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How to stay healthy while travelling overseas

You’ve been planning your holiday for months; from booking time off work, to hitting the gym 5 days a week to get your body in shape for time on the beach. But once you’re on holiday, how do you stay healthy when there’s temptation everywhere? It’s not as hard as it sounds, and it’s in your best interest to maintain a good level of health while travelling so that you’re less susceptible to injuries and illness. We’ve got some excellent tips on how you can get the best out of your holiday while being your best self abroad.

Timing is everything – plan your exercise

We always have the best of intentions when it comes to incorporating exercise into our travel schedule, but it’s all too easy to pack on extra kilos when the menus in exotic places are so enticing - not to mention the variety of beer and wine on offer. If you schedule a time to get some form of physical activity while you’re away, you’ll find that any extra indulgences won’t start to tip the scales. Set aside at least 45 minutes a day for exercise – and we’re not talking dropping and giving me 100 push-ups, or worse, squats. Here are some ideas that are easy to schedule into your daily travel routine:

  • If you’re staying in a hotel with a gym, plan some time each day – early morning is best so you have the rest of the day to go exploring.
  • If you’re at the beach, embrace the cliché and take a long walk along it. This is great in the morning to catch the sunrise, or at the end of the day where you can bask in the glow of a stunning sunset.
  • Beaches aren’t just great for walking, but swimming and surfing too. Have a splash in the surf with your friends, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, take a surfing lesson. It’s great for the abs.
  • If you’re vacationing somewhere mountainous, look into local biking, hiking and jogging paths. City holiday? Try a yoga class, or throw on the walking shoes instead of using public transport.

Wherever your holiday takes you, whether it’s in the hills of Nepal or the boroughs of Montreal, there are all kinds of physical activities you can do to stay in shape while you’re travelling. If you’re travelling with your family, grab a ball and hit the park for a friendly game of Touch or some footy. The kids will need to let off steam, so find a local playground and let the little ones hit the slide and swings to keep them active.

What’s Your Travel Plan?

A big reason why Kiwis travel these days is to dine out at incredible restaurants in exotic locations. From Bali to Portland, there are certain restaurants you just can’t miss out on while you’re holidaying there. And one of the best parts of being on holiday is not having to cook your own food or clean up afterwards, so you’ll be dining out and often on your holiday. This is where the calorie intake jumps up and weight gain can happen, but if you plan ahead you can avoid the extra kilos.

Planning where and what you eat is just as fun as planning your activities while you’re on vacation. We’re not saying you can’t be spontaneous, but sometimes a little research can go a long way. If you look at the online menus of some of the restaurants you’re planning on going to, you can at least get an idea of the kinds of meals you’re be indulging in, and you can plan your activities around these meals accordingly. So, if you’re looking at the slow roasted pork belly with the star anise glaze instead of the garden salad, you can plan more activities into your day to off-set the extra calories.

Snack Attack – stock up on travel snacks.

Another tip for eating well while you travel: stock up on easy to travel with snack-packs that you can carry with you while you're wandering. You can easily pack small ziplock bags with fresh or dried fruit, cut veggies, seeds and nuts – and the high protein content will keep you going for most of the day. Fresh fruit will keep your levels of antioxidants and important vitamins high so you are also less likely to get sick. A lot of cities in South East Asia, Europe and North America have great street markets where you can fill up on local fruits and veggies for next to nothing.

Also, be sure to budget in the price of water bottles while you’re travelling overseas, as depending on where you’re travelling you’re going to need to be vigilant about drinking enough clean water. Drinking a lot of water can help stave off your hunger during the day, so you can go to town on the best restaurant at night.

You are what you eat: Enjoy but don’t over indulge on holiday

Do not deprive yourself while travelling, but over-indulging in rich, fatty foods can lead to more than just a larger size of jeans. If you eat too much rich food you could find yourself in the local health clinic with an upset stomach and indigestion. This will affect your sleep and you won’t be able to keep up with your friends the next day. It’s been said countless times, and for good reason - everything in moderation. Here are some tips:

  • If you’re ordering a rich meal, eat slowly and chew thoroughly, and always leave something on your plate at the end
  • Eat lighter throughout the day if you know you’ll be eating at a great restaurant in the evening
  • Drink water instead of soft drinks and alcohol based drinks
  • Take a walk after dinner to help with digestion

It’s Margarita Time!?

Think twice before ordering a boozy drink with every meal when travelling overseas. Ordering a poolside frozen margarita sounds like a great idea, but it’s going to blow your budget and your calories. And the extra sugar and alcohol can wreak havoc on your immune system, leaving you wide open to illness and disease. You're on holiday with your pals and you want to unwind with a couple of drinks - you’re not alone! But it is possible to make healthy choices even when it comes to getting tipsy in a foreign town.

  • Choose lower-calorie drinks such as light beer, red or white wine, vodka and soda, or tequila with lime
  • Drink in moderation: remember the dangers of getting inebriated in a foreign country – be safe and stay with friends when you’re out on the town
  • Keep an eye on your drink at all times – the spiking and drugging of drinks can be quite common, don’t let it happen to you

Sleep is vital to staying healthy on holiday

Remember that half the fun of having a holiday is taking time to yourself and getting the rest that you don’t normally get back home when you’re working 9-5, or studying, or raising a family, or all three! Make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep as proper rest restores the body and replenishes your energy stores. A comfortable bed helps in this department too, so consider your comfort when booking your rooms in foreign hotels and hostels.

Preparing for good holiday health

One of the best ways to stay healthy while you’re travelling abroad is to prepare yourself before you’ve even left the country! Make sure you:

Remember, no matter how healthy you are, accidents do happen. Having travel insurance will not only give you peace of mind on your holiday, it will also help you out with whatever medical emergencies or travel issues that may arise. It’s simply something you shouldn’t leave without. So get in touch with us today to find out more about our travel insurance.

Further reading:

Some great tips around enjoying a happier holiday by staying fit:

Stay healthy on your trip with these useful pointers:

Eat healthy while travelling, enjoy your trip a lot more!:

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