One of the best parts about traveling is the food. We are magically given access to marvelous and exotic cuisine, foreign flavors and delicious new treats.
But what happens when we travel long-term? Is it really such a good idea to eat out often? What healthy options do we choose when we are in new and foreign places? And how about exercise? How do we keep in shape while traveling? In short, how do we maintain a lifestyle of long-term travel while keeping a nutritious diet and staying fit?
It’s hard enough to pick the right foods to eat when we’re home, let alone when we are traveling. And the more I researched it, the more frustrated I became. Popular advice is all over the place: eat low fat, eat raw, eat Paleo, eat low calories, eat alkaline. Which one is it?!
Surely, I’m not the only traveler who thinks about such things, so I decided to crowdsource tips from fellow travel bloggers. The response was phenomenal and the advice received has been brilliant, practical and in general consensus. (note: some answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.)
1. Find an activity you enjoy and it will be much easier to motivate yourself when you are not really feeling like exercising. ~ @MalloryOnTravel / malloryontravel.com
2. Learn some new sports like scuba diving or surfing. And don’t eat like you’re on holiday. You can stuff your face for a 2 week holiday but after 2 months you’ll be feeling it. ~ @TheTravelHack / thetravelhack.com
3. We live to do physical outdoor activities like hiking which keeps us fit and trim. We also try to walk as much as we can to get around and visit places. We would probably walk for at least an hour a day. We drink lots of water and make sure we eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. We opt for local food and avoid Western and fast food like the plague. ~ @yTravelblog / ytravelblog.com
4. Don’t eat too much & walk through cities instead of using public transport. :) ~ @traveldudes / traveldudes.org
5. Get laid a lot, good exercise ~ @delapuravida / delapuravida.com
6. We love to take advantage of local markets wherever we are to stock up on the freshest fruits and veggies possible! ~ @HeckticTravels / hecktictravels.com
7. Grab a run where/when you can. Free and a way to see new neighborhoods!
~ @cdngrrleh / cherylhoward.com
8. Buy fresh, buy local, wash your veggies – grapefruit seed extract is a great natural cleanser. Avoid buying veggies at large supermarket chains, if at all possible because they are usually are not usually locally grown. ~ @ilainie / raisingmiro.com
9. Know that healthy food won’t always be possible, but do it whenever you can. It really makes a difference in energy levels. ~ @familyonbikes / familyonbikes.org
10. We like to rent a bike whenever possible. We get to see more of the place, we have freedom of movement and we get to exercise! – @JacknJillTravel / jackandjilltravel.com
11. Eat fresh fruit to keep your vitamins up, sounds obvious but is easy to forget. Also, don’t sweat food hygiene: it builds up your immunity. ~ @mummy_t / travelswithanineyearold.com
12. Don’t eat döner or kebabs! ~ @travelsofadam / travelsofadam.com
13. Spend a week or two WWOOFing in a vineyard. :) ~ @BeersandBeans / beersandbeans.com
14. Always bring resistance bands on the road. I also walk a LOT when I travel. Stay away from fast food :) ~ @KenKaminesky / kenkaminesky.com
15. I always carry a resistance band in my backpack. I have an extra fastener so I can attach to a door to switch things up, and and they don’t take up much space in my bag! Great for staying in shape when I’m… uh… never home. :) ~ @thevagablond / thevagablond.com
16. Best advice would be: Stick to your regular workout routine while away. Period.
~ @NVRguys / novacationrequired.com
17. We stay very active when traveling because we want to explore so much. We surf, hike, swim, snorkel and do lots of walking! I would say that also eating smaller meals throughout the day helps rather than 1 or 2 very large meals. ~ @OrdinaryTravelr / ordinarytraveler.com
18. Always eat local, don’t run into KFC just because of comfort & familiarity. Carry nuts as you never know when your next meal will be! :) ~ @KSavageTravels / kristinsavagetravels.blogspot.com
19. Sometimes when I travel, I think, “Oh hey, I’m on vacation! I’ll have dessert and a drink with every meal. I think the best way to prevent weight gain while traveling is not getting trapped into this thought for food. Just because you are in a foreign land doesn’t mean you need dessert and two glasses of wine at dinner. ~ @suzyguese / suzyguese.com
20. as someone with a sweet tooth, I have to remind myself it’s not my duty to try EVERY dessert of a new culture! I limit myself to 1 per day. ~ @KarenKefauver / karenkefauver.com
21. We rent short-term apts and cook our own meals. Plus we pet/housesit, so go on lots of long walks with the dogs. ~ @Technosyncratic / technosyncratic.com
22. I jog every morning first thing to keep with a routine. I stay in places that have kitchens to cook healthy meals for myself. ~ @thetravelchica / thetravelchica.com
23. Hydration on long hauls is my top tip. ~ @LandLopers / landlopers.com
24. Drinking lots of water, staying hydrated is what I always tell people. Super important.
~ @artofbackpackin / artofbackpacking.com
25. I do push ups every other day and try to eat as much salad as I possibly can. I drink a lot of juice too. ~ @nomadicmatt / nomadicmatt.com
26. I try to shop at local markets as they always seem to have the best quality produce. I also try to eat a lot of raw foods. I’ve also discovered that walking everywhere doesn’t kill you so I walk lots too. (you need to replace the soles of your shoes a lot!) ~ @NicoleTravelBug / bittenbythetravelbug.com
27. Your exercise needs to become your constant while traveling – make a commitment to yourself that you will find at least one hour every other day to exercise – NO EXCUSES. Add it to your calendar, set up an email reminder, do whatever it takes, but don’t take no for an answer. You might need to wake up early one day to fit it in. You might need to exercise at 11PM at night on another day. ~ @SteveKamb / nerdfitness.com
28. We try (at least in theory) to look for CHEAP as well as healthy. We also rely on unsalted nuts as snacks in the truck, particularly almonds. Fewer calories than dried fruit, kills hunger fast, portable, stays fresh for a long time. Whole wheat crackers and a pop-top can of tuna mixed with vegetables. Low-fat microwave popcorn is always in tow for times when we need a snack and have access to a microwave. Cheap, sort of healty, quick, easy and tasty. With regards to staying fit, we just try to be as active as possible. ~ @transamericas / trans-americas.com
29. For me exercise is doubly important since it helps to keep my diabetes in control. I go to gyms 4-5 times a week even when I’m traveling. I really enjoy this experience. I pay $1-$2 USD usually for a local gym that has everything I need. I generally eat a low-carb diet. This keeps me lean and healthy and my diabetes under control. I avoid a few things completly – grains, anything processed, anything carby or sugary. I love experiencing local cuisine. If I stick to real foods, I feel I am getting all my nutrition. Fresh meats & fish, eggs, all kinds of veggies, nuts, soups, some fruit. Among those things you can find all the nutrients you need. ~ 1happydiabetic.com
30. My biggest tip for eating healthy is to try traditional local foods. There is a usually a good reason, or several, for foods sticking around through several generations: they are delicious and often, healthy as well. ~ @philinthe_ / philintheblank.net
31. Exercise in your room & explore by foot. A simple stretching routine or even a push-up session every morning will ensure that your body stays in good shape. There are many easy exercises that you can do, such as those listed in this post about the “Hotel Room Workout”. I try to walk everywhere and I usually feel great as a result. Plus, some of my most memorable experiences resulted from such wanderings. Another option is to hire or buy a bicycle as this is also a wonderful form of exercise and method of exploration wherever you may be in the world. ~ @wanderingearl / wanderingearl.com
32. I always try to stay away from white bread and toast in the morning, which is often offered in hostels and try to eat fruits and veggies instead. Also, I always carry around snacks with me so I don’t get forced into buying shitty food just because I’m hungry. I try to do some Yoga or Pilates as this can be done everywhere without any additional equipment. The YogaHD app is a good tip if one needs some guidance. When i’m in a new city away from home I make a point of trying to walk everywhere. I take my trainers everywhere I travel and try to walk or run at least one mile every day – please note that I include walking to a bar/restaurant as within that quota! I think in general the more you stay outside and in nature or around it the more opportunities you find towards physical activity. ~ @travelettes / travelettes.net
Do you have any more tips to add?