My Top 10 Healthy Travel Tips

Healthy Lifestyle

25 April 2013

Allow me to reintroduce myself….

No but really, pardon my absence, as I have been on the go! Two weeks ago I was in Minnesota for work and I spent last week in Cabo with the MLB for some much needed fun in the sun. Now I’m preppin’ to head to Arizona for a girl’s trip-  phew! Which leads me to the topic of today’s blog post…

Travel. Traveling can be super exciting (especially when it’s to new, fun destinations) but it can also be extremely stressful, especially for those with lots of food sensitivities/allergies, and/or those that are just trying to eat right. Because let’s face it- it can be pretty tricky to remain healthy, especially when most food options en route consist of fatty fast food, coffee joints, and sugary and sodium-packed snacks like candy and chips.

We also usually want to look and feel our best on vacations because well, duh, it’s vacation. We’re ready to have the time of our lives and the last thing we want to do is worry about breakouts, dry skin, stomach bloats, cramping and irregularity. Unfortunately, travel usually induces these annoying side effects as flying is extremely dehydrating, our sleep and normal routine is thrown off, and we’re typically eating and drinking things we normally wouldn’t.

Despite these minor pitfalls, I still LOVE to travel and I’ve found there are certain tips and tricks to make it as easy as possible to stay healthy so you can fully enjoy the experience and not think about anything else but having a good time.

Lauren’s 10 Tips to Traveling Lighter

An unlabeled bottle of water

1. Drink TONS of water- Proper hydration is vital to your health and flying is so dehydrating, right along with those VT’s you’re most likely downing on the plane. Because of the high altitude, dehydration’s effects are much more pronounced (water-retention which leads to bloating, nausea, thirst, exhaustion, muscle and joint aches, head-aches, etc.) so aim to drink at least 3 liters of water the day of your trip.  As soon as I get through security I buy a huge liter of water, always drink cups when offered on the plane, and buy another bottle as soon as I land. Add lemon whenever possible for an extra cleansing element. Trust me- this is the best thing you can do for yourself.

Different kinds of snacks on a table

2. Pack snacks– Having munchies around is key, because when we’re bored, we want to mindlessly munch, and when has anyone not experienced a moment of restlessness and boredom on a flight ?! Airplane food is NOT real food, it’s processed and has little to no- nutritional value (but it does have a bajillion empty calories). Plus it doesn’t even TASTE good. So next time pass on the cardboard sandwiches and reach for something of nutritional value like a bag of kale chips (best.snack.evar) or organic, unsalted nuts. A few other ideas- chopped veggies in a plastic bag or fruit that doesn’t bruise easily like apples, snack/protein bars (check labels carefully and try to stay away from any containing gluten, soy, dairy or scary unnatural ingredients), GF granola, or Justin’s single serving nut butter packets (love me some nut butter).

Two vitamin pills

3. Pop pills- Yup, you heard it here. My drugs of choice- probiotics, digestive enzymes, and magnesium oxide. Probiotics are a culture of “good” bacteria that protects us from pathogens (harmful microorganisms), help us detoxify harmful compounds, produce vitamins and other nutrients, keep our guts healthy, and balance our immune systems. Digestive enzymes help us to break down and properly digest our food (combating bloat and irregularity) and magnesium oxide promotes regularity as well improves indigestion.Take these bad boys with you and follow this routine-  probiotic- once in the am & once in the pm, digestive enzyme- one before every meal, and magnesium oxide- 2 before bed. You should make sure the supplements you’re buying are all natural and don’t contain soy, dairy, and gluten.

Two glasses with green smoothie

4. The separation is in the preparation- Besides preppin’ your snacks and drinking a ton of water I highly recommend making a GGS the night before to drink the next morning before your flight. I also sip on detox tea the night before I leave and as soon as I get back from a trip. It’ll help cleanse you even further before you consume all those glorious indulgent vacation meals and cocktails.

A girl running on the side of a road

5. Start your day moving-  One of my favorite things to do when I travel is explore each city I travel on a good run. I realize not everyone is into running and some destinations may not permit it (like Minnesota in the midst of a blizzard), but it’s pretty easy to get up in the morning and walk to a nearby cafe to grab a cup of coffee (or tea :))and take in the scenery. It sounds weird but I am always less hungry and feel better when I start off the mornings with some light exercise. It also gets your blood flowin’ and things moving internally as well.

6. Explore the local cuisine- I guarantee it will be fresher and tastier than a chain restaurant carrying food you can get any old day. You can rest assured the locals know how to make their native dishes well. Plus you’re traveling and food is such a huge part of a different city’s culture- take advantage of it!

7. And find a local market- you can stock up on water and fresh fruits and vegetables to fill up on fiber and keep your energy level high. If you have a kitchen available you can even grab some local produce and make a delicious meal yourself!

Grilled tofu and veggies in a white bowl

8. When in doubt, go international– Obviously you should eat what you like, and I’m not going to tell you what to do (although I do have my own opinions). But if you’re searching for healthy options on your trip I find it’s best to look for international cuisine options like Asian or Mexican. Both cuisines usually contain lots of veggies and have vegetarian options with rice and beans or tofu. I usually hit up the Q’doba at Seatac (which now carries brown rice!!) and get a veggie burrito bowl with guac and salsa (hold the cheese and sour cream por favor).

9. Do your research- Scope out your dining options prior to your arrival. This is soooooo easy to do nowadays and will not only ensure you’re able to find healthy spots to eat but DELICIOUS ones too. Try Urbanspoon, Yelp, GlutenfreeTravelsite, Aroundme and Tripadvisor where you can search by location and preference of cuisine, and find local favorites ahead of time. I always do this and I’ve had insanely amazing and memorable meals everywhere I’ve been.

A hammock hung on a palm tree

10. Have fun- DUH! When you let yourself relax and enjoy your surroundings you will naturally feel better, look better and digest your food better (true story).

Bottomline– just do the best you can! Worrying and stressing will only add wrinkles and a frown (which is so not hot), so just try and be prepared and follow some of the tips above. You’ll be looking so good you won’t even need an instagram filter. Cha-ching!