Staying fit and healthy while you travel

I don’t know about you but one of my favourite things about travelling is trying new food and eating in gorgeous restaurants.

The only problem is that it doesn’t take long before I’m feeling the affects of 3-course meals and boozy lunches around my middle. Cue massive sad face.

I’m not even going to pretend to myself that I’ll ever be able to refuse desert or turn my nose up at calorific meals. So instead, I’m making a pledge to change the way I travel and make time for fitness.

Last week I travelled to Cyprus for a fabulous five days of foodie delights combined with health and wellbeing.

Our mornings were filled with yoga sessions in the sun. We’d then visit some of Cyprus’ cultural attractions and walk around ancient ruins or sites worshipped in ancient mythology. Afternoons were spent in the spa and lazing by the pool. Then evenings were for indulging in the best food and wine Cyprus has to offer. And after all that exercise, the feasting was guilt-free.

This was pretty much my perfect holiday and it’s inspired me to be healthier and more active when I travel.

Here’s my plan…

Start each day with a morning run

Running is a funny old thing. Before a run my body is screaming, ‘Noooo, don’t go. Stay is bed where it’s warm and cozy.’ Then as soon as I’m 10 minutes into the run my body suddenly changes it’s mind and says, ‘This is flipping fantastic. Why don’t we do this everyday!?’

I love early morning runs along the beach but cities can be just as nice. It’s a great way to see a different side to your destination before it fully wakes up and the crowds form.

The Travel Hack | Running on the beach in Miami

Running along the beach in Miami

Do ½ hour of yoga

I like to do yoga either after my run or before dinner. I’d love to do it before bed but, I’m not going to lie, I usually have a belly full of wine which makes yoga a little difficult.

You can find loads of yoga classes on YouTube and through apps. I usually use a Rodney Yee DVD. There’s a Power Yoga one and a more relaxing stretch DVD that I like.

Yoga in Cyprus

Outdoor yoga in Cyprus at Zening Resorts 

Take a dip

If yoga isn’t your thing then make a conscious effort to swim a few laps in the pool or sea. Splashing around and dunking your mates doesn’t count.

Set yourself a target of x-amount of laps per day and complete them in sets.

Swimming Pool at Zening Resort

The swimming pool at Zening Resorts. I can think of worse places to exercise. 

Walk it off

I walk everywhere I can when I travel, even if the public transport is good. You see so much more and get some exercise at the same time. Walking never really feels like exercise so it’s my way of tricking myself into being healthy.

Dance it off

Did you know that you can burn up to 220 calories while dancing? If that isn’t the perfect excuse to hit the clubs I don’t know what is. Just make sure you avoid those dirty kebabs on the way home.

Hop on a bike

My favourite way to see a new place is by bike. Most cities offer bike hire for less than £10 a day and there are also great cycle tours all over the world.

Read more: Why a bike tour is the best way to see a city

Cycling in Cyprus

Looking very pleased with myself while cycling in Cyprus

Take a hike

I love hiking and will always try to incorporate hiking trip into my travels. It’s a great way to see the natural beauty of a country and burn enough calories to justify desert all week.

DCIM100GOPRO

Time for a quick selfie while hiking in Yosemite during my Trek America trip

When eating out..

Skip the bread

Unless it’s the freshly baked, melt-in-your-mouth fluffy yet buttery type of bread, avoid it like the plague. Save these calories for something like cake or cocktails. You know, something Instagram worthy.

Have 2 starters

When I eat out I always want 3-courses so I can try as much as possible but I really don’t need 3 courses. I often opt for 2 starters or a child-size main portion.

{I worked as a waitress for 6 years and was often asked for child-sized portions so don’t feel weird making this request, they’ll get it all the time.}

Ditch the plane food

Plane food is always carb laden and filled with salt. I’m not saying that it isn’t tasty but it definitely isn’t healthy. Whenever possible I buy myself a picnic to eat onboard with fresh fruit, veggie dips, salad and sushi. Just make sure you don’t eat your picnic AND the plane food, (except maybe the desert, that’s allowed).

Another option is to say you’re vegan when you book the flight. Vegans usually get tasty salads and healthier options.

Stay hydrated

One of the main reasons I end up feeling like crap when I travel is because I’m dehydrated. I now carry a huge bottle of water and refill it whenever possible. I’m a big fan of foldaway water bottles so you can tuck them in your bag when you’re done.

Tip: If you’re drinking heaps of water you might want to download Sit or Squat, the bathroom finder app!

What to pack for a healthy holiday

Staying Stylish

Stylish and healthy

Heidi Klein Bikini – You need something that looks good but stays put!

Sunnies – The bigger the better

Headphones – You’ll need some tunes to keep you motivated during runs

Longchamp foldable backpack – Perfect for carrying water and snacks during hikes and then folding away when you’re finished.

Staying Healthy

Packing for a healthy holiday

iPod with arm band

P20 Once a day sun cream – This used to be pricy but you can pick it up in Primark now!

Yoga mat

Nike trainers

Sweaty Betty running hoodie

Sweaty Betty running tights

Power Yoga Total Body

Vapur Reusable Bottle

 Do you try and stay fit and healthy while you travel? If you have any more tips please let us know (I need all the help I can get!)

TheTravelHack

Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a full time blogger and has travelled around the world in search of affordable luxury travel experiences.Monica lives in Wales with her growing family and now also blogs about travelling with young children!

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SHOWHIDE Comments (13)
  1. I know what you mean about the plane food – tasty but nasty! I set off for Southeast Asia in a week or so and have packed my running shoes in an attempt to stay healthy while I am away..fingers crossed, thanks for the tips!

  2. I know what you mean, one of the best parts of a holiday is tasting the food. I always used to just think of it as a two week treat but now I always use the hotel pool first thing in the morning. It’s an amazing way to start the day. Great advice about the yoga, it’s next on my list to try. I need a way to take time out and relax and think this is it!

  3. Great advice, no wonder you have such a gorgeous figure! I love walking when I’m travelling, you see so much more. Morning runs along the beach sound good too xx

  4. I’ll admit that I am not the type to wake up at the crack of dawn and run. Just can’t do it! But when I travel, I do try to walk as much as possible! And I’ll usually have a light breakfast and lunch so that I can really splurge at dinner!

  5. Thanks for the tips! I am always looking for ways to stay active when not at home. Another tip would be that if you are traveling within the U.S., some chain gyms will give a free day or 3-day pass to use. I did this recently in Dallas while visiting family.

  6. is something I’ve recently started on holiday, as I find it really helps to have a different outlook. Pure holiday mode of ‘everything goes’ can be really dangerous for me, and I like bringing in healthy elements from my every day life onto the trips I take. My favourite things are going for a run where I visit, hiking, cycling, water and also local fruit for breakfast. It also makes it a lot less painful when I get back from a holiday!

    Gemma
    http://fleetingplanet.blogspot.co.uk

    http://fleetingplanet.blogspot.co.uk

  7. I’m neither the running nor yoga type but walking around to explore is definitely my thing. Eating a light breakfast before site seeing also helps because then I don’t feel too stuffed or like I need to search for a bathroom (that being said — Sit or Squat — what a cool idea for an app!).

  8. Great tips! I also fell sick on my latest trip. I so agree with you that it’s important to keep oneself hydrated. I don’t drink sufficient water so that I don’t have to use the loo. But I guess, I should.

  9. So true. I love to eat and drink so I must work out. Besides, I’m mean if I deprive myself of the things I love and who wants to travel with a meanie? If I could, I would dance it off everyday! I usually do a lot of swimming, because I travel with kiddos and if there is water they are in it! Here’s to fitness!

  10. “Before a run my body is screaming, ‘Noooo, don’t go. Stay in bed where it’s warm and cozy.’ Then as soon as I’m 10 minutes into the run my body suddenly changes it’s mind and says, ‘This is flipping fantastic. Why don’t we do this everyday!?’ ” is the biggest truth about morning run EVER! 🙂
    BTW, the way I dance, it’s not 220 calories, it’s probably closer to a thousand 🙂
    Great tips, Monica!

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The Travel Hack is a blog about stylish adventure travel and affordable luxury.

We believe luxurious travel can be affordable and isn't just for the rich. Follow along with our worldwide adventures as we share our trips and tips for incredible travel experiences on a modest budget.