It’s a little too easy to throw in the towel when traveling and completely abandon any shred of heathy eating or exercise habits we try to maintain while on known soil. After all, a big part of immersing yourself into a different culture or a new-to-you destination is indulging in the food. We often eat and drink like it will be our last meal while on vacation. Who knows when you’ll be back, right? Being away from our routines, and the ease of home, doesn’t mean our wellbeing has to take a long walk off a short pier. Whether you’re planning a beach vacation, an adventurous romp in the mountains, or a trip abroad, you can easily eat well and move your body. Here are suggestions and tips for staying healthy and fit while traveling.
Healthy Choices While on the Road
Driving from Chicago to my hometown in Montana, a 21-hour-plus road trip that touches six states, is something I’ve done with my family several times. Driving past acres and acres of farm land; exploring Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National Park, Custer State Park, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and Crazy Horse Memorial; drinking water at Wall Drug; and camping near Devil’s Tower National Monument make the long hours in the van parental bliss. The challenge, however, is finding healthy food options along the way.
Tip: Bring a cooler along for the ride and stock it full of homemade granola, sandwiches with whole grain bread, fresh fruit, and other healthy snacks. You’re more likely to reach for something nourishing if it’s ready to eat, so slice up cucumbers, carrots, celery and fresh vegetables for snacking. You might even consider bringing along a battery powered blender for smoothies on the go.
At the Airport
A wee bit of preparation goes far when it comes to your health in airports. Many food items are, in fact, allowed through security. Check TSA for what you can bring on the airplane to avoid unhealthy eating while in transit. You can even snap a photo and ask if a certain item is permitted via messenger on Facebook and Twitter for items that aren’t listed on the website.
Consider packing resistance bands, a jump rope, and a bottle for water in your carry-on so you can move about the airport and get your blood pumping. You can also use the airport chairs to do some elbow bends and leg stretches. (The San Francisco International Airport has a free-to-use Yoga Room, with mats and cushions.)
Tip: Pull up the airport map on your device and locate restaurants that offer wholesome options. Coffee shops often offer salads, smoothies, or protein packs as well. Hydration and sleep are obviously important as well.
Taking the opportunity to get extra steps in while traveling is always a good idea. Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator, park your rental car a little further from the front door, move your limbs and stretch while stuck sitting, consider walking or biking instead of using a ride share or taxi, and get your body moving wherever possible. You might even consider paying for a day pass at a gym while traveling to a new city.
Consider booking a stay at a Hilton to utilize their Five Feet to Fitness program, an in-room health and wellness concept that makes working out super simple, across the globe. This room category includes specialized health equipment, so you don’t have to leave the comfort of your room or workout only during specific hotel gym operating hours. You can sweat it out when you want, how you want. A few of the participating Hilton Hotels include: Parc 55 San Francisco—a Hilton Hotel, Hilton Anatole in Texas, Hilton Denver City, Hilton Shanghai Hongqiao, and DoubleTree Chicago Magnificent Mile.
Tip: Consider downloading a fitness app that you can use while away from home. You’ll be led through a routine that you can do without any workout equipment, which is ideal for time spent in accommodations without a gym or when you want to get sweaty no matter what time of day or night.
Use Nature as Your Gym
Get out and explore nature while on vacation. Find a local park to enjoy a nature-filled stroll, go for a jog on a nearby running path, swim laps while at the beach, or hike through the woods. The concierge or front desk staff at hotels can recommend a safe and interesting place to go. Many hotels also offer outdoor fitness programs, personal training sessions, or yoga.
Reach out to a local shelter and see if you can volunteer to take a puppy out for a walk. Potcake Place in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, for example, lets visitors take puppies out to socialize them and give them fresh air and exercise (you can also adopt a puppy). It’s a win-win.
Many properties across the globe within the Fairmont Hotels and Resorts family have Canine Ambassador. Fairmont Banff Springs, Hotel Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Fairmont Kea Lanai in Maui and many more all have resident labradors that can accompany you on a walk or long hike. This program is especially wonderful for solo travelers or dog parents that are missing their furry loved ones at home.
Focus on the “Why”
You’re more likely to stick to a health and fitness routine if you focus on why you’re doing it in the first place. Perhaps you want to cultivate more energy and endurance, something that travel tends to deplete. Or maybe you’re training for a feat of strength like a marathon or triathlon. Parents might want to be more present and physically capable for their children. No matter what your “why” is, having a reason to be healthy will keep you on track.
Tip: Consider taking an active vacation with REI Adventures, a leading travel company that focuses on getting you outdoors and engaged in the communities you’ll be visiting. You can travel with likeminded voyagers, see the world in a meaningful way, and stay healthy and fit while exploring destinations in wide open spaces.
From weekend trips to family-friendly treks to camping-filled romps in nature to women’s vacations to volunteer holidays to trips for adults under 35, REI Adventures is the ultimate go-to escape. You can pick the trip that’s right for you by choosing the activity—hiking, kayaking, cruising, biking, etc.—and the level of difficulty. The main objective of REI is simple: to get you outside and moving.
Author: Wendy Altschuler