Please note that this post may contain affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost for you.
Vacations are the best time to enjoy a new place to the fullest. This includes all aspects, from outdoor activities, to sightseeing, and to food. Maintaining your health and getting sufficient physical activity during a vacation is not the most convenient, but important, nonetheless. Through my numerous travels I have learned a lot about the importance of health maintenance and physical activity when abroad. I know a thing or two about staying healthy (and getting sick) while traveling, having visited hospitals in at least 6 different countries, mostly while traveling solo. You won’t find me traveling without a mini first aid kit anymore! From these past experiences, I have gained extensive knowledge on learning how to stay healthy when traveling abroad. I have compiled a list of my best tips for how to stay healthy while traveling abroad.
Running to stay healthy while traveling abroad
Running is a fantastic way to first get to know a new city, and get in your daily exercise while on the road. With running, you get to explore backroads, find some off the beaten path things, and possibly meet some locals. The best part is you only need a pair of sneakers, making it an easy form of exercise to do anywhere in the world. It also gives you the opportunity to stop and explore certain spots at the drop of a hat or save them for later in your itinerary. Make sure to download an offline map of the city or town you are in and plan your route, maybe you’ll find some new things along the way! Even if you opt for a walk instead of a run, an offline map is one of my top smart solo traveler safety tips, but really just a travel tip in general.
Virtual/Live streaming workouts
If running isn’t your thing, no problem! There are numerous ways to exercise and maintain your fitness other than running. We are lucky to have access to many things at the tips of our fingers nowadays, including exercise. It’s now easier than ever to access live workouts with ClassPass, an affordable, user friendly app that provides you with credits upon payment every month to use for whichever classes you want.
You can choose strength training, Pilates, cycling, yoga, barre, and many more. Working out in small groups is proven to increase motivation and is a great way to meet people in your new destination. You can attend classes at selected studios in many large cities around the world, for example, New York City, Austin, London, and Sydney.
If you can’t make it to an in-person class, don’t sweat it! They have thousands of classes that are available to live stream with the ClassPass app. You are also able to select at-home workouts in an instant. Whatever your preference and fitness level is there is a class for you.
Minimal equipment workouts
In addition to ClassPass, there are many other outlets to stay fit and keep up your fitness level. Workouts with no equipment,or minimal equipment, are readily available for free on YouTube. There are numerous workout videos to accommodate all fitness levels. One of my favorite YouTube fitness instructors is Pamela Reif. Her quick fitness videos are perfect for a hotel room workout.
Resistance bands are a popular, convenient, and affordable way to achieve your exercise goals while traveling abroad. You can use resistance bands in a variety of ways, and they take up little to no room in your luggage.
Hydrate to stay healthy when traveling
Flying to your destination can be strenuous, especially if it’s a long haul flight. Long flights can dry out your skin and leave you super dehydrated. Make sure that while you’re on the flight you stay hydrated with plenty of water. While it’s always fun to enjoy a glass of wine at 30,000 ft, it is important to drink in moderation while flying to avoid unnecessary dehydration. Taking care of yourself on the journey over will set the pace for how you feel for the rest of your time traveling. Start off on the right foot and drink a lot of fluids throughout the day of your scheduled flight.
Even after your departure date, it is still vital to drink plenty of fluids everyday while traveling abroad. This will help keep your energy levels up, minimize potential headaches, and help you to avoid feeling unwell. Taking electrolyte support, such as DripDrop is a great way to fight dehydration.
Boost your immune system
When traveling you’ll probably be coming into contact with lots of people, on board a flight, at museums, or even sharing a room at a backpackers hostel. It’s super important to boost your immune system as much as possible.
My choice of natural supplement is 8Greens, which are dissolvable tablets that provide a significant number of vitamins and minerals that many travelers don’t receive enough of daily. You simply pop one in a glass of water and you’re good to go — super traveler friendly. They also have summer yummy gummies, packed with the same nutrients. 8Greens supplements are made from real greens, like wheatgrass, kale, spirulina, and aloe vera. It is not a dietary replacement so much as it is a booster to be combined with an already healthy diet. While food is obviously an essential part of appreciating any new destination, taking a daily 8Greens supplement guarantees you receive the greens you need. Plus, then you can just focus on all of the pizza and gelato in Europe!
Wash your hands
Wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer if you aren’t able to wash your hands. This article is being written during the midst of a pandemic, so obviously hand sanitizer is top of mind, but it’s always important. If you’re flying, you’ll want to keep it to under 3oz. Washing your hand it one of the easiest ways to stay healthy while traveling.
Hiking to stay healthy while traveling
One of the best ways to stay healthy while traveling is to plan a hiking adventure. Whether you’re planning on adding a quick day hike into your itinerary, or a multi-day backpacking adventure, hiking is a great way to stay fit and healthy. Some of my favorite trips of all time have included amazing hikes. Here are a few of my favorites.
- Mt Batur Sunrise Hike
- Best Hikes in Upstate NY
- Grand Teton Hiking Trails
- Best Sri Lanka Hikes
- 3 Days in Banff
If hiking isn’t an option, than you may want to consider a city that will allow you to easily walk to the sights. NYC is a great example of a walkable city to visit.
Be flexible with you plans
Sometimes, plans do not work out, and that is okay. It happens! While you are creating your list of must-sees and dos make sure to be a bit flexible with them and do not cram too much into one day as this may lead you to exhaustion. It is a good idea to have a backup plan in case of crowds or bad weather. Organize some enjoyable alternatives that you would like to do just in case. Stay open minded in your planning because who knows, you may find something else you want to do even more than you originally planned!
Get enough sleep
If you are traveling to a different time zone, it is important that you allow your body to adjust to the new time zone. Adjust your body clock the day of travel, or even one day before, if the time difference is significant. You can do this by getting in the mindset of your destinations’ time zone and trying to alter your sleep schedule as soon as possible. If the time difference is not significant, focus on transitioning your activities the day you arrive so you can get to bed at a reasonable hour, ideally obtaining 7-8 hours of sleep your first night.
To travel healthy, you have to eat right
Eating healthy, nutritional foods is undeniably the best way to take care of your body, even more so when putting your body under stress. No one knows your body like you do so it is important to listen to it. Even if that means adding a bit of spinach onto your pizza, or skipping that second gelato, sometimes.
Recognize any food sensitivities you may have and search for reviews of the restaurants you want to visit. Make sure that if you have any severe allergies, you have the tools you need to communicate that in the local language. Firsthand reviews can also make or break a restaurants’ status. There is no better way to be informed about the quality, menu, and hygiene standards than from others that have recently been there. If a fellow traveler had a questionable experience, skip it.
Cooking at your accommodation is always a great and affordable option too. Shopping at the local stores can introduce you to some new items that you may love! Have some time in and cook for yourself and your travel companions if you are traveling with others.
Practice safe food hygiene
While there are many unpleasant things you can experience on a trip abroad, stomachaches and food poisoning are not fun in any case. Many restaurants will have a food and hygiene rating that you can easily access online to check if you wish to before going. Of course, if you’re dining on street food or from small local vendors, this might not be possible. Just in case, you should always travel with some Western travel medicine, such as anti-diarrhea pills and gas relief tablets. Both of these are on my list of best travel accessories I never travel without.
In many countries abroad, drinking the local tap water isn’t safe for foreigners. I recommend sticking to bottled water, or traveling with a LifeStraw to easily filter your water. This goes for brushing your teeth as well, depending on the destination.
No matter how long you travel for, understanding how to stay healthy while traveling abroad is essential to having a great time. Take care of yourself before and throughout your trip by planning ahead, being flexible with your itinerary, getting proper sleep, taking supplements, and performing daily exercise. These actions will ensure you have the best time possible. By understanding how to travel healthy, you set yourself up for an unforgettable trip.