Last Updated on May 3, 2023 by Jerardo Gomez
The Ultimate Guide to Staying Healthy While Traveling
Staying healthy is one of the most difficult habits to keep when traveling because of many factors such as cravings, indulging, and more. We often prepare weeks ahead of time to lose a few pounds for vacation in an attempt to look better and start a new healthy lifestyle, however, many fail in their endeavors.
While traveling can be an amazing experience, it can also disrupt our healthy habits and routines. Long flights, unfamiliar environments, and new foods can all take a toll on our bodies and make it difficult to stay healthy while on the road. Additionally, it’s common for travelers to become ill with travelers diarrhea, food poisoning, and cold symptoms.
However, with some planning and a little effort, it’s possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle while traveling to save money and prevent illness abroad. In this article, we will explore 10 tips for staying healthy while on the go, from staying hydrated to practicing good hygiene and how to exercise on vacation. Whether you’re a frequent traveler or just heading out on a vacation, these tips will help you stay healthy and energized throughout your trip.
I have a Public Health degree, and experience in Urgent Care where we commonly see patients visiting or patients coming from a trip with illness. Currently, I’m a Physician Assistant student and like to spend my time learning about travel and travel medicine.
*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.
Whether you already have an exercise routine or want to start one, having some form of physical activity when you are abroad is important.
It can reduce weight gain from unhealthy eating habits, maintain or improve fitness body goals, and destress with the feel-good endorphins of feeling accomplished and feeling good about yourself. Here are ways to stay active.
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Things you can do to exercise on vacation:
- Work out in your hotel room
- Use fitness programs designed for on the go
- Walk instead of Uber
- Plan a daily activity
How do I make time for exercise when traveling?
You can make time for exercising when traveling first thing in the morning! You most likely have planned things to do, but you can easily make room for 10 minutes each day to work out in your hotel room. The only thing you need is commitment and discipline to actually get it done.
High-intensity Interval exercises are a quick way to get a great workout in a short amount of time. High-intensity, low-duration workouts is the plan here.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an effective method of exercising that involves alternating periods of intense exercise with periods of recovery.
This type of training is beneficial for those on vacation as it can help you achieve maximum results in a much shorter amount of time than traditional steady-state cardio.
You can easily use HIIT to stay fit while traveling and incorporate it into your workouts in your hotel room or any other environment.
This type of training is ideal for travelers since it doesn’t require any equipment and can be done with bodyweight exercises such as burpees, mountain climbers, lunges, and squats. Staying active is an important step to staying healthy while traveling.
Sticking to a healthy diet is not always easy when traveling and eating local cuisine is a very important part of a country’s culture. However, there are several ways to make good choices to prevent weight gain. Planning ahead of time such as finding healthy snacks for travel, can make all the difference in curbing appetite.
Research healthy options: Before you travel, research healthy restaurant options and local grocery stores so you know where to find nutritious food options.
Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated is important for maintaining good health, so make sure to drink plenty of water and avoid sugary or alcoholic drinks that can dehydrate you.
Choose lean protein sources: When dining out, opt for lean protein sources like grilled chicken or fish, and avoid deep-fried or battered options. This can help you stay full and satisfied while keeping your calorie intake in check.
Be mindful of portion sizes: Pick healthy food options when dining out.
Pack any necessary supplements or vitamins: If you take supplements or vitamins regularly, make sure to pack them with you on your travels so you can continue to support a healthy immune system.
Practice moderation: It’s okay to indulge in a treat or two while on vacation, but make sure to practice moderation and balance it out with healthy options.
In addition to healthy eating, we should also practice eating safely. Drinking tap water can be concerning, and eating raw or uncleanly areas can cause illness.
Some of my tips include:
- Drink from bottled water
- Check for cleanliness
- Eat fully-cooked foods
- Practice good hand hygiene
Additional things to consider:
- Make your own meals if possible
- Start with a healthy breakfast with a healthy fat
- Eat a balanced diet of fresh fruit, vegetables, grain bread, greek yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, nut butter, protein bars, and chia seeds. Eat food without added sugars.
- Eat fresh food at a local market to experience local cuisine.
Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining good health, and water is one of the best ways to stay hydrated. Not only does water help keep our bodies functioning properly, but it also has a number of benefits for weight management. Here are some of the benefits of staying hydrated with water:
- Helps with digestion
- Reduces appetite
- Boosts metabolism
- Lowers calorie intake
- Promotes healthy skin
Take a reusable water bottle to be on the safe side and avoid being sick in foreign countries if you don’t know if tap water is for drinking water. You can refill your water bottle with a store-bought gallon jug to save money.
Restful sleep is essential to maintain a healthy mind and body. Sleep is an essential part of losing weight, beating jetlag, fighting fatigue, and more.
In order to practice a good night’s sleep when traveling you have to do these things:
- Avoid screentime 2 hours before bed
- Use melatonin, camomile tea, and an eyemask
- Sleep at least 7-8 hours
- Ask flight attendants what time to sleep to avoid jetlag
Make sure to get enough sleep in the first few days to avoid jet lag in different time zones
Practicing good hand hygiene when traveling is essential in order to protect yourself and others from spreading germs and illnesses. When traveling, you’re exposed to a wide range of bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants that can easily spread if not properly sanitized.
By washing your hands regularly with soap and water or using alcohol-based sanitizers, you can reduce your risk of contracting infectious diseases such as the flu or norovirus.
Additionally, it’s important to avoid touching your face while traveling – especially after coming into contact with potentially contaminated surfaces – as this can lead to even more germs entering the body.
Carry hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes at all times. Clean surfaces you will use such as tray tables on planes. By not using hand sanitizer, you have an increased risk of getting sick.
Prepare for illness
Preparing for illness when traveling can help you stay healthy and avoid unexpected medical expenses. Here are some tips for how to prepare for illness when traveling:
Research your destination: Before traveling, research your destination to learn about any health risks or requirements.
Pack a travel health kit: Pack a travel health kit with items such as pain relievers, cold medicine, antihistamines, bandages, and other first aid supplies. If you take prescription medication, bring enough to last the entire trip, and carry a copy of your prescription with you.
Purchase travel insurance: Consider purchasing travel insurance that includes medical coverage in case of illness or injury. Check the policy details to make sure it covers any pre-existing conditions and emergency medical transportation.
The first-aid kit should include:
- Antibiotic ointment
- Fever and pain reducer
- Allergy medicine
- Stomach ache medicine: Peptol Bismol, Imodium, antacids
Stretching is important for many reasons but during travel in particular has its benefits. Long-Haul flights put you at risk for blood clots. According to the American Society of Hematology, stretching reduces the risk of blood clots, in addition to wearing compression socks.
Stretching on a plane is an important part of maintaining your body’s flexibility and health while traveling. It can help reduce the risk of muscle spasms, stiffness, and fatigue that are common when sitting in the same position for long periods of time.
Additionally, stretching can increase blood flow to the muscles and release any tension or stress you may be feeling before or during a flight. In order to make sure you’re fully comfortable during your journey, it’s recommended to take regular breaks from sitting.
Skin protection and sunscreen are something that many people don’t talk about but it’s a really important topic to discuss.
For those traveling to a new destination, you may be unfamiliar with the harshness of the sun, even in places you don’t expect it to be.
Did you know that flying on a plane exposes you to cosmic radiation? Because you are at a higher elevation as well, light is filtered less thus exposing you to more UV light.
- Wear sunscreen on a plane and reapply on long-haul flights
- Take a reef-friendly sunscreen to beach destinations
- Use sunscreen daily
- Wear hats and sunglasses
Travel insurance is important for traveling because it provides financial protection against unexpected events that can disrupt your trip or cause financial loss. Here are some reasons why travel insurance is important:
Medical emergencies: If you experience a medical emergency while traveling, travel insurance can help cover the cost of medical treatment, hospitalization, and emergency medical transportation. This is especially important when traveling internationally, where healthcare costs can be very high.
Trip cancellation or interruption: Travel insurance can also provide coverage for trip cancellation or interruption due to unforeseen circumstances, such as illness, injury, or death in the family. This can help you recoup the cost of non-refundable flights, hotels, and other travel expenses.
Lost or stolen baggage: Travel insurance can help cover the cost of lost or stolen baggage, including reimbursement for the value of the lost items. This can be especially important if you are carrying expensive items like electronics or jewelry.
Flight delays or cancellations: If your flight is delayed or canceled due to weather, mechanical issues, or other factors, travel insurance can provide coverage for expenses like hotel stays, meals, and transportation until you can get back on your way.
Emergency evacuation: In the event of a natural disaster or other emergency situation, travel insurance can provide coverage for emergency evacuation to a safer location.
Liability coverage: Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you accidentally injure someone or damage their property while traveling.
Researching ahead of travel is a great way to ensure that you’ll have a healthy and enjoyable experience. Planning for the journey can help prevent unexpected problems or delays, as well as reduce the chances of accidentally leaving important items behind.
Additionally, researching your destination in advance can be beneficial for your overall health, helping you find out about any recommended vaccinations or medications that may be required – allowing you to research them in advance and ensuring that you’re fully prepared before departure.
Doing research can also help identify any regional foods or activities which you should avoid, helping reduce the chances of food poisoning or illness while traveling.
Getting lab tested before travel is important for several reasons:
Screening for communicable diseases: Lab testing can screen for communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, and HIV. This is especially important if you are traveling to areas with a high incidence of these diseases, as it can help you take necessary precautions to avoid contracting or spreading them.
Managing chronic conditions: Lab testing can help manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or thyroid disorders. Knowing your current health status before traveling can help you manage these conditions while away from home and ensure that you have the necessary medications and supplies with you.
Identifying potential health risks: Lab testing can help identify potential health risks based on your personal health history and family medical history. This information can be useful in determining the best course of action to take to ensure your health and safety while traveling.
STD testing: Many travels to places like Ibiza, Puerto Vallarta, Phuket, and other places where sexual experiences happen. Because of this, it’s important to get screened for anything you may have encountered.
In conclusion, staying healthy while traveling requires preparation, awareness, and taking necessary precautions. By following good hand-washing practices, staying hydrated, eating healthy, and getting necessary lab testing, travelers can reduce the risk of illness and injury.
In addition, investing in travel insurance and preparing for potential health risks can provide peace of mind and financial protection in case of unexpected events.
Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, taking steps to protect your health and well-being is essential for enjoying your trip and making lasting memories. And remember, stay healthy while traveling!