10 tips for healthy traveling!

Earlier last month, I got back from the biggest road trip of my life – Nashville – Niagara – New York- Washington DC – Smoky Mountains – Nashville. It may not seem like much of an itinerary to many, but for me, it was a mammoth excursion! And to my disbelief, it actually went very well. Given my aversion to travel, that’s a miracle for me!

So here’s what I concluded – It takes ten bad trips to get a good one. Just kidding! Funnily that’s what happened in my case. It doesn’t have to be that way. I must admit, I’m a homebody and not keen to travel. Although, turning around a little bit now. When I see folks all around me loving the idea of travel and getting super excited by it, I always wonder how that is enjoyable. For me, it wrecks my eating, activity, and sleep schedule. Hence any ideas of travel or trip planning are either shot down in my house by me or reluctantly agreed:). But this time was different. My parents were visiting, and we wanted to take them to the most visited places in the USA. And we had to do it right! So a lot of thought went into assessing what went wrong in the past trips(which were much smaller) and a lot of research went into planning this one.

Upon returning, I dissected what worked on this trip. It boiled down to the fact that I was able to have some sense of control over my eating, physical activity, sleep, and in turn, my mood:). I guess that was enough to keep me happy and enjoy the trip. Best of all, we all got home happy and healthy, and no one got sick.

Once back, we were able to return to our daily routines quickly. I attribute it to how well this trip went concerning eating, activity, and sleeping schedules. Which made it easy to get back to daily life, unlike in the past when I felt I needed another vacation after every trip.

During the summer break, many of us travel domestically and internationally. Hopefully, you will find these tips helpful to stay healthy on the go.

1. Diligently pack foods to take with you.

Quantity: In the past, every time I packed, we ran out of food halfway. This time, I packed enough to last us 40 days, or so I thought, and it was just the right amount for ten days :). So pack extra unless you exactly know how much your family needs. 
Quality: Also, I made sure to pack all the stuff we love at home, like Chai, oatmeal, various seeds, nuts, and bars. The plan was to buy fruits/veggies, milk, and eggs locally and limit eating out to 1 meal a day. I would say that plan worked out with 80% success.
Availability: So, in addition to taking food for the trip, every morning, before heading out for the day, we would pack bars, nuts, and fruits, to keep handy in our backpacks. That way, the good stuff is available to choose from when the outside junk tempts you, which is everywhere!

2. Take your reusable water bottle along.

I took water bottles for everyone in the family. Sure, we ended up buying a lot of water along the journey. However, in several places, we could fill our reusable bottles. That ensured we were constantly hydrating and no one was getting tired or sick due to dehydration.

3. Research local cuisine to stay on top of the game.

Study the places you will be visiting to know beforehand what part of the local cuisine you don’t want to miss. Look up the ingredients to see what the meal constitutes. I believe it’s ok to indulge with complete knowledge of what you are putting in your body and have a plan to compensate for the indulgence.

4. Plan for physical activity.

This was the most exciting part. All of these cities involved a crazy amount of walking. We went to museums, nature hikes, and sight seeing around NY and DC. The smoky mountains, of course, allow for breathtakingly beautiful hikes! Wherever you go, there’s always something to explore and get some enjoyable physical activity. Make the most of it!

5. Use fitness centers where-ever available.

In some locations, there were great gyms. So getting a quick morning workout was convenient. Also, it was fun to try a new gym each time. This especially was helpful on the days with a lot of driving. So my recommendation is, next time you stay at a hotel with a fitness center, definitely give it a shot. Chances are, you will enjoy the change!

6. Wear a fitness tracker/pedometer.

Wear a tracker and use it to keep track of your activity. I use my smartwatch to track steps, which always helps at home and when traveling. It is a good tool for staying motivated and being mindful of sedentary days, especially while traveling.

7. Stay focused on immunity
Keep your immunity in good shape by including fruits and high Vitamin C foods like lemons. I packed lemons and berries and took them from home. Wherever we went, we bought and consumed a lot of local fruits to ensure that all of us, including kids, were consuming enough Vitamin C and zinc. It is easy to do but goes a long way in warding off any infections on the go.

8. Don’t skimp on sleep

Sleep is paramount for the body to adapt effortlessly and avoid getting sick, especially with unavoidable water, air, and weather changes that come with travel. There were days we got late from sightseeing around town, but for the most part, we tried to get back at a reasonable time. It seemed like a good idea to not compromise on sleep. That guaranteed a good routine for us grown-ups and kids, and the next day, everyone was ready to conquer another elaborate sightseeing itinerary.

9. Fast when possible

I would load up pretty well at breakfast on most days to ensure energy till evening for an early dinner. During the day, It is easy to not think about food when one’s out sightseeing than at home or work. Plus, accomplishing early dinners is much easier outside compared to preparing the meal at home to eat. That was my rhythm, which gave me a nice overnight fasting window of 15-16 hours. Whatever your schedule, try to get in some fasting hours for the health benefits that come with it and avoid outside temptations for junk food.

10. Take the right mindset along

Just because you are on vacation doesn’t permit you to let slip all your healthy habits. Whether it’s a touristy trip, a staycation, or something in between, taking care of yourself always helps you get back truly recharged. When we don’t do that, we often return feeling like we need another vacation to recover from one. Who wants to feel like that! Instead, take care and travel well!!!

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