As this post goes live on the blog, I will be just landing in Malaga, Spain for a four day (hopefully sun-filled!) girls’ trip! And to say I am excited would be a slight understatement! 🙂 I haven’t had a proper holiday in awhile now after being on the go frequently for a few years. And in light of being crazy busy with work and other projects over the past few weeks, I am looking forward to lounging, laughing, and long chats with a few of my favorite Irish barre girls! We don’t have a lot of definite plans, which is actually ok by me for a change. Pretty much all of the time I am at home, and even most of time I am traveling, I have a plan, schedule, or list of things to do. So this will a nice break even though I have to admit – I do love my normal routine. Thankfully over the years of traveling, I have learned a few tips and tricks which help me to maximize my enjoyment of the experience while not totally undermining all the healthy habits that I have built and truly value. Here are some of my top healthy travel hacks!
- Be healthy before you go – Ok, ok. This may not be a viable healthy travel hack if you are reading this the day before your vacation, but it is the most important place to start today regardless of whether or not you plan to jet-set any time soon. Of course you want to look your best and feel confident before you go on a vacation, but way too often many people go on an all out crash diet or mad sprint to add on long or impossibly hard workouts. Ideally, we are living a lifestyle which enables us to look and feel our best all the time, but if not, we should beware of taking overly drastic measures before a vacation. It’s not a physically or mentally healthy approach and quite often creates feelings of deprivation which more often than not results in a big “going off the rails” experience while on holiday.
- Start each day with a healthy breakfast – Whether at home or anywhere else, I tend to eat my biggest meal of the day first which helps gets me going and on the right foot. Many people resort to carbohydrate heavy breakfasts which are less satiating and create cycles of craving more sweets, carbs, and processed foods throughout the day. So my firm belief is whether at home or on-the-go, starting off with some protein and healthy fats is the best way to set yourself up for the rest of the day. Also, even breakfast out tends not to be as exciting as dinner (of course there are some brunch options which are an exception), so I usually skip going out for in the morning, by packing one to take along with me or by preparing it myself if possible while on the go. Not only is this a healthy travel hack, but it is also a great way to save a bit of money! I always try to find places that will allow me to cook a few meals or at least safely store some travel friendly prepped options. Some always on the go friendly options to take along with you – frittatas, egg muffins, or even breakfast sausages on a bed greens.
- Pack Snacks – Healthy convenience food is not easy to find nearly anywhere, but I know in a small city in Spain, my options will be limited. Besides, I have been trapped in airports or experienced other delays often enough to know that HANGER can strike if I am not prepared. Therefore, I always bring some snacks to get me through between meals. A lot of times on the go, you might be able to find some fruit or nuts, but high quality proteins or fresh vegetables are a bit more tricky, so I make it a priority to plan accordingly!
All packed up and ready to go!!
- Stock your travel bag with the essentials – In addition to experiencing delays, separation from luggage is always an unpleasant possibility. One of my top healthy travel hacks (learned the hard way!) is to make sure that I keep the essentially with me while on the move. I pack a refillable water bottle to make sure I stay hydrated (which is important while flying especially), a few snacks, my phone charger and headphones, some books or reading materials, water wipes, and a light canvas tote or bag which I can throw little bits into along the way if necessary, but can take up basically no space if not in use.
- Find ways to be active – Even if you don’t have the best workout of your life (or even just your normal level of activity), finding ways to move is always a good idea. If I am traveling for fun, I usually do try to make some time for exercise, but aside from that, walking places whenever ever possible instead of driving or taking a subway/taxi/bus is a great option, as are more active activities like hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking, etc. depending on where you are and what the trip is like. This particular trip is with barre girls, so side planks on the beach are in the forecast! If you want something which is on the go and no equipment friendly, I have several quick workouts which will help you get some exercise in no matter where you are or how much time you have.
- Enjoying the experience of eating out – Try to scope out the menu of restaurant options before you arrive to see if there are any healthy AND appealing items or if there are things which can be reasonably easily modified to suit your preferences. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that a lot of times this will mean possibly ordering relatively plain food, but I make up for this by always bringing along with me a few sauces and spices in travel friendly size bottles to spruce things up a bit. And of course, if something is a unique or special delicacy or treat – order it and savor the experience!
- Strike the right balance – Confession: I actually hate the word “balance.” It’s a word just like “moderation” – it’s really impossible to fully describe and even harder to know if you are “achieving” it. But on vacation I have to agree that there does need to be some sort of balance between a “free-for-all, YOLO I’m on hols!” and being overly restrictive to the point of missing out on a great experience. I think that this looks different for everyone and aside from finding and sticking to what works for you, I think we could all stand to do a bit less judging of others (from both ends of the spectrum). You shouldn’t feel deprived, but you also don’t want to eat things which you know don’t agree with you or things that you usually would never eat JUST because you are on vacation. Indulging can be an important aspect of traveling, but it doesn’t have to be in excess or at every single meal. Make sure you don’t miss out on that local favorite or treat, but don’t end up traveling home with feelings of regret.