Here Are the Top 9 Things You Need to Know About Travel Wellness
Going on a trip abroad can do wonders to both body and mind.
But if you’re not careful, the benefits of traveling can easily be minimized by the physical and psychological stress it incurs.
It’s not always easy to stick to your wellness routine while on the road. And yet, you shouldn’t give up on travel altogether. Just adopt the good habits that will ensure your trip isn’t detrimental to your health.
Here’s how to stay healthy while traveling and keep your energy levels up!
Sleep. A lot.
No one goes on vacation and spends their time sleeping. Such a waste of time, when there are so many things to do and see, right? Absolutely.
And yet, not listening to your body and denying it the time to recover from the physical efforts you’ve put it through would be a grave mistake.
There isn’t a specific minimum amount of time you should sleep every day, it’s up to you to find the correct balance and know yourself. As a rule of thumb, it’s recommended to sleep between 7 and 9 hours a day. Incorporating a short nap to your travel routine would be a great idea.
Hydrate (and favor water over alcohol and soft drinks)
Did you know that more than half of your body is made of water? Water is life, as they say!
When traveling, you definitely want to cut back on alcohol and soft drinks and opt for water instead. Not only is it the best option to stay hydrated, it may also help you lose weight.
Always carry some with you - but say no to disposable bottles. There are way better alternatives.
Eat fruits or healthy snacks
Watch out for what you put in your body when traveling. Avoid eating several heavy meals in a row and opt for lighter, nutritive options instead.
Fruits are some of the best healthy snacks to pack when traveling. You can find some in every grocery store and they can be eaten at any time of the day.
If you’re going to be particularly active, consider bringing a healthy snack or two. They’ll replenish your strengths during a long walk or hike, without harming your stomach and making you feel uncomfortable the rest of the way.
Practice “Hara Hachi Bu”
If you’ve never heard of that before, it’s a Confucian teaching that recommends people to stop eating before feeling full. As a rule of thumb, aim for an 80% full belly.
It’s not easy to know when to stop, but one way to do that is to reduce the size of your usual portions. You’ll be surprised to realize that eating less is still probably going to be enough.
Why? Because it takes time for the brain to understand that your stomach is full. By the time it realizes you’ve had enough to eat, it’s already too late: you’ve kept eating more than you actually needed. Hara Hachi Bu is a good practice to adopt not only when traveling, but in your everyday life.
Stretch and exercise. At least a little.
I have long underestimated the power of stretching. It used to be something I did before and after working out. But as I started traveling a lot, it became increasingly hard to maintain this exercise routine.
But I found that stretching right after going out of bed immediately fills me with energy. I do the same before going to sleep. It procures an amazing feel-good sensation and is highly beneficial to your health.
If you can find a way to squeeze a workout while traveling, that’s great. A good hike can also do the trick. You want to find a way to get your energy levels up. Stretching may be your last resort, but it certainly isn’t one to disregard if your wellness is a priority when travelling.
Wear your running shoes and walk
When getting dressed, think “comfort” and “practical” rather than “style”. Your running shoes may not look fashionable, but consider them your body’s best friends if you’re planning to walk a lot that day.
And you should be walking. It’s an easy way to combine the discovery of a new place and weight loss. But the shoes you’re wearing can either make or break your exploration plans. Flat shoes are likely to cause damage to your feet and pain that can spread as high as your upper back.
Running shoes are great to prevent heel pain by supporting this part of the foot more efficiently thn most other kinds of footwear. It would be a shame not to be able to walk straight on the next day because you neglected your own comfort!
Care for your mind
Pampering the body is usually the first reflex that travellers mindful of their wellness have. Too often is the mind omitted. A shame, considering that you could consider that the mind controls the body.
You may have a routine at home that helps you deal with emotional stress or anxiety. Meditation has grown in popularity in recent years, a reflection of the increased concern we have for our well-being.
Try to maintain this form of psychological relief even when you travel or give it a try if you don’t have such a routine at home. Journaling can be a great introduction to the world of meditation and it is perfectly adapted to traveling: it allows you to keep a written record of what you experienced during your vacation, something upon which you can look back when it comes to an end.
Get closer to nature
I’ve come to the realization that getting closer to nature was beneficial to both my physical and mental well-being. If you live in a large city, get away from this sort of setting when traveling. Chase the pure air of the mountain or the forest rather than the buzz of a crowded urban centre.
It may sound like a cliché, but nature has powerful calming effects. For me, it’s the sound of the waves and being surrounded by trees. It makes me forget about my daily life and acts as an energy and creativity boost that improves the way I feel when I travel.
Go on a walk through the woods or look for a hike in the nearest mountain. By the end of the day, you will feel reborn. And I wouldn’t be surprised if you get into the habit of getting closer to nature even when you’re back home.
Pace yourself and take the time to relax
Don’t overlook the power of doing nothing either. There are so many new things to do when you discover a new place that, like sleeping, taking things slow seems counter-intuitive. And yet, you may enjoy your trip more by doing fewer things.
Unfortunately, our cultures praise efficiency and proactivity and speed to the point that burn outs have increased at an alarming rate in recent years. When you’re on holiday, no one forces you to rush things or see everything there is to see in one place.
Try to identify a handful of things to do that would make you feel good and try to do just that. You’ll appreciate taking the time to enjoy those more than rushing though double the amount of activities.
Your wellness matters, even when you travel
With those travel tips for increased well-being, you should be able to make the most of your vacation. Some are super easy to incorporate to your daily routine, like staying hydrated or wearing running shoes, while others may require more effort. But your wellness should be a priority, when you’re traveling perhaps even more than any other time!
Thomas is a Passenger Rights and Flight Compensation expert. Frequent traveler, he loves sharing tips and news to help people make the most of travel.