I remember hearing at a young age, “You gain weight while you travel. Be extra careful!” This warning came from my mother, who was more concerned with my appearance than I was—and yet the words stuck.

But as an adult, I’ve come to learn that life is meant to be lived. If you are traveling on a vacation, you deserve to have a good time. You work hard to play hard. If you’re traveling for work, life happens—we can only be so prepared for disruption and change of routine. So this article is not going to be a list of health tips to practice while you’re enjoying your vacation. Instead, I’m going to offer you my best tips for helping your body through the toll-taking process of traveling.

There was a period of three years when I traveled anywhere from 25 to 30 weekends a year. So if anyone knows how much of a toll travel can take on your body, energy and mood, I do. I also know that the more prepared you are for the travel, time change and routine disruption, the more likely you are to combat any negative travel effects.

Top travel tips from a health coach

  1. Pack healthy snacks for the plane. Airplane food is full of salt, and you can’t always find great, healthy snack options in the airport. I always pack Amazing Grass for greens and travel-size almonds from Trader Joe’s, and I make my own protein bites. Here’s the recipe:
  • 1 scoop almond butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 scoop protein powder of your choice
  • Directions: Mix, roll into small balls and freeze.
  1. If you are flying more than six hours, try fasting. There are great articles these days on 12- to 24-hour fasts and the many benefits of fasting. (Also, see No. 1 about salty airplane food.)
  2. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Traveling by plane is a quick way to dehydrate your body, so bring your own reusable bottle, and make sure to keep it filled for your flight.
  3. Reset your internal clock. Jet lag is real! Sync up with the sleep schedule/time difference of your travel destination the day before you leave to prepare your body for the change. Do the above to help ease this if you are traveling overseas so you don’t miss out on exploring your destination by spending the first few days of your trip holed up in bed.
  4. Get in the right headspace. We all know that traveling can be super stressful. (Flight delays, crowds, lack of routine, to name a few.) Download meditations to your phone to keep you grounded and stress-free while you travel, and practice deep breathing.

Travel is inevitable in some professions and in order to get to many vacation destinations, but how it affects your body is optional. Be gentle on your mind and body, and enjoy every bit of your travel, with a little help from the tips above.

Happy travels!

Photo credit: Joshua Earle, Unsplash