Top 10 Ways To Stay Healthy (+ Sane) When You Travel

For my job, I have to take frequent short business trips and I often take short trips for running and funning. I am becoming a self fashioned expert in ways to stay sane and healthy on the road.

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Here are My Top 10 Ways to Stay Healthy and Sane on The Road:

1. Plan Ahead – Do some research before your trip. Like what? Plan your flights or travel so that you don’t have to be stressed about being on time. Learn about the destination and see if you can walk places, etc. Pick a hotel with a gym. Look for healthy eating choices. See if any of your colleagues like to run and plan a route (or ask at the hotel for maps). Pack some on the go meals and snacks (see # 2). Check to be sure you have toiletries and all of the items you need for your meetings. Make a checklist – The Husband is really good at this. Check your itinerary a day or two in advance (be sure you have booked the right day, time, airport – learned this one the hard way!).

2. Always Bring Snacks… Or Even Full Meals – Anyone who has worked with me or traveled anywhere with me for any amount of time knows I ALWAYS have snacks… and gum. One of my biggest downfalls for healthy eating is scarfing down everything in sight because I wait too long to eat. Also, airports and rest stops can be food deserts, though that is getting better in some places. I always bring nuts, dried fruit and a variety of raw food/super healthy energy bars. (Need energy bar ideas? Check out my past giveaways for tons of great options!) I also have started bringing jerky and other high protein options. If I have to travel in the morning, I love Vigilant Eats cereal (just add water – hot or cold for a nutritious breakfast). I bring fresh fruit when I can, too. At airports, and in life, you never know what you are going to get, so bring your own!

3. Bring Workout Clothes… and Use Them – I always pack workout clothes and sneakers for overnight trips. Even if I only have 10 extra minutes, I try to workout. Whether it is with my J & J 7 Minute Workout App or just doing some basic moves. Why? When I started traveling for my first “real” job, I gained a ton of weight and felt terrible because I never had “enough” time. Now I know that 10 or 20 minutes is better than nothing.

4. Walk or Just Move! – When possible, I try to get a hotel in walking distance from my meetings so that I can walk. I take the stairs. I walk around airports and lobbies when I am waiting. I try to take walk breaks or walking meetings if folks are game. This may seem a bit nutty, but it really helps! On days when I have limited or no exercise, I still try to get my 10,000 steps.

5. Check Out Restaurant Choices and Menus in Advance – Before I go to a new city or spot, I look to see what the restaurant choices are. If I am traveling with colleagues, I volunteer to make the reservations. This way, I can scout menus in advance and then pick a place with healthier options. Plus I get bonus points for taking initiative. A win-win!

6. Wear Noise Canceling Headphones/Bring Extra Earbuds – I always fail to remember my noise canceling head phones. The Husband never fails. He is a much happier traveler than me. Be like The Husband and be happier. I do always have extra earbuds in my bag – just in case!

7. Bring a Book or Magazine to Unplug – On really long traveldays, make sure to unplug. Bring a book or a magazine (or several). I read magazines and then leave them on planes or share them with seatmates. The latter is a great way to make someone’s day – especially with the less literary magazine (read trashy)! I also like to write notes long hand for a change or to write cards or letters. These are also great for making someone’s day when you send them.

8. Load Up on Podcasts and e-Books – if you read this blog, you may know I am a bit obsessed with podcasts. I also love to read. I download a ton of extra podcasts and books – just in case I get stuck with extra time on my hands.

9. Remember…There’s an App for That – Take advantage of technology. Use Yelp to find a coffee, healthy eats, the gas station to gas up the rental. Use Uber to get a ride. Try the 7 Minute Workout app for a quick workout that you can do in your hotel room or anywhere. Don’t forget the Kindle app in case you leave home without your Kindle or Ipad. I also have all of my airline apps, and Kayak and Hotel Tonite in case my plans get messed up. Oh, and never forget the power of Twitter when your plans get messed up. There are tons of good ones. There are many great lists of apps to try on the road. What are your faves?

10. Breathe Deeply and Smile – Whether it is a crying child, or the one kicking your seat, an obnoxious person or a massive flight delay, some things are out of your control. I have been trying (and I sometimes still fail) to stop, take a few deep breaths and smile.

My cheat sheet:

10 Tips to Stay Sane + Health on The Road

Here are some other great links on active and healthy travel:

What are your tips and tricks for staying healthy when you travel? Please leave them in the comments.

PS. Don’t forget my greatΒ giveaways and this week’s Weds. Giveaway Round Up Link Up!

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73 Comments

  1. Jeff F. says:

    I always travel with a USB battery source. I never worry about being near a power source knowing I can charge my phone – on a plane, outside at a race (for when your race takes 15 hours πŸ˜‰ ) – at the only seat in an airport bar during a ground stop.

  2. I always pack more workout clothes than regular clothes when we travel and always pack snacks-great advice. My husband made fun of me for this recently until he was snagging my almonds on a train ride. Good tips!

  3. These are perfect tips! The only other thing I would add is to invest in good luggage if you’re going to be traveling a lot. It makes a huge difference!

    • Erica A says:

      Thanks, Katie! Such a good add and SO true. I have an awesome Tech Back pack from Apera that is a lifesaver for my tech stuff and a very good rolling bag.

  4. This is some great advice, thanks for sharing

  5. Pam says:

    I don’t travel much so I would never have thought of some of these tips. When I do travel I always pray that my kids won’t be the abnoxious one. Their usually well behaved girls!

    • Erica A says:

      I will tell you that as long as the parents pay attention and TRY to keep their kids calm, I am fine even with the obnoxious ones. The mom who puts on HER noise canceling head phones to avoid HER obnoxious children will get the hateful looks from me!

  6. Good tips, wish I traveled more! I always bring a ton of workout clothes and then don’t ever wear half of them!

    • Erica A says:

      I know – sometimes I have more workout clothes than real clothes. My colleagues make fun of me b/c I usually stay in business clothes for dinners and stuff. Who has room for casual clothes??

  7. Lesley says:

    I try to do a lot of these, especially the plan ahead. There’s always healthy options, I just need to find them. I’d rather pack a lunch than be stuck with fast food at an airport.

  8. Jeffrey says:

    When traveling for marathons I normally pack all my meals for before the race and then enjoy the local fare afterwards. My wife and I are going on an 8 night cruise in a couple of months and I have a few marathons within a month of our return so I basically have to lose 5-10 pounds before we leave. The last one we went on I gained a pound a day and that was with working out over an hour everyday in the fitness center!

  9. Cassi says:

    Great tips for staying healthy when traveling for business or pleasure.

  10. These are great tips. I always pack workout clothes with me because I know that seeing them in my suitcase will encourage me to get out and move! And checking out restaurant options ahead of time is great too–helps you make wise decisions rather than hurried, hangry ones. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

    • Erica A says:

      Thanks, Anna! I have made so many mistakes over the years that I am trying to get it right now πŸ™‚ Though I did recently head to San Fran for 3 days with no toiletries. Oops. Nothing that a little money could not fix. Ha ha.

  11. Channing says:

    Earbuds are a must, the universal symbol for leave me alone lol! Whenever I wear them nobody bothers me, which I need from time to time πŸ™‚

  12. Maureen Ryan says:

    Love these! I will be sharing! Jeff F, I like the addition of a USB battery source. I don’t have one of those and I think I might do what Erica did and make that a gift for a few travelers in my life:-)

    • Jeff F. says:

      they’re a great investment – even for long days when you’re out and about all day at work/errands/dinner and want to be able to charge your phone, ipod, etc.

  13. People laugh when they see me pack food. They are not laughing later on when I am fine and they are not. Same thing with light jackets and pashminas etc even when I am going somewhere warm–hello, you still have to get there!

  14. Kaitlyn A. says:

    Love this list! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Great list! I LOVE being the seatmate of someone who is giving me a magazine. As much as I LOVE my Kindle, sometimes I even want to turn that off!

  16. Ali says:

    Love these tips! Planning ahead is sooo important, especially with eating. I agree that #2 is really key to staying both happy and on track. It’s so easy to grab a crummy snack at an airport or on the go, but if you’ve planned ahead and brought suitable choices with you then you don’t have any excuses.

  17. Donna says:

    This is great and very organized. I love it! I’m very much a list maker when doing anything, especially planning trips. This is right up my alley!

  18. Sun says:

    Great travel tips! I agree that planning ahead is the best way to stick with a healthy diet/exercise plan. Plus, it’s fun to look at restaurant options and exercise routes in advance πŸ™‚

  19. Tianna says:

    thanks for this! I always get kind of scatter-brained when I travel so this helps!

  20. Shayna says:

    I always bring snacks with me when I travel! When I went on a girls trip to Vegas a few years ago, my friends all teased me about it. Until they each, one by one, came sheepishly to me to see if I’d share! I hate being stuck somewhere and not have either any options, or no healthy options when I’m out of town!

  21. Great tips and ideas, love the “breath deep and smile”, that is actually a great thing to be able to do, because we can never control what others do or say!
    Bringing snacks is a good idea, I always forget that one and end up buying snacks, which then tend to be far more sugary than I should be eating:)
    I love traveling, but I agree doing a little research ahead of time saves all the stress and just gives you an excited peace of mind of the upcoming travel!

  22. Great tips! I always try to pack healthy snacks when I’m traveling too because I hate being trapped on a plane for hours with only gross airplane food as an option.

  23. Sarah H says:

    I’m really good at packing my workout clothes…just not as good at always using them πŸ™‚ Same goes for sticking to healthy foods, I tend to think of any trip as a vacation from good habits…whoops! I love this list – lots of good reminders!

  24. Great post, Erica! My other travel must have is my HALO backup battery charger. My mother in law gave it to me before my last trip to run the Dopey Challenge at WDW and I put it in my hydration pack during the marathon. I loved being able to have a full battery so I could use my GPS running app, take a bunch of pics with characters, and share on social media without having to worry about my battery running out.

  25. Sarah says:

    You are so right about bringing snacks, I remember when I used to diet I always had a snack in the car with me just in case.

  26. All great tips for staying healthy while traveling. Even though its difficult to always fit workouts in while I’m away, I always tell myself that doing some form of exercise (even if its lots of walking) is better than no exercise at all. Sticking with a routine while away from home is always very difficult, but it isn’t difficult to make healthy choices while you are away.

    • Erica A says:

      I agree! I try to remember with food and drinking to try everything but to remember moderation. That helps. I also tend to skip meeting breakfasts and bring my own (for internal meetings always and if appropriate with clients.)

  27. I’m travelling to Vancouver in May, So I’ll have to keep these in mind. I especially like the tips about bringing snacks and podcasts.

  28. I never leave home without a book.Thanks to my libraries online offerings I can download e-books and audio-books.Reading or listening to books is definitely my de-stress and unwind ritual. I’ve also learned my lesson about not having a snack with me! I’ll never travel without something ever again!

  29. Amanda R says:

    I love all these tips! So useful. I agree with packing your own food. I used to be a flight attendant and would bring a big cooler with me when I traveled. Airport food was the worst and expensive!

  30. Farrah says:

    YES on the snacks/food! I bring a wholeee ton of food with me wherever I go (whether or not I’m traveling). My med school friends referred to me as the bag lady (bag[s] of food), haha. …and I tend to plan my vacations/trips around the meals I want to eat. :]

    Great tips! :]! I need to check out that 7 Minute Workout app! No matter how busy I am, I should at least be able to throw in 7 minutes! πŸ˜€

  31. great tips! I am traveling this week for business! I have my workout clothes, snacks and earplugs- I am set!

  32. Kimberly says:

    Great tips! I actually find it easier to focus on my fitness when I’m traveling because I’m away from all my other responsibilities. It’s one of the things I love about traveling.

  33. Chelsie says:

    great tips! I find that uploading an audiobook keeps me sane while traveling. I also pack tons of snacks!

  34. Bradley says:

    This harks back nicely to our discussion on my Travel. Run. blog! Thanks for sharing these great tips! I will take them with me on my next business trip.

  35. These are great tips! I always like to prepare as much as possible before going anywhere just to increase the chances of being able to stay on track while away. It’s all about preparation!!

  36. All great tips, and I’m a firm believer in #5. I always research restaurants before I visit a city, even if it’s one with which I’m fairly familiar. Thanks to Chowhound and Yelp, I haven’t had a bad dining experience while on the road in quite a while.

  37. Ima Mosier says:

    Great tips! I love to go for runs when I travel. You get a totally different view of the area. I also love the 7min app. Love this post!

  38. Great tips! I always make sure that I pack enough workout clothes, especially if I have to travel for work. If I’m bored after a conference or something, hitting the gym is always a good option and way to kill time when you have to be away.

  39. Safari says:

    Love it!! Definitely agree with packing your snacks…have to pack your snacks when travelling…heck…I just travelled to a meeting that’s downstairs in my building and carried my snacks. LOL

  40. […] Erica’sΒ Top 10 Ways to Stay Healthy (& Sane) When You TravelΒ to see ALLΒ of her healthy travel […]

  41. Rosie says:

    These are all good tips. I try to remember everything that I realized not having prior made a trip unpleasant. I also try to grow out of taking my favored pillow and a few other things, that I need a caravan!

  42. Kimberly Z says:

    This was most helpful. I already do most of these things. Everytime I go to purchase noise cancelling headphones, I look at the price and decide not to get them. This is from someone who learned how to pack a pillow & blanket into her carry-on. I regret not having those headphones everytime! I am finally going to buy them!!!!

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