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how to stay healthy while traveling abroad

This post will cover the exact things I do to stay healthy while traveling abroad with tips on how to feel your best before, during, and after your trip. 

I’m going to be real with you and say I like to indulge in sweets and spirits just as much as anyone else. Pass by a bakery and go inside for a treat. Yes! Find a local pub with beers I’ve never heard of. Absolutely!

As Joe Rogan said on a Podcast, I give into mouth pleasure. Basically meaning, I eat garbage because sugar is addicting.

But that was then and this is now.

After countless trips abroad, I got tired of always feeling weighed down, bloated and low on energy. By the end of the trip, I felt as though I needed a vacation from my vacation. I’m sure many of you have heard that expression before.

I would beat my body up so bad to the point of feeling disgusted in my own skin and guilty because I knew better.  Traveling is meant to be uplifting and good for the soul, not a time for feeling down about yourself.

As someone who travels often, I can honestly say I’ve had trips where most days were a series of binge drinking and not giving a f*@k about diet, and others where I actually worked out and deliberately ate healthier.

Spoiler. The former always resulted in a better trip.

Rest assured, the drinks are still very much there, but I’ve learned this thing called “balance” and that what I’m here to share with you today. 

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how to stay healthy while traveling abroad

Floating market in Thailand. This place was filled with tons of fruits and nuts for snacking. Did I mention they were crazy cheap? I’m talking $1 cheap for a bag of fruit.

So, how exactly do you stay healthy while traveling?

My philosophy is that in order to feel your best self while traveling, you need to do change some part of your lifestyle, or shall I say, travelstyle. This process needs to start before the trip – at least one day prior.

I’ve broken this post down into three sections:

  1. What to do before and during the long-haul flight
  2. Ways to stay healthy during your vacation
  3. Post-trip recovery

How Can I Boost My Immune System Before Traveling?

I’ve started making Acai bowls at home as a way to get antioxidants which boost the immune system.

These are the exact acai packets I use. It’s super easy to make. In the food processor, I throw in one Acai packet, half of a banana, half cup of frozen berries, and 1/4 cup of almond milk.

When finished blending, I sprinkle these DELICIOUS coconut clusters with super seeds on top of the smoothie bowl. So good!

You also need to increase foods rich in vitamin C & E such as oranges, avocados, and olives. You can get theses vitamins from certain meat and seafood, I just don’t eat many of them.

how to stay healthy while traveling abroad

An apple on the plane keeps the doctor away.

How Do You Stay Healthy On An International Flight?

My last trip to Tokyo was 14 hours. 14 HOURS!!!! That’s a long time. The best part is I did not experience any jet lag. I slept like a baby on the night of my arrival and it’s all due to these following acts.

Sanitize Your Space

Don’t trust the flight crew to do a good job at cleaning your seat area. Sure they will pick up crumbs but what about killing germs and other stuff I don’t want to think about?

Bring a pack of sanitation wipes and wipe down your air vent and armrest – everything around you. Airports and airplanes in general, are cesspools. You don’t want to catch anything so bring sanitizer.

Move around

Swelling of the legs and feet is real on long-haul flights. It’s important to move around and keep the blood flowing.

Every hour that you are awake you should get out of your seat to walk up and down the aisles and stretch the body.

If the seatbelt sign is turned on, you can always engage the calf muscles and do a walking motion with your legs while sitting.

how to stay healthy while traveling abroad

Ditch airplane food and bring your own snacks

I personally prefer snacks that don’t require any special treatment (aka refrigerated goods) or anything that makes the plane smelly. You know. That airplane smell mixed with everyone’s food? Not my favorite scent in the world.

Yes, in-flight meals tend to be a little better on international flights, but I’m still not the biggest fan. Typically they are high in carbs and all sorts of stuff I’ve never heard of. Processed food at its finest.

That’s why I opt for something simple and delicious like nutter puffs. nutter puffs are crispy corn puff goodies that come in either peanut butter or chocolate and peanut butter flavors. They are also vegan and contain 5g of protein and only 130 calories per serving.

I can finally have a snack that is delicious, healthy, and low storage maintenance. On my last trip, I brought bags of nutter puffs with me which you can get straight from Amazon.

Apples are also a great choice. They are high in fiber and sweet enough to satisfy your urge for something sweet.

Most importantly, stay away from high carb meals and salty food. If they are unavoidable, then reduce portion size and increase water intake.

Speaking of food, one of my biggest pet peeves with international flights is their timing of in-flight meals. They serve meals according to local time when they should serve meals based on the local time of arrival destination.

Depending on when your flight is and what time you arrive at your destination should determine when you eat.

For example, when we flew from Las Vegas to Tokyo, there was a 16-hour difference. We boarded the flight around noon which was 4 am Tokyo time. Shortly after takeoff, an in-flight meal was served.

I would never be awake, eating a full meal at 4 am, therefore, I skipped the meal and instead went to bed. I ate lunch and dinner based on Tokyo time.

This is one way to reduce jetlag which I discuss next. 

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Where to Find Vegan Tapas in Granada, Spain

 

stay healthy while traveling

How to Overcome Jet Lag Fast

Reducing jet lag is an important step towards staying healthy while vacationing abroad. Jet Lag prevention starts before the flight. As I mentioned above, a boost to your immune system never hurts, but I also recommend the following steps:

The day before your flight

  1. Pack in the morning so you’re not up all night.
  2. Get a good workout in.
  3. Hydrate by drinking tons of water.
  4. Get a full nights rest.

While you wait at the airport

  1. Hydrate. Like your pee should be clear.
  2. Move around and stretch. Don’t sit around on your phone. Instead, stand around on your phone and move your body while doing so.
  3. Eat veggies and proteins (limit carbs, sugar, super salty foods).
  4. Limit alcohol. We’re not perfect. This is about to be an exciting trip. A glass of wine is needed to celebrate. Just don’t get carried away and drink water in the process.

On the plane

  1. Drink tons of water.
  2. Try to fast and/or eat healthy snacks.
  3. Walk around and stretch.

After landing

  1. Surprise, surprise, Hydrate.
  2. Eat a healthy meal or fast until next-day depending on when you land.
  3. Power through and stay awake or sleep according to the new time zone. An easy way to do this is to arrive in destinations later in the day. Reasons are because you are most likely tired from traveling anyways and with the night sky your body will signal it’s time to sleep.
  4. Read before bed.

First full day

  1. Exercise at the beginning of the day. Go for a run or do a quick workout in your room. 
  2. Intermittent fast and break with a healthy meal full of veggies.

I am a huge fan of intermittent fasting. This may be TMI but I used to get constipated when traveling. It was never a good feeling to have right at the beginning of the trip. Medication never worked, or I would overdose and that too was never good. Finally, I tried a natural way.

I started to hydrate more, fasted the first day, then broke fast with a healthy meal. Think of it as a body cleanse and reset.

Y’all know I love to eat and drink my way around cities, but I couldn’t enjoy it as much when my body felt like crap.

One commonality to all this is to stay hydrated and it’s most important at the beginning.

By this, I mean drinking a gallon of water a day. No, that is not extreme. If you are let lagged, constipated, and bloated, then you need to drink way more water than you think.

I am attached to my 40oz thermal flask. I know if I fill it up 3 times a day I am right around a gallon.

Since using the first day to take care of myself, I have never had a problem with jet lag (or going to the bathroom). That’s not to say, I only eat healthy on the first day.

Throughout long trips, I will frequently intermittent fast (stop eating from 8 pm to noon the following day). Never have I ever felt I was missing out on anything.

biking for exercise while traveling in Europe

Exercise can be part of your daily activities. My sister and I biked the entire afternoon in the Holland countryside. My thighs were burning but we had a blast. Plus, burned calories.

My daily health regimen looks like this:

  • Typically wake up around 8 or 9 am and turn on some music, stretch, exercise – something to get the blood flowing.

I am not a fitness expert by any means. The following workouts are simple exercises I do to kickstart my day with the intention of feeling energized and less about winning the Crossfit games.

Workout 1: I use my Freeletics app which I mention below.

Workout 2:  sun salutation flow, neck stretch, 50-100 squats, pushups, mountain climbers.

  • Drink black coffee because I’m fasting.
  • Get ready for the day while grooving to the music.
  • Usually out of the house between 9-11 depending on when I woke up.
  • Go explore and eventually eat a meal – something light and moderately healthy.
  • Spend the rest of my day diet free.
  • Eat my final meal between 7-8 pm and begin fast after. I do not fast every day but rather on days after I ate a ton of food.

Now, I understand jet lag will hit some people strong and/or longer than others. If that’s the case, I recommend 1Above Anti-Jet Lag supplements.

working out while on vacation abroad

Freeletics is my go-to fitness app while traveling. They have free and paid workouts that will keep you in shape even when you’re abroad.

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling Abroad

Drink at least 64 oz of water a day

Bring your water bottle to fill up. This not only reduces your plastic waste it also cuts down on costs. 64 ounces of water is recommended daily, according to society.

Although 64 oz. is the minimum recommendation, I recommend a little more when traveling. I bring a 40 oz thermal flask with me and fill it up 3 times a day. That gets me close to a gallon a day.

A plane ride alone leaves me feeling dehydrated, not to mention, walking outside in humid climates. More water will never hurt.

Eat your veggies

As someone who tries to eat vegetarian when traveling (I’m a picky eater with no intention of changing) I often found myself going for cheese and carb dishes. That doesn’t do me any good. I was left feeling more bloated and not good.

Lately, I’ve been powering through at least one meal a day dedicated to veggies. Just do it. I honestly feel so much better plus it helps aid digestion.

Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day

30 minutes is not a long time people. You can do simple exercises in your hotel room, visit a local gym, go for a jog, literally anything that gets the heart rate going. You can even go as little as stretching and breathing exercises.

It’s not always easy to find a gym when traveling and honestly it can get expensive. That’s why I enjoy having a gym on my phone like Freeletics.

Freeletics helps you get in shape by giving you a personal trainer in your pocket. Once you create an account and answer a few fitness goals, you will get a digital coach who creates HIIT workouts tailored to your goals, fitness level, age, etc. ⠀

The app has workouts with and without additional material. I love bodyweight exercises. No need to pack extra stuff in my suitcase. Even their free workouts are great. 

Get Your Vitamins

There are a couple of supplements I take daily: Tumeric and Probiotic pills. The rest, I try to get from the food itself. Tumeric for when I get sore after walking. Bad knees I guess. Probiotics are for everyday health and maintaining PH levels.

Grab a Ziploc bag or any container of your choice and count out how many you will need for the duration of your trip. They hardly take up any space in your luggage. Yes, you can take vitamins on a plane.

Other vitamins can include are zinc and vitamin C to keep the immune system strong. However, if possible, I recommend getting your vitamins from the food itself.

staying healthy while traveling

nutter puffs are a healthy snack alternative to bring in your day bag.

Pack snacks for your day bag

Just like you bring snacks on the flight, pack even more for when you’re out exploring.

nutter puffs can be found on Amazon or many grocery stores either in peanut butter or peanut butter and chocolate if you’re a chocolate lover like me. These snacks are seriously so good, I crave them even when I’m not traveling. It’s an overall healthy snack, perfect for when you’re trying to stay healthy on the go.

Depending on where you are, you might not have access to a fridge or freezer which is another reason why I love nutter puffs. They are a dry good that doesn’t require any special storage. Take a bag clip with you and these goodies will stay fresh.

Diets can easily go out the window when traveling, especially when you’re surrounded by too many sweets. My solution when that craving kicks in is to open a bag of nutter puffs chocolate and peanut butter. It satisfies my sweet tooth.

As for other snacks, I recommend shopping at local grocery stores and markets. You can always find fresh fruit and veggies. If you’re staying somewhere with a fridge, you can make your own healthy snacks like salads.

I would pack one Tupperware in your suitcase that you can use to carry snacks around in your day bag. It’s not as crazy as it sounds. I’ve brought Tupperware with me like this collapsible one that saves space. I would use it to pack salads, fresh blueberries, and more.

This is a cheap and healthy alternative to buying meals.

Split the Sweets

If I’m traveling with someone, we will split the sweets. Tokyo Disney was filled with sweets too good to pass. We would purchase one to split or ask for a small size.

The same can be said for solo trips. Instead of grabbing a handful of chocolates at the candy store, just buy one. Sugar is addicting. It’s hard to resist the urge to eat more. That’s why I enjoy a little then chase it with something savory. This gets the sweet taste out of my mouth, so I’m less likely to want more.

Limit Mixers

Soda and juice mixers have tons of sugar – sugar you don’t need. I recommend drinking spirits straight and/or limiting the drinks with tons of added mixers. Believe it or not, shots might be your best bet. Or, if you’re like me, a bourbon on the rocks. I will babysit the heck out of it.

Travel Insurance

As a precautionary, you should always have traveler’s insurance. Should anything go wrong with your health while abroad, you will want to be covered. I know and trust AIG and Blue Cross Blue Shield. I’ve personally used them but thankfully never had to “use” them. 100% accident-free so far.

After reading this, I’m sure you noticed the general theme: move your body, stay hydrated, and eat a healthy meal now and then. This my friend, is called balance. Now that doesn’t sound too hard, does it? Little tweaks here and there make for a healthy and fun trip.

Psst. . . Looking for more travel tips? Check out a few of these posts:

How do you stay healthy when traveling abroad? Share your tips in the comments below!

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of nutter puffs. Though sponsored, all opinions are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission (at no cost to you) when you purchase through these links, which helps me keep my lights on and order pizza from Dominos! I am extremely grateful. Thank you.

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