Before leaving on any adventure, I ask some of the seasoned globe-trotting gals in my life for a few pearls of wisdom on how to "travel healthy." Not only have these ladies seen more of the world than I, many of them are also experts in the Health and Wellness field - Be sure to check out the links to their health-centered projects and businesses! What I love most about this collection are all the different takes on "healthy," and how that definition might change when travelling in a new place with new food and new customs.
Some advice that is not featured in a cool picture below but was still taken to heart :
- Enjoy a serving of local yoghurt when you first arrive in a new country to introduce the local bacteria to your gut.
- "Life is an experiment, it's all Lila!" - My yoga teacher. *For those needing a refresher in their ancient languages, Lila (sometimes spelled Leela) is the Sanskirt word for divine play : the simple, uncomplicated delight in the act of creation (whether you're creating a work of art, or poetry or piecing the universe together: "it's all Lila!").
- "Remember that the world is a beautiful place" - My mom. Love it.
If you have a healthy travel tip to add, please do leave it in a comment below!
Staying organized around my food/snacks, and always carrying water to stay well hydrated. My favourite snacks to keep in my day bag include: mixed nuts, energy balls, and protein bars. Keeping my energy levels high and my belly happy is the key to a good trip. I also find by bringing these foods from home, it keeps some of my foods consistent with my normal diet – which helps to decrease the changes in my intestinal flora and leads to less belly upset both during and after the trip! Did you know the bacteria in your gut have their own circadian rhythm? Cool!
(Photo: Nicaragua surf/retreat)
Most recent trip: Dallas, Texas, 5 days, for a family wedding in June 2017. It was really fun to travel with my entire family as it had been many years since we all went on a trip together.
Favourite trip: Thailand (18 days), for my honeymoon with my husband. This country has so much to offer (city, beaches, scenery, adventure, history, etc.), and I fell in love with it so quickly! I can’t wait to go back one day.
Develop some semblance of a routine for self care. Travelling can be very ungrounding as you have literally uprooted your life. The days can quickly get consumed by Travel or exploring your new surroundings, so I find it best to implement a routine first thing in the morning. Whether it's taking 5 minutes to connect with your breath, or going down to the beach for a long yoga practice (my personal favourite way to start the day) just devoting some time first thing in the morning to connect with self and source, can greatly transform your day. Allowing you to remain more calm, grounded and ready for any challenges and adventures that await you...
Multi-disciplinary healer and teacher
Most recent trip: Ecuador for 3 months
Favourite trip: A bike trip I took from Sudbury to Gaspe in Quebec. It took be 19 days. It was very challenging, but incredibly rewarding. It was in the fall, so the colours were stunning the whole way along. And it was mesmerizing to bike along a river that grew to the ocean...
My number one tip to stay healthy while travelling would be to take full advantage of the fresh local food, and stay active and hydrated. I like to walk around and explore the different destinations on foot, and also look up nearby hiking trails if that is feasible where I am staying. Usually there are local farmer's markets or produce stalls where you can stop and pick up a healthy snack to bring with you while you're exploring the area. And another big part of this is bringing a reusable water bottle. I carry one with a built in filter so that I can fill it up whenever I pass a sink or fountain.
Most recent trip: Bulgaria for 7 days followed by Italy for 8 days
Favourite trip (so far): Bulgaria and Italy! Bulgaria was an untouched gem that we were lucky enough to have friends show us around (my photo is actually taken there in front of the Black Sea), and Italy was not only picturesque, but also had delicious food and great hiking.
Limit your drinking! While vacationing, I enjoy trying some of the local beers, wines, etc. but I keep it to “trying” and not indulging. Often vacation days are long, hot and exhausting; choosing a water over a third or fourth beer is always a better option to revitalize for the next long, hot and exhausting day. Additionally, there is nothing worse than missing out on a day or part of a day because you got carried away the night before.
Water/Waste Water Engineering Intern
Most recent trip: Uganda and Kenya. 17 days in Jinja, Uganda and 3 days in the
Maasai Mara in Kenya.
Favourite trip: I traveled to Italy with my Nonna, Nonno, Aunt, Mom and boyfriend to visit with my great aunt and explore the place where my Nonna and Nonno grew up. It was the first time I had visited with family. I still can’t believe how connected I felt to a place I had never been before. It felt like home. P.S. Nonna and Nonno are grandma and grandpa in Italian.
No matter where you are traveling, it will be different from home – the food, the climate, the environment. After all, that is why we travel: to explore the unknown, to experience new things. So why not do the same with your health routine. If you can sneak a workout in, great, otherwise, spend your time trying local foods, climbing mountains, going on a bike tour, swimming under a waterfall, taking surf lessons, socializing with the locals and, most importantly giving yourself some space to take to soak it all in! Let go of the need to stick to your regular routine and you’ll see that you’ll benefit much more from new adventures than your daily workout or diet can ever give you!
Certified Yoga Teacher, Researcher, Work/Life Balance Master
Facebook: Kristen Morin
Most Recent Trip: Costa Rica 2017
Favourite travel experience: Backpacking in Thailand, 2011 (2 months). I’m not gonna lie, staying healthy wasn’t easy. That's because I had a very narrow view of “health” : nutrition and fitness. I wasn’t getting a planned work-out in every day, I wasn't always eating the healthiest foods, but my trip to Thailand helped me to GROW, to find peace of mind, and to get to know myself. I now realize that I need to BE FLEXIBLE and GIVE MYSELF SOME SPACE TO EXPERIENCE NEW THINGS. Whether you’re an avid runner, have a no junk food policy, have daily yoga practice, never miss a gym day, (or anything in between), my best health advice while traveling is, to let go of the need to hang on to your regular health regime. For me, that is the best way to have a well-rounded travel experience.
Go exploring! Travelling is all about exploration. Learning about cultures and communities is best experienced through discovery, which is healthy for the body, mind and soul. I stayed healthy in the Himalayas by hiking to monasteries, watching the sunrise after hiking the tallest peaks in town, and walking the local streets daily to enjoy sights and sounds.
Oh... and drink lots of tea It's amazing the herbal ayurvedic remedies we can learn from people living half way around the world.
Marketing specialist/certified yoga teacher/ tea business owner
Most recent trip: Himalayas (35 days)
Favourite trip: Lake Superior Provincial Park (7 days)
My tips come from time spent both travelling and living abroad (in Tanzania for 18 months). When it comes to living overseas, my most important tip is to make sure you always set aside time to do the things you love — the things that make you happy back home. For me, this is eating healthy and tasty food, cycling, and being outside. During my time in Tanzania I would constantly monitor how much of these three things I was doing — and when I stopped, I knew it was time to change my habits to ensure I was looking out for myself and keeping myself happy.
For travelling, don’t get too caught up in the “you shouldn’t eat this” and “you can’t do this” talk. Use common sense when it comes to stuff like food and outdoor adventures, and be open to the spontaneous experiences that always come along the way. Taking calculated risks (as opposed to just risks) is my way to ensure I’m trying new things, but also considering and thinking through the potential dangers ahead of time.
Most recent trip: Rome, Naples, and the Amalfi Coast, Italy (12 days)
Favourite trip: Nepal 2014 (3 months)
Cook/make your own food with local ingredients you will discover unknown delicious flavours. Be active and use your new foreign playground for running, discovering, hiking or whatever else makes you sweat.
Globe Trotter/Business Owner/Caterer
Most recent trip: Road trip from Ostrava, Czech Republic to Teruel, Spain for work purposes as a caterer for the Bonver Dakar team of CZ.
Favourite trip: New Zealand, 365 days
When I travel, I always make sure to bring my own water bottle (or two!). It’s extremely important to stay hydrated when you’re in the sun and when you’re walking more than usual. It will also save you plenty of money on drinks at the airport and when you’re in the city (pro tip : airports always have drinking fountains, and most cities and villages in Europe have potable water fountains in town squares). Filling up is easy, most cafés or restaurants will do it for you in a pinch if you ask politely. I also bring my LifeStraw everywhere, it’s a great investment for if you are off grid and need to filter water.
Most recent trip: trip : Europe, 29 days. (Mostly Provence in France, one week in Italy and weekends in Barcelona and Paris)
Favourite trip : Southern Thailand, 21 days. (Krabi, Koh Lanta)
"Happy feet! Forget public transit or guided tours, solo walking is the best way to experience a new place (safety first, know where NOT to go). Be sure to plan days where the only true plan is to walk without a plan. I can guarantee it will be the most memorable day of your trip as opposed to hitting up the top recommendation on Trip Advisor. It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s how you see (thoreau). Seeing an environment by walking as opposed to other transportation completely changes what you see. When you walk and give yourself no time limit you’re able to stop a local shops, parks or community churches to explore. In my experience these pit stops turn into meaningful conversations and lessons learned from the people local to the area. In order to really enjoy these walking days the best travel tip I can offer is to invest in the best walking shoes your budget can buy – break them in before you leave and be picky. Try to get plain black or something that can, not only join you during day travels, but also night-time fun! Keep your feet happy and you’ll bring home great stories without a body in pain."
Public Health Promoter currently at New Day Wellness in Sudbury, ON
Most recent trip: Derby, England and Pembroke, Wales – 8 days
Favourite trip: Costal Road Trip – 23 days - Sudbury – Yellowstone – Seattle – Squamish – Jasper – Banff – Thunder Bay – Sudbury
Our greatest tip to staying healthy while in the great outdoors is to always bring water, lip chap and extra socks. Our latest camping trip was a 7km hike and paddle to Frobel Lake in Missassagi National Park. We stayed in a lovely A-Frame cabin with the most beautiful view from the outhouse. Thinking back on our trip, the things we cherished most were water during our sweaty hike in, lip chap on the hot sunny days, and big wool socks for the cool nights.
Most recent trip: Camping in Frobel Lake, Missasagi Provincial Park, Ontario (4 days)
Lots of water! Also, eating the local foods to allow my stomach to become invincible and adjust to the local diet. This usually takes about 2 weeks and hopefully Delhi Belly stays out of the equation. Also, preparing for long bus/train rides with decent snacking food so I don't have to eat cookies and chips for dinner.
Clinical Research Coordinator, Yoga Instructor from Trenton, Ontario
Most Recent Trip: Nepal and Northern India with my little sister!
Favourite Trip: My first trip to India, 6 weeks of chaos, food, sweltering heat, laughter, trains and curious people!
Getting to know how locals eat, and hopefully meeting a few who may invite you into their homes for a meal, is by far my number one tip to stay healthy while traveling. Like our own countries, usually the easily accessible street food, or fast food, and restaurants are full of excessive grease, additives, commercially produced ingredients, cheap salts, among other inexpensive ingredients that add flavour quickly while compromising on nutrition. Through my travels, I’ve learned that quick street food options are rarely what locals themselves are eating on a regular basis. Yet sometimes it can be difficult to determine where to find the best products or produce, especially if you are traveling somewhere with a foreign language or a foreign climate. Asking local residents where they shop for their groceries, asking your local host if you can cook a meal together or using resources like www.happycow.net for a place to eat out are all possible ways to achieve eating a more local, culturally appropriate diet while abroad. Even if this may not fit into your regular dietary preferences (such as white breads, or diary or meat), depending on your strictness, it can sometimes be healthier to forgo what we are accustomed to based on our own cultural environment and instead learn from local cultures what is healthy for them based on their climates and industries. Our bodies intelligently integrate and adapt with our environments. If we allow for this by learning and eating the way local residents eat in their homes and what is traditionally available on their lands, then not only are we eating culturally appropriate and nutritious food, but we are harmonizing our whole body with the environment around us, encouraging a more holistic approach to health. And in the process, we become closer to understanding the cultural values of the place and people while hopefully making some new friends too.
Erica Bhavani GoodmanT
Thai Yoga Massage Practitioner and Avid Traveler from Ontario, Canada (difficult to say which city)
Most Recent Trip: Dublin to Barcelona to Lisbon (7 weeks, May to June 2017)
Favourite Trip: From Kamakura to Miyajima, Japan (4 weeks, summer 2011)
My number one trick to staying healthy while traveling: Breath!! 3 deep breaths can make a world of difference! Full, deep breaths can give you a completely fresh perspective: changing everything and getting you through anything! It will help ease anxieties and stresses, grounds you during times of turmoil or excitement, composes and calms your thoughts and emotions and gives you greater clarity! It reminds you about what's going on with yourself, helps you to be present in the moment, to savour the good times and overcome any challenges.
Keep smiling xox
Registered Massage Therapist. Yogi and Pilates enthusiast. Good vibe believer
currently in North Bay, ON
Most recent trip: Australia (6 months).
Favourite trip: Road trip from Whistler BC, down the Pacific Coast highway to California (2 weeks).
Listen to your circadian rhythm. Listen to your body and plan your travels to align with your interests.
As much as I love being spontaneous and seeing where my travels take me, I enjoy having some outline of a plan and a certain routine to ground me. I've learnt to know myself and listen to my body; and I function best with 7-8hrs of sleep and a consistent bedtime and time I wake up.
Being a morning person isn't always conducive to the hustle and bustle of traveling when things start coming to life at night when you're ready to go to bed. This makes it easier however to plan my travels to better reflect my interests. I would much rather start my day early, fill my days with physical activity (hiking, kayaking) or exploring cities (visiting museums and exploring restauraunts and parks), and get a good night's sleep. As opposed to staying up partying until 5 am, and sleep until noon.
Health Promoter, Outdoors Addict, Gastronome and Sleep Aficionado from Sudbury, Ontario
Most recent trip: Hiking 40km of the Lake Superior Coastal Trail (4 days, 3 nights).
Favourite trip: Europe 2014-15 (Poland, Germany, Portugal, Spain); 25 days
In my most recent trip, while not far flung or glamorous or extensive, I returned to an ashram where I previously spent a month, and there I discovered that not all is as it appears.
The Kripalu Centre for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts, United States is where I spent 10 days in the summer of 2017. I drove down with a fellow yoga teacher from our hometown of Sudbury in Northern Ontario. I had registered in a meditation course and was prepared to sit in silence for 10 days and anticipated the only breaks would be for yoga.
Within the first 30 minutes of my session, I had danced, chanted and read poetry out loud to the group. This was not going to be your mother's meditation. My ideas of how when and why we meditate where completely turned on it's ear over the following ten days. There was a beautiful crack in the rigid way I thought and approached meditation.
That sweet opening let more light into my teaching and coaching. I'm more in love with how I get to serve the world than ever before.
And compare that with one of my favourite trips was to a typical Caribbean resort to teach yoga on the beach for seven days. The five star resort in Cuba I was staying at was a stark contrast to the village down the highway where the locals lived and played when they weren't working at these resorts.
After my fourth day there, I befriended the activity manager of the resort, who invited me to her home for dinner after her long shift. I thought for sure she would want to go home and not think another minute of work, so I was reluctant to agree. she insisted and we hopped on the local transit to her small apartment. There I was treated to food and laughter, like no other. Her little family was generous with their meager meal Even though U.S. sanctions and political dictatorship left the country and it's people poor, there was a fierce pride and genuine concern of their fellow countrymen.
Even though I have been on these trips before, I am reminded each time of how we are all striving to make the world a better place in some small way. That monetary wealth does not make one's life rich. It's our connections with others and desire to share love that make it valuable.
My number one travel tip is to pump up your intake of a quality probiotic before you leave and if possible take some with you. Traveling can wreak havoc on your intestinal system, from getting out of your daily routine, to strange food, exposure to different customs around hygiene, and possibly contaminated water, even if you are traveling on your own continent. The last thing you want is a bout of travelers sickness ruining your adventure.
When Kelsey asked me for my number one tip for staying healthy while traveling, my mind immediately thought of this image. That’s my Blendtec in the kitchen of the Air BnB home we rented in Malpais, Costa Rica in the summer of 2015.
I remember being stopped in the airport so they could investigate the base of the blender in my carry-on bag. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why they found it so suspicious, after all, it was my blender. It wasn’t until I thought back on this I realized how much it must have looked like a bomb in their x-ray scanner.
While it might be unconventional to travel with a full-size blender, it illustrates my point that preparation is my most important tip for staying healthy while traveling. If you’re like me, you travel because you love adventure, the unknown, and discovering more about yourself when you’re in new and unexpected situations.
On the other hand, you do want to have control over your body and health as much as possible, especially when you’re away from home. That could mean packing supplements, researching climate to have the proper attire and equipment, knowing where to find fresh water in advance, or packing your blender and protein powder for an overseas flight, preparation will save you in most cases.
Think through your daily routine at home and all of the foods, products, and appliances you use on a regular basis. If something seems to be the center of your health routine (no matter how strange the customs crew will find it) consider bringing it with you so that you can be at your best.
Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Wellness Consultant
Born & raised in Sudbury, Ontario. I love to travel and my heart already has several homes.
Most recent trip: Road trip to Kenora, Ontario this summer (10 days).
My favourite trip: It’s hard to pick a favourite, but spending time living like a local in Santa Theresa, Costa Rice for 2 weeks was a fantastic experience! As was driving up the coast to the Andaz resort to not live like a local for the final weekend of that trip. It was the perfect mix.
My number one tip while traveling is to think about what health issues may arise in the area you are traveling to and to pack any medications, supplements, or food that might be needed. Are you going to be in an area where you might get traveler's diarrhea, altitude sickness, or dehydration? Will you be in close proximity to people on a long plane or bus ride where you might catch a cold? Are you going to be in a location where you won't be able to eat as healthy? When I travel to a foreign country I usually bring a heat stable probiotic in case I have any digestive issues. I will also bring some food substitutes such a greens plus powder and protein bars. I never want to get sick when I am traveling so I usually bring an immune booster such as St. Francis Herb Farm Deep Immune to support my immune system.
Dr. Kallie Doucette, ND
Naturopathic Doctor working at Vita Chiropractic in Sudbury ON
Facebook: Dr. Kallie Doucette, ND
Most recent trip: Home Province of PEI (1 week)
Favourite trip: South America -Chile, Bolivia, Peru (3 weeks)
The following is an excerpt from Heather's "Baptism in Cedar, Pine and Babbling Brooks" - an ode to back-country camping and good back-country eats to be shared closer to the Spring.
Though, I always laugh down my needing-to-be-humbled nose at those who become fellow comrades, fellow soldiers of the elements, true adventurers who pack heavy on their backs, trudging into their new forest home one’s life supplies for a weekend with poor reward for food. If you camp with beans and weiners, I am sorry, but I am secretly imposing judgement on you.
My philosophy on backcountry food is it doesn't have to be unhealthy and it doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, nothing stirs up hunger and appreciation for sustenance like a full days’ paddle and many a portage. Your body just endured an incredible feat, so while you nourish your soul why not nourish your body?
I like to make things like bannock over a fire, which can be made prior to embarking into the wild, in a bag or container, just add water when ready to cook. This can be savoury or sweet for dessert, depending on how you spice it. Then, a lovely peanut curry stew made with a coconut base is so simple to make. Add a few lentils, dehydrated peanut butter, coconut powder, water, spices, herbs, greens, all of which are light for carry on, but make for a deeply satisfying and heavy meal that will surely put you to bed. Of course, before bedtime, you would need a dessert which might be dark chocolate and sea salt bark and tea or whisky or even wine.
Leave your KD and ramen noodles behind, and take in the pleasures of creating thoughtful, healthy and delicious meals that will make everyone ask for seconds. If it's been a rough day, your camping group will surely appreciate it. You will appreciate it.
Outdoor Adventurer and Back-Country Chef
BIG GRATITUDE!! to everyone for their contributions...
Your travel tips were such a blast to read and incorporate into this adventure!
How lucky I am to have so many exceedingly strong and insightful female role models in my life (this extends to those not featured above :)). Thank you for sharing some of your wisdom with me and the world at large.