Maintaining healthy habits for business travel requires attention and intention. Research shows that whether you’re a road warrior or jet setter, more mileage often equals more stress and takes a larger toll on health. However, addressing all phases of travel (planning, traveling and returning), you can still maintain optimal health and wellness. Check out the recommendations below, and you’ll likely find that you’re already doing many of them!

Before You Go: Make a Plan

Plan your trip with intention. Many of us find ourselves even more tired when we return from our trips than before we left!  A World Bank study showed that almost 75% of those traveling for business reported high or very high stress. Interrupted sleep, eating and drinking more than usual, and lack of physical activity are common side effects of traveling. 

Before you go, consider how you want to feel when you return. Is the purpose of this business to let loose at an end of the year awards trip? Or, it is more of routine trip where you can easily hold and maintain your personal health boundaries? Planning head takes into account the duration of the trip, accommodations, restaurants that offer healthy menus, the nearest gym or trail, or whether you can book a hotel room at the end of the hall for less noise!

Staying Active While Traveling

healthy habits

Staying active while traveling is a great way to boost your mood and energy. It helps reduce stress, improves the quality of your sleep, and helps protect your immune system. It can also be really fun and exciting! Here are a few tips to help you stay active while traveling. 

  • Search for workout facilities in your hotel. Try to start your day with a quick workout to boost your mood and energy levels.
  • Identify trails and parks near you. Exercising outside is a great way to get more sunlight and vitamin D.
  • Walk everywhere! You have the opportunity to truly get to know a city so much better when you walk! Try taking a 20-minute walk at/around noon to optimize the use of UV rays. If you’re driving or flying, allow time to stop, stretch your legs, and walk around.
  • Bring your yoga matt with you! Take it out to the park and practice yoga before heading to your next activity.
  • Pack gliding discs and resistance bands. These are pieces of equipment that are easy to carry everywhere you go!
  • Download a workout app – Obe Fitness, Home Workout on Google Play, or YouTube are great options for on-the-go exercise.
  • Try something new – yoga, pilates, lagree, you name it! Schedule a free “first-time” class at a local fitness studio or gym.
  • Find creative ways to stay active by making a fun activity out of it with friends and family, such as going on a hike or a bike ride around the city.

Follow these simple tips to stay physically active while traveling. You will find how much value exercise adds to your travel experience!

Making Healthy Choices When it Comes To Food 

healthy habits

Traveling offers us the opportunity to try new restaurants or explore the local cuisine. Enjoying delicious food is part of the travel experience, for sure! The key here is to consume your favorite foods in moderation, while making sure you are giving your body the energy and the nutrients that it needs.

  • Don’t skip meals! Plan your meal times in advance.
  • Find the nearest grocery store and stock up on healthy snacks. If your accommodations have a kitchen, plan to cook some of your meals! It will definitely save some money and will allow you to make healthier meals at home.
  • Make sure your room has a refrigerator to store your food and snacks in, such as yogurt, fruit, hummus, etc.
  • If you are able to and you know you will be out of town for a long time, order meal delivery kits instead of take out or room service.
  • Bring supplemental foods with you, such as nut butters, energy bars, fruit, trail mix, or ready-to-eat oatmeal cups.

Planning ahead will be your best friend to help you support your healthy habits while traveling.

Proper Hydration While Traveling

healthy habits

Proper hydration for frequent travelers can increase physical performance, brain function and energy, sleep quality, cognition and mood during your trip. It can also help decrease fatigue and prevent headaches and constipation. Check out the following tips to help you stay hydrated while traveling.

  • Bring a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go.
  • Try flavor-infused water with fresh herbs, fruit, unsweetened tea, or flavor mixes.

Proper hydration will be key to help you support your healthy habits while traveling.

A Good Night’s Sleep

healthy habits

Traveling can really take a toll on sleep. Sleep can be affected by a variety of things, such as screens, fatigue, too much caffeine or alcohol, time changes, etc. The following tips will help you support your sleeping habits when you’re traveling.

  • Get into the habit of putting your phone away an hour before bedtime.
  • Prepare your sleeping schedule for time-changes in upcoming trips.
  • Try to move your body in the morning – a brisk morning walk, a small yoga stretch video.
  • Consider bringing products that support your sleep (pillow, eye mask, supplements like melatonin, etc.).
  • Consider meditation to help you sleep better! Some apps that include guided meditations include Calm and Headpsace.

Taking care of your sleep hygiene is much more important than you may think. Make sure you prioritize your sleep when you’re traveling.

Before You Return Home: Make a Plan

It is just as important to set yourself up for success when you return home from your trip. Try the following tips to help you jump back in to your daily routine.

  • Schedule a day of “do nothing” for your return. Make sure you get enough sleep and rest, make time to grocery shop, meal prep, or do laundry.
  • Make a list of meals for the upcoming week and buy your groceries accordingly.
  • Schedule your exercise for the days ahead. You can book a yoga class at your local yoga studio or call a friend to schedule a run or a walk together.

Maintaining healthy habits when traveling will always be something you’re glad you did! Staying physically active, being mindful of your eating habits, keeping yourself hydrated, and prioritizing sleep, are all ways to support your healthy habits while traveling.

If you’d like a one-on-one session with one of our dietitians, insurance may cover your session! Connect with us to find out more! 

Jennifer McDaniel

Jennifer McDaniel is a Registered Dietitian, Media Spokesperson, and co-author of Prevention's Mediterranean Table Cookbook. She and her team of Registered Dietitians aim to help their clients go further, make change last, and unlock their potential. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband, and three young sons. If you are interested in working with Jennifer, please visit our contact page.