Most people I talk to share with me their struggles of continuing to follow healthy habits when their surroundings change and they have to travel. Hotel rooms, room service, late night drinks, you are thousands of km away from your yoga studio or favourite spin class back at home.
I travel a lot, and I’ve recently embarked on 2-month journey across Canada with The Thank You Canada Tour. We will be travelling by tour bus for 2 months across the great white north. A lot of people ask me “How difficult is it to eat well and stay healthy while on the road”? So I thought I would share with you some of my wellness tips for travel. I have found my own little formula to stay healthy in my everyday life, so when I hit the road, I try to keep things as similar as possible.
First things first, FOOD. It is super easy to eat healthy on the road if you are organized. I travel with the essentials; chia seeds, hemp seeds, oats, almond milk, dried fruit, almonds, walnuts, cereals and baby foods. That’s right. Baby food. The reason I do that is because it’s an easy way to ensure fruit and vegetables intake while I’m busy on the road. You can find organic squeezable baby food mixes with greens, sweet potatoes, beets and even avocado. It’s remarkable. Just make sure that you buy ones that have no additives, that the only ingredients are mashed veggies or fruits.
If I’m taking a long flight, I even bring quinoa salads, or sweet potato salads on board with me. Along with wraps, sandwiches, apples, bananas, you name it. I have been stuck on a 15-hour flight to Asia and the airline “forgot” my veg meal and trust me, it’s not fun to starve for that long!
My next step in the food department comes once I get to my destination. I google health or organic grocery stores in the area and go there to get the remainder of groceries that I may need, but couldn’t carry on board. If your hotel room doesn’t come with a fridge, simply call the front desk and tell them that you have a special diet and need a fridge to store your food. In the worst case scenario, I have had hotels in Europe that simply don’t offer any fridge for the room, and they took all my groceries into their office fridge and I would go get what I needed when I needed it. There is always a way to make things work! You just need to look for it!
HYDRATE. HYDRATE. HYDRATE. I can’t say this enough. Water is like magic. It effects everything from our brain function and energy levels, to physical performance, boosts our immune system, flushes out toxins and prevents cramping. Hydrating yourself properly while travelling helps our bodies adjust to inflammation from travel and keeps digestion functioning somewhat normally. I try to drink a glass of water every hour or 2 while on a plane.
WELLNESS. A few things fall into this category, from essential oils, to meditation, to yoga. I always travel with my yoga mat. Sometimes the tight space in my hotel room makes doing yoga quite difficult, but I always manage something. Hotel rooms in Japan are always tiny, and sometimes my yoga mat is half in the bathroom and half in the hallway, as I am surrounded by walls and suitcases stacked on top of each other. But, I make it work. I stream classes from my FAVOURITE website, Yogaglo. They offer hundreds of classes in various categories, but my favourite after a long trip is the travel category. There is even a yoga class in the travel category for “Yoga in Hotel Rooms”. Thanks Kathryn Budig for that!
Yoga alleviates muscle tension, helps with stress management, boosts our energy when we may be suffering from jet lag, helps your stretch out after a long period of time sitting in a car, bus or airplane and has the ability to relax your sense of self. Plus, if yoga is part of your daily routine at home, you shouldn’t stop just because you aren’t in the comfort of your own home anymore.
Sticking with your routine, while on the road, is one of the most sure fire ways to stay healthy!
There is also meditation. Breathing. I use meditation to help with stress and anxiety while travelling. I am terrified of flying. It’s my biggest fear, but I have found a source of comfort in meditation while I travel. Meditation also helps me with jetlag as well.
Essential oils. My savour. Who doesn’t love some great oils? My diffuser is always going in my kitchen and bedroom at home, but I used to travel without any diffuser. Then I would return home to beautiful scents, uplifting my spirit, or supporting my immune system, and I knew I had to find a small portable diffuser for travel purposes. I use roll on sticks while travelling, lavender oils and an immune system oil mix. Sometimes I wonder if my scents fill the row of seats and everyone I’m sitting with can relax to the aroma of lavender. In my room I like eucalyptus, which helps with my sinuses in a dry hotel room, builds up immunity, helps sore muscles and eases stress.
One more go-to travel item in my wellness category is a heating sac. My amazing massage therapist Marie-Claude gave me a huge heating sac, that covers my entire back and neck and it’s been truly magical to have with me on the road. Every morning at home, I drink my coffee with my heating sac across my back and going up my neck, otherwise my back seizes up and I can’t really move (this is due to years of back pain from training). I like to keep this ritual going while I am on the road, but on top of that, there is something so comforting about heat. When I am thousands and thousands of km away from home, wrapping myself in a heating sac, makes me feel cozy and “at home”.
EXTRA travel essentials include “supplements”. Not “supplements” for food but for health. First is a probiotic. Probiotics are “good bacteria” that help protect our body against infection, increase immunity and help energy levels. Probiotics can help prevent any case of “travellers stomach”. We want to be sure we have a solid build up of good bacteria in our digestive tract, so if we get into any bad bacteria, we have the ability to stand up and stay healthy.
I also bring Echinacea with me in my travels. This can be in tea form, or as a lozenge. This will help build up our immune system, can help to prevent a cold and help as an anti-inflammatory.
My final piece of advice for staying healthy while on the road is to create routine, or keep a routine that you already have. Don’t forget about proper sleep habits, find a yoga studio or local gym. Gyms usually offer one class for free, so if you are jumping around city to city, you can easily visit gyms in each city for free.
Travelling can be hard on the mind, body and soul. Even if you follow every wellness tip out there, it doesn’t guarantee 100% health. But it can definitely help keep you feeling strong, energized and grounded.