How To Stay Fit While Traveling

a woman traveling via the airport with her luggage
If you’re one of the more than 53 million Americans who are expected to travel this Thanksgiving, chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time riding in your car, or up in the air, this holiday season.

If you’re one of the more than 53 million Americans who are expected to travel this Thanksgiving, chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time riding in your car, or up in the air, this holiday season. That’s because many more people are expected to travel for Thanksgiving, as well as for the winter holidays, this year compared to last year.

Many travelers seem to be taking advantage of their ability to WFH, as well, which is allowing them to travel more freely, and earlier than in years past. While the Wednesday before Thanksgiving has historically been the busiest travel day of the Thanksgiving holiday, this year, Monday, November 15th is expected to be the busiest Thanksgiving holiday travel day, with the Wednesday before Thanksgiving being the second busiest Thanksgiving holiday travel day.

Some people also seem to be planning more long-term travel this coming holiday season, with ski and beach vacations being the most popular travel destinations. So, whether you’re traveling somewhere relatively close to home, or have an exotic vacation planned over the winter holidays, we’ve got you covered with ways to stay healthy, happy, and fit while traveling.

Ways To Stay Healthy, Happy, And Fit While Traveling

First and foremost, you have to want to stay healthy, happy, and fit while traveling. Occasionally, people will tell themselves that they don’t need to stay fit and eat healthy when they’re traveling because their regular diet and workout routine is unavailable to them. But we all know that that’s a bunch of BS, especially in this day and age.

In actuality, it is completely possible, and actually pretty easy to eat healthy and stay active while traveling – as long as you’re prepared ahead of time. So, let’s take a closer look at several different ways that you can eat healthy and keep crushing your fitness goals while traveling.

Tips To Eat Healthy While Traveling

For Car Travel

Traveling by car is the most popular way to travel this Thanksgiving holiday, with more than 90% of all Thanksgiving travelers (an estimated 48.3 million Americans) planning to drive to their destinations this year, according to AAA.

But just because you’re packing up your bags and hitting the road this holiday season, it doesn’t mean that healthy living has to suddenly go out the window, too. After all, the food that we eat plays a critical role in how we look and feel, and several studies have indicated that healthy food intake is the most important part of any fitness program.

So, here are three healthy eating tips to follow if you’re traveling by car this holiday season.

Tip 1: No Healthy Food Options Along Your Route? Bring Your Own!

Your car, your rules. So, if you know that there aren’t many places to eat healthy food along the route that you’ll be traveling this holiday season, plan ahead and bring your own.

That’s right, bring a cooler for the ride and pack it with homemade sandwiches with whole grain bread, fresh fruits and vegetables, and other healthy foods. This way, when you feel hungry, you’ll have healthy foods to eat in your car and won’t just go to the nearest drive-through or gas station to satisfy your cravings out of necessity.

As we all know, the problem with fast food is that it’s typically loaded with sugar, processed fats, and empty calories. So, instead of eating fast food or junk food this holiday season, pack a cooler full of protein and nutrient-rich treats.

Some of the best healthy travel foods (and drinks) to take with you on your road trip are:

  • Frozen bottles of water to keep your food cold. Then, once the water thaws, you can drink the water to stay hydrated.
  • Fresh fruits such as oranges, apples, grapes, and bananas, which are excellent sources of essential nutrients.
  • Yogurt, which will help keep your gut functioning well, especially if you tend to overindulge during the holidays.
  • Packs of plain instant oatmeal since it should be pretty easy to access hot water at almost any rest stop.
  • Individually portioned bags of nuts (like almonds or cashews) and dried fruit since this combination is packed with protein and good fat.
  • Low-fat string cheese – what kid doesn’t love this? And let’s be real, what adult doesn’t love this, too?
  • Single-serving containers of hummus to dip veggies like baby carrots, celery sticks, and/or sliced bell peppers in.
  • A peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread. This meal has the perfect balance of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. A peanut butter sandwich may also give you a much-needed energy boost if you’re the one behind the wheel.

And if you’re really committed to eating healthy on the road, you might even consider bringing along a battery powered blender to make smoothies on the go. Then you can add superfoods like spinach, kale, avocado, or blueberries to your smoothies, which offer a range of health benefits from reducing inflammation to improving mood and sleep.

Tip 2: Eat At Least 3 Meals Per Day

We get it, you want to get to your destination as quickly as possible. But that doesn’t mean skipping meals to do so. So, try to eat at least 3 times per day when you’re traveling to keep from feeling hungry. Eating smaller, more frequent meals while you’re traveling will also help keep you from overindulging later.

Tip 3: Always Drink Plenty Of Water

If you’re someone who doesn’t like to drink a lot of water on road trips because you know that it’ll end up making you have to stop for additional pit stops on your journey, you should know that dehydration while driving can cause dry eyes, fatigue, blurred vision, and even double vision. So, if you’re the one driving, these side effects could have some very serious consequences.

So, make sure to hydrate on road trips, and also give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination since the extra restroom pit stops will likely add additional time to your trip. And if you leave early in the morning and have a cup of coffee to start your drive, drink double the amount of coffee in water so that the coffee doesn’t dehydrate you even more.

For Air Travel

4.2 million travelers will be flying to their destinations this Thanksgiving holiday, according to AAA. This volume represents an 80% increase over 2020. So, if you’re one of the millions of Americans who will be flying home for the holidays, here are three tips to help you eat healthy while traveling by air.

Tip 1: Know (What Food You Can Bring On The Plane) Before You Go

More food items are allowed through airport security than you probably even realize. So, to avoid unhealthy eating while in transit, check TSA’s ‘What Can I Bring?’ section in order to find out the food items that are permitted.

Some nourishing treats that you can put in clear baggies in order to get through airport security are homemade trail mix, air-popped or bagged popcorn, and/or baby carrots, sliced bell peppers, celery sticks, and dried fruit.

Just keep in mind, TSA officers ultimately have final say when it comes to whether or not an item is allowed through the checkpoint.

Tip 2: Locate The Airport Restaurants That Offer Healthy Food Choices

For healthy eating at the airport, pull up the airport map on your smartphone and locate the restaurants that offer healthy food choices. Since you want to choose foods that pack in lots of nutrition, while also limiting the number of calories, consider consuming lean meats, nuts and seeds, vegetables, lower-fat dairy, and whole grains. Airport coffee shops usually often offer salads, smoothies, and/or protein packs, as well.

Tip 3: Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals & Make Sure To Stay Hydrated

Smaller, more frequent meals may work better while traveling since it may keep your alertness and energy up. Eating smaller, more frequent meals will also help to make sure that you don’t feel sluggish. And while you’re at the airport, stay hydrated by drinking 8-ounces of water for every hour that you fly since flying by plane often causes dehydration.

Ways To Exercise While Traveling

Finding the motivation to exercise while you’re traveling can certainly be challenging. But if you stay true to your ‘Why?’ and remember that not exercising while you travel will only make it harder to get back into a healthy routine once you arrive back home, that will hopefully be enough inspiration for you to exercise while you travel.

And when it comes to exercising while traveling, the key is to simply stay as active as you can. So, here are three exercise tips to keep in mind while traveling.

Tip 1: Wear Your Walking Or Running Shoes When You Travel

Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, bus, or automobile, traveling can force you to sit for long periods of time, which isn’t good for your health. So, to make physical activity easier on travel days, wear your favorite walking or running shoes.

If you’re flying, instead of sitting at the gate waiting to board your flight, walk around the terminal and get your steps in for the day. You can also use the airport chairs to do exercises and stretch. Also, another way to get your blood pumping at the airport, or at the train station, is to take the stairs instead of using the elevator or escalator. And for those of you who will be driving, make sure to stop, stretch, and walk around every now and again.

Tip 2: Pack Wisely

Some airports have gyms or yoga rooms that you can use while you’re traveling. Obviously, if you’re not dressed to work out, you’ll be less inclined to exercise. So, in addition to wearing your walking or running shoes while you travel, you can also bring along workout clothes, resistance bands, a jump rope, a yoga mat, and/or hand grips in your carry-on travel bag.

The same goes for those of you who are driving. Along the way, if you find a beautiful overlook that you’d like to see better, stop your car and allow yourself to take in the sights. You can jump rope or even work out for a few minutes using resistance bands at that special spot, too.

Tip 3: Follow An Online Fitness Program That You Can Do Without Any Workout Equipment

Sometimes the hardest part of working out when you’re traveling is actually knowing what exercises to do. But don’t let that stop you from working out! Instead, search the internet for a workout program that you can do without needing any gym equipment.

There are many great high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts out there that will get your cardio up. You can also do workouts that only require your own bodyweight. Some well-known bodyweight exercises are burpees, bodyweight squats, and jumping jacks.

Here’s a sample HIIT workout routine that’s 28-minutes long. You can do this HIIT workout in your hotel room before heading off to the airport, or before you get in your car and start your road trip.

  • 30 Seconds Mountain Climbers
  • 30 Second Rest
  • 1 Minute High Knees
  • 30 Second Rest
  • 30 Seconds Crunches
  • 30 Seconds Scissor Leg Lifts (alternate leg on top after 15 seconds)
  • 30 Second Rest
  • 1 Minute Up-Down Elbow Plank (alternate leading elbows)
  • 30 Second Rest
  • 1 Minute Burpees
  • 30 Second Rest

 

  • 30 Seconds Mountain Climbers
  • 30 Second Rest
  • 1 Minute Side Plank (alternate sides after 30 seconds)
  • 30 Second Rest
  • 1 Minute High Knees
  • 30 Second Rest
  • 1 Minute Plank knee-to-nose (alternate knees)
  • 30 Second Rest
  • 30 Seconds Frogs Legs to Plank
  • 30 Seconds Dolphin plank
  • 30 Second Rest

 

  • 30 Seconds Mountain Climbers
  • 30 Second Rest
  • 30 Seconds Jump Squats
  • 30 Second Rest
  • 1 Minute High Knees
  • 30 Second Rest
  • 30 Side Lunge Squat
  • 1 Minute Burpees
  • 30 Second Rest
  • 30 Seconds Standing Side
  • Crunch (alternate sides after 15 seconds)
  • 30 Seconds Triceps dips
  • 30 Second Rest

 

  • 30 Seconds Mountain Climbers
  • 30 Second Rest
  • 30 Seconds Wide Sumo Squats
  • 1 Minute High Knees
  • 30 Second Rest
  • 30 Seconds Jump Squats
  • 30 Second Rest
  • 1 Minute Burpees
  • 30 Second Rest
  • 30 Seconds Leg lifts (alternate leg after 15 seconds)
  • 30 Seconds Leg Extends (alternate leg after 15 seconds)
  • 30 Second Rest