If you travel often, you might be well-acquainted with fattening late-night dining, missing your daily workout and drinking a bit too much of the hard stuff. However, getting your travel fix or doing your job shouldn't equate to destroying your health. With a bit of ingenuity, it's easy to stay healthier on the road.
Words: Kate Harveston
To have healthier travels, you need to do a bit of advanced prep. You also need to make healthy choices while out of town. Here are seven ways to improve your travel wellness while still having a blast — or at least enjoying a nice conference.
1. Prepare Yourself for Jet Lag
Whenever you change time zones, you experience a bit of jet lag. This is normal. After all, most of the U.S. changes its clocks twice per year — doesn't this always throw you off a notch? Try to give yourself time to adjust to jet lag, especially if you're flying across two or more time zones. If traveling on business, plan on taking a half-day when you return to let your body adjust. If for pleasure, pad a full extra day to do your laundry, prep healthy meals for the coming week and simply take a long nap.
2. Bring a Journal with You
Travel brings up emotions, usually positive ones. However, things sometimes occur that rattle your mental health. Even if they don't, journaling provides a great way to process frustrations without acting out publicly. Plus, you can jot down pleasant experiences to share when you return home.
3. Boost Your Immunity Beforehand
Even a gallon of hand sanitizer won't free you from every possible bug you can catch traveling. However, you can boost your immune system naturally by eating the right foods. Some things to eat before hitting the road include the following:
Citrus fruits: Remember your mom telling you to drink your orange juice to get your vitamin C? Citrus fruits are chock-full of nutrients, as well as other antioxidants.
Deep, leafy greens: Spinach, kale and Swiss chard serve as nutritional powerhouses, and they may improve immune function due to their high vitamin and mineral content. Eat these raw for the best vitamin punch.
Probiotics: Travelers are prone to tummy trouble from stress and exposure to foreign pathogens. Eating probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut, tempeh and yogurt help keep intestinal flora healthy, lessening the severity of such upset.
4. Eat Well at Your Destination
There's no need to cave to peer pressure or chuck healthy eating to the wind simply because you're on holiday. Even if you can't read all the items on the menu, you can still make good choices. If dining at a buffet-style restaurant, aim to fill at least half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. If enjoying a sit-down meal, opt for lighter fare such as tilapia or chicken, or select the vegetarian dish, which usually contains fewer calories.
If time permits, spend an hour shopping once you reach your destination to stock up on healthy snacks at a local grocer. Doing so is better for you than hitting the vending machine for a soda and chips.
5. Get Inventive with Exercise
Even if your hotel lacks a fitness facility, don't toss your routine out the window when you travel. You may need to modify things — for example, going for a run after dark in a strange city can prove daunting. However, you can perform bodyweight and light resistance band workouts in your hotel room.
6. Plan for the Unexpected
Few travellers want to think of the worst happening, but if you're venturing to an area of high political or societal instability in particular, and you have money on you, people may target you. Investing in travel insurance coverage can protect from unexpected expenses if something unexpected happens abroad. Knowing you’re covered will ease your stress and allow you to enjoy your trip more.
7. Carry a Water Bottle and Purification Tablets
Single-use plastic may outpace the number of fish in the ocean by 2050 if humans don't change their ways. Plus, depending on your destination, you may risk getting sick from local water supplies. Be an eco-friendly traveller by bringing a reusable water bottle with you, along with purification tablets if travelling to developing nations. This not only keeps you hydrated in a sustainable way, but it also reduces the urge to slake your thirst with booze when water proves hard to find.
Staying Healthy While Travelling
Traveling need not mean harming your health. By following the tips above, you can emerge from your journey well-rested and ready to get back to your daily routine!