Croissants, gelato and pizza — travel is a treat, especially when it means trying new, decadent, rich foods. And although I’ll never recommend calorie counting while traveling (vacation calories don’t count!), our bodies do need proper nourishment and care, especially when we’re in a different routine. Vacation is definitely the time to order dessert and try new foods, but if you’re looking to keep tabs on your weight or simply want to stay fit and healthy while traveling, I’ve got you covered.
I’m pretty religious when it comes to working out. It helps me relieve stress and puts me a good state of mind, but when I’m traveling, I might not have gym access — or even the time for it. I like to stay active more for my mental health than for looks. But yes, that too!
Wherever you’re at on your health journey, these 5 ways are to make sure you’re taking care of your body while traveling.
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Make sure you’re getting in fruits and veggies
I have friends who swear by kale and others who can toss a dash of seasoning on vegetables and call it dinner. As much as I wish that could be me and yes, I’ve tried, it’s just not me. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: A salad is not a meal. I think I like a total of 2.5 vegetables, and I recently found out my favorite vegetable (bell peppers) is actually a fruit. I love incorporating fruit into my diet, but eating vegetables is like pulling teeth, unless it’s spinach or carrots.
So hear me out when I say it’s important to incorporate both fruit and veggies into your vacation diet because I struggle to do that even on a daily basis. But our bodies need more than bread, fried foods and ice cream, especially when we’re sightseeing all day, every day for a week.
It’s not easy when you have so many other delicious, unhealthy options while traveling, but be sure to order sides of fruits, veggies and side salads. Your digestive track will thank you!
Include physical activity in your itinerary
Another great way to stay fit and healthy while on vacation is scheduling it in. You might say heck no, but it doesn’t have to be that difficult. Plan a hike one day, take a walking tour, explore the beach, wander around a museum for half the day.
Choose the stairs, instead of the elevator. I love checking how many steps I’ve taken on a vacation day because yes, that’s exercise, too. On my day trip to Paris last year, I took over 23,000 steps just running around the city.
Instead of Ubering everywhere, take the scenic route, get those steps in and save money while you’re at it. Triple win!
Schedule a workout or two into your trip
After a long day of sightseeing, I’m not usually dying to get myself to the hotel gym. But especially if you’re traveling for longer than a week, it’s important to maintain your physical health. When I studied abroad for three weeks over winter break, I knew I couldn’t go without a workout for that long. Sure, I was doing walking tours and such, but for me personally, I knew I’d need to workout. And one night in Barcelona, I used the hotel’s elliptical, weights and exercise ball.
If a hotel gym isn’t available or just isn’t your thing, no sweat. One app I like to use is ClassPass, which connects you with local gyms offering workout classes. When I lived in Dallas for the summer, ClassPass came in handy because I was able to try everything from Pure Barre to hot yoga. Depending on where you’re traveling, you might be able to sign up for an exercise class.
What I also like about ClassPass is that it has workouts — both audio and video — on the app for free. If you need some motivation or just workout ideas, this app is super helpful. Sign up for ClassPass for free here.
During my summer in Dallas, I also really enjoyed turning on Yoga With Adriene YouTube videos. She has a yoga video for truly every desire or goal you may have: stress, anxiety, abs, weight loss, arms. And the lengths of her videos range vastly from a short 10-minute video to the better part of an hour.
Pull out your phone or laptop, put some comfy clothes on in your hotel room and put on a ClassPass audio workout or a yoga video on YouTube.
I love a good glass of Chardonnay and a fat chocolate milkshake as much as the next gal, but filling your body only with sweet things for an entire week will catch up with you. More than for your waistline, be sure to hydrate with water regularly so that you feel refreshed and not sluggish. It’s vacation, so of course, you’ll be drinking more sweet things like soda and booze, but do so consciously. If you’ve already had a cocktail and soda that day, maybe choose water as your next beverage.
Not only is it an easy way to cut calories, but it’s also so good for your body. And even better, it’s cheaper!
Check in with your self-talk
My mom always told me, All things in moderation. And for many things in life from screen time to alcohol, that’s my goal. Too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing, whether it’s eating sweets or even avoiding them.
You might be a strict calorie counter or disciplined gym rat, but vacation is time to rest, to explore and to refresh. I know I can sometimes freak out when I think about vacation calories or even being away from the gym that long, but do your best to reframe your thinking. Give yourself both the grace and permission to enjoy your travels.
And in addition to your eating and exercise habits, make sure you’re prioritizing sleep throughout your trip.
Most importantly, let vacation be what it’s meant to be — a break. But be sure to take care of your body and give it the love it needs and deserves. How do you stay healthy while traveling?