10 Tips For Keeping Healthy While Traveling
Traveling – especially during a gap year – has something of a reputation for destroying livers and ruining those health routines. However, our list of hiking-mud bath-yoga-related suggestions for staying fit while on the road shows it doesn't always have to be that way…
1. Go hiking
Whether it's a short stroll up the hills above Hvar town before an evening sesh on the pink champagne, or a long, calf-thumping battle with the high peaks of the Peruvian Andes, hiking is one sure way to give the muscles a stretch and the lungs a breath of fresh air on the road. What's more, it's also a great way to explore new and interesting destinations, offering up glimpses of resplendent Quetzals in Costa Rica, breathtaking sunsets on the Biokovo Mountain of Croatia, views of the mighty Fansipan Mountain just outside of Sa Pa in Vietnam – the list goes on!
2. Do yoga
The Indians have been saying it for millennia: Yoga helps! Not ones to shun that sort of ancient knowledge, we've even put together a special travel tour that's primed for the budding yogis and yoginis among us. Between kayaking mangroves and hiking Thailand's karst mountains, you'll do mindfulness sessions and learn muscle-wrenching poses that are sure to leave you more in tune with your chakras and inner-self than ever before. What's more, you'll see just how easy it is to do yoga virtually anywhere on the planet, which means you can carry on that chilled persona even after you've left behind the Sadhana mornings of our YogaLife!
3. Go sailing
Now we're not just flaunting the benefits of sailing because we love a good old bout of riding over the waves of the Mediterranean Sea and the Adriatic each year on our YachtLife tours. We're flaunting it because it's darn true that traveling by boat can really help keep you healthy. For starters, there's the uber-fresh sea airs, packed with rejuvenating salts and free from the pollutants of inland regions. Then there's the continuous sun, which is like a Vitamin D generator for those who opt to laze up on deck. But there are other, less obvious health pluses from sailing too, like the mental peace and chilled vibes gained from just being out on the open ocean.
4. Stimulate yourself mentally
Staying healthy on the road isn't just about physical fitness, it's also about keeping your mind engaged and your brain ticking over. For that, it's important to stimulate your cerebral side. Consider picking up a book you've never read (hostels usually have book swaps), or get a culture fix with a visit to a local church. Alternatively, find a chess-playing partner to challenge in your LBW group, or do the odd sudoku while waiting for that next train. Every little helps.
5. Eat Greek
Study after study has shown that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world. Oodles of fresh fish, homemade olive oils, juicy peppers and tomatoes, sesame pastes, hummus and crumbly feta cheeses might seem like something decadent, but it's served the Greeks well for thousands of years, which means it's perfectly good for us, too! In fact, the Greek islander penchant for simple, tasty foods, including whole grains and seafood, has led scientists to proclaim it helps reduce obesity, the risk of heart disease, and even Alzheimer's. Just take the famous 'Blue Zone' isle of Ikaria in the Aegean Sea, where it's said one in three people make it to their 90s!
6. Don't shun the spa
Whether it's a bubbling hot spring beneath the mist-clad tops of Arenal Volcano or a mineral-rich pool on the hills of the Turkish Riviera, a hidden jungle stream in the forests around Pai or a mud bath in the shadow of the Nicaraguan peaks, you can rest assured that a trip to any natural spa while traveling is sure to help you stay healthy. Not only do waters like this come packed with essential salts and nutrients, but there's really nothing like soothing session in the water to get you rejuvenated and ready to hit the road again.
7. Get enough shut-eye
Okay, okay, we know this one might be a tad tricky when it's all-night Full Moon Parties and the fire shows of Koh Phi Phi that are a-calling, but still. Sleeping enough when traveling is a sure way to ensure you feel awake and raring to go each day, and means you're more likely to enjoy those Buddhist shrines, Hindu temples and Thai cooking classes all the more. Thankfully, there should be plenty of time to head into the land of nod on our LBW tours, especially when we've got awesome places to stay like our nomad.life and Krabi Life Homestay lined up!
8. Drink enough water
It's a given that drinking enough water is an important part of staying healthy, even when you're at home. But when you transport yourself to the steamy tropics or the sun-scorched lands of the European Mediterranean, it’s more important than ever! The upshot is to always have a good supply of clean, carriable water on you, which you can glug while flitting between the beaches of the Makarska Riviera, enjoy while wondering at the Incan ruins of Peru, or knock back between cocktails on Copacabana Beach.
9. Get good travel insurance
Now we're not saying something will go wrong, just that if it does, it's always a good idea to have your bases covered. Getting a good travel insurance provider is one sure fire way to make sure you've got a sturdy thing to fall back on in the event that your health goes south while traveling. And it's not just about saving the cents when you need to pay for those visits to the doc abroad. It's also about having emergency numbers and helplines on standby; someone waiting at the end of the phone to help organize appointments and trips back home if they are needed.
10. Workout like a local
While it's obvious that most backpackers won't be thinking of their next gym session (their next hostel bar happy hour, more like!), it's still possible to work out while you're on the road. You can even do it like a local, by dipping into gyms and swimming pools near where you're staying. Or, grab an app like Runtastic, which allows you to see the running routes of others. Apart from that, there's always usually a bout of five-a-side in the nearby park you could wriggle into, or perhaps a city Crossfit class that allows drop ins.
Of course, there are oodles more ways to stay fit and healthy while traveling. If you'd like to add any to our list, we'd sure love to hear about them in the comments below. Or, if we've piqued your interest with the prospect of sailing the Adriatic or learning yoga on the Thai sands, be sure to get in touch!