Being on the road often can take a toll on your body and your health if you arent prepared. Here are our top 5 tips for staying healthy while enjoying your vacation. *Always check with your doctor first before undertaking an exercise, diet or medication change*
Try to keep your diet consistent.
Traveling invariably involves eating out for most, if not all of your meals. When you are at home it is easy to prepare healthy & balanced meals, but on the road your options are often limited. Plan ahead so rest stops dont have to be filled with fried fast food. Pack healthy snacks to nibble on while on the bus. Trail mix, crackers, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches or fruit are all excellent ways to starve off hunger. Raw almonds are easily portable, high in protein, iron, fiber and are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fat. They also contain more calcium than any other nut, making them a perfect traveling companion. Overeating can also be a problem while on vacation. Try to pay attention to portion sizes at restaurants, and if you indulge at one meal, try to make the others that day lighter. Consider sharing appetizers or desserts with your traveling companion. Dont beat yourself up over that slice of cheesecake though, little indulgences make life more enjoyable, but everything in moderation. Staying hydrated is the final key for a healthy diet on the road. Try to carry a bottle of water with you at all times, or bring a refillable bottle with you. On most long day trips and multiday trips we have cold water you can use to refill your bottle.
Keep those germs at bay.
Travel, especially during cold & flu season, can leave you exposed to germs, but there are precautions you can take to insure that all you bring home with you are fond memories. Studies from the University of Virginia show that the cold-causing rhinovirus can survive in a hotel room for more than 48 hours. Guess where they love to live? The television remote! Wash your hands after handling highly used items like the remote, phone or doorknobs, or even better, wipe them down with alcohol-based hand sanitizer or a sanitizing wipe. Wash your hands as often as possible while traveling with either soap & water or hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose & mouth as those are the easiest ways for germs to get in your system. Cough or sneeze into your elbow, not into your hands to avoid spreading germs to other travelers. Before you depart on your trip, you can boost you immune system by eating a diet rich in antioxidants (foods like beans, berries, apples & potatoes are great sources). Vitamin C is another traditional way to boost your immune system. Be careful not to overdo the vitamin C, as too much can send you running to the bathroom. Try to spread out doses or opt for natural sources like citrus fruits. Also, dont forget to pack all of your current medications! A well-stocked travel health kit would include your current medications, multivitamins, hand sanitizer, tissues, pain/fever medicine, motion sickness medicine, Pepto Bismol and/or Tums, and bandages and first aid cream. Did you know an excellent way to help with motion sickness is to eat a protein packed meal before departure rather than a carb-loaded meal or eating nothing at all?
Exercise a little each day.
I know, this is your vacation, the last thing you want to do is be bothered with exercise. But exercise is an excellent way to increase your energy, especially after a long day spent on the bus! It doesnt have to be an hour long sweaty, exercise session to reap the benefits. Utilize hotel fitness centers, or take a few laps in the pool if the hotel has one. If they dont have facilities you can try taking a brisk walk around the block (be sure to take necessary safety precautions before venturing into an unfamiliar neighborhood), or just take a brisk walk through the hotels hallway. If you dont want to venture out of your room, doing some simple stretches (using a desk chair or the wall for support if necessary) can help you get a better nights sleep, improve your mood and keep your muscles flexible. Consider packing some light hand or wrist weights for an added benefit (always consult your doctor first). Stretching is also a great way to unwind at the end of the day spent sightseeing!
Try to maintain normal sleep patterns.
Early mornings and late nights arent easy when your body isnt accustom to them. Its hard to enjoy your travels if you are sleep deprived. The night before a trip leaving early in the AM, spend the night before doing quiet activities. Have your bags packed and ready to go earlier in the day so you can spend the evening unwinding with a cup of tea and a book. Bring a pillow and travel blanket on the bus. Dont be embarrassed to take a nap on the bus you wont be the only one and you will be happy to have some comforts of home with you. It can be hard to sleep in unfamiliar places so to help you relax at the hotel, consider packing your favorite bed pillow, earplugs, eye mask or even a white noise machine. Most hotel rooms have a coffee or tea maker, if your nighttime bed routine includes a hot beverage, bring along your favorite flavor!
This is your vacation after all! Stressing over the small things is a sure fire way to sabotage your trip. Stress can make your body physically ill (headaches, constipation, nausea, high blood pressure), lowers your resistance to germs, and will certainly ruin your enjoyment of your trip. So try to relax, let the little things slide and have a good time!