On January 4th I traveled to Malaysia where I stayed for nearly one month. I was eager to break out of my routine in Barcelona but also feared that a disruption to it could undo the results that I had reached until this moment, and those that were related to my goals.
Nevertheless, the trip was 100% positive. I managed to continue with my training, I maintained a pretty healthy diet, and I sampled local dishes without worrying about calories. I was also able to return to the daily meditation routine that I had previously left aside in the months prior to the trip.
In this post, I would like to share a few recommendations that can help you maintain your healthy habits while traveling.
1. Find accommodations where you can prepare basic foods and pack a good knife in your luggage.
One of the simplest solutions available today to find comfortable accommodations is Airbnb. If you are still unfamiliar with it here is a discount code to create your account.
It’s true that part of the travel experience is to try local food but when you travel for a long time you can opt into preparing a few meals at home. I was able to prepare almost all of my breakfasts at home, but even so, I was able to try many local dishes. By the way, I have shared a few photos of local foods that I tried throughout the trip on my Instagram account @claudiacanu_com.
I was fortunate to find whole oatmeal to which I added fruit that I would purchase every few days. In Malaysia, the most common plant-based milk is soy milk, but the ones I found all contained added sugars, so I preferred to purchase dairy milk. If you can’t find everything you are looking for, you must find the most convenient compromise. Right?
I mentioned bringing a knife in your luggage because I have found it frustrating to slice fruits and vegetables without a good knife. Unfortunately, we can’t travel with knives in carry-on luggage, but when I go on longer trips and pack larger luggage, this is an item I have added to my packing list.
2. Accommodations with a gym or with sufficient space for training.
In Malaysia, it’s common for newer buildings to have gyms, and when I reserved my accommodations, I was happy to find that both had one. However, in Kuala Lumpur, I didn’t like what was available, but I had sufficient space to train in the apartment and that allowed me to continue with my training. It’s certain that during vacations we often walk a lot more but training is so much more than simply moving your legs. Training helps maintain your strength and energy levels, and stretching afterward helps to relax the body.
3. Restaurants with healthy options.
Before I travel I like to learn more about my destination, including its restaurants and especially those that have healthy food options. I didn’t expect Malaysia to have all of the options that are available in Barcelona but it’s certainly true that if you search you can find them.
In Kuala Lumpur, I found a place that even had a delivery service. Amongst Asian street foods, there are many healthy food options, and the restaurants with western menus often have great salads. Additionally, fast food chain restaurants may also offer a few healthy options. For example, Subway makes salads that can be a good option if you avoid the dressings.
4. Basic knowledge of the local language to purchase healthy foods.
In Malaysia, everyone speaks English, and at the market, many of the product labels are written in English, but not all of them. The first word I looked up in Malay was ‘sugar’, and coincidentally for Spanish speakers, the word translates into the word ‘gluttony’.
5. Listen to your body.
If you know your body, and you are connected to it, then you’ll understand the signals it sends and what it needs. If you are not used to listening to it you might end up misinterpreting its signals.
When I traveled to Istanbul I could not stop eating. I would get hunger ‘attacks’ while on the trip and would eat everything in sight.
It was only a short time ago that I discovered that those ‘attacks’, which I had thought were hunger, were actually of thirst. Have you ever avoided drinking water to not have to use the bathroom every so often? That is precisely what I had been doing to my poor body, and as a consequence, when I returned home I found that I had gained a few kilos after only a week of vacation.
So there you have it, and this is also useful in your day to day life. Next time you feel hungry, drink water first, and if you still feel hungry, then yes your body does need food.
6. Take the time to maintain your habits.
In the post, How to Create (and Maintain) New Habits we have seen how difficult it can be to move away from a habit that is unhealthy to one that is healthy. However, it is very easy to make the change in reverse if we are in a new environment.
For example, it’s possible that if you don’t have a nightstand, where you usually keep a glass of water to drink when you wake up, then it’s likely that you will not continue to drink your glass of water in the morning.
Or if you are used to 6 to 8 hours of good sleep, but for some reason, you are not able to rest well, then you may accumulate nights of sleep deprivation.
My vacations used to consist of me running around in an unfamiliar place that would literally exhaust me.
I remember all of my trips with great fondness, but during some of them, the reality was that I wasn’t enjoying it the way I should have been. Has that ever happened to you?
I recognize this happened to me because I would sleep worse and less on vacation, then what I was accustomed to, and believe me, a tired Claudia is unpleasant.
So my advice is: when traveling, take your time to maintain the habits that you have worked hard to create.
Finally, my recommendation when traveling outside your country is to always have medical insurance.
Even though you probably won’t need it, but you never know. Safety Wing is the one that I use when I travel outside Europe. It’s easy to use and pretty cheap compared to others.
Have you been able to maintain your healthy habits when traveling? If you aren’t able to, what do you think is preventing this?
Leave me a comment below with your thoughts. And as always, if you believe this content could be helpful to someone you know, please share it!
Stay motivated about your goals towards a healthy lifestyle!
Thank you for visiting,
Claudia Canu is a former junk and sugar addict transformed into a Health Motivator with a master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She has created this website not only to share her “Journey to her Healthy Forties” but also to help other busy women with basic knowledge about nutrition and who don’t love cooking, to live a healthier life and achieve big goals.