Tip #1: Do your research before you go
The internet is your friend and it will help you to explore the city you are visiting before you embark on your trip. I always find this especially important if you eat a plant-based diet like I do because it helps you to know how veg-friendly the city is and you can prepare by packing extra snacks if needed. I always look for:
- The closest natural foods or health foods store. (In a pinch, a regular grocery store will also do!)
- A nearby juice bar (if possible)
- Nearby Asian, Thai, Indian, and (healthy) Mexican restaurants. (These restaurants are usually my best bet for finding plant-based protein sources and fresh veggies in an unfamiliar city.)
If you know that you are traveling to a city that isn’t veg-friendly or doesn’t have any options for dining healthfully, the next few steps are really important because they will help you to be prepared and make the best choices on the trip.
Tip #2: Pack your snacks
Nothing is worse than traveling hungry. I always make sure I have a variety of healthy snack options with me to prevent blood sugar crashes. Some of my favorites include:
- Nuts (preferably unsalted and raw) or seeds
- Nut butters (I really love these individual Justin’s almond butter packets because they don’t have to be refrigerated for traveling and are easy to use on-the-go.)
- Dried fruit
- Larabars (Cashew Cookie is my favorite!)
- Herbal (or decaf) teas
Other items to pack:
- A small bottle of extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar (helpful for salad bars with limited dressing options)
- A can-opener (helpful if you plan to purchase canned beans)
Tip #3: Pick-up some fresh snacks and basic ingredients when you arrive
One of the reasons why I research a health foods or grocery store before I go is because then it’s easy to pick-up some fresh snacks when I arrive. Even if you don’t have a refrigerator in your room, you can easily make an ice bath in your sink to keep these items cold overnight or for a few days (just replenish the ice as needed.) Some of my favorites include:
- Whole carrots, cucumbers, celery sticks
- Fresh guacamole or an avocado
- Fresh fruit
- Mixed greens
- Canned beans
I love these options because they can easily double as meals if I need them too. I will often pair my flax crackers with hummus and veggies to make a light lunch or combine mixed greens with veggies, canned beans and the olive oil and vinegar that I packed to make a large salad for dinner. If you are planning to dine out or have lots of restaurant options, you might not need to be this resourceful.
Tip #4: Drink water and stay hydrated
One of the worst things about traveling is how dehydrated I feel during and after a flight. Carrying a water bottle and drinking lots of water ensures that I will stay hydrated and energized throughout my day. I also try to drink at least a cup of water for every hour that I am flying, as well as increasing water intake on the days before and after flying.
Tip #5: Eat smart when dining out
From small airports to big cities, I have experienced a variety of challenges during my travels over the last few years since going plant-based. Dining out is always easier if you are going to a restaurant that is veg-friendly or at the least has lots of healthy options, however, when that’s not possible here is what usually works for me:
- Start with a large salad. Every restaurant should have some type of salad and you can usually get it without cheese, croutons, and mayo-based dressing. This is helpful if you don’t have a lot of options for fresh food wherever you are dining.
- Pair together a variety of sides to create a meal. Restaurants are usually able to give you a side of black beans, steamed broccoli, and rice. In a pinch, this can be a lifesaver. I also like to order a side of beans and put them on top of a salad to bulk it up a bit.
- Ask what accommodations they can make. Some restaurants are more flexible than others, but often times they can remove cheese on items or make dishes vegetarian/vegan if you need them to be. A polite request can go a long way.
Tip #6: Supplement as needed
This last trip I used a few supplements that were immensely helpful for traveling and I will definitely be using these on future trips. My favorites were:
- Natural Calm Anti-Stress Drink packets. I found these individual packets were great for traveling and helping to reduce stress and fatigue during the trip.
- Airborne Immune Support on-the-go packets. Traveling can be stressful at times and I hate arriving home with a cold. I’ve had great results using Airborne while traveling in the past and I loved these packets because they were convient to mix with water during the flight.
- JetZone Jet Lag Prevention. This trip was my first time trying this supplement and I was a little skeptical of it as first, but I decided to try it because of the time difference. By the end of my trip I was exhausted, but I had a wonderful night of sleep when I returned and woke up incredibly refreshed the next morning. I know there is no way I would have felt this good without this. If you are traveling between time zones, I would definitely recommend trying it.
Tip #7: Respect your body
Traveling is physically and mentally exhausting and it’s important to take care of your body. This includes:
- Getting extra sleep as needed.
- Moving your body. This might be walking around the city, using a hotel gym, or doing some yoga poses in your room. I always pack my resistance bands so I can do some basic resistance exercises (e.g. arm curls, side leg lifts, etc) in a small space if I don’t have other options for exercise during the trip. This really helps with jetlag, overall fatigue, and feeling energized during the trip.
- Avoiding salt, sugar, and caffeine as much as possible. Even though I work to avoid these things in general, I have found that minimizing salt, sugar, and caffeine while traveling is especially helpful for keeping my energy level up and preventing mood swings.