Expat’s Guide to Staying Healthy on the Road

Having just spent a few months on the road, we know a thing or two about how to stay healthy.

From eating right, to getting enough sleep and even exercising, we want to share our tips for how to stay healthy while you’re out globetrotting.

EATING

Soba Noodles in Tokyo

Eating is an integral part of staying healthy on the road. But, it’s easy to screw it up. When you travel, you are exhausted so much of the time. Sometimes you just want to grab some chips from 7-11, or a hot dog on your way back to the hotel. And,that’s ok…sometimes.

The Art of Snacking

You’re out wandering for the day and you lose track of time. Suddenly its 2 PM and you’re so hungry you’d eat a baby. Don’t do it!

This is where snacking comes in handy. If you bring a few snacks along in your purse or daybag, you have emergency rations that will help get you through the middle of the day. When John and I travel we hardly eat a proper lunch. We just snack. This prevents us from overeating at dinner time.

Find a local snack and stock up on it. In Namibia, we eat a lot of biltong (dried meat) and peanuts and raisins.

Hydration

Drinking plenty of water helps keep your body’s fluids balanced, keeps your kidneys happy and makes your skin look nice. We recommend taking a reusable Nalgene water bottle if you can. For places where the drinking water is questionable, be sure to buy bottled water!

Local is Better

If you’re in Thailand, eat some seafood. In South Africa order a steak. Get Ramen or Yakitori in Japan! Whatever the local specialty, it’s local for a reason. This usually means it will be fresher and better quality. For example, I don’t eat seafood when traveling inland. It’s just a bad idea.

Not only is eating local better, it’s usually cheaper. I’d way rather eat schnitzel in Germany than sushi.

EXERCISE

Hiking Lion's Head

It’s hard to stay fit while you’re on the road traveling. Most of the time, we don’t have a gym available.

Walk it Off

Walking is a great way to see a place and get some exercise at the same time. Instead of taking the bus or taxi to the next sightseeing location, see if you can comfortably walk it. It’s amazing what a few miles of walking will do for your fitness level. If you want to take it up a notch…go for a hike! John and I have gone on a hike nearly everywhere we’ve gone. Even though it’s usually though, the views at the top are a huge reward.

Take a Class

Check your local paper or events page and see what kinds of fitness classes are available. I’ve seen everything from yoga to surfing, to kick boxing. It’s really fun to go to a class where you can workout and hang with local people.

Easy Hotel Room Workout

There may be weeks or months when you can’t get to the gym. If you’re a runner, then great, you can do that anywhere. We are not big on running, so we’ve put together this great 20 minute hotel room workout.

  • Jumping Jack Warm Up: 1 minute
  • Push-ups x 10
  • Squats (with or without weights) x 10
  • Plank for 1 minute
  • Tricep Dips x 10
  • Static Lunges x 10 (each leg)
  • Ab Twist for 30 seconds
  • Wall Sit for 1 minute (to make it harder, try doing a one legged wall sit…yikes!)
  • Boat Pose for 1 minute

Do this set 3 times and you’ll be on your way to staying in shape

SLEEPING

 

Camping

It’s imperative to get a good nights sleep when you’re traveling. Yes, of course, you will have those nights when you’re out until 3 AM. But, if you wake up well rested, you can fully enjoy sightseeing, touring, and everything else on your trip. Here are some of our tips for creating a zen like environment to help you sleep right:

  • Travel pillow: whether we’re staying in a hostel or budget hotel, it’s always nice to have an extra pillow. Sleeping with a pillow between your legs is better for your back because it puts your hips in alignment.
  • Melatonin: this is a chemical that your body naturally produces when you sleep. It is a herbal supplement that can really make a difference when you’re moving across time zones. You can buy it at Trader Joes, Walgreens, or any other supplement store.
  • Eye Mask: Self explanatory…but when you have jet lag an eye mask does wonders for you. Your body is all out of whack and when it’s dark your body knows that it’s time to sleep. Also helpful when you’re staying in a shared space and people are getting up at all different times.
  • Ear Plugs: these are essential for blocking out loud road sounds and noisy neighbors. Especially important when you’re staying in a hostel!

What do YOU do to stay healthy while traveling? Let us know in the comments below!

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