Staying healthy while traveling can be a challenge. You can have the best of intentions to keep your fitness goals on the road, but take it from someone who once found himself in London’s Heathrow airport at 7am eating gummy bears and drinking a diet coke for breakfast, plans can be derailed quickly. With a little planning and a few tricks from an avid traveler, your fitness goals don’t have to suffer. Here are my top tips to staying healthy while traveling:
Carry a reusable water bottle
It seems like the first thing that you forget to do while traveling is to drink water. I sit at a desk most of my days and pretty much chug water all day long. So I am very aware when I travel how little water I’m drinking. I found that carrying a reusable bottle with me reminded me to fill it up and to keep hydrated.
Expert tip: Purchase a Hydro Flask or a Swell bottle. These bottles keep your drinks cool or warm respectively for 24 hours. Definitely worth the investment.
Pack healthy snacks
A 2 hour flight can quickly turn into an 8 hour horror story and you find yourself in JFK Airport starving and willing to eat anything you can find, which isn’t going to be anything healthy. I always pack healthy snacks in my carry-on. They don’t take up much space and can keep you from making poor choices when getting to your destination.
Expert tip: My favorite are Kind bars, healthy, taste good and don’t crumble everywhere when you open the package.
Pack quality workout clothes that you can wear multiple times
I travel with a few high quality workout clothes on every trip. My favorite is the Bulldog tank and the Mako shorts from Rhone. After your workout if you hang them up right away and let them air dry, they don’t really smell and you can get away with multiple workouts while on the road.
Expert tip: You can soak your clothes in your hotel sink for a bit and wring them out and they’ll be good as new. Rhone apparel is very fast drying which is great while traveling.
Do some research on the area
When picking a place to stay I will do some research on fitness facilities where I would like to workout at and pick a hotel near those. Obviously that is the best case and sometimes you have to stay in an area that isn’t ideal, but a nice trick is going on to Yelp.com and searching for active life, fitness or fitness classes and put the address of your hotel in and it will show you the top active things near you.
Expert tip: Yelp is your best resource for fitness, healthy dining and active life. Don’t rely on the hotel concierge. I have yet to find a hotel that knew anything worth doing fitness wise. Most travelers aren’t looking for those types of activities so the hotel won’t have much information for you.
Have a plan but be flexible
Once you know your destination you can start loosely planning what workouts might be available or easiest to accomplish there. For instance, a beach resort probably isn’t going to have any boutique fitness studios nearby, so planning for some outdoor runs, beach plyometrics and possibly having a fitness facility in the hotel to do some weights.
Expert tip: You can also combine tourism with fitness by seeking out bicycle tours or walking tours. I’ve done a great tour of Rome as well as Boston and Montreal. You can keep your body in motion and get a great sense of the city from a bike.
Get back on a good sleep schedule
It’s really hard to get back on your normal sleep schedule when traveling. Especially if you are traveling to different time zones. I have found the easiest, quickest and most healthy way of forcing my body to get a good night’s rest is to pack some Melatonin, an over the counter herbal supplement on my trips. I take some melatonin the first night so I’m fast asleep and I don’t spend the next two days sleep deprived and not enjoying my trip.
Expert tip: I have read multiple times that to reset your body to the current time zone you need to stay awake on the first night till midnight before trying to sleep. I have tried this and it does seem to help.
Look for group fitness classes in studios
I have found boutique fitness studios to be the best places to workout when traveling. They allow drop-ins, usually have all of the equipment you need (i.e. spin shoes, weights or whatever the workout is) and the best part is the trainers are usually top notch and you get a ton of group motivation from the classes. They offer a no fuss workout that is exactly what you want when traveling. I usually don’t have time to spend hours on figuring out what sort of weights routine I could do, but I can drop into Barry’s Bootcamp, get my butt kicked for 50 minutes and I’m on my way. These are also the people to ask for recommendations. If you want to know where the healthy restaurants are or fun active things to do, boutique instructors and staff usually have the best information.
Expert tip: Some studios offer first time visits for free or discounted, which can save on your pocketbook.
Find a convenience store and stock up on snacks and water for your hotel room
Yes I’m talking about snacks again. Walgreens and CVS seem to be on every city corner in every city. Especially near hotels. These are the perfect locations to stock up on a few essentials for your trip. Water, water and more water. Staying hydrated while traveling is very difficult, but an easy way to keep you on track is to purchase some bottled water that you keep in your room. Also having some healthy snacks will curb those late night cravings as well. I find bananas and almonds are excellent to have on hand.
Expert tip: Hotels sometimes have extra refrigerators that you can request in your room. So if you know you’ll be purchasing protein shakes or things you want to keep cold, put in a request to your hotel beforehand.
Remember to try and not be so rigid and get out there and explore!
Trips should be fun! Don’t skip out on trying new things even if the calorie count is high. Life is about moderation and as long as you are trying to stay active go ahead and indulge a little bit.
Tigh was born and raised in Nebraska and is proud to still call it home. He travels regularly as a conference and marketing consultant in addition to owning Nebraska’s only boutique fitness studio dedicated to indoor cycling, PowerCycle. His newest venture is a marketing agency called PowerUp, that is dedicated to helping boutique fitness studios make an impact in their community through social media strategy and online marketing. You can follow all of Tigh’s fitness travels on instagram, @tighrant.