By Kylie Chenn
Traveling to a new country is exciting and can be an incredible adventure. Plus, being out of your routine can be refreshing and fun. But sometimes being in a new place causes us to break our healthy habits, like eating well or exercising. It is possible to make the most of your adventure and stay healthy and happy at the same time—trust me, I’ve traveled to more than 100 countries and spend over 50% of the year on the road. Here are some of my favorite totally doable strategies.
1) Choose an Aisle Seat
Staying healthy begins with the trip itself. Always choose an aisle seat, which will allow you to get up during long flights, or train or bus rides. Avoid sitting for more than 2 hours (unless you’re sleeping), so your metabolism stays fired up. You can even stretch in your seat or do calf raises or lunges as you walk through the aisles. Anything you can do to keep yourself active while en route is helpful.
2) Drink A Lot (Water, That Is)
Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to ensure you stay healthy throughout your trip—plus, if you do get sick, it can help combat the illness. Remember to drink bottled water (especially in countries with sanitation concerns), and stay away from sugary drinks like soda and juice, which can cause fatigue, indigestion and skin irritation.
3) Enjoy One Big (or Splurge) Meal Daily
One of the pleasures of travel is sampling local cuisine. Just be mindful of how much time you spend splurging on big meals. In the morning, stick to healthy fare such as fruit, eggs, and yogurt. Then, choose either lunch or dinner as your one big or splurge meal for the day, and really savor the best local foods. Make it an event that you enjoy with local friends or travel buddies. Keep your other meal and any snacks that day light and healthy.
4) Snack Smart
Speaking of snacks, local markets can be your best friend. Visit a grocery store and choose fruits, vegetables, and other light snacks that you can eat on the go. Bring some of your favorite snacks from home (such as nuts, nut butter and dried fruit) to have on hand just in case. Having familiar snacks will also help you slowly adjust to local cuisines that can be very different from what you’re used to eating. Be sure when purchasing fruits and vegetables from local market stands that you clean them thoroughly.
5) Stay Active
Just because you’re away from home and your favorite classes at the gym doesn’t mean you have to stop moving. Make sure each day includes at least one activity that keeps your body moving. Incorporate walking tours, bike rides and hiking into your itinerary. I also really enjoy walking through the markets early in the morning, right as whatever city I’m in is waking up, or taking a sunset walk at the end of the day if I’m near the beach. Bonus: You’ll be surprised at how much you learn and how many people you meet when you spend time just walking through a community.