How to Stay Healthy While Travelling
While the benefits are practically infinite, maintaining a healthy lifestyle requires commitment, discipline, and strong willpower. Of course, this is under completely normal circumstances where you can generally control your environment — add in travel, and it becomes a whole different ball game.
This year more than ever before, it's critical that we all keep ourselves in tip-top shape. There are certainly ways to remain safe while travelling during coronavirus, including heeding all local COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions, but there are several additional steps you can take to further protect your overall health. Fortunately, all it takes is a bit of planning ahead (and yes, even more commitment and discipline). Here, Coast Hotels shares our top travel tips for staying healthy and fit wherever your journey takes you.
Travel tips for staying healthy on the go
If you keep a healthy mindset and your "eye on the prize," so to speak, staying healthy while travelling is a piece of cake — pun very much intended.
The great thing about exercising is that you don't need any special equipment or skills to do it. However you prefer to work out, there are numerous ways to do it on the go. You can do a travel-friendly workout in your hotel, like this one recommended by One Medical. You could also go for a walk or run, which is one of our favorite general travel tips, as it's a wonderful, free way to explore the area you're visiting.
If your hotel has a gym that's open, feel free to use it. Wear a mask, keep a safe distance from other gym-goers, and follow any other local guidelines and COVID-19 travel advice.
It's pretty easy to eat (*mostly) healthy when you're at home. You can grocery shop at your favorite stores and plan out and prep meals ahead of time, plus you know which local restaurants have tried-and-true healthy options.
Most hotels have a kitchenette at best, making it not-quite-so-simple to eat healthy when you're travelling. Even if you do have access to a full kitchen, there may not be a grocery store nearby or you may simply not want to cook. That leaves you eating out or picking from a limited number of pseudo-healthy choices at convenience stores. Registered dietitians sat down with SELF magazine and offered up their best travel tips for not getting too far off-track while you're on the road.
- BYOS - Bring Your Own Snacks. Packing your own snacks is a wonderful way to stick to your diet and save money while travelling. Non-perishable snacks like jerky, mixed nuts, and granola or protein bars are all easily packable. Snacking frequently, particularly on active days, ensures you're more likely to make smart food choices.
- Hit the local grocery store - Even if it's just a corner store, do some light grocery shopping once you arrive. Get a variety of meats, cheese, fruit, and vegetables, as well as a selection of drinks. This will hold you over between meals and prevent you from popping into stores multiple times while you're out.
- Do your homework - Before heading out to eat, scope out restaurants in your area online. Look at menus and narrow your options down to a few healthy choices before you arrive, so you'll be less tempted once you sit down.
Indulge — a little
According to Dr. Oz, allowing yourself small indulgences, including foods that you otherwise consider off-limits, is actually good for you. The trick is to plan for the indulgence ahead of time, which helps you stay on track and keeps you motivated. So if there's a restaurant you're dying to try, give yourself permission to order anything on the menu. As the saying goes, "When in Rome."
Get a flu shot
As the pandemic continues to spread worldwide, health professionals caution that it's never been more important to get a flu shot. The CDC states, "Flu vaccines will not prevent COVID-19, but they will reduce the burden of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths on the health care system, and conserve scarce medical resources for the care of people with COVID-19." This is especially important if you're travelling during coronavirus. You can get a flu vaccine in your doctor's office, as well as pharmacies and even clinics inside grocery stores. In many cases, you don't need an appointment.
We all know that getting a good night's sleep is critical for our overall health. Being well-rested improves our mood, reduces stress and anxiety, strengthens the immune system, and even reduces the risk of serious health conditions including heart disease. It also ensures that you're travelling safe, as you're more likely to make smarter decisions when you've slept well.
Actually getting a solid night of sleep while travelling can be easier said than done, however. Jam-packed schedules, late nights out, and new environments can make it difficult to fall or stay asleep. Make sure the temperature in the room is comfortable for you, use the HVAC system or fan for some white noise, or consider downloading a free relaxation app like Calm or Breathe.
What to pack for healthy travelling
There are several items you can pack that will help you stay on track with your health goals while you're travelling.
- Running or gym shoes - You want to be comfortable for all those steps you plan to get in.
- Reusable water bottle - Having your own water bottle will ensure you stay hydrated and save you money. It's also much more eco-friendly than buying (and subsequently tossing!) plastic bottles.
- Face mask, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes - These items are essentials for travelling during coronavirus and are some of the most effective methods to protect yourself and others.
- Blender bottle, protein powder, and supplements - Having a drinkable meal packed with protein and vitamins is excellent for long periods between meals, and supplements can help balance out less-than-ideal eating choices.
- A yoga mat or resistance bands - If you're road-tripping, bring your favorite workout equipment on the road with you!
- A healthy mindset - World traveller and author Nomadic Matt says it best: "While it might seem challenging to balance fun and fitness, it just takes a little practice and effort.
A huge aspect of travelling safely is prioritizing your health, and we hope these travel tips are helpful. When you're ready to get back out there, Coast Hotels looks forward to welcoming you to one of our 35 properties throughout the US and Canada, many of them with kitchenettes, swimming pools, or fitness centers. Happy (and healthy!) travels!