Travel

Top 7 Healthy Traveling Tips

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
  • Crackers
  • 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
  • Hummus
  • 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.

5 Simple Tricks to Improve Your Travel Experience

ONE. Drink a head turning amount of water. 

Dehydration creeps up on you while traveling. Sitting in a seat for hours, sweating ever so slightly, humidifying very dry air with your breath, battling inflammation and fatigue, - your fluid demands are up there. But, are you drinking more? A LOT more? You should be. My simple rule for travel is to drink until your pee runs clear. This will ensure your body is getting all the fluids it needs to flush, cool, circulate, and rehydrate. Yes, I recommend the aisle seat!

 

TWO. Wash hands OFTEN.

I am not a 'germaphobe' and do not use hand sanitizers usually, but I do think there is a time and a place for hand cleaners and keeping hands exceptionally clean. Many folks complain of the lack of bacteria in our digestive tracts and argue against hand cleaners on that basis. However, I think the argument falls flat, especially when travelling - it is not a shortage of bacteria, but a shortage of GOOD bacteria that bites us. When travelling, especially in a plane, you are sitting in a human made test tube of everyone's bugs. Add in some sleep deprivation, some stress, a bit of traveler's diarrhea, and a likelihood of eating nutrient deficient food (and typically gut damaging) while on the road, and it becomes a case of "give me your bugs and I will grow them for you". To avoid this, wash your hands often, be very careful of what you touch with your hands and what you put in your mouth (skip the hand snacks unless you have just washed your hands) and on top of washing your hands often, feel free to be a snob with your hand cleaner and to decline anyone's hands (including yours) touching your food/face/mouth.

 

THREE. Don't eat gut damaging or pro inflammatory foods.
If it contains gluten, skip it. Even if it is not gluten-laden, if the food is crap, just SKIP the meal. Pre and during travel is not the time for that cheat meal, or to start your "holiday binge" or to inflame your gut, or increase gut permeability to allow gram negative bacteria (the bad ones!) into your system more readily. Did I mention that you are locking yourself in a human test tube, full of bad bacteria and not so friendly viruses? Don't give them a head start - give YOURSELF the head start - keep your gut lining healthy and intact!

Specifically skip the gluten, the sugary cereals, and any dairy you don't normally consume and tolerate very well. Avoid the heavily processed crap they try to feed you before, during, and after your journey. Better options are to take your own food, or be very judicious in your eating selection, or just SKIP the food on offer, and fast your way between safe eating destinations. Make it as hard as possible for any ingested nasties to get into your system though a damaged gut lining, while keeping inflammation low and your gut healthy so your immune system has the bandwidth to smack the nasties that do get in.


FOUR. Keep a Clean (Sinus) House.

Perform a nasal rinse beginning two days before, during, and for two days after your flight. If you consider the same principle as the one above of eating cleanly to maintain gut integrity - if you are going to be more heavily exposed to things that want to hurt you - make it as hard for them to set up shop as possible. In this case, we want to leave your sinuses as unblocked as we can, while flushing out any rapidly growing microbe colonies. This one works a treat, and is doubly important if you intend on doing any scuba diving at your end destination. Free diving in the salt water of the ocean by the way, is a great way to score a solid nasal rinse for free while looking at fishies. You can get these at your local pharmacy or online.

 

 

FIVE. BE Proactive with Your Nutritional Insurance. 

This part is the easy part. To stack the deck in my favor I just load up with an "immune" daily dose of Athletic Greens from three days prior to the trip through to two or three day's after my flight or drive. For me that means taking 2-3 servings each day for that period. I also make sure to double up on my daily probiotic about 1 week prior to and during travel. This will almost always prevent any occurrence of traveler's diarrhea, I rarely get so much as a sniffle, and this leaves my energy rocking super high when I get to my destination - which is perfect, since it allows me to do what I traveled to do... enjoy my holiday!
I hope you do the same (enjoy the holiday) and incorporate these tricks to make this happen.