13 ways families can stay healthy when traveling

I’m frequently asked how we manage to live a healthy life while travelling.

I’m surprised by these questions as I don’t feel like a do a great job of being healthy!

I know the other me that I’m comparing myself to – the woman who’s a couple of kilos lighter, exercises daily, and gets plenty of sleep.

I haven’t been that person for a while thanks to a hectic travel, work and family balancing act. Even though I know I could do better, I do make a lot of conscious decisions in regards to my health, travelling or not. Perhaps I am much healthier than I give myself credit for and I do have a few healthy lifestyle tips I can share as a result.

To be honest, I’ve always been healthier whilst travelling.

I find it the most amazing portal for losing weight, toning the body, getting plenty of rest, and improving your mental health. The only reason I struggle a little more with it this time around is that I now travel with two children and an all-consuming business.

I’m sure that’s NOT the majority of you reading this. So take it from me – good health is possible for traveling families, you may even be healthier than you’ve ever been if you actively pursue it.

13 healthy lifestyle tips

1. Be Consciously aware

Ain’t nothing going to change if you don’t operate from a place of awareness.

Awareness helps you make better choices. It tells you to stop eating when you’re full. It lets you know you don’t really need that second milkshake, or glass of wine – you’re just drinking your emotions.

Conscious awareness also helps you to know what your body likes and doesn’t like. What makes it sick? What creeps the weight back in? What food makes it feel most alive and energized?

Travelling can bring stress – awareness will let you know you’re in that place of frustration and tiredness and tell you the alternative coping methods to overindulging.

So if you want a healthy lifestyle, in fact, if you want  better anything, you’ve got to live consciously.

2. Meditate

I meditate almost daily. I used to meditate for about 5- 10 minutes, I now meditate anywhere from 30-60 minutes a day. I know this seems crazy and it did to me a year ago. But, I notice a massive difference in my sense of peace and awareness if I just miss one day.

If you’re not aware of the studies showing the benefits meditation brings, I suggest you do some research today and get on the program.

It will help you create change and cope with stress, become more creative and intuitive, and bring that awareness to your body that you need to ensure you treat it with kindness.

woman meditating on a rock overlooking the beach
What a place to meditate

3. Do a seven-minute yoga routine

I’m currently working on making this habit stick. Resistance is a natural part of change and forming new habits and it’s currently looking for excuses to give myself permission to not form the yoga habit. I’ve just got to keep pushing through.

I tell myself I have no time, but that was the excuse I used to say to get myself to do 10 minutes of meditation a day – now I find 60 minutes to do that each day.

I’m making it easier with a seven-minute yoga routine given to me by Paul at Billabong Yoga Retreat in Sydney. He designed it for busy people as seven minutes is what we can all usually manage. It’s a great routine that wakes you up, helps you feel connected, and totally works in bringing back flexibility and a bit of grounding.

Just seven minutes a day can make a difference. You can manage that can’t you?

UPDATE: I am now regularly do yoga. You can read more about how I maintain a yoga practice on the road here.

I also have a membership with Grokker – an online health, fitness and wellness membership site. They have expert-led instructional videos, but in four wellness areas: yoga, meditation, fitness & exercise and cooking. I’m not just interested in doing yoga, so the other exercise videos are useful to me.

PLUS I’m always on the hunt for healthy recipes and there are plenty of them within the membership site with instructional videos as well.

4. Drink a cleansing morning tonic

What’s the first thing you drink when you wake up?

It’s so important to give your body a gentle, but nourishing start to the morning.

I know how badly you want it to be coffee, but pause for a minute and flush out your body with a tonic first. You can do it with a glass of hot water with lemon. The lemon kick starts your liver for the day and is so great for your digestive system.

Or, you could go one step further and try the morning tonic I have.

Boiling water, juice of half a lemon, an inch of sliced ginger, a handful of parsley and a shake of cayenne pepper.

Adding a spicy morning zing for your circulation and metabolism.

You can read more about my daily habits, and the importance of forming them, here.

5. Make the exercise a daily adventure

Now, this one might seem like a bit of an untruth, as I’m not out there doing burpees, kick-boxing, or 5km runs every day. I thought that was classified as exercise and I struggled with making the time to fit in this intense training. Procrastination kicks into overdrive when I feel I have to do something that is boring and painful.

Switch the thinking.

Exercise is just moving the body, so why not just move the body when you travel and make it fun? I’d do anything to avoid a 20 minute run, but I’d bounce out the door to go for a six-hour hike up a mountain.

One feels like exercise, the other is an adventure.

I incorporate as much body moving into my daily travel adventures as possible.

Here are some of the things we do: hikes, beach walks, bike rides, kayaking, and snorkelling.

Every now and then I will go for a run, do some planks and karate kicks. I really do need to get serious with incorporating more of the intense training into my routine.

6. Carry the gear, take the hard road

As a backpacker, one of the ways I lost weight quite quickly was to walk everywhere, even if that meant carrying my heavy luggage. A lot of the time I was carrying it to save money in transport costs!! Mind you this was not carrying it from one destination to another, but from places like my hostel to the train station.

I now carry my children everywhere. Climbing up stairs with Savannah on my shoulders is a serious thigh and butt workout.

I lost a lot of weight living in London simply by walking up the escalators coming in and out of the tube station each day. Don’t choose the easy ride.

Travel can be hard labour sometimes – use it to your advantage.

woman standing on a balcony looking at mountains

7. Make healthy eating choices

I’ve completely changed my relationship with food over the past couple of years. I suffer from gluten intolerance and had an awful run of surgeries and bad health as a result. I was determined to never get to that stage again so have dived into the world of nourishing whole foods.

I have a few basic principles I try to follow with my eating. It’s challenging if I eat out, but I’ll share some simple things I attempt to do ( not always successfully)

  • I eat gluten free foods (try it and see your health improve, even if you don’t have intolerances. Sluggishness, mood swings, and bloating be gone!)
  • I try to eat dairy free
  • I try to eat sugar-free.
  • I try to eat meat free (except kangaroo or wild animals) I eat meat a lot more now due to the gluten issue. It’s so hard to get vegetarian AND gluten free.
  • I try to eat organic as much as I can. It’s expensive and so I can only manage some things.
  • I eat more vegetables than fruit
  • I avoid processed and packaged food. Give me as close to natural state as possible.

Foods I love to eat a lot of and cook with:

  • Coconut oil – actually anything from the coconut
  • nuts – mostly almond nuts
  • avocados
  • sweet potato and pumpkin
  • spinach and kale
  • lots of herbs
  • piles of vegetables – mostly green
  • berries
  • coconut milk
  • raw cacao
  • quinoa
  • cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili
  • chia seeds
  • dates

I travel with a high speed blender. I never used to, but because food is a big thing for me now and I like to be more in control of my eating, this is an essential for me. It means I can make chocolate protein balls, and yummy chocolate tarts. I also have a green smoothie most mornings.

Here’s a recipe for the Ultimate Smoothie. It’s serious deliciousness and power packed with protein and nutrients.

Ultimate morning smoothie

  • A handful of spinach
  • 500ml coconut water (if not almond milk)
  • 4 dates
  • 2 tablespoons of raw cacao
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1 tblsp chia seeds
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • Sometimes I add in 1/2 cup frozen raspberries

When eating out:

  • Sweet potato instead of potato
  • Avoid the chips (french fries) It’s a weakness of mine so I have to be extra conscious.
  • I go for salads and vegetable
  • Skip the desserts – thanks to gluten I can’t mostly. I have a few delicious healthy treats I make at home.

8. Drink smartly

My huge vices are alcohol and coffee. I’m not prepared to go cold turkey on them so I have to set up some rules to make them less of a problem.

  • No coffee after 2pm. And only one coffee a day. I’m currently down to about 4 a week. I have almond or coconut milk.
  • I don’t drink beer (purely a gluten decision) and rarely spirits. I might have the odd gin and tonic. I only drink wine and sometimes cider.
  • I do not ever touch soft drink (soda) and rarely juice – unless it’s freshly squeezed or cold-pressed.
  • I drink a lot of tea – green tea of a morning and only herbal teas after 2pm on most days.
  • I drink a lot of water through the day and when I’m really dehydrated a guzzle down coconut water and instantly feel rehydrated.
  • Coconut water is awesome. Best drank straight from the coconut. I never touch those fake electrolyte drinks like Gatorade. They’re full of sugar and nasties.

9. Earthing or Grounding

One of the first things my alternative healer told me to do when I visited her for my health issues was to kick off my shoes and earth more.

The Earth is constantly receiving negative electrons via the sun’s radiation and lightning bolts that strike the earth. This is really good for us. When we connect to the earth via our feet- our biggest sensory organ-the energy of the earth is transmitted into our body, which helps our bodies to function optimally and in balance.

Computers and man-made electrical stuff is always producing positive electrons– you know the buzz word, free radicals. Negative electrons trump positive ones, so when you get zapped up from negative electrons from the Earth it moves into your body and eats up the positive ones, or in other words the stuff that hurts you. This reduces our inflammation, which is the cause of pain and many many illnesses.

So time to ground yourself again and make use of this unlimited and free healing source. I walk barefoot as much as I can, especially when the grass is wet or in the water at the beach. Water enhances the healing.

All parents out there. Let your kids run around bare feet, even in the winter time! There are numerous studies that show the benefits of earthing are real and help you overcome jetlag.

Check out more about earthing in this great book: Earthing: The most important health discovery ever! 

10. Reset your body with a cleanse

I’m not as diligent as this now that I’m travelling. But, I did make 10 days of the 21 day cleanse a few months ago. Cleanses are such a great way to reset the body and clear out the gunk. There’s no reason why you can’t do it when you travel. Just take rest a lot during those days and make it a simple cleanse.

I’m not a fan of juicing or starving cleanses. I just think we were made for eating. But, if that’s your thang, then go for it.

Even better, why not book yourself into health retreat on your travels? I’ve got my eye currently set on Bali over the Christmas for a yoga health retreat and cleanse.

11 Live a stress-free life you love

I know that a huge part of the reason why I was so sick for awhile was because of the huge stress I was under. I was living a life I hated and had so much anxiety and worry. This took such a serious toll on my body.

Meditation has definitely helped to eliminate stress and it’s a tool I continue to use to help me deal with any stress that may arise. I have an army of tools at my disposal to use.

But there is an incredible amount of freedom, personal control, and adaptability to your desires that comes with travel. It’s mostly stress-free living.

The stress that arises, like missed buses, running out of money or feeling lonely, are generally uplifting stresses, because they present challenges you’re forced to solve. Generally, you work yourself out of the trouble, with a gleeful smile and pat on the back – look how clever you are. There’s generally no space for wallowing, complaining or sitting around waiting for the solution to find you. If you don’t get up and take action, you’re in trouble!

It’s hugely empowering.

Travel gifts you with the opportunity to get to know and like yourself and live true to that authenticity. (Click to tweet this)

That eliminates stress and replaces it with a calm, confident demeanor, which usually embraces happiness more.

If things get too much, just slip into the hammock and swing awhile with a good book. (Just skip the chip and dip with it. Grab a coconut and a chocolate ball instead.)

12. Use natural skin-care products

I try to avoid using any chemicals on my skin. Sometimes it’s hard, but I’ve found some really great alternatives, which I’ve written about here. The oils I use are nourishing, cheap, natural, and take up little space in your luggage!

13. Get eight hours of sleep a night (or close to it)

I’d love to have those party hours I used up when I was younger back in sleep. I never realised how important it was until I became a mother and sleep became a luxury.

When we were travelling pre-kids our sleep patterns were generally pretty good. We’d mostly lay in bed and read to ease into sleep, and bed times were reasonable – except for those party nights. I usually always woke up refreshed.

It’s hard to plan for eight hours of sleep when you have kids AND when you’re running a business.

For the past few months, I’ve been focused on committing to eight hours sleep a night. It’s one of the most essential, yet overlooked requirements for good health. Arianna Huffington speaks a lot about the importance of sleep in her book Thrive.

You think you have to burn the midnight candle to get more done, but studies prove that those who sleep better are more productive. So I decided to work less and sleep more. I feel better for it and my productivity is not suffering too much. I’m still getting a lot done, I’m just no longer wasting time on things that don’t really matter. I’d much rather sleep then get lost on Facebook.

Which brings me to 10:12pm and my rule says stop work and get to bed by 10pm. I got too involved in sharing with you my tips for staying healthy on the road. I gotta run now. Zee bed is calling me.

While I’m snoozing away, please tell me: How do you maintain a healthy life while travelling? What are your biggest challenges?

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