Happy Trails to You: 5 Steps to Healthier Travel
Many of the exciting joys of travel revolve around new experiences: new faces, places, and cuisines, and breaking out of your daily routine. Whether jet-setting for a work trip or heading out on a great vacation, traveling can pose a few challenges to feeling your best and staying well.
1. Pack and Dress for Comfort and Activity
Staying comfortable on the road, especially for a long trip, helps get you off to a good start. Non-binding, comfortable clothes, and light layers that you can add or subtract make it easier to relax and move around. Comfortable walking shoes let you get few steps in during a layover or stop, and help you keep sure footing aboard a moving plane, train, or bus.
Even if you plan to get your exercise dancing on the deck or walking the course, it’s smart to bring clothes that accommodate a variety of activities - like a bathing suit or hiking shoes, keeping you ready for any active adventure.
Along with prescription medications, also tuck in an over-the-counter pain reliever, antiseptic cream, and a few bandages. It’s also helpful to include prescription information and your prescribing doctor’s contact information in case of any loss or spills on the road.
2. Stay Active en Route
Whether you’re in a car, plane, bus, or train, moving around during a long ride helps you counter stiffness, aches, and stress. A few easy moves can also help protect you from circulatory problems that can arise from cramped seating:
· On a plane, you can keep the blood moving with toe or heel raises, toe circles, shifting frequently in your seat, and walking in the aisle when it’s allowed. Avoid crossing your legs. Take advantage of any layovers to walk briskly and do some stretching.
· Aboard a train, you can stroll to the dining car or another car periodically. If you’re traveling by bus, hop off at a stop for a quick stretch or brief walk, depending on the schedule.
· On road trips, plan your route with frequent breaks for walks and stretches. Set a goal of stopping and moving every couple hours.
3. Try Low- or No-Equipment Workouts
For many travelers, exercise that is short, sweet, and uber-convenient is the ticket for fitting in fitness.
Resistance bands are easy to pack and can accompany an app or online video for a quick toning or strengthening routine. If your laptop has a DVD player, bring your favorite yoga, tai chi or other workout video, or find an online video.
While you’re enjoying your trip, you can opt for some stairs rather than the elevator or escalator. And if the pool is too small or crowded to swim laps, you can do water walking in the shallow end and kicks and leg lifts in chest-high water.
4. Find Healthier Food Options
Enjoying splurge-worthy food is part of a great trip for most of us, but settling for fast food or heavy snacks you could get anywhere is usually more frustrating than fun. It might take a little extra effort, but it’s worth it to find fresh, healthier meals and snacks to balance out a few wonderful indulgences.
Check out airport or terminal food options in advance. Chain family restaurants increasingly have healthier alternatives, and there are more fresh food and salad focused chains.
Pack healthy snacks while you’re out and about, like low-fat granola, energy bars, fresh fruit, carrots, and individual dips or peanut butter packs. If you’re captive at a conference or hotel with limited healthy meal options, check out smart delivery options online.
5. Promote Sweet Dreams
It’s easy to feel you should make the most of every minute during travel. But squeezing in more work or fun at the expense of sleep can really slow you down. Even in the short term, insufficient sleep can make you grumpy and groggy, and more accident prone. Many travelers find it harder to sleep on the road, so it pays to give extra attention to your sleep routine.
Prepare for a time zone shift by adjusting your sleep schedule before your trip. Gradually shift your bedtime and wake time in 30 to 60-minute increments toward the new time zone. Once you arrive, get 15 to 30 minutes of direct sunlight as soon as you wake up each morning.
To avoid sleep disruption from blue light, unplug from your phone, tablet, or TV at least an hour before bedtime. If you can’t kick the habit, use an app or device setting to filter out blue light.
Enjoy Your Trip! And Your Return Home
Maintaining these couple healthy habits while you travel can help you feel more refreshed and make it easier to pick back up your health and fitness routine when you get home. And planning your return is important too – build in some extra time to readjust to your own time zone, do some laundry, and settle back in before returning to work or your normal routine.