How to Stay Healthy While Traveling – The Complete Guide

how to stay healthy while traveling
Hello! This website participates in affiliate programs (Amazon affiliate program, etc) to fund its existence. Also, I am not a doctor and I do not provide medical advice. I am a professional basketball player, Certified Personal Trainer, and Masters Student in Nutrition Education. Please read my Medical Disclaimer and Review Disclaimer for more information.

Staying healthy while traveling doesn’t have to be difficult and it doesn’t have to interrupt your travel plans. In fact, taking simple steps to stay healthy while traveling can help you get more out of your time away from home!

When you travel, it’s natural for your mind to go into “vacation mode.” Even if you’re traveling for a business trip, being away from your home always gives you a sense of relaxation that throws you off your regular routine. However, that doesn’t mean that your body needs to, as well. Although it’s okay (and even healthy) to relax and enjoy some time away from your regular regiment- fitness is a lifestyle, and you still need to control yourself.

Personally, I have learned a lot about staying healthy while traveling since I began playing basketball professionally in Europe, and I am sure there is still much more I can learn.

After 6+ years as a professional basketball player, I am confident that the tips I have learned can help you stay healthy and fit while traveling as well!

If you are interested to know how to stay healthy while traveling, keep reading below!

The Complete Guide to Staying Healthy While Traveling

If you want to stay healthy and fit while traveling, these tips will help:

1.) Pay Attention to What You Eat and Drink

how to stay healthy when traveling

The first step to staying healthy while traveling is to control what you eat. Regardless of any supplements or any amount of exercise you do, you will start to become unhealthy if you are not maintaining at least a bit of a healthy diet.

Whether you are traveling to a new country for the first time, or living overseas as an ex-pat and traveling in your new home, it’s tempting to eat just about everything if you’re in a “new” place.

A good plan is to plan certain times for new food and drink experiences and certain times for eating healthy food and consuming healthy drinks. Often, these things can go together, but there are many times they don’t.

For example, in my last two seasons in Poland, I ate a ton of heavy Polish food and drank a lot of Polish beer and Polish vodka- which are products I wouldn’t normally choose while home in the United States. However, since I wanted to experience the culture as much as possible, I picked my spots wisely and enjoyed as much food and drinks as possible.

I made sure not to consume these things every day, and certainly never more than once per day.

Additionally, a simple way you can change your eating habits when you aren’t consuming something new is to only eat plant-foods. You don’t need to be a vegan or vegetarian, but you want to eat as many plant foods as possible while traveling.

For example, if you are in the airport, find a salad bar instead of a cheeseburger restaurant.

Meat is more difficult for your body to digest, which becomes even more difficult when you are flying or traveling.

Along with this, it also contains only a limited variety of nutrients.

Plant foods contain more vitamins and minerals, fiber, and contain fewer calories than animal products. So, they are perfect for helping you stay healthy when traveling!

You don’t have to follow a strict diet plan to stay healthy when traveling, but you certainly need to pay attention to what you eat and drink.

2.) Focus on Staying Hydrated at all Times!

being healthy while traveling

If there is one single thing you can do to improve how you feel while traveling, it is staying hydrated.

Staying hydrated is an absolute must when you are traveling. Unfortunately, a lot of people forget to drink up the recommended eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day when they’re traveling or on vacation.

Water is great, but there are other options for you as well.

Furthermore, whether you are driving or flying for your travel, try to avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol as much as possible.

That doesn’t mean you have to cut coffee and alcohol completely out of your trip, but you certainly have to limit them

If you do want to drink something with caffeine, tea is usually a better option than coffee.

The best types of tea which contain caffeine and other beneficial compounds to keep you healthy when traveling are:

Personally, my drink of choice while traveling is sparkling water with a lemon slice or two. Not only is water one of the best hydration drinks, but lemon is excellent for digestion and keeping you alert through your travel.

You can substitute the lemon for cucumber, orange, watermelon, or numerous other fruits as well.

Most airplanes can offer you slices of lemons to drop in your sparkling water while flying, which is very convenient.

Along with this, fresh cold-pressed juice is another great option.

Many airports contain a fresh juice station, although it is a little costly.

Fresh juice can help your stomach while traveling, especially since it is not easy to eat well while traveling all day. Drinking fresh juice once per day also supplies your body with vitamins and minerals that will help you avoid sickness while traveling.

Other great hydration drinks that you can buy from convenience stores or small shops are coconut water and aloe vera juice.

Along with avoiding coffee and alcohol, I also strongly suggest you avoid soda and sugary juices as well. The sugar in these drinks is terrible for your body all the time, and they are even worse while traveling.

If you want to stay healthy while traveling, you need to be properly hydrated!

3.) Use These Supplements While Traveling

There are many supplements that can help you stay healthy while traveling, but these supplements have specific benefits that you definitely don’t want to miss out on:

Zinc

Zinc is one of the best supplements to take while traveling because it is great for your immune system. Personally, I take 25 mg of zinc before bed every night.  Zinc is valuable for nearly every cellular function of your body, and it forms a “protective bubble” against disease and illness around your body.

According to a study published in Proceedings of the Nutrition Society,

“Zn is an essential trace element for all organisms. In human subjects body growth and development is strictly dependent on Zn. The nervous, reproductive and immune systems are particularly influenced by Zn deficiency, as well as by increased levels of Zn.”

Most diets are lower in zinc than they should be, and it never hurts to consciously eat many foods high in zinc. However, it is still difficult to get enough zinc through your diet. Taking a zinc supplement each night can make a significant impact on how easy it is to stay healthy while traveling!

The zinc supplement when traveling I suggest is RSP Nutrition Z-Elite:

RSP NUTRITION Z-Elite - Natural Sleep and Recovery Supplement with Melatonin, Magnesium, Zinc for Sleep Aid and Muscle Recovery, 180 Caps (Packaging May Vary), 8.6 Ounce
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Turmeric

There are tons of benefits of taking turmeric supplements and they are specifically beneficial while traveling to reduce inflammation and promote overall health.

According to a study in the Journal of Clinical Immunology,

“This suggests that curcumin’s reported beneficial effects in arthritis, allergy, asthma, atherosclerosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cancer might be due in part to its ability to modulate the immune system. Together, these findings warrant further consideration of curcumin as a therapy for immune disorders.”

If you’d like to purchase a turmeric supplement, this is the one I use:

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CBD

CBD Oil (cannabidiol) is a compound found on the cannabis plant.  Unlike the cannabinoid THC, CBD has no psychoactive effects.

CBD is a powerful antioxidant, neuroprotector, will help your immune system stay strong while you are traveling, and it can help reduce any nagging pain issues.

Personally, I use CBD because it helps me manage motor tics associated with Tourette’s Syndrome and other chronic pain issues I have from my basketball career.

Not only do I use CBD oil and CBD capsules, but I also use a CBD topical for my back as well.

My favorite CBD topical is the Muscle MX CBD balm.

If you would like to use a CBD tincture, read my Primary Jane Review to find one of my favorites!

CBD products are quickly becoming more popular because they are effective and do not have many side effects.

Activated Charcoal

The benefit of using activated charcoal is that it helps removes toxins from your body through a unique adsorption process. As the activated charcoal process through your body, it grabs toxins and other waste products within your body that have not been properly removed.

I use activated charcoal each night at the beginning of my travels, and I wake up with a very well-working digestive system!

Many people have a lot of stomach issues when they are flying or traveling, due to the altitude and cabin pressure, along with simply long hours on an airplane or in a car.

If you don’t want to deal with days of constipation and stomach issues, use activated charcoal!

Another issue that many people have when they travel is adapting to new foods. Not only will there be different ingredients from what you are used to, but the food was raised in a unique way as well.

Whether you are talking about fish, meat, or fruits and vegetables, any type of new food can hurt your stomach for days until you are used to it. Every time I go from America to Europe I have about 2-3 days of stomach issues before I settle in.

One note about activated charcoal use is that it can also “grab” medications in your stomach before they are completely dissolved and absorbed by your body. For this reason, try not to take activated charcoal near the time of any important medications.

If you’d like to try using an activated charcoal supplement, I suggest this one:

4.) Get Some Exercise

staying healthy while traveling

You might not be able to keep your regular workout routine, but you can definitely find a variety of ways to exercise even while traveling.

Wherever you’re going, it’s important to figure out if there is space to work out. Fitness facilities – or lack thereof – vary around the world. Everyone has different needs for their requirements and goals, which means it’s worth checking out the type of fitness facilities and equipment that will be available to you when you reach your destination.

If you’re an indoor person, you can find out if there is a gym in the area or the hotel you’d be staying in. It might not be the most relaxing thing to do, but hitting the fitness center at your hotel or in the area will certainly help you stay fit when you’re traveling.

Bringing along some small, light fitness products such as jump rope or a pair of Fat Gripz can give you some additional workout options while traveling.

You could also try to find personal training services.

One of my favorite ways to exercise while traveling is simply to walk around and explore the new area.

After your first night, you can do a fasted walk in the morning. Fasted state cardio is excellent for cleaning your body and helping to stabilize your biorhythm.

If you’re traveling to a new place, there might be some interesting options for fitness for you. For example, it might be that you are traveling to coastal regions, and you’re not used to being able to run on the beach. Or, you could take your time near the ocean to go diving or snorkeling.

Or, perhaps you will be in an area with impressive outdoor equipment, like Los Angeles’ Muscle Beach.

You could even take the time to visit a local wellness retreat to experience a new part of the culture and improve your health!

Lastly, you can do some simple workouts in your hotel room.

Yoga is a great form of exercise to do in your hotel room. A yoga program such as the 21 Day Yoga Shred routine is a perfect form of exercise while traveling. Read my YogaDownload.com Review to learn about my favorite online yoga classes.

There are tons of ways to exercise while traveling even without a proper fitness center.

Check out these 8 travel workouts which you can do nearly anywhere while traveling:

Your fitness tracker can also be helpful while traveling for helping track your daily steps and calories burned, which can give you a good idea of how much you are actually exercising per day.

5.) Take Care of Your Hygiene

An important aspect of staying healthy while traveling that gets overlooked far too often is taking care of your hygiene.

Regardless of whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, a solid self-care routine is the foundation of a great day.

You should follow all the basic hygiene and self-care rules, but when traveling, there are certain items and products that are important for keeping you organized so that you can actually have the time to take care of yourself.

Your razor is a perfect example.

It is important to know that the best travel toiletry bag is one that is completely waterproof so that your razor will not drip any water and cause issues throughout your travel bag. Additionally, your razor will be easy to find and ready to use whenever you need it. Furthermore, you can check out safety razor travel cases reviewed to find a good razor travel case that will keep your razor separated from all the other products you carry.

Other products you should pay attention to are travel organizers and laundry bags.

Using a laundry bag in your main suitcase is very important for separating the worn clothes from clean clothes. If you don’t do this and don’t have time to clean your clothes at your hotel, all of your clothes could end up smelling a little foul if you’re on a long trip lugging your dirty laundry around.

Personally, I use my Travel Packing Organizers by The Traveling Phoenix as a laundry bag and packing organizers.

These compression travel organizers are a set of three durable packing organizers, with come with compression zippers for easier storage.

If you are like me and are always traveling with day-to-day clothes, and training clothes, these are a lifesaver! They keep your clothes organized while traveling, and you are also able to pack more for your trip.

The Travel Packing Organizers come in a 3-organizer set, and you can fit all 3 of them into most carry-on luggage suitcases.

If you want to be even more organized, you can fit 2 whole sets into a single full-size suitcase. This travel organizer is particularly great to me because it uses compression technology, without having to use the annoying vacuum compression.

For additional travel luggage options, check out Luggage on Tour.

If you follow general hygiene rules and use these organization tips, you will stay healthy while traveling!

6.) Get Enough Sleep

One last tip for staying healthy while traveling is to make sure you get enough sleep.

Several studies have found that getting more sleep is just as important for your physical well being as diet and exercise.

If you are traveling for more than just a couple of days, you want to set your biorhythm on the first night.

Try to set yourself in bed at the time you want to sleep each day and wake up exactly when you want to.

Additionally, you should sleep in a completely dark room and avoid watching TV at all.

Melatonin can be exceptionally helpful when you are trying to stay healthy while traveling since it can help settle your body’s natural biorhythm.

You can try this melatonin supplement because it is cheap and effective:

Amazon Elements Melatonin 3mg, Helps with occasional sleeplessness, Vegan, 260 Tablets, 8 month supply (Packaging may vary)
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If you take the steps to sleep properly on the first night of your travel, you will inevitably feel much better each day going forward. Your body needs sleep to recover and stay healthy when traveling!

Concluding Thoughts – How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

If you truly want to stay healthy while you are traveling, you need to focus on being healthy every single day.

Staying fit and healthy while traveling is not impossible. However, you must remain focused on your goals.

Personally, I try to treat every day with the same focus. As an athlete, I can’t let travel slow down my body.

Contrarily, I often need to be at 100% peak performance just hours after getting off a plane or bus! All the tips listed above are keys to my own health; they are how I survive traveling throughout Europe to play basketball!

Over the first 6+ years of my professional basketball career, I have learned a lot about how to stay healthy while traveling, more than I could ever expect!

I hope these tips are valuable for you as well! Exercise regularly, eat and drink well, supplement smart, and sleep well.

If you do this, traveling will be a breeze!

If you want to see a few more tips for staying healthy while traveling, check out this video:

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Adam Kemp
Hello! My name is Adam Kemp. I am a professional basketball player and an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer. In 2014 I graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in Communications, and for the last seven years, I have played professional basketball in Europe. I am also an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, and I am currently completing my Masters of Science in Nutrition Education at American University. The health and fitness tips you can find throughout the articles I have written include information I have learned throughout my basketball career, academic studies, and my own personal research. If you would like to learn more about my life, please take a moment to follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

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