Whether you’re traveling for the holidays or escaping the winter weather and heading to a Caribbean island, you don’t have to succumb to unhealthy routines. It’s easy to stick with a diet and exercise plan when you’re at home, but will it all go out the window once you head out on vacation?
It doesn’t have to.
Staying healthy while traveling will help you have the energy to enjoy your trip. When you eat well and exercise, you’re less likely to feel sluggish or have digestive troubles on your trip. Plus, you won’t come home weighing much more than you did when you left.
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1. Pack Snacks
Instead of relying on airplane food or vending machine options, bring your own snacks. That doesn’t mean that you have to limit yourself to highly processed packaged foods, though. Beef jerky, kale chips, plantain chips and dried fruit last long and don’t require refrigeration. They’re easy to take on an airplane or in the car, and they make great late-night snacks.
2. Rethink Mealtimes
It can be easy to get carried away with what you eat while traveling. Either you snack far too often because you’re at an all-inclusive resort that offers food around every corner, or you stock up on too much junk food because you’re afraid of getting hungry on a long car ride.
If you’re not in a place with an abundance of healthy snacks, eat well-rounded meals that will carry you through. If you’ll be driving all day, start off with a breakfast that combines healthy fats, veggies and protein to keep you full until later. You can even consider having a late lunch and a smaller dinner to stay healthy while traveling.
3. Avoid Food Poisoning
It’s exciting to be adventurous with your food while traveling. However, if your body isn’t used to heavy cream sauce or a particular meat, should you really introduce it on your vacation? Stick with what you know and your stomach will thank you.
Many travelers are warned not to eat raw vegetables in countries where the water may have bacteria that causes diarrhea. Find out if your hotel uses purified water. May restaurants and hotels do use purified water when handling food nowadays.
If you’re in doubt, you can dowse your vegetables and fruits with lime juice, which can help kill off any bacteria that may cause you distress. You can also peel raw fruits and veggies whenever possible.
You can also avoid food poisoning by following the old standbys. Don’t eat raw or undercooked meat or seafood, and don’t eat food with eggs, meat or dairy that has been sitting out unrefrigerated.
Quiz: Is Your Body TOXIC? Take the Test...
4. Don’t Drink the Water
Even if you’re not traveling to a location that’s notorious for diarrhea-inducing water, unfamiliar water may be hard on your system. Water is treated differently in different countries, and you could be sensitive to something in it. Also, the water in a different country may contain more minerals than you’re used to, which can be hard on your digestive system. Stick with bottled water when you’re traveling if you can.
5. Stay Hydrated
One of the quickest paths to ill health is dehydration. In fact, dehydration can also affect your energy levels, mood and brain power, according to this Huffington Post article.
Although you may associate dehydration with long days in the sun, hanging out at high altitudes can leave you dehydrated. Your body adjusts to the lower oxygen levels by speeding up your breathing and increasing your urine output. If you’re skiing, you need to make sure that you’re drinking enough water.
Wherever you vacation, make sure that you have a plan for obtaining clean water. There’s nothing worse than overindulging in wine or beer at dinner but neglecting to stash extra water in your hotel room.
If you’re driving, pack a case (or more) of water in your trunk. If you’re at a hotel, find out where to buy bottled water, and don’t let your supply run out.
6. Don’t Overdo It
Your body needs rest in order to function optimally. When you sleep, you’re allowing your body to restore itself. This time is necessary for healing, especially when you’re exposed to more pathogens while traveling.
Try to keep your sleep schedule normal while traveling. If your body is telling you to go to bed early, heed the warning. With enough rest, you may be able to fight off any illnesses that you’re exposed to.
7. Wash Your Hands
When you’re on an airplane or out and about in a tourist-infested area, you are exposed to more germs than when you’re in the comfort of your living room.
CNN reports that tourist attractions like the Blarney Stone in Ireland and St. Mark’s Square in Italy are some of the most germ-riddled. Even the railings on the stairs heading toward the subways in New York are bound to be covered with potentially harmful microorganisms.
Wash your hands frequently when you’re traveling to avoid getting sick.
8. Take Your Supplements
Especially if your body is used to taking supplements, make sure that you bring them with you on vacation. Research shows that probiotics can help prevent traveler’s diarrhea and other digestive ailments. Probiotics can also help boost your immunity in general. Other supplements that can help with immunity are antioxidants like vitamin C and astaxanthin and vitamin D.
This advice just may save your next vacation.