4 Tips for Staying Healthy When You Travel

With a little planning, you can keep yourself accountable and motivated wherever you are.

Smiling Latino man jogs in a city park.

Updated on June 21, 2023.

I travel for work just about every week. You might have the healthiest of intentions when you're at home, but if you're like me, once you hit the road, sometimes maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be challenging. You might be entertaining clients, working longer hours, and sitting on airplanes for long stretches of time. I've heard (and used) all those excuses before. 

But if you're not careful about your habits, you could be taking in more calories and getting a lot less exercise than you are accustomed to. You can take control, however. Here are a few tips I put together to try to stay on track while I'm on the road.

Bring your running shoes

Throw your kicks into your suitcase and you can be off and running wherever you are. Skip the treadmill and go for a run outside; it’s a great way to see a new place in a completely different way.

You can make it more fun by turning it into a game and challenging yourself to try to run more miles in other cities than you do at home. (Keep tabs on your progress by using the steps tracker on the Sharecare app, available for iOS and Android.) If you don't know where to go, just ask the hotel concierge; they often have maps for routes of varying distances to share.

You can also look up local running clubs to see if you can join a group run. Having something organized can help you get off the hotel couch and stay motivated.

Create a hotel room workout

If you don't want to run or you need to cross-train, use the hotel gym. But if you don't need weights or machines and prefer to avoid a crowd, you can build your own workout. Blast through a few sets of jumping jacks, push-ups, planks, burpees, or squats.

If you're feeling extra motivated, locate a personal trainer in your destination to meet for a quick sweat session, whether in a city park or studio.

Use a food log

When you're entertaining clients or partners at dinners, it can be easy to lose track of what and how much you're eating. Just bear in mind that the road is often when you'll need your food log the most. (Once again, the Sharecare app’s diet tracker can help.)

Keep a close eye on everything you're consuming to make sure you stay within your calorie ranges. That doesn't mean you have to be overly strict on your trip, but you do want to try to avoid going overboard. You'll feel better the next morning when you're working out in your hotel room.

An easy way to make progress is to never skip breakfast. It will help you get the day started off right. Just try to avoid the jumbo breakfast buffet and stick to a lean and filling meal like oatmeal with fruit.

Broadcast your intentions (and stick to them)

When it comes to exercising and eating right on the road, you can keep yourself honest by making it social. Tell your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram what you are up to.

You can also recruit a buddy—either on the road or back home—to keep you on track. They can act like your own personal coach and you can push each other to exercise and eat right even if you're not together.

Another fun way to hold yourself accountable is to make friends with the hotel concierge or the front desk clerk. Tell them that you plan to go for a run. When you walk by them later, you won’t want to break the bad news that you skipped your workout.  

Article sources open article sources

Dailey R, Romo L, Myer S, et al. The Buddy Benefit: Increasing the Effectiveness of an Employee-Targeted Weight-Loss Program. J Health Commun. 2018;23(3):272-280.
Butryn ML, Martinelli MK, Crane NT, et al. Counselor Surveillance of Digital Self-Monitoring Data: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2020;28(12):2339-2346.

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