One of the most common questions I get about my travel schedule is “How do you stay healthy when you travel?” And yes, very valid. It can be a struggle to balance exploration and indulgence with a commitment to your health. When I first started traveling for my job, I ate all the things, drank all the things, bought all the things, and after a particularly long stretch, felt physically and mentally drained. Since then, I’ve figured out a few things that keep me healthy while still enjoying my surroundings.
1. Get Some Sleep! I will refrain from getting on my soapbox, but so much of our overall health can be traced back to our sleep. Getting a full night of rest will put you in the right physical and mental state to perform well the following day.
2. Walk Everywhere Possible. When booking my hotel, I typically try to stay in a downtown area that has several restaurants and shops within walking distance. This gets you some fresh air and added movement.
3. Get In Some Exercise. Most every hotel has a fitness center. You can find free workout videos online to watch on your phone or tablet. Buy a set of resistance bands to throw in your suitcase. Join ClassPass. There are so many options to continue an exercise routine on the road. I like to use travel as an opportunity to try new workouts that we don’t yet have in Kansas City. And I’ve also been known to drag a coworker along with me!
4. Eat Breakfast. I never know what my day will bring. Late lunch, no lunch, weird lunch, late dinner, the list goes on. I always eat a filling breakfast to ensure that I’m sustained as long as possible. Some of my favorite choices are oatmeal, avocado toast, and meal replacement smoothies.
5. Hydrate. Throw a water bottle in your carryon and fill it up as often as possible. We all know we should be drinking water, but the travel will dehydrate you, meaning you need even more water than usual. Pro Tip: Find the hotel fitness center for the filtered water cooler.
6. Don’t Overdo the Alcohol. I’m all for trying the local craft beer, or having a glass of wine with dinner, or a coworker happy hour. But everything in moderation, especially when you travel. Keeping it light will ensure you make healthy choices in every sense. And it will ensure you stay employed…just saying.
7. Pack Snacks. I always pack protein bars, bags of nuts or trail mix, and portable fruit. Again, I never know what the day will bring, so I’m always loaded down with snacks to prevent hanger.
8. Eat Well, Don’t Restrict. Don’t stress out about what you’re eating. When you stress, your tendency will be to restrict, and then you will make unhealthy choices or binge later. If you allow yourself to eat well, focusing on getting in a nice balance of protein, veggies, fruit, healthy carbs and fats, you won’t want to make unhealthy choices later.
9. Take Your Vitamins, Nuun, Apple Cider Vinegar, Probiotics, etc. If you take these things daily, take them along on your trip. You may want to bump up some of the preventative things to keep your immune system running strong, because travel can take its toll on your body.
10. Stick With Routine. Just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean you stop being yourself. When I travel, I basically follow the same routine that I would at home. It keeps me mentally, spiritually, and physically grounded and healthy.
Just remember, it’s all about experiencing joy, whatever that means to you. Health is not one size fits all, and you have to find what works best for you. But these things have helped me find some sense of normalcy when I travel.
If you’re a fellow road warrior, I would love to hear anything you would add to the list.