Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle While Traveling

This is the eighth post in a series by the Cooney family about their world travels, made possible by the flexible learning offered at FLVS.

Cooney Adventures 8Whether you are planning a “stay-cation” or a global yearlong adventure around the world similar to ours, staying healthy, happy, and fit while traveling can present a few obstacles.

Maintaining healthy eating habits at home can be difficult and doing the same on the road requires even more due-diligence. Preplanning is the key, and can mean the difference between completely abandoning your healthy lifestyle or keeping you on track.

Incorporate some or all the following tips we’ve used to ensure you have a healthy, happy trip.

Pack a healthy eating kit

Food Travel3A small cutting board, pairing knife, collapsible cooler, utensils, zip-lock baggies, a few spices, and a small container of dish detergent. We love to find local farmer’s markets while traveling to try new things that are native to that area. We discovered many different types of fruits and vegetables through our travels.

Reserve a hotel with a kitchen and/or refrigerator

Check ahead to see if your hotel has a kitchen where you can prepare your own meals or at least a small refrigerator. Numerous hotel chains will offer to put a mini refrigerator in your room for a nominal fee or for free if you have medications that require refrigeration.

Food and travel1Restaurants

If possible, use some of the apps or websites that are readily available such as,, or to search ahead of time for healthy dining options. Once at the restaurant, scan the menu thoroughly, then order items that are the least processed. Always stay clear of items that have been fried or are laden with fat. Be mindful of portion sizes and avoid overeating.


Food and travel2During long road trips, travelers often need to fill their gas tanks and also their stomachs. Truck stops and convenience stores are starting to add fresh fruits to their inventory, so instead of reaching for a processed snack, grab a banana, apple, or a bag of unsalted nuts. Also, if the area looks safe, take a short walk or at least take a moment to stretch.

Plan for possible delays

Whether traveling by car, plane, boat, bus, or train, assume there are going to be delays and plan accordingly. You are more likely to make smart food choices when you pack snacks such as energy bars, fresh and dried fruits, nuts and seeds, and pre-cut vegetables.

Stay hydratedFood and travel4

Drink plenty of water. It is best to take small sips throughout the day instead of trying to gulp down a large bottle at one time. Drink more than usual if you are sweating or in the hot sun. Since alcohol is a diuretic, alcoholic beverages should be avoided.


Unless you are certain there are healthy options at the airport, plan to carry-on your own food. Nut butters and hummus are great items to keep hunger at bay.

Food and travel5Cruises

Typically all meals are included on cruises. However, if you are traveling with special dietary restrictions, it is best to notify the cruise line at the time of booking. Most cruise lines are extremely accommodating with advance notice.

Staying Fit

Scheduling at least a half hour a day of exercise such as walking, going to the hotel gym, or getting a day pass at a local gym can help keep you stay fit while on the road.

Whether you are planning a long weekend away or taking a gap year with your family, using these tips will help promote healthy habits.

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Catrell1This post was written by Catrell Cooney and is the eighth in a year-long series by the Cooney family. Her husband Mike recently published a book about their family’s travels around the world. Cooney World Adventures: Backpacking with Teens Through Latin America details the first leg of their trek with stories of their adventures (and misadventures) while traveling through Central and South America almost entirely by bus.

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