Stay healthy while you travel by having a plan

If you struggle with weight, or if weight is a concern for you during the holidays, traveling can be tough. It’s not always easy to stick to your habits once your normal routine is disrupted.

Below, check-out these healthy and practical tips for staying on-track with nutrition as you “get away” this holiday season. I hope you’ll even add a few of your own!

Holiday Travel: Food

  • Pack a Plan B: In your carry-on (or in the car), bring a shaker bottle, travel protein packets, protein bar (an old eyeglass case makes a great holder), almonds (in an empty mint or gift card tin), tuna packets or jerky. This way, you have something to eat or snack on if nothing healthy is available.
  • Do Your Research: Before you travel, scout-out the area online for healthy finds. Do a few Google searches before arriving so you’ll know all the best local healthy spots before hunger strikes. Utilize apps like Food Tripping or Gate Guru.
  • Know the Menu: When possible, look-up menus online and make choices without the pressure of everyone waiting for you to order. Utilize restaurant websites or:
  • Prioritize: Enjoying the food of a country or new destination is an important part of experiencing the culture. Ask yourself what is a “must” eat, then work it into your plan. If eating gelato by the Trevi Fountain in Rome or beignets at Café Du Monde in New Orleans is a dream, experience it! It’s not the same as eating store brand ice cream or supermarket donuts.
  • Visit a Farmer’s Market: Nowhere will you get more “local” food than a farmer’s market. Plus… enough samples equals free lunch! Find a market near you by visiting:
  • Watch Your Drinks: Drink no-calorie beverages (water with lemon or lime; unsweetened tea; hot tea; sugar-free drink sticks) so that you don’t waste calories.
  • Avoid Alcohol: Each alcoholic drink can tack-on an estimated 150 – 450 calories for a fluffy umbrella drink. “Tipsy” can also equal poor choices.
  • Learn Phrases: When traveling in a foreign country, learn phrases (or download Google Translate App) for any special dietary needs or allergies. You might say, “Does this have sugar?” “No sugar please” or “Does this food contain milk or milk products?”
  • Pack Your Needs: Remember to bring with you all vitamins and medications.

Holiday Travel: Fitness

  • Walk around airport gates because you’ll be sitting for the whole flight.
  • If you’re traveling for >4 hours, avoid tight clothing and get up to walk often. If you must stay seated, stretch and move your legs. Try clenching and releasing your calves and thighs or lifting and lowering your heels with your toes on the floor. Drink plenty of water!
  • When walking, running or hiking in unfamiliar areas, wear a medical alert bracelet. If not that, try to at least have your ID on your person.
  • Consider buying travel health insurance. Check your policy for travel coverage limitations.
  • Do plenty of sightseeing by foot! Walking (or running) is a great way to sight-see and get your workout. Many hotel concierge desks will provide maps of the best areas nearby. Try downloading apps such as AllTrails: Hike, Run & Cycle or Map My Walk.
  • Wear a pedometer (or use app on phone) and aim for a certain number of steps each day. If traveling with family, have a competition for who can take the most steps in a day.
  • Choose a fitness-friendly hotel with a fitness center, pool or even group workout classes.
  • Bring along exercise bands or use Apps like Sworkit for workouts with no equipment. 

Post Written by: Michelle Vicari

Michelle Vicari is the Chairwoman of the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC). Both a bariatric surgery patient and a passionate patient advocate for individuals affected by obesity, she operates her own blog at:

Submit Your Own Ideas:

Do you have your own healthy holiday travel tips to share with OAC supporters and Community Members? Submit them below for a chance to be featured on the OAC Community Blog!

    Are you a Member of the OAC Community?

    May we contact you for future engagement opportunities?