The time has come for you to pack your suitcase, hop in the car, and head to your folks house for the holidays. Okay, maybe you’re not going to your parents house, but travel is at its peak during the holiday season and chances are that if you aren’t the lucky host of the year, you’re headed to someones house to celebrate the season! The most difficult part of holiday travel (hint: it’s not flight delays, traffic, or lack of a good nights sleep), is staying healthy and motivated. We know we aren’t the only ones who have this problem, so we’ve got some tips to help keep you your healthiest during this chaotic time of the year!
PREP & ORGANIZE
Traveling comes with predictable challenges, mostly from being out of your own controllable environment. Most common is the challenge of finding fresh, wholesome plant-based food, either in an airline terminal, onboard a commercial flight or while driving down a highway. You can beat the system with a little advanced planning. Unhealthy snacking is super common during travel so come prepared! Our favorite are these dark chocolate trail mix bites, they’re travel friendly and the perfect mix of salty and sweet.
Water is big. When you’re traveling don’t order a soda or bottled juice. Instead, drink as much water as you can. You can’t bring any liquid through the security checkpoints at airports but you can buy bottled water once you’re inside. It’s also free onboard. Worried you’re going to feel too famished during your journey? Drinking lots of water not only hydrates you, but it also makes you feel less hungry (sometimes thirst is mistaken for hunger)! Plus, when you get off the flight (or out of the car) you’re going to feel lighter, more energetic, and better about yourself than if you’d eaten a lot of junk along the way.
When you’re on vacation you’re going to find yourself in a new place, possibly without your own transportation. This is a great excuse to walk as much as possible. We’re always looking for ways to walk more. When you’re waiting for a flight at the airport, walk the terminal, you can figure you’ll be sitting soon enough. The same goes for any destination: when you visit a shopping mall, try parking as far from the entrance as possible. When you’re in the mall, make a pledge to use the stairs, not the escalators. And use technology to help: A simple pedometer app on your smartphone can help keep you aware of the amount of walking (or lack of it) you’re doing. Make it a game with yourself, always try to beat your previous days steps, it will help keep you motivated and on the move!
Avoid alcohol when you can. Drinking tends to lead to poor food choices as well. If you do choose to indulge, skip alcohol in flight and save it for a celebration at your destination. Flying and alcohol are both dehydrating, which equates to an extremely dehydrated YOU. If you’re going to have a drink, be careful what you have with it. The guard usually comes down when you have a glass of wine or a cocktail, and that means salty nuts or crisps or cheese can start looking like sensible choices. Be aware of this when you’re having a drink, and don’t mindlessly add a lot of useless calories.
BE YOUR OWN PERSONAL TRAINER
When you travel you immediately mess up your daily routines, meaning your normal schedule for exercise goes to the wayside. You don’t have your favorite gym nearby or the place where you like to run, walk, or bicycle, but that’s okay. It’s inconvenient when you’re on vacation, but any exercise you can manage is far better than nothing. Besides walking, you can do a whole bunch of exercises anywhere using your own body— leg lifts, pushups, or sit-ups. Dancing vigorously to music in your hotel room for a few minutes (please draw the curtains) can do wonders.
MAKE A MENTAL ROAD MAP
Everything we’ve mentioned here—from deciding to drink water to making sure you get in enough foot work—will go a lot smoother if you think about it first. This makes you in control, acting rather than reacting. It helps you avoid feeling a little disjointed and jostled by all the stress of traveling. Rather than looking through a menu of bad food on the aircraft or perusing the snack aisle at the gas station, make those decisions ahead of time and ‘see’ your day of trail mix, water, and breaks for stretching. You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to make the journey.
Make sure you build some recovery time into your schedule, whether this is when you are at your destination or post-travel. If you do find yourself caught in traffic or in a delay, take some deep breaths, and realize that 99% of the time it is outside of your control, and getting stressed won’t do any good. Just being conscious of that can actually lower the heart rate and delay the frown lines.
Source: Mind, Body, Green