If you travel for work you know that there are many ways to fall into unhealthy habits. Common dangers include grabbing drinks after work with local employees, eating from a menu at a restaurant or at your hotel, and working long hours. Other common pitfalls come in the form of working lunches and catered office foods. Keeping this kind of schedule is packed full of empty calories and does not permit any physical activity time. Once in a while, these things alone are fine, but if you put them together for weeks at a time, you might start to see the negative effects (weight gain, fatigue, loss of strength, lack of balance).

Here are 10 ways to find balance in your traveling schedule by prioritizing your personal health above anything else. There is no magic way to be healthy, but small decisions add up over time.

10 Healthy Travel Hacks:

  1. Drink plenty of water and limit your alcohol intake. (Commit to only one alcoholic drink a night)
    Find time to be mindful.
  2. Consider a 3-5 minute meditation to set a healthy intention for your day as a part of your morning routine.
    If you don’t have time to hit the hotel gym, do your calisthenics (pushups, sit-ups, and air squats).
  3. Consider a circuit of 3 x 10-20. (Or throw some resistance bands into your carry on for added exercise options!).
  4. Stretch! Long plane or car rides and long hours sitting will shorten your muscles and cause joint inflammation. Spend a few minutes elongating again; reach up, reach side-to-side, touch your toes, or try some yoga to guide you.
  5. Travel with a healthy snack (nuts, protein bar, jerky)
  6. Choose something with protein in it for breakfast (If your office is notorious for the bagel box, you may have to bring your own).
    If you are staying a few days, hit the grocery store. Pick up a few Greek yogurts, hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit, a baked chicken if you are feeling adventurous, and some healthy snacks to have on hand (nuts, jerky, protein bars).
  7. Forgo the bread on the sandwich platter at lunch. Grab a few sandwiches and just eat the middle.
  8. Ask for half-portions at restaurants (yes, even if you still pay full price) or order from the appetizer menu.
  9. Skip the side of fries or rice and go easy on the sauce. You can’t take the leftovers home so chances are you will feel obligated to finish a big meal. Another option is to go bun-less for dinner and eat your sandwich with a fork and a knife instead.
  10. Get activity at the office: take the stairs, take a 5-minute walking break, and stand at meetings if you can; just find ways to move.

Don’t like these options? Then think about your schedule and your behaviors, and write your own tips! Think of 2-3 things you can change during your travel schedule that will improve your health in categories like diet, exercise, stress and substance use. If you are feeling motivated, make one of those tips into a smart goal for your next travel plans. Good luck!!