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How To Make (And Keep) Healthy Habits While Traveling

This post was updated on March 15th, 2024

We’ve all been there…visiting new places, thrown off from our regular routines, and struggling to maintain our healthy habits while traveling. Without access to your local supermarket or favorite spin class, you may find yourself subsisting on less than healthy restaurant meals and abandoning your usual exercise routine.

Healthy Habits

Believe it or not, it is possible to eat well while on a cross-country road trip, to stay active without access to a gym, and even to indulge in that award-winning BBQ without feeling guilty. It’s simply a matter of finding a balance and making a plan.

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Plan ahead

The number one way to maintain healthy habits while traveling is to make a plan. Do you have a long driving day ahead of you? Skip the fast food stops and instead pack a cooler (or the RV fridge) with healthy snacks like fruit, raw veggies, and granola bars.

Do some research ahead of time and map out where the grocery stores are located. If you plan to be in a remote area with nothing but a gas station convenience store for miles, stock up on healthy foods before you get there. Make a (loose) meal plan and pack items that are simple to prepare. If you have access to a freezer, consider making a few healthy meals ahead of time and packing them in single serve containers for quick meals.

Healthy Habits
Photo by Amanda Watson

Farmers markets are a great option for buying fresh local food. Some larger farmers markets even have prepared foods which make for a great light breakfast or lunch.

Be restaurant savvy

You will be eating out–it’s just a fact. Even if you’re traveling in an RV outfitted with a gourmet kitchen, you’re still going to eat out at least a few times. Instead of throwing your healthy habits out the window because you’re traveling, make smart choices.

  • Ignore the tempting fried foods that are often staples at many restaurants and choose a healthier option.
  • Don’t fill up on the free chips and bread before your meal.
  • Always ask for sauces and salad dressings on the side.
  • Share an entree.
  • Seek out restaurants serving fresh local food.
  • Skip dessert.

Healthy Habits
Finally, allow yourself to indulge every so often. If you want that award-winning fried chicken, decadent cupcake, or exotic cocktail, than just do it. Don’t go crazy and do it every day, but trying new things or enjoying a classic favorite is part of what traveling is all about.

Get creative with exercise

Healthy Habits
Amanda Watson

The possibilities for being active while traveling are almost limitless.  Think hiking in the Rocky Mountains, horseback riding on the beach in North Carolina, or kayaking down the Colorado River. Even if this type of active travel doesn’t interest you, there are a ton of ways you can stay active and maintain those healthy habits while traveling.

No matter where you are, you can move your body. Make it a priority to get out and MOVE on a daily basis. How about a walking tour of a city? There’s no better way to experience a city or small town than on foot. Not only will you get some exercise, but you’ll also experience the flavor of different neighborhoods that you might miss while in a vehicle.

Healthy Habits

Beyond sightseeing, there are plenty of ways to keep up a regular exercise routine while traveling. Simply pack an exercise mat and load the computer up with your favorite workout videos. Yoga, PiYo and body weight resistance exercises all require no extra equipment and can be done in small spaces. As a bonus, you might even get to sweat it out under the shade of a palm tree or in the shadow of a mountain.

Stick to your plan everyday

Healthy habits are only habits if you practice them on a regular basis. Choose a few healthy habits while traveling and STICK to them.

Maybe eating healthy is a priority for you. Or maybe getting eight hours of sleep each night is how you feel your best. Whatever healthy habits you choose, be sure to practice them on a daily basis. Creating a consistent routine while traveling can be difficult, so don’t beat yourself up if you miss a workout or occasionally indulge in dessert. Instead, focus on a few healthy habits that you can maintain no matter where your travels might take you.

You may also like: 10 Hunger Busting (and Cheap) Healthy Road Trip Snacks