Staying Healthy on the Road

Whether it’s a road trip, weekend get away, work trip, or travel abroad, traveling can absolutely wreck the healthy habits you’ve worked so hard to form.  Routines are disrupted, unhealthy options are everywhere, and if you’re light on sleep, you’re more likely to overeat.  


Now, I am not here to lecture you about enjoying local food once you get to your destination.  You should probably just enjoy the BBQ in Austin, the lobster rolls up the coast, and everything in Italy.  My tips are all centered around avoiding the unforced errors of traveling.  Let’s curb some of the common choices that make us feel crummy, undermine long term health, and in no way are a necessary part of enjoying the journey.


  1. Stay hydrated.  Whether it’s a road trip or air travel, being hydrated is inconvenient.  On the road, I recommend drinking in small sips instead of big gulps.  For the airplane, do the same thing and then make up for lost time when you land.  In both settings, it can help to throw some sugar free electrolytes in your water as well.  I’ve noticed that when I throw a nectar packet in my water bottle I can stay hydrated without having to hit the head as often.  
  2. Stay mobile.  Hours of sitting are going to mean your neck, low back, and hips are all going to need some attention.  Carrie Jose of CJ Physical Therapy and Pilates says “after a lot of sitting, you need to apologize to your back”.  Doing some simple press ups and spiderman planks at the beginning and end of the day makes a huge difference for your back.  
  3. Stay active.  If you normally shoot to hit 10k steps a day, you still need to.  Waiting around the airport?  Get some steps in.  You may not have the luxury of taking an hour walk after dinner, but you can still get your steps in by taking advantage of little chunks of time here and there.  At On Target Fitness, all of our personal training memberships include remote training.  Travel workouts are a breeze in our app.  
  4. Take your multivitamin.  Your nutrition is going to be disrupted.  Why make it worse by skipping your multivitamin?  It is going to help you cover your nutritional bases.  I am also a huge fan of taking a fish oil pill, vitamin D, and a probiotic.  This is something you should do for your health every day and travel days are no exception.  This will also help you fight off any colds or bugs you encounter on your journey.
  5. Pack your cooler.  Before you leave on your road trip, pack your cooler with easy, healthy food.  You can enjoy fun local foods when the opportunities present themselves but most of the time on the road, you just want to avoid the abundant junk food in gas stations.  Sandwich stuff, apples, walnuts, and some pre cut watermelon all travel really well.  If you’re flying, you can bring food.  What?  Yes, you can bring a bag of beef jerky, some walnuts, and an apple with you through security.  This is crucial in avoiding the bored eating that happens when you’re waiting around for your flight.  
  6. Remember, opportunities to make better choices are everywhere.  I just went down to Nashville for a few days for a conference.  Guess what was at almost every gas station I stopped at?  Fresh hard boiled eggs and fresh fruit, ready to go.  There was also lightly salted popcorn next to the potato chips.  There was black coffee instead of sugary energy drinks.  Healthier choices are everywhere once you look for them.  
  7. Take care of your body on the back end of the travel.  I have had to learn not to hard charge right back into my workouts after a lot of sitting in the car or a plane.  Yesterday, I went on a ruck and did a lot of mobility work.  Today I will do more mobility work, lift at less than max effort, and go to Arete Chiro.  Friday, I am going to take a float and get worked on at Flote after I lift.  

I used to get way off track when I traveled.  I would immediately jump into “travel mode” and start eating garbage as soon as I was at the airport.  It was silly.  I’d basically be “food hungover” until a week after I was back home.  


The other issue was that I’d be so off track after a week of traveling that it would take a couple weeks to get back on track with my fitness and nutrition.  One week threw off a whole month.  What?  Why?  Hold yourself to a higher standard.  You’ll be glad you did : )


When you are ready to chat one on one with a Personal Trainer about your goals, fill out the form at the top or bottom of this page: )


Our first location serves Portsmouth, Kittery, and the broader Seacoast community.  Our new location serves Kingston and the broader southern New Hampshire community.   We help people strength train, walk daily, and eat real food.


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