How to stay healthy while traveling: find balance and maintain a healthy lifestyle while traveling the world.
I honestly can’t decide which of the following two options appeals to me more.
- A morning full of hiking and smoothies followed by an afternoon run and a huge salad.
- A day of movies, books, and relaxing followed by an evening of pizza, bottomless wine, and chocolate.
Both of these days sound like heaven because, yes, I am human.
I love to treat myself but I also love to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
I’ve gone through phases of overindulgence and phases of overworking myself. Sometimes while traveling I tend to lean more towards the overindulgence side.
It’s hard to turn things down when visiting a new country because you don’t want to miss out on anything.
You just can’t go to Brussels without stuffing yourself with waffles and chocolate.
Just like you can’t go to Italy without eating all the pasta and pizza, and trying as many gelato flavors as possible.
But after a few years of hearing my inner health freak scold me for buying bread instead of kale at a farmers market, I’ve managed to find a state of balance.
So here are my favorite tips for staying healthy while traveling.
Regular exercise, healthy eating, and a healthy state of mind are all manageable while traveling!
I’ll divide my tips into 3 categories:
- Physical health and fitness
- Mental and emotional health
How To Stay Healthy While Traveling: Physical Health and Fitness
Walking should be your main form of transportation.
It’s the best way to explore a new place while exercising.
Run if you want to and are able to.
Go running to stay in shape, if the landscape allows.
Crowded cities or busy streets without sidewalks are not ideal as you could get lost in an unknown city.
Do easy, no-equipment workouts when possible!
Many bodyweight and HIIT workouts don’t require a gym or equipment, so those are a great way to stay active.
Look on Youtube or Instagram for easy, no-equipment workouts.
I often use MadFit for HIIT workouts and Yoga with Kassandra for yoga classes. Their quick, easy workouts and yoga sessions can be done in a park or in a hotel room!
Travel with resistance bands.
I really like traveling with resistance bands. They don’t take up a lot of space in my bag and they are great for adding an extra challenge to a workout.
You can buy a pack of different strength resistance bands online or at a local sports/fitness store.
Go on adventures!
Participate in active adventures, such as hiking, yoga, swimming, kayaking, biking, or surfing.
Never turn down an opportunity to exercise while simultaneously having a fun experience.
Read about my experience hiking a volcano in Guatemala here!
Don’t be self-conscious to work out in public.
I have definitely been that weirdo using heavy rocks as weights in the woods. Often I do calf raises while waiting for a train, or tricep dips in airport seats.
When you can’t go to the gym every day because you’re traveling, you have to get creative.
And you’re usually surrounded by complete strangers while traveling. Who cares what they think of you?
Always wear sunscreen.
Especially in high altitudes and near the equator.
Skipping the sunscreen in hopes of getting a tan is 100% NOT WORTH IT.
I’ve been there. A bad sunburn can ruin a trip!
Be sure to use a chemical-free, mineral-based sunscreen.
Moisturize your skin often.
This is especially important in dry climates. And after a sunburn, and on long flights that easily dehydrate the body.
If you can’t find brands you like overseas, coconut oil is a great natural moisturizer available in most countries.
Consider buying travel insurance.
Buy travel insurance so you can get emergency medical treatment in case you get injured or sick on the road.
You may not think it’s necessary. But on the off-chance that something crazy happens, you’ll be thankful you have it.
Read my Budget Traveler’s Guide to Travel Insurance here!
How To Stay Healthy While Traveling: Nutrition
Never miss an opportunity to drink tea.
It’s delicious, has tons of health benefits, and is often an important part of the culture.
Drink water at EVERY possible opportunity.
Always carry a reusable water bottle and stay hydrated.
Many countries don’t have clean tap water and water fountains can be limited.
So jump at every chance to refill your bottle because you never know when will be the next time you can find free water.
Limit your alcohol intake.
Definitely try the popular local drinks and don’t restrict yourself too much.
But getting too drunk is not only costly, it’s hard on your body.
A bad hangover can also turn into a wasted day, so just stay smart when drinking abroad.
Stock up on healthy snacks.
Always have healthy snacks on hand for long travel days or hiking trips.
I usually bring as many protein bars from home as I can carry, since they have the brands I like and they’re cheaper at home!
But good snacks are always available in other countries. Fresh or dried fruit and nuts are some of the best options.
Experiment with new foods.
Try to sample a variety of meals.
Most countries offer safe choices like pasta, rice, or sandwiches.
But it’s the local dishes bursting with colorful vegetables and aromatic spices that are not only the most unique, but probably the most healthy and least processed.
Read next: Best Vegetarian Street Food in Rome
Listen to your body!
If you feel a sickness coming on, the same normal rules apply for taking care of yourself. But now they’re more important.
Traveling pushes your body out of its comfort zone, which can sometimes take a hit on your immune system.
So it’s common to get sick on the road. But it’s easy to overcome a bug if you take care of your body!
Sleep often, hydrate, eat nourishing foods and if necessary, visit a doctor or take medicine.
Pushing yourself when you’re too ill to enjoy the experience is pointless.
How To Stay Healthy While Traveling: Mental and Emotional Health
Take some time for yourself if you need it.
If you’re traveling with others, take some alone time if you feel overwhelmed.
Traveling is exhausting enough as it is. But to be constantly surrounded by people can make your head spin.
Go for a walk or lie in a hammock alone to recharge if necessary.
Put down your phone!
With the exception of taking pictures, it’s liberating to enjoy the world around you without staring at a screen.
It’s also more polite and rewarding to be present during face to face conversations with new people you’ve met.
Use your phone during downtime or when you’re alone by all means!
But never choose technology over experiences or quality time with other people.
Read next: 22 Solo Travel Tips
Make time for the things that keep you sane.
Whether it’s writing in a journal, reading a book, meditating, listening to music, stretching, or any other simple activity.
Doing the things that bring you happiness is essential when you’re out of your comfort zone.
Stay in touch with loved ones at home.
This one is super important. Especially if you are traveling long-term.
I usually take time either in the morning or before bed to send messages and connect with my friends and family through social media.
A heartfelt message every now and then or even just a funny meme helps me feel close to my favorite people who I don’t see very often.
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So those are my favorite tips for how to stay healthy while traveling.
For more useful travel tips, check out these articles:
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