12 Must-Know Healthy Travel Tips from Nutrition Pros

Ooh ah, vacation!

I’ll be heading out on one of these soon and I’m SOOOOO excited. Because… vacation. Really, need I say more!?

But vacation can take its toll since it pulls us out of our normal routine.

And while yes, that is half the fun, it can also sometimes leave us feeling less than our best.

The indulgent dinners and sugary frozen cocktails. The going all day without drinking any water. The stress of travel and jet lag.

One time, I managed to gain 5 pounds during a weeklong vacation! And nearly passed out from dehydration during a tour of a beautiful Italian church. I remember feeling totally exhausted during, bloated, and uncomfortable most of the time and well after coming home.

But you live and you learn.

Now I know how to kick back and relax while also making sure I’m being fair to my body.

To help you do the same so you can fully enjoy your vacation, I’ve rounded up 12 must-know travel tips from nutrition pros.


12 Must-Know Healthy Travel Tips from Nutrition Pros

Kim Jordan, NTP of Root and Branch Nutrition

The secret weapon to eating healthy while traveling is planning. Pack what you can for your trip, but also research the area you’re staying in! Look for local grocery stores and farmers markets to stock up when you arrive. Use search terms like “gluten-free,” “allergen-friendly,” “paleo” or “farm to table” to find nearby cafes and restaurants that can cater to your needs. Overall, control what you can, and just be flexible with what you cannot! Remember, travel, especially to new places, means trying new foods and indulging a bit, too! Just do it in a way that works best for you.

Nadia Neumann, NTP (it’s me!) of Body Unburdened

Not only is most airport food pretty unhealthy, it’s really expensive! Same goes for airline food. So I always pack a healthy meal to enjoy either in the airport before my flight or on the plane. And don’t forget snacks!

Megan Kober, RDN, LD of The Nutrition Addiction

Buy yourself a super cool, big a** water bottle, and get to sippin’! Dehydration is SO common when traveling and it can cause major fatigue, cravings, and this sounds weird, but it can actually cause you to have that “travel bloat”. Rule of thumb: divide your body weight in half and drink 1 oz for every pound. So, if you’re 120 lbs, drink 60 oz of water. If you’re doing a lot of walking/working out/sweating – you’ll need even more.

Lindsay Surowitz, Holistic Nutritionist of Weeknight Bite

Choose your splurge. It’s easy to get in that vacation mindset where you just want to go for it and try everything, but it helps me to stay on track if I pick and choose where I’m going to splurge each day. For example, some mornings, the breakfast buffet with the fresh Belgian waffles might be calling my name. Rather than deprive myself, I’ll go for it (and split it with my husband), and really enjoy it, and then I’ll keep my meals pretty lean and clean the rest of the day. If I know we’re going out for Italian that night and I want that fresh pasta, I’ll make sure to load up on lots of greens, lean protein, and healthy fats leading up to that splurge meal. It’s all about planning and being mindful. I like to tell my clients to think of their daily diet like balancing a checkbook. If you “spend” a little more at breakfast, you need to “spend” a bit less the rest of the day!

Sara Korzeniewski, RD, CLT of The Organic Dietician

Look for a hotel that has a small kitchen in the room. This way you can find a local health food store to stock the fridge. You can make one or two meals in your room and trust the ingredients. This can also save you a ton of money on dinning out.

Sandra Greenbank of Sandra Greenbank Nutritional Therapy

I always make sure I take a probiotic with me when traveling. This is in order to keep a strong defense, since we’re exposed to a lot of different bacteria while we’re traveling, which can be unsettling on the stomach. Also, research shows you’re less likely to contact traveller’s diarrhea when taking probiotics.

Amy Love, NTP of Real Food Whole Health

As we have traveled on our Real Food Road Trip across the US and Canada over the past 3 years, one thing I have learned is to constantly have snacks on hand for unplanned adventures. Especially when you will be exploring remote areas, hiking, sightseeing at National Parks or heading to the beach, these are areas that easy access to real food might be hard to come by. I love to throw some Justin’s Nut Butter packs, a couple of grassfed beef sticks and a hardier fruit like banana or avocado in my bag for these outings. If you have a cooler, organic cheese cubes, prosciutto, veggie sticks with hummus or homemade yogurt ranch dip are a perfect accompaniment. Don’t forget the water- and always pack a little more than you think you need.

Rachel Goodman, RD, LDN of Rachel Good Nutrition

You don’t need a gym to stay active. Find activities that keep you active such as swimming, hiking or biking. If you are taking the bus or subway, get off a stop earlier. Always take the stairs when you have the option. These little bits of effort add up!

Sara Korzeniewski, RD, CLT of The Organic Dietician

Pack some of your favorite snacks. I like to travel with apples, nut butter packets, grass fed beef jerky, low sugar protein bars, and homemade trail mix. Think of foods with healthy fats and protein to help keep you full and your blood sugar balanced.

Megan Kober, RDN, LD of The Nutrition Addiction

One of my favorite little travel tips, especially for vacation, is using my “one starchy carb rule”. So, I’ll eat whatever I want when I go out to eat, but I’ll limit 1 starchy carb (like bread, pasta, rice, etc) to each meal and I’ll only eat half. I swear this one little thing prevents me from gaining weight on vacation!

Amy Love, NTP of Real Food Whole Health

Another slightly funny thing I’m known for is always having my Celtic sea salt grinder with me. It has it’s own pocket in my purse! Real, healthy salt is an important real food ingredient and has saved many a meal from mediocrity. I’d much rather use the unrefined, mineral rich, fresh ground sea salt over the white stuff on the table any day.

Michelle Curtis, NTP of Body Rebalanced

On a road trip, I’ll pack a big cooler bag with real food snacks for the drive. Things like cut up fruits and veggies, dip like guacamole or hummus, maybe salads, etc. We always have plenty leftover so they will in the fridge in the hotel.


Do you have any other tips to stay healthy while on vacation?

Please share with us in the comments below!

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