Traveling used to be a huge source of anxiety for me, constantly wondering if I’d be able to maintain my usual routine and lifestyle. This happened after I studied abroad for a year in college and tossed on around 15 pounds from the ocnstant amount of traveling (read: eating) I was doing. After that, I became really restrictive in that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the travel itself, as I was so concerned about keeping up with my usual lifestyle and avoiding the weight gain. And that is just no way to live at all!!! Experiencing a new place or culture is best done through trying out new places and foods and drinks and foods. I abided by this mentality when I was studying abroad, though at that point was mindlessly averaging 4 desserts a day, drinking constantly, and consuming 3 of the signature dishes from each new country I went to. It’s an overwhelming feeling knowing that you probably won’t visit that same place again and wanting to experience it in all its food glory. So below I compiled a few simple tips on how to travel with ease – experiencing the best of a new place while not totally unraveling and abandoning all of your health habits.
- Choose a location to travel that is in a central neighborhood to increase ability to walk to places you like
- Find a hotel room or airbnb with a mini fridge and kitchen and unpack fully when you arrive to make you feel like you’re at home. This way, you’re more likely to stick to your general routine and avoid the “I’m on vacation so fu** it” mentality
- Look up healthy restaurants before you go. I plan this out almost freakishly. When I travel I typically have an entire itinerary planned (consisting 90% of places I want to eat) and then I walk everywhere to those places and split the dish with a friend. This way you have more stomach room for more food AND I really believe the best way to see a city is by walking it. Divide up the days of traveling by choosing clusters of places that are near each other so that you can walk to each one. Or rent bikes and bike there!
- Look up fun workout classes that you can’t take when you’re home. I typically always want to try a new yoga spot, or a class that’s not available in my home town. This makes the workout fun and less like a mandatory workout.
TRAVEL WITH ESSENTIALS
- Bring citrus with you – travel with a lemon to heat up warm water with lemon in the morning. Got this idea from the bountiful beauty that is Balance with B. She’s just the “b”est.
- Travel with non perishable staples or things that don’t go bad easily: bars, nuts, citrus, avocado, crackers, homemade energy bites, etc.
- Bring your supplements with you!!! This is so crucial for me. Keeping up with my supplements is a major thing that prevents me from feeling tired, lethargic, or run down when traveling. For me, this is Vitamin D (pure encapsulations), a multicomplex Vitamin B (integrative therapeutics), a probiotic (Silver Fern brand), and an omega-3 (Nordic Naturals).
- Know if shark week is going to hit so you can plan accordingly. If this is the case, I bring my own organic tampons, my Thinx underwear, and additional supplements (ginger and turmeric to help with cramps).
- Pack face masks and bath soaks / scrubs with you. Take a night or two to have a bath all to yourself. This always really makes me feel like I’m on vacation.
- I always bring a huge water bottle with a single size water filter with me (the go pure pod is the brand I use – not sponsored). This way I can fill up my water bottle whenever and wherever I need it.
- Schedule in active activities (lolol just realizing now that the word active is in activities) – walk on the beach, go swimming, paddle board, learn how to surf, ski, rent bikes.
- Use public transportation / walk wherever you can
- If you have a layover or got the airport early, toss on a podcast and walk around before having to get on your flight
LEARN TO RELAX AND LET GO
- RELAX!! When you’re traveling with friends is when you have the opportunity to spend time with the people you love. It’s not so much about an all or nothing mentality of I need to be entirely healthy or I can eat whatever I want. Food should be the backdrop of the vacation – supporting and enhancing time well spent, rather than being a source of fear and anxiety. I find sharing plates with friends helps soothe a lot of the anxiety around meal time. You can each take a bite from the other, and focus more on sharing a meal together. Choose things you wouldn’t normally have at home, but eat them with intention, and only if you really want them! And try to balance out each meal with a green or vegetable and a lean source of protein. Then split dessert. If I know I’m going to be having dessert with dinner, I’ll try to avoid it with lunch or breakfast. For example, I’ll aim for a huge smoothie for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and then save my extra sugar intake for dinner. Or if I know my dinner for the evening will be small (like a takeout vegetable bowl), I’ll snag the waffles for breakfast. Be mindful and try to balance out the day based on the plan of who you’re traveling with.
- If you’re drinking, really try to aim for 1-2 glasses of water per drink you have. And drink a TON of water before bed (I typically aim for one whole water bottle full). While I may have to get up in the middle of the night to pee, doing this DRASTICALLY reduces the likelihood of me being hungover. When I’m not hungover, I’m less likely to want to lay in bed and have an inactive day. If I am hungover and on a beach vacation, I walk the beach in the morning and jump in the water even if it’s freezing cold.
- Choose to have the things that matter most to you if you decide you want to mindfully treat yoself on vacation. I’ve never been a frozen drink kind of girl, so you won’t ever catch me craving a pina colada by the pool. But when the dessert menu at a restaurant comes around, I snatch it up voraciously. My sister, however, always aims for the frozen strawberry daiquiris by the pool. Sometimes the vacation mindset kicks in, and I’m reminded of every movie cliche I’ve ever seen re: frozen drinks by the pool. But then I’ll mindlessly drink one and realize I don’t even like it!! So know what you like and forego the peer pressure if everyone else is having one. My poolside drink of choice is a tequila soda water with a squeeze of lemon and lime and splash of grapefruit. Or a spiked sparkling drink of sorts.
- Know that there is always something on a menu that you can find. Even in my most desperate moments of traveling, I feel confident that I’m able to tailor a menu to create something decently healthy. OR allow myself to choose the thing on the menu that I really really really want and don’t typically have access to. The fear surrounding food dissipates when you know you can be flexible and creative to find something that works for you.
- Stop caring what everyone around you thinks. Maybe you’re labeled the picky or neurotic one, but what’s going to make you most enjoyable to be around is if you have a plan of action for the things that make you happy. This isn’t really about food rules or restrictions, more so along the lines of I generally feel terrible when the only thing available to eat is mac and cheese (read: dairy sensitivity). So I’ll plan ahead by knowing where a grocery store is or offering to make a dish that I know I’ll enjoy and that won’t leave me in digestive turmoil.