11 Tips For Staying Healthy When You Travel

by Shelli Stein

Traveling, as wonderful as it is, can also make staying healthy challenging. Travel often involves lots of sitting on planes, eating too much, and often leaving our best healthy habits back home. Here are the 11 best tips to stay healthy while traveling.

In my non-Point Me to The Plane life, I’m a holistic health and fitness coach. So combining traveling with finding fun, fitness-oriented adventures is my passion. And this combo of passions keeps me using my tips to stay healthy while traveling and on the road!

I also talk with many people about how they combine their travels with adventures in fun and fitness. Whether you travel solo or with family and friends, or whether you travel for work or pleasure, or a combination of both, here are 11 easy things to do to upgrade your travel experiences to stay healthy while traveling.

1. Figure Out Where Locals Go

When I’m in a new place, I always stop by the local running shops or sports stores to see what they recommend. Usually they have information and resources not just about running but about biking or swimming pools, as well. Who knows, maybe you’ll join a local running event that you never even knew was happening while you’re visiting!

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2. Pick Somewhere Far, Then Bike or Walk There

Find a site you want to see that’s far from your accommodations and then plan a walk or bike ride to those sites. I usually find a coffee house I want to check out that’s far from my lodgings and head there!

a plate of food and a cup of coffee

In Dublin, beautiful coffee to enjoy the scones with!

3. Don’t Be Afraid To Get Lost

Turn off the GPS and allow yourself to wander. With my map stashed in my daypack, I’ll just wander around. See an interesting street or shop? Trust your instincts and allow yourself to head off course. I’m sure we’ve all had amazing adventures doing this and finding just the perfect spot, store, restaurant, or site. Getting lost on can be a fun experience on its own! This happened to me in Prague; after a long meandering walk I ended up finding a store with the perfect shirt, something I would never have otherwise found.

4. Taking Fitness Classes While Traveling Can Be A Cultural Experience

Take a long walk to a swimming pool, and then walk back to your hotel. Rent a bike one-way and after you drop it off, walk back to your hotel. Walk to a park and join in a local boot camp class. Meeting locals in this way is fun!

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5. How about catching a sunrise?

Ask at your hotel where a great sunrise spot might be. I find this sunrise spotting activity to be particularly fun if you’re working through jet-lag and are up early anyway. Surely this will at least get you tuned into locating east/west and help orient you to your local location. I’m more of a sunset girl, but each time I see the sunrise I’m still awed by its beauty.

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6. Enjoy the weather, no matter what it is.

I’ve spent a lot of years living in places like San Diego and Hawaii where people say there is no weather. Over the years, though, I’ve forced myself to travel to places during winter, get outside and experience cold or rainy weather.

One recent December I spent 10 days in Vancouver during a brutal winter storm. It snowed, sleeted, and rained. Every day, one of the three, and on some days all three! Some days it was so icy the best mode of transportation would have been ice skates! Getting out into some cold weather was refreshing, and I managed to walk about seven miles during that trip. It felt great!

Stanley Park Vancouver

Seawall loop in Stanley Park in fall without any “weather”!

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7. Pick a Park: Go There

From the smaller pocket parks you find in so many cities, to the bigger more famous national parks, I’ve gotten so much pleasure from traveling and spending time in open green spaces. It’s not only a wonderful way to join in with the locals as they enjoy their parks, but I’ll bet you’ll sleep much better from all the fresh air and greenery.

Tivoli City Park in Slovenia

Everything a park lover could want in Slovenia’s Tivoli Park

8. Don’t be plan-less but PLAN LESS!

I’ve learned to couple planning with a healthy dose of spontaneity. This also helps me stay self-aware and adjust my travels and adventures to match my energy. Coupling planning with spontaneity also helps when we travel with others. Maybe I had a long hike planned, but a bike ride or walk by the beach seems more like everyone else’s speed and everyone might be a little happier with the added flexibility.

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9. Go Tech-Less.

I’ve been coaching runners and triathletes for a long time and it’s tough to separate them from their tech gear. They just love having metrics about everything! But once in awhile it’s time to forget about the numbers and just get out and go. When you’re not focused on your phone, you open yourself to other sensory experiences you wouldn’t notice otherwise. You see, hear, smell, and generally experience places differently this way.

10. Use what’s available for an outdoor adventure.

A while ago I was sitting outside a coffee house and a young boy, maybe 13, was doing amazing things. He seemed like a PARKOUR magician. He was using what was around him: chairs, benches, concrete walls, flower beds, and having so much fun. It reminded me that we can get creative, think outside the box, and turn the outdoors into a wonderful physical adventure. I won’t be doing Parkour anytime soon, but I can certainly use escalators and walkway systems, like I did in Hong Kong to create an amazing adventure of my own!

11. Do you believe in rewarding yourself? I certainly do.

Been out walking all day in Dublin? A Guinness is always nearby! Talk story, as they say in Hawaii, and share your adventurous tales with friends and family. And then plan your next adventure, or not!

What tips to stay healthy while traveling do you have to add to this list?

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