7 Tips on How to Stay Healthy While Traveling
Updated: Jun 13
Do you often find it challenging to stay healthy while you are traveling abroad? When we are traveling abroad, we break away from our routine at home. We immerse ourselves in new surroundings and experiences. And likewise, we change our habits, like sleeping and eating. While escaping the daily slog is soothing, it also brings fresh challenges. On the road, it isn’t always easy to find nutritious and clean foods nor space to work out. On top of that, we are more likely to eat out in restaurants, drink the local beer, and talk or party the night away. And as our habits change, so does our health.
This article will show you how to overcome these challenges by combining the pleasures of your trip with a healthy lifestyle. Traveling is all about living your best life, and it is definitely possible to have the best time and try the local cuisine while staying healthy. And despite these health challenges, the benefits of traveling are still boundless. So, we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to travel!
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Here are seven tips on how to stay healthy while traveling.
Tip 1: Walk, walk, and walk whenever you can!
In our opinion, one of the most effective ways to stay healthy while traveling is to walk whenever possible. If you are only a half-hour stroll away from the town center our tourist attraction, then walk instead of taking public transportation or a taxi. You will not only save money but you'll also get to know the destination better. Walking is a great way to discover different neighborhoods, architecture, and sights. You will get a real feel of the city beyond the tourist attractions.
However, if you aren’t comfortable walking (alone) through unfamiliar areas, then there are alternatives. For example, take part in a (Free) Walking Tour rather than the Red Bus to explore the historic city center. Free Walking Tours are becoming increasingly popular and are offered in the majority of cities around the world these days.
The CDC’s recommendation for staying healthy is to walk 10,000 steps per day. If walking becomes your go-to mode-of-transportation, this will be easily achievable. Just make sure to pack comfortable (sport or hiking) shoes with you!
Tip 2: Include (strenuous) activities in your itinerary
Oftentimes, what makes a trip unique and memorable are the various activities you plan in each destination. And even though travelers pursue different activities due to divergent interests and fitness levels, there is something out there for everyone. Whether this means hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, white-water rafting on the Columbia River, swimming in the Indian Ocean, or biking around the city center of Prague. Engaging in “active” and exciting activities will not only burn extra (and in some cases A LOT of) calories, but will also shape the best travel experiences. That feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction when finally arriving at Machu Picchu after a 3-day hike in the Andes Mountains is incomparable. These moments are things you will remember a lifetime!
Tip 3: Cook from time to time
The world has a wide variety of flavors to offer, many of which you likely have never tasted before. Hence, eating local food in a new country is an entirely new experience. And indulging yourself in the local cuisine and culture is an important part of your travel experience. Whether you are tasting a rich curry in India, a variety of mouth-watering tapas in Spain, or the local street food in Vietnam. You have to try it!
However, you should be mindful not to overindulge. When we travel, we often forget about the calories. We eat out in restaurants every day, consume more alcohol than we normally do at home, and indulge ourselves in (fried) snacks throughout the day. Does that sound familiar?
It is important to keep a balanced diet, even when traveling. However, this may be challenging when eating out all the time because there are so many yummy unhealthy items on the menu! We totally understand! But alternatively, you can cook your own healthy meals from time to time. Many hostels, AirBnB’s, and homestays have a small kitchen for you to use. Considering that, you can buy food at a nearby grocery store or fresh from a local market. It’s a great way to get introduced to local fruits and vegetables as well! Every now and then, try cooking a small meal in your accommodation’s kitchen with healthy ingredients like chicken, shrimp, eggs, and vegetables.
Tip 4: Take precautions and bring health-essentials
No one plans to get sick when traveling, but sometimes it is unavoidable. You have caught a cold, the flu, diarrhea, or another virus. If this happens, it is important to take action to regain your health.
However, there are precautions you can take to keep the germs away. Some precautions you can take are:
Wash your hands with soap as much as you can
Strengthen your immune system by taking vitamins before and during the trip
Besides, it is very important that you are prepared to get sick. This means that you should bring the necessary health essentials in your first-aid kit. Before heading off to your next destination, check what specific illnesses may prevail. For example, if you are traveling to a colder destination, it might be useful to take extra medication to heal cold-related illnesses with you.
Generally, a first-aid kit should include:
Stomach ache medicine
Rehydration tablets in case of diarrhea or dehydration
Any other medicines you might need!
Tip 5: Catch up with sleep whenever possible
Another way to stay healthy while traveling is to sleep! We know it isn’t always easy to get a full night’s rest while traveling. There is often so much going on during the evenings, whether you are attending a live show, talking the night away with fellow travelers, or exploring the city nightlife. However, sleep is essential to our health and well-being. Sleep studies have repeatedly revealed that a lack of sleep results in a wealth of physical and mental health conditions, like a weakened immune system.
Hence, it is of utter importance to catch up with sleep whenever possible! If you can’t get a full night’s sleep, then maybe you can find other creative sleeping solutions. For example, take a nap at the beach during the day, or during a long bus ride to your next destination. All the little moments help!
Tip 6: Stay hydrated
One of the most crucial and easiest ways to stay healthy while traveling is to drink water! Staying hydrated means much more than not feeling thirsty. Drinking lots of water boosts your immune system against bacteria and viruses. So be sure to pack enough bottled water when on the road. We usually take a camelbak with us, which fits easily in your day pack! You can also rehydrate by taking some rehydration tablets with you!
In addition, try to avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol when you are in the sun. These cause dehydration, which can ultimately lead to feeling tired, having an increased heart rate, and having diarrhea. Even more, dehydration often mimics the feeling of hunger, which can lead to overeating!
Tip 7: Do a workout
If your itinerary does not have a lot of room for walking or engaging in heart-pumping activities, another way to stay healthy while traveling is to do a quick workout. And with an increasing amount of digital workouts and apps available, it is easier than ever to do so! Via your smartphone you can gain access to hundreds of (free) workout programs on the Web, YouTube, or in the App Store. Doing a short workout in the morning before starting your daily activities can both boost your mood and make you feel less guilty about immersing yourself in the local cuisine! A Workout App that we have used and liked is the 30 Day Fitness Challenge. The basic version is free of charge and includes full-body workout schedules below 20 minutes! Plus, it can be easily done from your hotel room or patio.
If a digital workout session is not your thing, then do a workout wherever your environment allows! Go for a run on the beach, go swim in the pool, or do yoga in the park. The outdoors has lots of space for you to enjoy and work out.
Are you curious to find out how traveling can actually improve your health? Read our benefits of traveling article!
Do you have any other tips that you use to stay healthy while traveling? Comment below!