5 Tips to Stay Healthy While Traveling

Whether you are traveling for work or going on vacation, these healthy travel tips will help you stay in shape. REALISTIC, helpful ideas including healthy travel snacks, exercise motivation, and more. @wellplated

I am a self-professed travel addict, a diagnosis that saw me away from home nearly three out of every five days this spring. Like many of us, when I am in a new city, a top item on my agenda is to eat (and drink) as much of the local food scene as I can. Roll me to the airport if you must, but I will try all of the top-rated ice cream joints before I head to the airport, so help me yoga pants!

This all-out vacation mindset is fun at first, but, especially as someone who strives to maintain a healthy lifestyle most of the time, I’ve discovered that after a few days of allowing myself every excess in the book, I start feeling pretty…bleh.

Thus, this spring when I embarked on five consecutive trips, all of which were focused on food, I knew I needed to find ways to keep myself feeling healthy and balanced while I traveled.

These 5 Tips to Stay Healthy While Traveling not only left me feeling great after my trip, but they also allowed me to have more fun during my trip. By taking good care of myself, I had a higher energy level and better appreciated the special experiences (and eats!) I encountered along the way.

Whether you travel frequently for work and are looking for ways to stay healthy from your hotel room, or are heading for summer vacation and don’t want to blow the progress you’ve made at the gym, these tips for how to stay healthy while traveling will help you have more fun AND stay in shape away from home.


How To Stay Healthy While Traveling: My Top 5 Tips

1. Pack Your Own Travel Snacks…and actually eat them.

Despite what your appetite may say to your brain when the tantalizing scent of butter hits you at the airport, Cinnabon does not count as part of your vacation experience. Neither does Auntie Anne’s or a gas station hot pocket.

Skip unhealthy food options like these (and the other sugar-laden, over-priced snacks you’ll find in airport mini-marts and gas stations) in favor of bringing your own healthy on-the-go snacks from home. The best ice cream in Charleston is worth spending your hard-earned vacation dollars and calories—a candy bar you could purchase for pennies at Walgreens is not.

2. Get Moving.

I have yet to take a vacation where some form of exercise is not an option. Even most budget hotels have some kind of workout room, and hotels that don’t have one on site will often have an agreement with a nearby gym that allows hotel guests to work out for free or at a discounted rate. Call ahead and ask. If you are in a temperate climate, an early morning walk or run is a great option too. Pack your gym shoes and commit to exercising at least once during your trip (my goal for a three-day vacation), twice if you are traveling for longer.

Another key tip: workout first thing in the morning. When the alarm sounds, it will be tempting to hit snooze and assure yourself that you’ll workout “later” or “before dinner,” but before you can say, “Just Do It,” 6 p.m. will arrive, and it’s time for cocktails. Get your workout out of the way first thing in the morning, and feel great all day instead.

3. Fruit at Breakfast, Side Salad at Lunch (or Dinner).

Vacation is not an excuse to skip your daily fruits and veggies. Keep breakfast as healthy as you can (at a minimum order a large side of fruit), and start your lunch and/or dinner with a green salad. Even during the most indulgent of vacations, your body still needs key nutrients, and ensuring that you eat your greens will have you feeling much better about that bonus side of sweet potato fries.

4. Assume You Will Return.

This is the hardest one for me. When I’m in new city, my brain instantly switches into some kind of freak excess survival mode in which I believe that I must eat and drink EVERYTHING in my vicinity to enjoy my trip because, who knows when I’ll be back? That second (and third) round of drinks? Pour me! That dessert that I’m not actually craving but am convincing myself to order because, I’m on vacation, and I deserve it? Bring us two!

The fantasies of vacation are that a) we can eat and drink as much of anything and everything as we want, consequence free, and b) if we try hard enough, we can do it all. Stomachaches exist globally, even at five-star resorts. So do hangovers.

While vacation is absolutely a time to indulge, the hard, sad truth is that unless you are visiting a tiny town with only a few sites and restaurants for an extended period of time, you won’t be able to squeeze it all into one trip. That’s OK. Pick your favorites and enjoy them for everything they are. Pace yourself. Assume you will return.

5. Give Yourself a Break.

Vacations are not the time to be on your best behavior. Enjoy that extra scoop of ice cream, order your latte with whip, and if you sleep through your morning run because you stayed out dancing until 3 a.m., good for you. These healthy travel tips are here to help you enjoy your vacation more, not to detract from it.

What do you think? Any healthy travel tips of your own to share? I’m off again in a few weeks and would love to hear them!

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

14 comments

  1. LOVE these tips Erin, especially because it’s so easy to feel guilty about eating more indulgent food or drinks on vacation. The “assume you will return” is such a great one! I always remind myself that while on vacation I just listen to my body and be human! If I want that scoop of ice cream or glass of wine, then you can bet I’ll have it! :)

  2. I love traveling too and it’s super hard for me to find balance while doing so. I just went to Nashville a few weeks ago and I actually was pretty healthy during that trip because , number 1: I had to walk EVERYWHERE, 2: The hotel breakfast had plenty of fresh fruit and healthy options and 3: I let myself have a few treats in moderation. What I need to work on is actually eating the snacks I bring! I brought lots of granola bars but only ate like 2 haha.

  3. These tips are great!! I’m about to spend 2 months in NYC, and I needed these to remind myself to not eat every bagel or all of the ice cream I see! I love your blog and how you really showcase a balanced lifestyle. It’s what I strive for and I’m glad I have an example to look to. Thank you much!! Keep doing what you do!

    • Mary Caroline, you are going to have an amazing time in NYC! I hope these tips help you enjoy your time even more and feel great too. Thank you also so, so much for your sweet words about my blog and lifestyle. It really means a lot <3

  4. What an awesome post! I love each point, and I believe we should strive to live and enjoy new places while staying true to our health needs. I did a guest post for Kath two years ago when I was staying in FL for 4 wks. managing a long-term care facility as their RD. It was my first job as an RD, I was by myself, and while I wanted to explore, I did my best to eat well. It’s definitely a balancing act but one that is so worth it.

  5. i enjoy walking as much as possible when im traveling and explore different neighborhoods..i do my best to carry snacks so im not tempted by the cinnabon you mentioned :P i have a very hard time telling myself that i will return because im one of those people who will try to eat and drink everything. 

  6. LOVE these tips, Erin! I definitely experience new cities through my taste buds as well, and these are great tips on keeping the balance. Oh, and a hack for the TSA peanut butter problem? Peanut butter packets, like Justins, get through security every time, no matter how many you take. I took – no exaggeration – 25 packets with me on our recent trip and didn’t have a single issue at 4 different airports – even abroad! 

  7. I used to pack my own snacks when traveling.  I’ve gotten away from that and I just worry about the kids.  Looks like I need to do it again for all of us.

  8. Good tips.  There are many of them that we observe already, other than early morning exercise.  We just got back off a long cruise, and one of the things that helped me a lot is that I always took the stairs (do you really want to be in a swinging elevator in rough seas?…).  I am proud to report that my clothes fit me exactly the same when I got off the ship as they did when I got on 4 months prior.  I did enjoy some desserts, usually split with my husband, and ate what appealed to me, often with a salad fortified with protein as my lunch.  It can be done.

    • Susan, taking the stairs is such a good idea, and the fact that you took a FOUR MONTH cruise without a change in the way your clothes fit speaks to just how balanced you are. That’s amazing! I also love your tip about making sure that lunch includes plenty of protein too. It’s an easy food group to overlook!

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  10. I love this article is so informative and amazing. And I agree with you is very important if you travel with your loved one you have to care your dear ones. And this tips will be really helpful for everyone.

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