of it and do not skip lunch or dinner. Eating regularly through the day may seem sometimes difficult while traveling but your body will appreciate it.
- Keep hydrated throughout the whole day. Try to drink 2-3 liters of water and tea. In a lot of countries, you can drink tap water, so you can buy a bottle and then, later on, refill it more times per day. Try to avoid drinking too many fizzy drinks or way too much coffee.
- If you want to snack, try to choose healthier options instead of chocolates and chips. Buy rather some fruit or yogurt that you can eat on the way.
- Incorporate at least in 1-2 of your meals fruits and vegetables. E.g. add fruit to your breakfast or as a snack in the afternoon. Choose a salad with meat for lunch and then choose freely a local dish for dinner.
STAY ACTIVE WHILE TRAVELING
Traveling to a destination that you're not familiar with can take its toll on our body. The unknown means for some people a lot of stress or anxiety. There comes also a lot of waiting sometimes at the airport, carrying the heavy bags, getting familiar with the local transport systems, not speaking the local language, unsure about what to eat, etc. Plus if you're body is used to a regular exercise routine, it will definitely be in the need of some type of exercise even if you're traveling.
Here are some ways to incorporate exercise into your travel:
- instead of always using the means of transport, walk around the city. A lot of cities in Europe are very safe and easy to discover on foot.
- if you're staying in a seaside town you can go for a run along the beach
- if you have a fitness studio or a swimming pool in the hotel, you can spend some time there exercising (even if just 30 minutes)
- if you're more familiar with a destination, you can also go to the nearest fitness studio
- book an outdoor activity (e.g. cycling, walking tour, hiking)
MAKE TIME FOR RELAXING AND SLEEP
Get adequate rest and sleep while traveling and don't overstrain your body. Sleep is an essential part of feeling good in your body and for your mental health. There is no need to go our partying 'til late at night every night and drinking a lot of alcohol. Don't plan way too many activities during the day. Some people say: "I can also sleep and relax at home". But what's the whole point of being on vacation if you're feeling tired and exhausted all the time? How can you enjoy yourself then? Set up your own boundaries and don't try to meet other people's expectations on what's cool and what's not cool to do when you're on vacation.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN WHILE TRAVELING
Keep your daily skincare routine even if you're traveling. Spend rather some extra money on adding bigger luggage to your flight ticket, but don't leave home your skincare essentials. Or even if you're feeling exhausted after a long day, still remove your makeup and make some time for your basic skin care routine. Your skin is really sensitive when it comes to changing weather conditions, irregular daily activities, lack of proper nutrition and sleep.
So it might take some extra effort, but it is indeed possible to keep healthy during your travel. With a little bit of self-awareness, you can get the most out of your travel by feeling your best with good nutrition, proper exercise and adequate rest.