You have dreamed about it. You have planned it and now your vacation is getting closer and closer. You can taste the ocean air or feel the bright reflection off the perfect powder on the best snow day of the year. You can see the rain forest that you’ve only seen in pictures or feel the gentle sway of the ship. Or even better, there’s a hot home cooked meal waiting for you. Whatever awaits you in your vacation paradise here are 10 easy to follow travel tips to assist you in your before and during exploits.
Before you pack and hear the call “All Aboard” follow these tips and make the journey and arrival easier, healthier and fit.
1. Start your trip fit- No matter where you are going most of the time you are bound to be walking more and taking on different adventures than your day to day life. With that in mind get fit before your trip so that your adventures are easier to complete and you aren’t the one holding everyone else back. There’s nothing worse than getting to your dream destination and you can’t go the last bit because you’ve totally lost all energy. Or there are no elevators and you just can’t do one more stair. Or one problem you may have is the family wants one excursion and it is the one you know you can not complete.
Six months or more prior to departure start a workout journey to make your play journey a breeze. Walk every day and keep increasing your mileage. Join a gym or create weights at home. Fill gallon jugs with water and lift it and curl it.. One gallon of water is equivalent to 10 pounds. Pack your suitcase with the equivalent of what it may weigh on your trip and practice moving with it, carrying it, lifting it up to table height and back down and lifting it overhead (airplane overhead bins). Move and bend and squat and be the fittest going into your vacation so that the vacation is a simple joy.
2. Travel with Snacks- While some airports are getting better food and snack options, most are still lacking in this area. So instead of making bad snack choices take your own healthy travel snacks to avoid the airport/airplane fast foods. Not only will you be eating healthier you’ll also be saving money since most airport convenience foods are pricey. Nuts and snack bars slip easily in bags and cause no issues with airport security.
3. Book it wisely- When traveling and staying in a hotel you have many options. Look for a hotel with a gym or kitchenette. Hotel gyms range any where from a few pieces of cardio equipment to a full on gym with cardio, machine weights and free weights. So ask or look over the amenities prior to booking that room. A few extra dollars for a hotel with a full gym will be worth every penny.
Also look for a room with a kitchenette or access to a kitchen. You may think, “I don’t want to cook on vacation” but I personally can only eat out so often before I want to cook what I’m eating and know what’s going into my food. Most of the time a room with a kitchenette will cost a little more but when you compare that to the expense of eating out,one meal in will cover that cost. Plus, how hard is it to prepare breakfast in your kitchen versus a brunch costing $15 plus per person. The kitchens are usually stocked with the essentials and consider it a bonus when it has a dishwasher. Washing dishes is not on my vacation plan.
Vacations are meant to be rejuvenating and uplifting. Once your on the journey here are some tips to keep you on track.
4. Most believe vacationing equals freedom from exercise and freedom to eat and drink everything and anything. Traveling/vacationing is not an excuse to ignore what you know you’ll only regret later. Different experts out there state to keep up with any where from one third to one half of your regular workout regimen. But I ask why reduce? Why not complete your regular fitness regimen? You are being too easy on yourself and opening up the possibility of getting out of your routine so that when you return to regular life it’s hard to get back on track. By keeping up with your fitness on vacation you’ll be right on track when you return home.
5. Walk it, ride on it, climb it and move it. Don’t ride in it. Instead of the taxi, walk to your destination or rent a bike and bike around your vacation get away. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs. Move your body the “old fashioned” way and your body, the human machine, will ride smoother and longer. By walking, riding the bike and climbing the stairs you will be strengthening your entire body.
6. Avoid appetizers, breads and chips before the meal arrives. Yes, I said it. No more bread or chips while you wait for your entrée. No more appetizers before the entrée. Each are a carboholics dream and each provide a poor substitute for a good fuel for the body. If you want a single piece of bread or let’s say 10 chips, have it with your entrée. All you have to do is ask the wait staff to take the bread or chips away or simply not to bring it at all. Otherwise you will fill up on the pre meal food and not consume the fuel (protein, good carbs and good fats) your body will be provided from the good entrée selection you choose.
7. I can’t believe I ate/drank the whole thing. Just like during the holidays, many binge eat and drink on vacations. Refrain from the temptation of the 32 ounce anything or the 6 lb lobster or the “largest drink on the island”. Just because they have it doesn’t mean you have to consume it. Portion control is just as important on vacation as it is at home. Fuel your body with calories from food and not all the calories in mixed drinks. Basically, if it has an umbrella in it, stay away.
8. Plan your splurge. Okay there’s only so much good one can accomplish before one will go crazy if one doesn’t splurge. Plan your splurge. You plan big purchases like a car, a home and other big ticket items. So do the same for your splurge meal. Splurge on quality food not fast food. Not cheap beer or wine. Make it worth every yummy calorie and then sit back and smile because you know it was worth it. No guilt. No regret. Just pure joy because you earned it. Food is meant to be enjoyed but if it’s bad food then it’s hard to enjoy it. Eat just enough so you don’t feel bloated or have to undo the top button of your pants. Oh, and no elastic waist bands.
9. Fast food is not the best food. Really, does this need to be explained? Fast food is the lowest on the “food chain” of food options out there. It may fill the empty pit of your stomach but it doesn’t fuel your body. It works only short term and not long term. Short term to stop the hunger but what your body needs is long term fuel to move you, enable you, and create a stronger you. Yes, sometimes there are healthier options of fast food. But when you compare it to the fried food selection, the meats with 50% plus in fillers and the breads that do nothing for you, of course there are healthier options.
10. Fitness on the go. The great thing about exercise is that you can do it any where and with no equipment. You can do squats and lunges in line at an amusement park or on the beach. You can lift your child up and over your head and back down again. They think it’s a game but for you it’s work. You can walk faster from point A to point B and make it a workout. If you have access to a gym then take advantage of it and complete a full body work out each time just in case you don’t get to the gym as often as you would want. If you don’t have gym access then pack an exercise band in your luggage and the exercise band will allow you to complete a full body workout. You can also do these 3 exercises:
1. Push ups- complete 3 sets of 15 to 20 standard push ups or knee push ups. If you are beginning, place your hands on the dresser top and do push ups from the higher angle. They are not as intense but you are building strength and endurance.
2. Stand up, sit down- Use anything to sit down on (preferably not on wheels so it doesn’t roll away). Place your heels directly under your knees. Hands in front of you or beginners on the tops of your legs. Stand up then sit down. Stand and sit without swooping up or down and no dropping fast. Complete 3 sets of 15 to 20. Once you progress past stand up, sit down complete the same sets as full squats (no chair required).
3. Lunges- You’ll want to be careful here if your knees “talk” to you. Step forward with one foot and lower your back knee towards the floor. Your front knee should never go past your front toe. In fact, it’s best right over the heel. Lower the back knee to almost touching the floor and back up, stepping back beside your other stationary foot. Repeat on one side or alternate. Again 3 sets of 15 to 20 on each leg.
These 3 exercises incorporate a multitude of muscles and will keep you on track for when you return to your normal work out schedule.
To recap, plan ahead so you can have a great time on vacation while eating wiser and staying fit. Find accommodations with a gym or kitchenette. Staying on track with your fitness and food during vacation will make returning home a breeze. You won’t feel the need to go on a strict diet just to lose the 5 or 10 pounds you gained while on the trip. In fact, you may find that you lost weight on vacation. Indulge but don’t abandon your healthy life habits. Have fun and relax while taking in the sites and the events around you and know that you can and should taste most but just don’t eat it all. Wherever you go, whatever you do bring home the memories and the good times you had. Once you get home get back in gear and start planning the next get away.