I love traveling.
I think it comes from my childish love of adventure and finding magic in new things. Travel is the best way I’ve found to experience the wild unknown in all its glory and surrender myself to my surroundings.
When you live in a certain place, no matter how interesting it is, it can be quite hard to consistently find something that brings you wonder.
And that’s when we turn to travel.
I think there’s merit in really any kind of travel, but my favorite is the kind where you spend each day on your feet, exploring a new area, fully immersing yourself in that culture, eating the local food, and really living like a local.
Now as a fairly health-conscious individual (any of my friends reading this probably just snorted), I do try to stick to some basic guidelines to ensure that I am feeling my absolute best while on vacation so that I have the energy to do everything I want to.
However, no one is perfect, and I noticed that I often do encounter some obstacles when I travel. I thought I’d share a few of those with you, as well as some tips on overcoming them.
At the end of the day, you are fully responsible for all the choices you make while on vacation, so if the choice is to enjoy yourself fully and throw health out the window, that’s cool. But if you really want to be mindful of your health and still have an awesome travel experience, read on.
Health Hurdle #1: Drinking Enough Water
This might just be me, but staying hydrated enough is always this huge issue for me when I’m on vacation. When I’m at home I usually fill up my giant 24oz water bottle and if I know I’m not back home by the time I finish it, I take 2 16oz bottles with me as well. Yes it’s a helluva lot to carry but I get THIRSTY. 😏 (sorry)
I noticed that when I’m traveling it’s so difficult to always have the right amount of water because either I don’t have ready access to water bottles at all times — like in Europe — or I’m just running around so much that I forget to stop at a bodega and replenish my stores.
Getting around that?
Make water a priority. Trust me, water is always available if you ask. If you’re in a place that has good tap water, use water fountains in your hotel and other public places to refill your water bottle and if not, scout out a bodega by the hotel where you can buy enough bottles to last the whole day. I try to aim to drink at least 8 glasses, but I usually need more like 12.
If you can’t fathom possibly drinking that much, just try gradually increasing your intake. Once your body gets used to not being dehydrated all the time, it’s going to let you know much more often that it’s time to drink, and you’ll find yourself naturally wanting more water.
It’s the same thing with food intake after restriction, but that’s a conversation for a different post.
Health Hurdle #2: Working Out
Plenty of people choose to set aside their workout routine when they’re traveling. And you know what I say to that?
Working out or not working out is a decision entirely dependent on what kind of vacation you’re going to, how active you’ll be just by virtue of exploring, and how okay you are with skipping a week or so of structured training.
I’ve been on quite a few vacations where I didn’t even try working out because I literally couldn’t. We would leave the room first thing in the morning and walk around and swim and hike until bedtime, and at that point all I wanted was my bed.
Plus all that activity most definitely “counts,” since you’re still moving your body more than you probably do at home.
But I’ve also been on vacations that are a bit more laid back. There would still be quite a bit of walking but we weren’t starting the day super early so I would get up, crank out a workout under an hour, shower, and be ready to go.
Neither is better. It’s totally up to you, your energy levels, and the situation.
If you do choose to stick to your workout routine because you find you’re not completely dead from just a day out and about, my advice is to do it first thing in the morning.
Make sure you’re getting 8 hours of sleep but plan to go to sleep early enough so that you can get up before everyone else and go get your workout in. As for where?
I’ve never ever used a hotel gym. If that’s your thing, go down there.
I usually do workout videos in my room because there’s always enough space with some rearranging 😉
But when I was in a beach destination, I did short circuit workouts in the sand.
If you like running, pack your running shoes and go for a morning run outside. I hear running is often the number one way to get to know the area you’re staying at while also getting in a fantastic workout.
My number one advice is plan ahead. Take workout clothes and shoes with you so there’s no excuse. That extra weight in your suitcase is often enough motivation to actually get it done. 😉
Health Hurdle #3: Sticking to Clean Nutritious Foods
Don’t even try to get this one perfect. Yes, you can definitely make an effort to make sure you have something nutritious and green every day or even at every meal, but please don’t go into a vacation limiting yourself from all “unclean” foods. This is the best way to begin resenting healthy foods and just have an unsatisfying vacation.
Vacation is for letting loose! It’s where you leave your usual routine and do something a little crazy. Food included!
One week is 7 days. Out of 365. Think about that.
So order dessert, have a glass or two of wine, enjoy the steamy pasta from the tiny Italian village. Food is not merely fuel, but is also a social binder and a great way to experience culture. It’s a source of pleasure and delight, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy that while you’re exploring a new place.
If you want to avoid completely pigging out, I usually set aside one meal to be light and healthy, often lunch, and then for dinner and breakfast I have a bit more wiggle room.
I’m still mindful even during those meals. For breakfast I try to include some fiber and protein if at all possible, opting for some yogurt or eggs alongside a dreamy pastry.
For dinner, I usually choose either a heavier entree or a dessert. So if I know I’ll want the brownie sundae, I’ll get something like chicken with grilled veggies for my main.
Or on the flip side, if I’m really feeling a bowl of pasta, I’ll say no to the tiramisu.
Obviously not always. Sometimes ya gotta have the pasta followed closely by the tiramisu. Plus a glass of wine.
And that’s fine! The next day you’ll most likely no longer be craving really heavy food, so listen to your body and make it a lighter day.
At the end of the day, it’s all about listening to your body. You’re gonna want to indulge so do it! Just be mindful of what your body is actually asking for, and make sure to include some fruits and veggies along the way!
What are your favorite ways to stay healthy on vacation?
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