Strategies to Turn Any Trip Into a Health Retreat!




Those of you who know me in person, know that my boyfriend and I are away from home at least 3 weekends out of the month. Being away from my well-stocked kitchen, gym, and favorite health food stores on average 10 days out of 30, I had to come up with some effective strategies to follow my health and wellness ideals even while on the road. It took some time, creativity, and mental flexibility to find strategies that work well every time and that don’t require too much work. Now I use them all the time when I go away. Since my trip to India is only 2 days away, I am giving myself a refresher and hope that you will learn something useful, too!

The most important lesson I learned about staying healthy on the road is that you have to go prepared!

Second, most important lesson is that all the ‘healthy travel’ strategies have to be realistic. If you plan to bring 20 lbs of greens and a juicer with you everywhere, traveling will be quite a chore and not many will be willing to travel with you. I learned that lesson when I was trying to fly with Bio-K probiotic yogurt everywhere I went. 1 yogurt per day took up all my liquids allowance and sometimes had to spill over into my bf’s bag. This one didn’t stick around for too long.

Third, your strategies have to be based on what works for you at home, not some expert’s recommendation that you’ve never tried before. You’ve probably heard that it is best to use worn-in shoes when going on a hike and your favorite running shoes if competing in a race. No matter how many professional runners rave about a shoe, if it doesn’t fit your foot, it won’t work. Same applies to the effective travel strategies – they have to be based on what works for you, not for someone else! Plus, strategies based on your daily wellness routine will help to keep Vata at bay. Vata tends to get out of balance when we travel and change our daily routine too much. Stay true to the effective health habits!

Another thing that is very important to staying in a ‘feel good’ state is to ban the guilt. If for some reason you treated yourself to a little more dessert than necessary or skipped a day at the gym, skip the guilt ,as well. It does nothing good. It creates negativity, increases acidity, promotes inflammation, and hinders digestion. Just move on and do smth good for yourself!

Step by Step Guide to Create Your Personal “Healthy Travel” Strategies

  1. Make a list of things that make you feel healthy and create a sense of general well-being while you are at home. If you know what works while you are at home, you can plan effectively for your trip. It will help to avoid unnecessary hyped up “healthy things” like green powders that you never used before or DVD’s that you’ve never done and don’t know whether you would like them.
  2. Get creative and find ways to turn your “at home” feel good strategy that has proven to work well for you into a “healthy travel” strategy. What can you do to achieve the same healthy feeling while you are on the road?

Here is how I used my at home feel-good rules to create super effective travel-friendly alternatives:

At home: Go to the bathroom before breakfast. This one is very important to me and according to ayurveda it is one of the most important determinants of health. I don’t like the feeling of carrying around a bag of toxins in me. Traveling can mess up the elimination cycle so it is best to know in advance what can help you to stay regular even after long flights. For me it is a few capsules of triphala before the plane and right before bed and a hot tea with ginger and lemon as soon as I wake up.
Healthy Travel strategy: Take triphala, bring a plastic bag of powdered ginger, 1 whole lemon (weird but I need it), and herbal tea bags everywhere I travel. If there is no coffee machine or a microwave to make hot water for tea, ask room service for some. They usually won’t charge you for it.

At home: Yoga and meditation in the AM. It makes me feel light, comfortable, and happy in my body. It also puts me in a good mood and a relaxed mental state for the rest of the day.
Healthy Travel strategy: Wake up a bit earlier than my bf and fit in my usual morning yoga to stretch and get into a happy frame of mind for the day. Yoga is a just a tool. I am not doing it for the sake of doing yoga but I do it because of the way it makes me feel. For you that tool might be something different. Whatever you do to get into the groove at home, try to do it when you travel as well.

At home: Eat lots of vegetables.
Healthy Travel strategy: While researching some farm-to table, vegan, or health-conscious restaurants is a great idea, your travel companions might not always approve of your choices. Fortunately, with some creativity you can find healthy food even at mean steak houses and old style Italian places. Use a Flexitarian approach to make every meal healthy. Why not have a side dish of asparagus or spinach for an appetiser?  The menu is not written in stone. Think of a restaurant menu as a lego – rearrange items, add, substract, build your own. Do it with a smile and apologetic eyes or blame everything on a medically prescribed diet. This weekend for example I was lucky enough to get braised kale for an appetiser, swapped sides from several dishes to make up my own good food combining dinner of trout with mashed cauliflower, and greens with grilled veggies. If you ask nicely and know exactly what you want, people will work with you.

At home: Have healthy dessert/snacks
Healthy Travel strategy: Bring some with me. Sprouted sunflower seeds, flax crackers, cherry mocha mantra 22 days nutrition bar, Nugo dark chocolate, or macaroons travel with me. If I am not sure if there will be a supermarket close by or if we will have time to go there, I can also thrown in an apple, a pear, or a grapefruit. Healthy snacks get priority in the suitcase over an extra pair of shoes. It is all about priorities, right? Where do you put ‘feeling good’ on your list?

At home: Sweat and move
Healthy Travel strategy: You all know this one: never leave without running shoes, run outside, take stairs, go hiking, bike around, use the hotel gym, and my latest one – bring dvds. Physique 57 is great! A hard core yoga session can work, too. Try,, If you have internet access. Nothing beats short Tabata workouts by the amazing mother of 4 Bex. Check this one out.

Here are some other great points on staying healthy on the road from Melissa who runs Fitness NYC blog and an inspiring veggie lover Rande who talks about Adventures and Travel-Juicing

That’s pretty much all I need to feel good, stay in shape, and maintain my health at the level that I want.

Question to you: What is your daily wellness routine? How can you recreate it when you travel?

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Off to pack for India!



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