Tips for Staying Healthy When You Travel
Whether you're traveling for work or play, a break in your routine can make following your diet and fitness plans somewhat difficult. The trick to planning a really amazing vacation or an epic trip, it is to plan ahead and make sure you account for your well-being as you would any other aspect of travelling.
Check out our top tips below on how you can stay healthy and enjoy the best trip possible...
1. Choose Your Destination Carefully
There are so many countries to choose from if you are planning your next trip and some are generally safer than others, in terms of crime, healthcare, living standards and also lifestyle. Choose where to go carefully and make sure this destination is right for you.
For example, if you are used to Western creature comforts, do you really want to go off the beaten track to somewhere scary with totally different food and culture? It is amazing to experience new places, but only if they are right for you. The happier you feel with your destination in terms of places, people, language, food and culture, the happier you are likely to be.
2. Check if Local Water is Safe
Always research online or when you arrive to find out if it is safe to drink local water. In some countries, for example the UK/USA it is totally fine to drink water from the tap but others, especially countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America this isn't recommended and can cause stomarch problems. Be sure to buy bottles of water with you when you’re out exploring. Stay hydrated and fed throughout the day to keep your energy up and to stay away from risky restaurants that might end up spoiling your holiday.
3. Choose Accommodation Wisely
Sometimes it is better to pay a little extra and get a better level of living standard than to risk paying less and getting ill. For example a hostel dorm room might cost $20, but you'll end up sharing the room and facilities with usually lots of other people. Why not just pay slightly extra and get a private room with your own space?
4. Research Restaurants
Although it is important to save money when you travel it is recommended to pay a little extra for a better quality and facilities. It is now even easier than ever to check to see which restaurants and places to eat are good and bad. Use websites like Tripadvisor for past traveler feedback. Also if you arrive at a restaurant and are still unsure how clean it is don't be afraid to check the kitchen for hygiene standards. You might also want to consider booking a tour where you will get a local guide who will take you to the best places to eat in the destination. These tips for avoid food poisoning are also recommended to check.
5. Cook Your Own Food
Usually, eating out is the most convenient choice when you're traveling. But a lot of the times, unless you have a big budget you will end up eating unheathy food. You can keep this tendency in check, though, by cooking on your own during your trip.
First, you'll need to find a hotel / hostel with a kitchen. Second, you'll need to pick up groceries. Plan a trip to a local farmers market. Shopping for fresh foods is a great way to find fresh, healthy ingredients, and you'll also get to experience some local culture and take advantage of your time in a new place.
Some countries also have higher standards of cleanliness, so sometimes it can be best to see what you are buying and eating independently. If you plan to visit somewhere like India, the food is notorious for making people to get an upset tummy. Here are some tips for this country: how not to get sick when traveling in India.
Cooking at home can also help you save money, which can be spent on tourist activities.
6. Set Calorie Goals & Stick to Them
The purpose of a vacation is to unwind, but you shouldn't apply a totally carefree attitude to your diet. To stay healthy while traveling, make dietary planning a part of your trip preparation. Try the tips below to stay working toward your health goals whether you're leaving town for business, packing for a spur-of-the-moment escape, or planning a monthlong international vacation:
Set Calorie Goals:
Budgeting is a big part of traveling — but you need to consider more than your finances. Set calorie goals for each day and make sure you're not eating more than you should be simply because you're away from home.
Account for All Calories:
Drinks and snacks can be a major source of calories on a trip, and you can easily forget to count them toward your calorie budget. When you're planning your meals, set aside some calories for indulging a bit. If you need help tracking calories and sticking to your goals.
Rebalance Your Calories:
The key to calorie tracking is to make sure you're balancing calorie intake with energy burned. Since you'll be traveling, consider giving yourself more calories to work with but also setting aside more time for fitness or performing more intense exercise to make up the difference.
7. Try a Low Carb Diet
Although calorie counting is important, it's not the only path to a healthy diet. To stay healthy while traveling without having to worry as much about counting calories, try a low-carb plan. Low-carb and complex carbs are packed with nutrients, so you'll naturally need fewer calories to stay energized. This approach can allow you to indulge a bit without consuming an unhealthy number of calories.
8. Focus on Your Emotional & Mental Heath
Nutrition is only one part of a healthy lifestyle. Travel can be incredibly stressful, even if you're on vacation. Don't neglect the effect that anxiety has on your well-being. Get enough sleep and schedule breaks from work or sightseeing so you can recover.
9. Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleeping is a really important way to stay healthy and getting a good nights sleep can really improve both your mental and physical condition. If you are flying long haul, check out these tips how to beat jet lag.
10. Choose Relaxing Locations
If you are looking for a really relaxing and healthy break away and want to kick back and unwind, do you really want to be in a busy huge city? Why not seek more relaxing destinations with nature or a beach instead.
11. Avoid Smoking and Alcohol
There are zero benefits of smoking for your body and whilst alcohol sometimes is social and enjoyable, you can just avoid it and also avoid the hangovers.
12. Stay Active
A healthy body is a healthy mind, doing exercise, even if just walking can help you to feel better.
While lazing around the pool and napping in the sun is a great way to spend a vacation, avoiding exercise is not good for your health. Exercise boosts your immune system, keeps your energy levels up and helps you get a good night’s sleep. If you’re suffering from jetlag some good exercise will be a key component to getting back on a regular sleep schedule. So, get out and walk around, rent a bike and explore the area, or get out of the sunbed and swim a few laps in the pool. You don’t have to climb a mountain, but getting up and moving every now and then can go a long way.
13. Pack Snacks
While street food is not always as risky as some people make it seem, in certain areas it is more sensible to avoid street vendors if you don’t want to get food poisoning. To prevent you from having to resort to buying food on the go, make sure to pack snacks in advance.
14. Stay Social
If you are not going to be travelling with friends or family, then it is important to stay social and chatting to locals, other travellers or just keeping in touch with home. This will help to avoid feeling lonely. You could also book a tour, this is a great way to have a structured trip, meet other people from around the world and get taken to the best destinations. Tours can be a lot of fun where you can make new friends, this can really transform the experience and your well being.
15. Be Prepared & Buy Travel Insurance
One thing that you need to do when going abroad is be prepared for things to go wrong. If you are concerned that you might fall ill or get hurt while you are abroad then bring some supplies in case anything happens. Keep a basic first aid kit in your bag or car that includes all of the equipment you need to deal with basic injuries and illnesses as well as any important medication for existing health conditions.
Before leaving the country you can also consult your doctor and have some booster shots to keep your immune system strong. You should also remember to apply for holiday health insurance before you go away. If you live in Europe and are travelling elsewhere around Europe then you can apply for an EHIC card that will keep you covered if you need to visit a doctor or go to hospital at all while you are away. If your EHIC card expires you can continue to apply for EHIC renewal whenever you plan to leave the country.
Even if you do as much cautious planning as possible, things can always still go wrong. This is why it is always essential to buy travel insurance just incase of any problems whilst overseas. You can get really cheap cover and this will give you peace of mind just incase something does go wrong.
Hopefully you can put these tips into practice, and look forward to staying healthy no matter where you go. If you have any recommendations we have missed, let us know in the comments section below.