February vacation is nearly here and spring break is right around the corner, which means you may be preparing for some much needed time away. While I love the allure of travel and exploring new places, there’s no denying it can be quite disruptive for your healthy living efforts. Today, I’m sharing some of my personal tips for staying on track with your wellness goals, while still enjoying every bit of your vacation.
1. Bring an empty water bottle
This by no means is a new or innovative tip for healthy travel, but it is an imperative one. The air in a plane is so dry and can leave your skin looking less than desirable. I also find it more difficult to drink enough water while traveling, so having a water bottle handy is a great reminder to be drinking enough. I usually pack a water bottle that I don’t feel overly attached to, because far too often, I’ve left my water bottle behind in the pocket of the seat in front of me on the plane. In those times I’ve accidentally forgotten to bring my own water bottle, I’ll purchase one at the millions of shops available at the airport as soon as I have gone through security. That then becomes my travel water bottle for the rest of my trip and I continue to fill it up during my travels.
2. Pack some herbal tea packets
Every time I travel my digestion gets all wonky, leaving me feeling sluggish once I’ve arrived to my destination. I now always pack some ginger and peppermint herbal tea packets (Yogi Tea is my favorite primarily because of the inspiring quotes on each tea bag!) in my purse when I travel. When the snack and beverage cart comes around, I ask for a cup of hot water, pull out my tea packet and steep a nice, hot cup of tea that helps cut down on bloat, while keeping me hydrated. When I fly early in the morning, I often will ask for a cup of hot water in addition to my morning coffee, and add a few drops of lemon essential oil to assist with digestion first thing in the morning. You can also occasionally find lemon slices available that can be used as well.
3. Make your layovers count
I don’t think I’ve ever flown anywhere without having a layover. One, because I’m cheap and always want to get a deal on airline travel, and two, because I am often flying from one coast to the other. So when I travel, I use my layovers as a means to take care of my body. I don’t know about you, but when I fly my body feels incredibly tight and tense, especially in my hips, back, and neck. Rather than immediately sitting down while I wait at my next gate, I use the time to stretch into all the parts that feel tense. I also love to take legs-up-the-wall pose (Viparita Karani) while waiting for my next flight. It’s great for fighting off fatigue and avoiding swelling in the lower legs and ankles. I often pack Yoga Tune Up® balls in my purse and will take them out during my layovers to provide my body a bit of self-massage. You may get a few funny looks by doing these things, but who cares! You’ll likely never see these people again and you’ll be taking some proactive measures to make sure you’re not sore and stiff once you arrive to your destination. At the very least, do your best not to sit in the seats at the gate in-between flights. There is just too much sitting being done while traveling. So instead, walk around the airport and explore what it has to offer, while getting in some quality people watching.
4. Be strategic with your food choices
I rarely pack many food items when I travel, although it is one of the #1 tips provided by many in the wellness community for healthy travel. If packing your own food works for you, by all means do so! It just does not work for me. Primarily because I refuse to check a bag (Remember, I’m cheap and I’ve had too many experiences with lost luggage!) and only fly with a carry-on and a purse, which means I don’t have a lot of space and I don’t want to weigh down my shoulders with a ton of items. This means I’m often required to navigate the airport food choices. Fortunately, in recent years there has been quite a shift in terms of what is made available, with many of the food items now offered supporting your healthy eating efforts quite nicely. But a lot of that also depends on the airports you’re flying in and out of. When I am choosing from the items available at an airport, I first always take a lap, checking out what each place has to offer. After doing so, I then create a meal, which often means I end up buying different things from different places. Here are a few of my favorite options I’ve come up with during recent trips:
- Starbucks oatmeal with the provided dried fruit and chopped nuts (I don’t add the brown sugar), topped with cinnamon from the cream and sugar station and a banana and Greek yogurt purchased from one of the airport convenience stores (If you can’t find Greek yogurt, you can ask the barista to add soy milk to your oatmeal or add milk at the cream and sugar station.)
- Fruit smoothie purchased at the food court topped with granola purchased from one of the airport convenience stores (Be mindful of the sugar content in both of these items, as some brands and locations include quite a good amount!)
- A side salad from any fast food restaurant topped with hard boiled eggs, and a hummus to-go container purchased from one of the airport convenience stores
- Green juice purchased from either Starbucks or one of the airport convenience stores (Again, be mindful of the sugar content as some brands have a good amount!) and a small veggie sandwich purchased from the food court
And when in doubt, just load up on vegetables.
5. Pack a few key items for workout gear
By packing a few key items for working out, you’re much more likely to fit in some time to move your body while away. When I travel, I typically only pack 1 workout outfit, which may not seem like enough for a trip that spans 5 or more days, but again, I only bring a carry-on item regardless of how long I’m away. I also usually try and stay someplace that has a washer available, that way after I sweat it up in my workout clothes, I throw those items in the wash and let them air dry. I’ve also hand washed them in a hotel sink when I’ve been in a pinch. It helps that I primarily wear yoga pants as real pants, so I often have plenty of them available to wear throughout my trip, whether for a workout or out and about exploring. When it comes to footwear, the great thing about yoga is it doesn’t require any! I also often do strength training at a hotel gym just in my socks, so don’t have to worry about using some of my precious carry-on space for bulky shoes. However, I typically always bring a pair of Converse Chucks with me when I travel, which happens to be what I wear when I workout. They are also the perfect footwear to have when out and about exploring new places on foot, and take up very little space when packed away. I always pack my Manduka eKO SuperLite™ Travel Yoga Mat, which folds up perfectly in my carry-on, and allows me to practice wherever I may be staying in those times I’m unable to visit a local studio. And the final item I always bring with me is a resistance band. These are lightweight, take up hardly any space, and you can do a ton of different exercises with them right in your hotel room or Airbnb.
6. Use your surroundings for a great workout
Most hotels these days are equipped with gyms, which is great but many of them are small or offer very little equipment. And if you’re like me you’d rather stay in a local Airbnb than a hotel, which rarely has a gym onsite. Instead of throwing in the towel on your fitness efforts, get creative with your surroundings for a fantastic workout. I’ve used stairs at the hotel or a local park to run up and down in order to get my heart pumping, and local playgrounds offer a ton of fun ways to move your body, whether climbing on monkey bars or using the bottom of a slide for single leg squats. Running or walking around the area you are staying is not only a great way to fit in some exercise, it’s also a fantastic way to explore a new place. And don’t count out bodyweight exercises, such as squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks. These can be done in the smallest of spaces and are great to do outside while getting some fresh air.
7. Be mindful with your eating and movement
I find traveling the perfect time to tune in to my body. When I’m at home in my regular routine, my days as a schoolteacher are extremely scheduled. This means there are times that I move my body far too early in the morning in order to squeeze in my workout before a long school day, and my lunches are often consumed far past the point of being hungry. I’m also often required to scarf my lunch down while standing in the 10-15 minutes I have to eat. But when I travel and am out of my normal routine, I have the space to notice when my body is craving movement and when it feels hungry. I’m not tied to any particular schedule and can respond adequately to these cues. The freedom traveling provides can be a great way for you to simply follow your own body cues and choose what is best for you, letting go of the hard and fast rules that your typical routine may require.
8. Show yourself some compassion
There have been many times that I haven’t even taken my workout clothes out of my carry-on (Other than my yoga pants, because again, I wear those as real pants the majority of the time!) when I’ve traveled. I’ve also had my fair share of over indulging in the delicious fare of local cuisine while I’m away. But rather than extending judgment towards myself for not keeping to my wellness routine while traveling, I show myself compassion. There are very few places that I have returned to in my life so I will always choose to enjoy them fully. Sometimes that means checking out local yoga studios or gyms while I’m there, but other times it means not sweating at all while away. It also sometimes means I drink a lot of green juice, but other times it means I eat a lot of baked goods and that is completely okay. Beating yourself up for indulging is not going to help you in any way. So enjoy your travels in whatever manner you’d like, knowing your wellness goals will be ready for you when you’re ready to get back to them.
By no means will these tips for healthy travel work for every person. However, they work for me and maybe they’ll work for you. Above everything else, I always encourage others to choose what works for them, because nobody will know your body as well as you do.
Here are a few of my healthy travel essentials that help me maintain my wellness goals while roaming the globe.
What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for healthy travel? What are your travel essentials when it comes to maintaining your wellness goals?
(None of this is sponsored and all of the products mentioned were purchased by me. I just like to share the things I love!)
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