6 Steps to Nailing Healthy Travel

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC


The last few months have been a non-stop whirlwind of travel.  When you’re on the road more than you’re not, it can be really destabilizing to your healthy routine.  But with a bit of planning ahead, you can make your trips super healthy, while not sacrificing the fun!

Here are my 6 steps to turning your travel into your healthiest experiences!

1. Change your mentality.

Thinking about your travel as a way to escape healthy eating, exercise, and good habits can really come back to bit you in the ass, especially if you find yourself traveling often.  Instead, shift your mentality!  Travel isn’t a carte blanche to let loose and undo all the good you’ve done, but instead, it’s a way to treat yourself amazingly, increase your self-care, and go above and beyond your typical routine!  Imagine coming back from every trip feeling rested, slim, energized and gorgeous!  Quite the contrast from the usual deplaning a hungover, tired, dark circle-eyed, bloated mess, right?  This one shift can make a world of difference.

I found that once I shifted my mentality around how I wanted to travel, I was able to enjoy my trips so much more!  I started thinking of travel as a great way to practice living exactly the life I want to live, without the distractions of work and everyday obligations.  Since daily movement, tons of luxurious self-care and plenty of down time are all big parts of the life I’m creating for myself, I use travel as an opportunity to really put it into practice.  I love doing yoga in my hotel room or at a great local studio, I always schedule in a spa treatment to luxe things up, I slow down, relax, and read, and I naturally wake up super early, feeling awesome, while traveling, which leaves me so much time to enjoy my stay!

2. Plan ahead.

Snacks for Healthy Travel

From the moment you leave the house, you set the tone for your whole trip, so make sure you plan ahead!  Eat a healthy meal before your flight, pack healthy essentials like your gym shoes or yoga mat, bring healthy snacks like nuts and kale chips for your flight so you’re not stuck with the in-flight options, research the healthy restaurants, spa treatments, yoga studios or outdoor activities you can partake in during your stay.  Set the intention for what kind of trip you want to have, and plan ahead to make it happen.

I always eat before leaving the house, and make sure to grab a huge bottle of water, a healthy lunch to carry on the plane, and some nuts if I have a longer flight (see my fave healthy plane snacks at right).  This way, I never arrive at my destination starving and primed to make poor food choices.  Instead, I feel energized and am ready to start the fun!

3. Focus on lunch.

Eating Healthy While Traveling

You certainly don’t have to deprive yourself of sampling the culinary delights that your destination has to offer, but eating huge, decadent dinners every night is going to have you coming home 5 pounds heavier and feeling like crap about yourself.  Instead, make lunch the biggest meal of your day while traveling (and ALL the time!), which gives you a little more leeway to try some yummy delicacies, while still having plenty of time to burn them off before bed.  Then, stick to lighter, more veggie-forward foods at dinnertime, when your digestion is slower and your body is winding down.

We always eat in a lunch-focused way, but particularly enjoy it when we’re traveling! Not only are prices lower at lunch, so you can indulge in yummy things like lobster or multi-course meals, but it also fuels the rest of our active day, and leaves us totally not hungry at dinnertime.  Since we like to go to bed early while traveling, this means our evenings can be jam packed with fun activities, without feeling weighed down and sluggish with a heavy meal, or unable to sleep because we’re still digesting.  Here’s a big yummy lunch we had while traveling in Minneapolis!

4. Be more selective.

You don’t have to order every famous dessert on the menu or drink two glasses of wine with every meal just because you’re on vacation.  Be a little more selective with which indulgences you choose to go for.  Have dessert with one meal (preferably lunch), but not all three.  Enjoy a glass of wine, but don’t go crazy.  And don’t forget about quality!  Honor yourself enough to only put the highest quality foods into your body.  Don’t blow your load on crappy food that you’ll regret later.

When Jonathan and I were in Key West, we obviously wanted to try all the yummy key lime pies the area is famous for. But we didn’t order them just anywhere!  We got our pie on at the yummiest, best restaurants, where we knew they were using quality ingredients.  And believe me, those slices were off the hook!

5. Stay active.

Staying Active While Traveling

Staying active while traveling helps you feel energized, healthy, and happy no matter where you are. Check out your hotel’s fitness facilities or class offerings in advance and bring whatever you need to partake in them.  Rent bikes and see your destination from a different vantage point.  If you’re visiting friends or family, have them take you to their favorite class.  Or simply do a quick 15 minute morning workout in your hotel room! Check out my playlist of workouts on Youtube!

Finding cool yoga classes to try when I travel is a new favorite activity of mine.  It’s so fun to get a feel for the community and experience a location as a (healthy) local.  We also love renting bikes when we travel.  It’s such a great way to explore a new city!

6. Indulge in self-care.

You deserve a reward for all your hard work and efforts in staying healthy! Schedule in a spa day, a massage, a mani-pedi, or at the very least, plenty of relaxing down time whenever you travel, be it for work or fun.  Taking time for you is more rewarding and the effects are more long-lasting than any pizza binge, and you’ll feel like a million bucks after.

This step is what really changed my travel from “time to let loose” to “time to really treat myself.”  When your trips become all about feeling really, super GOOD, the entire tenor of the experience shifts.  It becomes more about “how can I best serve myself during this stay?”

Healthy travel isn’t about depriving yourself of fun or being boring, it’s about turning your trips into occasions to be living your ideal life!

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