Traveling Healthy & Happy
I am on the road for work nearly every week of the year in my current job. When I first started my job my coworkers would tell me how much weight they had gained and how they had lost their healthy habits being on the road constantly. It is easy to fall into a negative pattern of constantly eating out at the most conveniently located chain restaurant, and skipping exercise, due to the fatigue brought on by travel. To make the chain restaurant eating situation more difficult, I work for a warehousing company, and warehouses are built where land is cheap…AKA some in the middle of acres of corn fields or desert as far as you can see, where the only restaurant option is fast food.
For meals, I now eat out as little as possible, making the best grocery store in the area my first stop upon arriving in a town/city. I buy food for the beginning of my week, and since most of it is fresh, go back a 2nd time halfway through my week to restock. While I don’t usually have a stove or oven, or other kitchen utensils, available to cook with, I purchase items that I can easily throw together for delicious meals. I buy a lot of salad ingredients (avocados, tomatoes, unsweetened dried fruit, nuts, edamame, cilantro, parsley, onion, etc.), mixing and matching them throughout the week to keep things interesting and appetizing, and usually also some sort of dip (hummus or guac), and veggies to dip (carrots, radishes, celery, beans, cucumber), and fruits to snack on. Hotel breakfasts are full of simple carbohydrates, refined sugars, and microwaved meats and eggs, but there are healthy options. My usual hotel breakfasts consist of fruit and/or plain oatmeal sweetened with honey, and cinnamon that I keep in my travel bag.
Traveling is hard on the body, particularly on the digestive system, and the fatigue caused by crossing time zones and being seated in a compressed Oxygen airplane cabin for hours. There are several items I do not leave home without, that have helped me remain healthy and comfortable on the road. After being on the road for so long, I am all about packing light, down to having small electronics and the material of different items I bring. Whether you’ve got a trip coming up for work or play, hopefully my items will give you some ideas on how to stay healthy when traveling!
To keep the tummy calm. Ginger is a fabulous natural way to calm tummy problems (indigestion), and I love the taste! Or it’s nice to have as a quick snack.
Healthy Emergency Snack:
I definitely get hangry (hungry/angry) when my blood sugar dips too low, and when I am without a readily available snack, the situation worsens. I have been stuck in miniature airports at weird times, where the best option for food is the vending machine in the corner of the gate. I keep a healthy snack in my backpack so that if a dire situation arises it is there, and the emergency snack has definitely come in handy. Since I may not touch it for several weeks, I go for more durable items than fresh fruits or veggies which I would prefer. Typically my emergency snack is a healthy granola bar or homemade trail mix (maybe with some candied ginger 🙂 ). If you are just traveling for a short time, I highly recommend packing fresh fruits and veggies, and even to-go salads or other meals! Food in airports has come a long way in the last few years. Many of the larger airports (NYC, ATL, Chicago, LA) now have healthier options for meals.
I really don’t have any specific health related reason to bring along a nail file, other than the fact I’m a girl, and I hate when my nails break. Nail breakage is a serious issue whilst lifting and maneuvering my bags! I have used my nail file an obscene amount.
Reading Material, Music, & Other Entertainment:
For the inevitable occasional travel delays, cancellations, or other interruptions, and while in the air/car. My iPod Shuffle is always packed in my travel bag. It’s super small, and convenient for workouts. I also always pack my iPad Mini. I download books, NPR Podcasts, and TED talks on my iPad. I always make sure I have more to listen to or read than I should have time for based on my itinerary.
Large Reusable Water Bottle:
I prefer glass water bottles, but glass is significantly heavier than plastic, and hazardous if it breaks. When you pack a plastic water bottle though, ensure you read the label before you buy to stay away from BPA. Don’t be cheap and use a disposable water bottle permanently, the $10 of a giant plastic Nalgene is worth the chemical harm you’re saving your body. The stale air in airplanes dries out your skin too, so staying hydrated is even more important while traveling! If you know me at all, you know I am literally never without my purple Northstar Nalgene bottle. I drink a LOT of water, so my favorite is my 32 Oz. Nalgene bottle, which I lovingly refer to as “the Jug” because of its size.
Coat & Warm Scarf:
I learned the hard way, after suffering through long flights trying to do anything I could to warm myself up, that airplanes are COLD! I am a chronically cold human anyways. Whether it’s July or December, I always have a coat (light or heavy depending on the season) and a snugly scarf. If you haven’t already discovered, scarves make such a big difference locking in body heat, and they’re small/easy to pack away.
iPod/music player, shorts, shirt, athletic socks, shoes, and anything other workout accessories you use. Because I travel so regularly, I just keep my last pair of running shoes in my travel bag all the time, so I’m not having to switch a pair in and out between the weekend and work week. Anything I can do to quicken my packing process makes my life easier. I keep a second set of toiletries and my old glasses in my travel bag all the time also. I believe exercise and being active is always important to being your best self, but that much more important when you’re sitting in planes/airports/cars for hours and hours.
Airports, airplanes, hotels, rest stops, and other public restrooms are so BLEH. Ew, just thinking about how dirty they are grosses me out. I am constantly lathering on hand sanitizer while I travel. Most hand sanitizers are made with harsh chemicals, that can cause a reaction if you have sensitive skin. My favorite hand sanitizer is EO brand lavender Gel sanitizer. EO makes their hand sanitizer out of natural ingredients that you can actually recognize, and uses essential oils for the scents. Plus, it’s moisturizing!
I never know what I’ll be in the mood for and I love tea! I keep about 5-10 different bags in my backpack for whenever I am in the mood – at work, or the hotel! If you choose the right herbal tea, it can be a great yummy detox too.
Last but, definitely, not least! – 22″ Brics Cargo Duffel:
This is the. best. travel bag. I can shove it into any overhead bin, even on little tiny propeller planes. When I arrive home after a week of work travel, all I want to do is snuggle into my bed as quickly as possible. I switched from a rolling suitcase to a duffel several months into my job because I hated waiting for my plane-side checked bag to come up once I had landed. Brics bags are very well made leather, and mine has withstood the wear and tear I have put it through for over 2 years.
Where is the first place you would go if you could travel anywhere in the world?