Maintaining a healthy lifestyle while traveling

April 22, 2014

By: Lacey Thacker

You’ve spent weeks, months, maybe years, crafting a healthy lifestyle. You do cardio several times a week, lift weights or do other weight-focused exercises regularly. Breakfast is a piece of fruit and a protein-packed smoothie or couple of eggs with a slice of toast. You’ve planned your snacks down to the calorie, and even have a cheat meal on occasion just for good measure. You get eight hours of sleep every night. Everything is going your way. Nothing can stop you.

Until vacation time.

Well, maybe not just vacation time. Maybe you find leaving town for any occasion—a work trip, to visit relatives, to volunteer—to be a difficult time to maintain your routine. You’re not the only one—many people find it difficult to maintain their daily habits when out of the environment that reinforces them. Below are a few tips to help you make better decisions while on vacation, or any time you are traveling:

  • Make a food plan. It’s incredibly easy to impulse eat while away from home. Are you used to three squares a day with snacks in between? Think about what those meals usually consist of, and seek it out; for example, going to lunch while away from home. If you usually eat lightly at lunch, stick to the same type of food while away. A salad is pretty easy to find, even at fast food joints. If you prefer a heavy-but-healthy breakfast, have a pep talk with yourself before hitting the hotel breakfast bar. Grab the type of food you would normally have. As for snacks, there are grocery stores everywhere. Nothing says you can’t grab the same snacks you keep at home and instead keep them in your bag.
  • Think movement. If the place you are staying provides access to any equipment you are accustomed to, make a plan to use it. Otherwise, don’t worry about getting in the exact workout you’re used to—just think about incorporating regular movement into each day. Body weight exercises, like push-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups, are old standbys that will serve you well. For cardio, something as simple as a walk around the block can help keep the blood flowing. I’ve even been known to walk circles around my hotel for half an hour, if I wasn’t sure of the area’s safety or layout.
  • Remember to sleep. Stress from the day, hotel cable channels, food or alcohol to excess—all of these can contribute to not getting enough rest. To offset this, try to keep to the same schedule you keep at home. If noises or light bother you, consider investing in a set of earplugs and a comfortable sleep mask. They may not sound good from the luxury of your home, but when traveling, it’s better safe than sleep deprived.

You will come home healthy as the day you left if you can plan ahead, stick to somewhat of a normal routine, and think outside the box.