When we travel, we tend to hit the pause button on our daily routines. We may forego our diets in favor of sampling local cuisines, and physical fitness may take a backseat to exploring the sights of a new destination. But heading out on a grand international adventure doesn’t mean that we can’t stay health-conscious. Here are some tips for staying healthy while traveling:
Vacations are all about having fun, and for some that can mean drinking a little more than normal. Alcohol, sun, and jet lag can easily dehydrated you, so make sure that you’re getting enough water. Know where you should only drink bottled or boiled water, as well as where to avoid ice in your drinks.
How to stay hydrated:
- Avoid sugary drinks. These can reduce the amount of fluid that your body retains.
- Eat foods with high water content, like watermelon, pineapple, cucumber, rice, and oatmeal.
- Take it easy on the alcohol. It’s a diuretic, so it causes you to urinate more frequently than usual. A good rule of thumb is for every glass of alcohol you drink, drink a glass of water.
Explore your surroundings by foot or bike
You’re in a new area and you want to see it all. Don’t hail a cab to that attraction a half-mile away—barring any time constraints or physical limitations, by foot is the way to go! Not only is walking great exercise, but you won’t have any barriers (like a car or bus window) between you and your surroundings. And walking isn’t the only health-conscious way to get around. Many cities, like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, nurture thriving bicycling cultures. You can burn some calories and experience your destination like a local at the same time.
Be mindful of what you eat
One of the great joys of traveling is discovering new, sumptuous cuisines. We’d never suggest that you deny yourself this pleasure—just be mindful of what (and how much) you’re eating. Here are some ways you can do this:
- Plan your meals in advance to cut down on impulsive food choices.
- Be selective about when you really splurge on food, so you’re not indulging for every meal.
- Pack your own healthy travel snacks for the airport and plane ride. Granola bars, homemade trail mixes, and veggies are great options.
- Be intentional when it comes to desserts.
You don’t have to forego your entire daily routine just because you’re in a new place. Keep taking your vitamins and following your daily skin care routine. (Moisturizing can also help you stay hydrated, as you lose a lot of fluids through your skin.) Set a bedtime for yourself and try to stick to it. Pack sleep aids like eye masks, a compact pillow, or a blanket from home to bring a little comfort and familiarity to your hotel room.
Wash your hands
This one is really simple, but it’s easy to forget while traveling. Anytime you touch something that others have touched, wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer to avoid getting sick during or after your trip. Germs love public places, especially airports, airplanes, buses, and hand rails.
Traveling is about new and exciting experiences. Don’t go overboard, but treat yourself to meals, excursions, tours, and souvenirs that make you happy. Your mental health will thank you.