Vacation can undeniably be a time for indulgence. But when you’re trying lots of new, exotic foods and taking a break from your normal routine, it can also end up being an unplanned departure from healthy habits.
Given that extra weight is one souvenir you may not have been planning to take home with you after your trip, here are some easy tips to help incorporate healthy living habits, wherever your travels take you.
Simply being aware of how active (or inactive) you are while you’re away from home is a good way to make sure that you’re staying on a healthy track. One way to do this is by counting how many steps you take a day, using either a pedometer or a fitness tracker such as a Fitbit.
Start by establishing a baseline for how much you tend to walk when you’re home. Then when you’re away you can check in to see if you’re walking less or more. Walking can be a great way to see a new place, and can save you money on cabs.
If you see that you haven’t reached your daily goal, go for an extra evening walk to check out the local sunset or events around town.
Besides steps, a good fitness tracker can keep track of other activities you do, too. You can log all kinds of activities, from cycling to rock climbing. You can also monitor your heart rate and sleeping hours.
I personally have been traveling for over a year with the Withings Activité Pop. You can use it to track all kinds of activities. It’s waterproof, and I like the convenience of wearing it while I’m swimming and showering. Also, it uses a watch battery that lasts for around eight months, so you never have to worry about charging it. (See also: 6 Apps That Pay You to Work Out)
Before you leave for your trip, it can be helpful to set a fitness or health-related goal for your trip, whether it’s walking a certain amount of steps a day, going to the gym, or getting runs in during the week.
After you’ve decided what you’re going to achieve while you’re away, tell a friend, family member, or travel companion what your plan is so that you can establish accountability. Maybe your travel companion will be on board and you’ll end up with an exercise buddy.
Having a supportive and active network can be an amazingly effective way to stay fit while you’re traveling. When I go home from a long trip, my mom always finds a race that we can run together. It’s great motivation to train and stay active while I’m on the road.
Even when friends or family are far away, fitness trackers often let you compare steps with other people in your network, which can spark some healthy competition to see who gets in the most steps.
You never know if you’ll be stuck somewhere for a while, and end up grabbing whatever junk food is nearby. Pack a healthy snack or meal that you can carry with you. Fruits and vegetables are an easy option, since they require little to no preparation. Dried fruit and nuts are another filling option that won’t get squashed in your bag. (See also: Eat These 6 Foods to Stay Healthy While Traveling)
Staying hydrated is important whether you’re home or away. Pack a water bottle for your trip, so you can drink throughout the day. Plus, staying hydrated can help prevent fatigue, keeping your body primed for whenever you want to get active.
Some travelers underestimate the power of tropical heat and desert sun, and become dehydrated during their vacation. Drink lots of water to prevent any illnesses caused by a lack of fluid in the body.
Eating food that is in season and local is not only delicious, it is also good for your health. It benefits the economic health of the place you are visiting, too, since you are supporting local farmers.
Food that is grown nearby will be fresher and may be packed with more nutrients than food that has had to travel halfway around the world to arrive at your destination. Plus, this is a great way to try out local specialties. (See also: How to Eat Great Food for Cheap While Traveling)
Putting adventure sports and activities on your itinerary is another way to guarantee that you’ll make time to be physically active during your stay. While some vacations such as ski trips or multiday cycling adventures revolve entirely around an activity, you can also do active travel in a way that doesn’t have to take over the entire trip.
If you’re going to a beach vacation, balance your time lounging on the white sand with some kayaking, windsurfing, or scuba diving. Opt to walk when you can, or rent a bicycle to tour the city. At a minimum, pack a swimsuit so you can do a few laps in the hotel pool
This final trick is as simple as it is effective. Stair climbing burns twice the calories of walking, according to Harvard Medical School, and it engages all kinds of other muscles while benefiting your heart and lungs. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is an easy change to make, and you can do it anywhere.