7 simple steps to maintain healthy choices while travelling

A man takes some time out to meditate whilst travelling. Picture: Nappy.co

A man takes some time out to meditate whilst travelling. Picture: Nappy.co

Published Mar 20, 2024


Frequent travel, whether for business or leisure can have an impact on one’s body. Often when travelling, exercise routines and diet plans take a back seat and the experience of travel can leave you jetlagged, lethargic or with feelings of discomfort as you prioritise your travel mission over your health.

When it comes to corporate travel, Bonnie Smith, GM for Corporate Traveller and FCM, highlighted that as corporates continue to get back on planes for meetings, events, and conferences, their health also takes a backseat.

“Early morning flights followed by a full day of meetings can impact energy levels, while a long flight can create prolonged periods of sedentary behaviour and frequent in-flight food orders. Employers have a duty of care to ensure their teams know how to keep themselves safe and well when travelling,” said Smith.

If you’re a frequent traveller, and looking for ways to stay healthy and keep up with your fitness goals whilst you’re on the road, here are 7 expert tips from Smith.

Pack a basic health kit

In order to keep your fitness levels in check, Smith said that its important for travellers to carry a small health kit in order to help you manage the symptoms of minor injuries, illnesses and pre-existing conditions.

“Bring adequate supplies to last the duration of your trip. Items such as adhesive bandages, gauze, antiseptic solution, safety pins and scissors are useful additions should you sustain a cut or graze,” she said.

Smith also advised not to forget painkillers, decongestants, and rehydration salts that can help with minor cold and sickness symptoms whilst allergy medications and topical creams to treat bug bites and stings are also important.

Perfect your pre-airport routine

Smith advised travellers to use the night before their flight to prepare for the hustle and bustle of airport check-in and security.

“Pack yourself a healthy snack for the flight, have a quick but balanced breakfast, such as Bircher muesli or egg white frittata, ready for the morning, and get an early night’s sleep. It is also worth checking your journey to the airport the night before in case there are scheduled roadworks on your route,” said Smith.

Use seat selection to your advantage

Smith pointed out that when you’ve boarded a flight, you will remain immobile if your flight is several hours and this will leave your body working harder to pump blood from your legs back to your heart.

She said that by selecting an aisle seat at the time of booking, you will ensure you can get up as you please when safe to do so and use the aisles to stretch your legs.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol

Smith said that although its tempting to drink alcohol and and caffeinated drinks whilst travelling, its best not to as their diuretic nature combined with the humidity levels on planes increases the risk of dehydration.

Instead, she suggested that it’s best to stick to bottled water when flying, and if you’re travelling on a long-haul flight, she said consider trying a hydration tablet full of electrolytes to assist with water absorption.

Eat balanced meals, in moderation

“It’s easy to slip into unhealthy food habits when travelling, with the enticement of hotel breakfast buffets and restaurant meals on offer,” said Smith.

She said that foods with processed sugars, such as pastries, energy drinks and chocolate cake, can cause your energy levels to peak and crash, so these are best to avoid if you want to optimise your energy levels.

“In addition, moderation is key. If you’ve had a meal of lean protein, vegetables, and wholegrains, and aren’t completely satisfied, a scoop of ice cream won’t hurt and may help to curb the cravings,” advised Smith.

Stay on the move when on the move

The GM also advised that there is no reason to pause your exercise routine when travelling and said that staying active can help your body acclimatise to your new location.

“Consider going for a walk after you check in to get the blood circulating before your flight or consider packing compact fitness items, such as resistance bands, that you can use in your hotel room. Simple exercises such as squats, burpees and bicycle crunches can all be performed in small indoor spaces,” she said.

Play your part in infection control

And finally, Smith noted that the best defence against illnesses like COVID-19 and influenza is to maintain basic hygiene such as thorough hand washing, especially after coughing or sneezing, and wiping down surfaces in high-touch areas such as tray tables and armrests.

“Even if travellers are short on time and seeking convenience, they can still maintain and improve their health. Something as simple as walking the length of the plane is worth doing. When it comes to your wellbeing, every little step helps,” said Smith.