Posted on March 5, 2024

By McKel Hill


Most of us have a summer vacation planned, whether it’s a staycation, road trip, or vacation to the beach. Vacations and traveling can be tricky. If you’re not prepared it’s easy to veer off track with the healthy habits we’ve integrated into our normal daily living. The first step to take when traveling is planning. Just as you would plan ahead to get a hotel, a car, or book activities, apply the same planning to your nutrition and exercise while on the road.

Stay active. This one is probably the least difficult to incorporate. Many vacations include sightseeing, walking, shopping, or swimming in the ocean – all of which will keep you moving. It’s an added bonus if your hotel or resort has a gym where you can get a quick weight session in.

Stay hydrated. Being out in the sun, sweating, drinking cocktails (hey, it’s a vacation right!), and moving around will naturally dehydrate you a bit. It’s important to keep water by your side all day long. It’ll also help you from mistaking hunger for thirst. Be sure you’re paying attention to your urine – that’s the best indicator of your hydration (you ideally want it to be pale-yellow/clear).

Pack food. I never leave the house when traveling without teas, plant-based protein powders, hemp seeds, chia seeds (great for digestion), granola bars or homemade muesli. Check out my Travel Food Survival Kit for more of my favorites to bring.

Bring snacks. If you’re walking long distances or out and about enjoying the city you’re visiting, be sure to bring a couple snacks with you that you can munch on just in case you’re not by food when hunger strikes. A couple of my favorites would be trail mix, raw nuts or seeds like almond or sunflower seeds and of course fruit.

Know your markets. The first thing I do when traveling is scope out the local markets or grocery stores to stock up on raw veggies, fruits, and other things that require a fridge that I couldn’t bring with me.

Hotel kitchen. Try to get a hotel room with a mini-fridge, teapot, or microwave. This will help you keep a couple snacks on hand in your room to bring with you for the day. My tops: raw carrots, cucumbers, lemons, avocados, bag of organic spinach, fruits, and any other raw produce you can pick up at a local market.

Research local dining spots. Ask the locals where they eat for healthy dining out options. Most often than not, eating the local cuisine is healthier than eating at an American franchise.

Start with a salad. When dining out try to start with a salad or any other vegetable-heavy dish that’s available. This will not only help keep you full, but also help with digestion and ensure you’re getting those veggies in.

Give and take attitude. Remember, it’s a vacation! It’s time to enjoy everything that’s going on with the activities and company that’s surrounding you. Enjoy your food as well, and without guilt, by planning out the rest of your day with healthy eats as much as possible.

McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN is the creator of Nutrition Stripped, a plant-based whole foods blog focusing on nourishing recipes.

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