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These Three Tools Keep Me Healthy While Traveling

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Painting: Travelling Companions By Augustus Leopold EggPHOTO: AUGUSTUS LEOPOLD EGG/WIKIPEDIA.ORG

Travel. It’s such a fantastic way to expand your mind and learn new things about who you are as a citizen of the world. I think traveling to someplace other than your own back yard should be standard fare for everyone.

Maybe you’ve traveled a lot or are just beginning to get the itch to explore. Either way, do you find that your healthy habits take a backseat to wanderlust? If so, you might be worried that all of your hard-won health gains could be undone when you go on a trip.

It’s easy to end up feeling icky if you forego your regular exercise habits or suddenly start consuming a load of unhealthy snacks while traveling. (Am I the only one who gets weird junk food cravings as soon as I hit the TSA line?) Having succumbed to that one too many times, I now know that when I travel, it’s crucial that I maintain a healthful balance.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t ever have the crème brûlée or a glass of wine, it just means that the more I stay in my regular routine, the better I feel and the better my trip becomes. If you’re interested in having a vacation or business trip where you don’t feel sick or exhausted from a multitude of unhealthy choices, read on. We’ve got three tools you can use the next time you set out on a journey.

Photo of melatonin supplement bottlePHOTO: MICHAEL REUTER/FLICKR.COM Melatonin

Supplements

If you’re unsure what the food will be like where you’re going, and when traveling by air especially, supplements are a must-have. Many websites sell easy-to-pack pill cases so that you can take a supply of only what you need for your time away. No time to shop or just don’t want the hassle?  Use a resealable snack-sized bag instead. Your regular supplements are a no-brainer, but there are a few more to add in during travel time.

Melatonin is a fantastic supplement to bring, as it helps sustain a healthy sleep schedule and regulate your circadian rhythm no matter what time zone you find yourself in. Adequate sleep is essential in a regular well-being routine and is even more so when traveling. Be sure to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night while you’re away, but most importantly, do that the night before you travel.

Photo of Vitamin D3 supplement bottlePHOTO: TONY STEWARD/FLICKR.COM

If you’re unable to get enough sleep because of your itinerary and end up staying awake, take a nap the next day to get yourself back on track. When crossing time zones, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is imperative. Take 3-6mg of melatonin an hour before bedtime the day before you leave. Continue this practice when you’re away and for one to two weeks upon returning home.

Vitamin D3 is necessary to keep your immune system functioning well, especially if you might encounter any nasty cold or flu bugs (you know, like in seat 23C). Bump up the dosage to 25,000-50,000IU daily for three days any time you feel like you might be getting a cold or the flu. Try taking this dosage amount on the day you travel to give yourself a little boost.

Don’t take this high dosage more than three days in a row without speaking to your doctor, though, as it could have serious implications for your liver.  Round out your supplementation with some good ol’ Vitamin C. A bit extra when you’re traveling will help bolster your immunity.

Screenshot of Headspace App Program LogoPHOTO: [email protected]

Apps

Where would we be without apps? Having an exercise routine, calendar, fitness tracker, and stopwatch all available from your smartphone means staying on the hook for your routines. This is superb for traveling. Consider an app like Pocket Yoga or Headspace when you need some meditative time, with or without the physical exercise component. Exercise apps like Seconds Pro allow you to customize intervals or use one of several presets. Tabatas in the hotel lobby, anyone?

Shipping Services

Eating out on vacation can be a slippery slope to unhealthiness. While a few meals out aren’t going to totally derail you, completely abandoning your normal eating patterns can. Be the star of your vacation and send yourself (and your traveling companions) the healthy foods and supplements you need ahead of time.

Services such as Vitacost.com allow you to buy items like tea, cereal, vitamins, honey, coconut oil, and baby food (among other staples) and have them shipped wherever you’d like. Look for a farmer’s market or organic grocer at your destination and get the fresh bits you need. My advance purchase fave is gluten-free cocoa dusted oats combined with fresh organic raspberries and organic almond milk. It’s easy to say no thank you to the continental breakfast when I can have that goodness instead!

Photo of a girl staring at the skyline of FlorencePHOTO: FISCHERS/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Summary

Just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean you need to fall off the wagon. With some careful planning and a little creativity at your destination, you can stick to your well-being habits. Tuck your workout shoes into your suitcase so you can explore the city you end up in or at least check out the hotel gym.

If you’re into swimming, pack your suit and get in some laps at the hotel pool. Remember to hydrate well, wear sunscreen, take your vitamins, exercise, relax, and eat delicious, good-for-you food. Feeling your very best when traveling only makes the journey that much richer.

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