TRAVELING HEALTHY: WHAT DOES THAT REALLY MEAN?
You’ve probably seen posts about the best snacks for packing with you when you travel, or top workout routines that you can do in your hotel room. And while I often pack a couple of snacks and a pair of running shoes when I go on vacation, if you ask me, healthy doesn’t mean packing your routine in a suitcase and taking it with you wherever you go.
Traveling is the perfect opportunity to take a break from your routine (and the reality of traveling is that it doesn’t always lend itself to a routine). When I went to Paris last month, my days looked absolutely nothing like they do in New York. I slept later than I ever do, didn’t cook any of my own meals, and ate foods that don’t make a regular appearance on my plate. (Bread is just a whole lot better there, and I was not going to miss out!) I didn’t choose each restaurant based on its healthy options, and I didn’t take a single workout class. Past me would’ve hated this, and probably would’ve been shoving down a fair bit of anxiety as a result, but letting go of the stereotypically-healthy habits that we cherish on social media doesn’t mean that your health is going to be thrown out the window, though.
That said, there are a few practices that I do prioritize when I’m traveling to make sure that my body feels good enough to enjoy its surroundings. I promise they all pack well.
Drink lots of water, and then drink more.
Traveling puts a lot of stress on your body, even when you’re enjoying yourself. If I’m not drinking enough water, it’s harder for me to shake jet lag and I’m more likely to feel groggy and uninterested in exploring. I’m also far more prone to breakouts if I’m dehydrated! Starting the minute I wake up on the first day of travels, I try to drink as much water as possible. This means packing my water bottle, asking the flight attendants to refill it a couple times in flight, and then filling and refilling it anytime I have access to a water fountain. If you’re traveling in a place where you have to buy bottled water in order to have access to clean water, it’s worth the extra cost and extra plastic. Your body needs water to function, and you don’t want to wind up sick from dehydration on vacation. It’ll ruin the fun!
Move your body, but not necessarily in the way you normally do.
No matter where you’re traveling, there’s likely an easy way to incorporate some movement into your day without having to do extensive research to find a spin studio or gym that you can lift weights in. If you’re visiting a large city, explore by foot! It’s far easier to get a sense of your surroundings when you’re truly immersing yourself in them. If you’re near the beach, I’m a big fan of sunrise or sunset beach walks, or if you’re somewhere near the mountains, take advantage of all the hiking (or skiing) possibilities. In other words, I’m a big fan of moving my body in a way that feels like it fits into the context of your vacation. If there’s a pretty running route or you want to lay a towel on the beach and do some yoga, perfect. But if you’re planning your entire day to accommodate time to exercise, it’s probably not the right type of movement. I promise, your favorite bootcamp class will be waiting for you when you get home, and the views from the hike you take instead are well worth it.
Say yes to something you’d normally say no to
I don’t normally have a glass of wine with dinner every night, but in Paris, I would’ve regretted it if I turned that down. (I’m an aspiring wine nerd, and when you compare the price of quality wine in Paris vs New York, well, it’s an obvious choice.) The same thing goes for many of the food choices I make when on vacation. I still like to have at least one meal a day that has some sort of vegetable in it, but it’s an incredibly powerful practice for my mental health to remind myself that my body will not drastically change based on a few days of eating outside my norm. For all of you who have so bravely overcome eating disorders or disordered eating of any kind, think of vacation as your moment to say take that to restrictive behaviors and relish in the freedom you’ve created for yourself. That same freedom applies to spending money. If you can afford to buy something that wouldn’t necessarily normally make it into your allocated budget, vacation is my favorite time to say yes to it. Case in point, I came home from France with a pair of Veja sneakers that anyone who spends time with me knows that I am slightly obsessed with. So whether it’s a food, a type of activity, or a purchase, say yes. That yes will likely lead to one of your favorite memories from your entire vacation.