Tag Archives: travel hacks

5 Ways Health & Traveling Abroad Go Hand in Hand

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You’re going away on a long trip, which means one thing: healthy habits are taking a backseat. The thought of spending a couple months traveling the world is incredible but it’s also not great for the body, right? After all, you’ll be eating and drinking whatever you like with little to zero exercise. Put these together and it’s easy to see why your health may take a hit.

However, the truth is that travel and well-being go hand in hand as long as you can approach both from the right place and are willing to try new things. If you’re curious, here are five reasons to consider.

Less Calorific Diet

A standard American diet includes lots of carbs and refined sugars, both of which aren’t so great for the body when eaten in large quantities. But, that’s not the norm when looking at other cuisines around the world. Take Asia as an example. In the likes of Vietnam and Japan, the locals slurp down delicious soups. Or, there is Thailand where the spicy curries speed up metabolism while tasting amazing. In Brazil, the mix of rice and beans create a perfect protein without a piece of meat touching your plate.

The point is that you’ll eat like a queen without having to worry because you won’t be consuming all the empty calories we’ve gotten used to here in the States. Just remember, wherever you are, eat like a local!

More Active

Going to the gym four times a week doesn’t make you active. It means you like working out, yet your lifestyle may not be very busy other than your exercise regime. Do you sit in front of the TV a lot and do nothing? Do you spend a lot of time sitting on a chair behind a desk staring at a screen? If the answers are yes, you’re living a fairly sedentary life.

Traveling is the solution because there is no time to sit back and relax. From the early morning to the late evening, there is plenty to see and do. Not only will you constantly be on the move, but the likelihood is you’ll be doing a TON of walking. Let’s not forget about the amenities either. In hotels, guests have access to the gym and it’s complimentary. As well as excellent machines, there is a laid back atmosphere as there aren’t hundreds of people vying for the same equipment. 

Plenty Of Z’s

In a nutshell, sleep is the solution to health. When you get plenty of rest, the body gets to recover from the day before and plan for the day ahead. As well as a boost to your metabolism, there are mental health impacts too. For example, tiredness could prevent you from working out or lead you to swap out a healthy meal for an unhealthy one.

Although it’s tempting to think sleep is easy to come by at home, it’s not always the case. Sure, the bed is comfy and it might not be as noisy in your bedroom, yet you’re still on the clock. Maintaining a regular lifestyle means you need to get up to eat breakfast and get off to work on time. Traveling is all about what you want to do and when, so if you fancy a sleep in, it’s not a problem. There’s no reason to lie in bed until the early afternoon, but an extra hour may be the difference between feeling tired and refreshed.

Healthcare Options

America is infamous for its privatized healthcare system. Without insurance, it’s often difficult to get the treatment you need. So what happens if you’re abroad and your health takes a turn for the worse? Our neighbors around the world don’t share the same values about turning away folks without coverage–and many times treatment is free. Yep, it’s the case even if you’re visiting the country on a tourist visa. In the UK, the NHS will help anyone who needs urgent care so there’s no reason to worry.

Also, there are surgeries which are performed abroad that aren’t as common or accessible here. Cosmetic surgery is widely available across the globe for half the price, and it’s not a hatchet job. (Any nose surgery video will put your mind at ease.) Mental health-wise, there are many great services out there these days, like BetterHelp and TalkSpace, that allow you to meet with a therapist remotely.

The Drinking Culture

Okay, you’re on vacation. It’s not surprising that you’ll want to spend time drinking, partying, and meeting new people. This doesn’t mean travel and health can’t still co-exist. You want to be able to enjoy yourself…and maybe throw a few shapes on the dance floor. However, the way many folks approach alcohol consumption in America just won’t cut it elsewhere. 

We tend not to have a beverage all week and then let loose at the weekend. Like, really let loose. Go ahead and forget this culture of binge drinking as soon as you board the plane. The good news is that other countries drink alcohol differently. Share a few beers at the pub with your new friends. Have a glass of wine with your dinner. Don’t limit yourself to the weekend and you probably won’t end up in an all out binge-fest. Enjoy a drink each evening (that you want to) and really take your time to enjoy it. You’ll take pleasure in the atmosphere and the process way more than the drink itself. And you won’t wake up with a headache!

How do you stay healthy while traveling? What hacks have helped you in the past?

P.S. Is packing in a 19 liter backpack possible for winter travel?


Travel Tips: Airports & Planes

my seven

I’ve flown quite a lot in my years. I was lucky enough to live a pretty well-traveled childhood, allowing me the ability to become a confident air traveler early on. I also flew a lot in my broke college days, which helped me hone ways to travel cheaply. These days, when it comes to air travel, I try to make everything run as efficiently as possible. Because flying can be a pain in the you-know-what.

In keeping with a travel theme, I thought I’d share my top tips for airports and planes that I’ve learned over the years! I know, I know…Nothing irks me like that random dude in the security line who thinks because he flies twice a month for business he can start barking orders. Everyone’s an expert, right? But because this is my blog I AM the expert…at all the things. So, for this post, I’m gonna be that guy in line tellin’ ya how it’s done.

Not checking a bag? Make sure you’ve got your life together. 

You don’t want to spend close to 45 bucks to detach from your suitcase for a few hours? Me either. But with that money-saving privilege comes some responsibility. Mainly, minimizing and organizing. Streamline your wardrobe and make sure all your pieces can mix and match. Ditch that extra pair of shoes. Wear your clunkiest items (boots, sweater, winter coat, scarf) so you don’t have to shove it in your carry-on luggage.

Keep your clear, quart-sized bag of liquids at the top of your bag or in a front zippered pocket of your rolling suitcase. Make sure your laptop is accessible and can slide right out. When you saddle up to one of those metal tables at airport security, go ahead and grab a stack of 3 bins. Let’s not kid ourselves into taking less and then having to reach back for more and disrupting the flow of fellow travelers.

Bring a water bottle! 

Darting from one end of an airport to the other can be exhausting and planes are Sahara dessert dry. If you don’t wanna shell out a fiver for a bottle of H20 then you better come prepared. I always bring an empty Nalgene with me when I fly and my first stop after passing security is to locate the nearest water fountain. I then guzzle down as much water as possible, use the ladies room before boarding begins, refill water bottle again, keep drinking, board plane, throw down my stuff, and then pee again while the plane continues to board.

(You didn’t know this was going to be a detailed account of my bladder activity did you?)

While I like to treat myself to a ginger-ale or a cran-apple juice during drink service, I also continue to drink water throughout the flight. I also don’t drink alcohol on flights (ok, maybe a glass of wine on international flights for a little help in the sleep department). Guzzling all this water helps me feel alive when I reach my destination and impacts jet lag levels.

Pack along a bevy of snacks. 

Can you tell I hate parting with money? Well, I do.  Airports are notorious for over-priced (and pretty gross if we’re honest) snacks and meals. And you can’t count on the airlines to make it rain peanuts anymore. So it’s better to be prepared. If I know I’m going to be traveling during a meal I try to pack that meal or at least part of it. A sandwich is easy to bring along. And some combination of trail mixes, crackers, carrots, and protein bars round out an on-the-cheap dining experience. I also like to bring a fruit for the actual up-in-the-air part of the day. (See again: hydration.) My favorites for this are apple slices, oranges, and grapes.

Gotta spend? Go to Starbucks. 

Sometimes a girl’s gotta treat herself. If I’m flying out super early I’m gonna want some caffeine. I’m human aren’t I!? And sometimes (especially on return trips) I may not have the appropriate level of food options to meet my level of hunger. In these situations I seek out Starbucks for a few reasons. Mainly, and this is purely psychological, I already expect Starbucks to be a little over the top when it comes to pricing. This doesn’t stop me from getting an iced coffee every now and again in my day-to-day life so it seems fine to do the same in my airport life. (I can’t find any sources that speak to the price differences between airport vs. non-airport Starbucks. In my personal experience the prices have never felt that different. If any baristas care to weigh in I’m obvi interested.)

Second, you can use any Starbucks gift cards that may be lingering in your wallet. Want a bagel and cream cheese? Get it with ~*~pretend~*~ money. Much more fun than a debit card attached to a ~*~real~*~ bank account! And finally, sometimes you hit the jackpot and the Starbucks will have FREE wi-fi when the airport itself is asking you to throw down $4.95 to connect. This has happened to me on two recent trips going through the Atlanta and Houston airports. Praise be, St. Arbucks!

Don’t go overboard with entertainment. 

It took me a long time to figure out that the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared,”doesn’t mean I need to haul 2 novels, a book of crossword puzzles, and 3 magazines on a flight from Lexington to LaGuardia. I like to choose about 2 forms of entertainment and leave it that. Perhaps the book I’m reading and a phone full of downloaded podcasts. Or a new magazine and my laptop.

Yes, I know there’s always the chance of being delayed for hours on end but that situation is well-deserving of a perusal at the airport bookstore and treating ones-self to a New York Times bestseller (or a stack of tabloids…no judgement).

Flight cancelled? Pick up your cell phone. 

People in airports are super susceptible to herd mentality. A flight gets cancelled and you follow the mass of bleary-eyed travelers to a snaking line leading to an airline counter. Every single person in this line wants to explain to an over-worked gate agent why they are uniquely inconvenienced by the day’s misgivings. Meanwhile, you wait in line for hours on end because it seems like “the right place to be.” I consider myself an extremely patient person but no. Just no. I would much rather call the airline itself and work something out over the phone.

You’re in a metal tube hurtling through the air at ridiculous speeds…go ahead and be a decent human being for the duration.

Kindness and politeness are good rules of thumb during any sort of transportation. However, it always seems to allude people the most when up in the air. Which boggles my mind given the weird feat of getting from Point A to Point B up in the SKY where we humans don’t naturally belong. So my final tip is a little karmic in nature but still very important nonetheless…

Listen to your flight crew and follow their orders. Say please and thank you during drink service. Don’t hog the armrest. Don’t roll your eyes or make audible noises of displeasure. Don’t bemoan a remark or announcement that is out of the realm of the speaker’s control. Keep your tone decent when speaking to other passengers. Keep your language clean when speaking to your travel companions (everyone else can hear you, too.) Don’t freak out about babies or kids–you can choose to ignore them or better yet, make funny faces at them, talk to them, or offer to hold them. Thank your flight attendants and pilots as you dis-embark.

Being an asshole will not get you to your arrival destination faster. I promise. It’s just going to make the journey more ridiculous for the rest of us!Kindness goes a long way!!!

Over to you! What tips or tricks would you add to this list? Any air travel horror stories you’d care to share? (And what you learned from them, of course!) I’d love to hear! 

P.S. 5 ways health and traveling abroad go hand in hand. 

Did you find these tips helpful? Contribute to my airport Starbies fund HERE. ❤