By Jessica Thiefels
Ah, vacation: A time to relax, forget the stresses of life, and try all the local goods you can get your hands on—drinks and food, included. If you follow any sort of healthy lifestyle at home, you know that vacation-mode will derail even the most determined person. That is, if you’re not prepared with the right equipment. Staying healthy while traveling is not only possible, it can make your trip more fun and relaxing. When you’ve gotten your workout in for the day, you’re less worried about trying that local dessert or lying by the pool for a few extra hours. Give yourself some much-needed guilt-relief by prepping for your trip with health in mind. Pack these must-have items and you’ll feel healthy, happy and relaxed.
This is one of the most accommodating yet effective fitness products you can bring with you on vacation. It takes up almost no room at all, and allows you to work every major muscle group in your body with a little added resistance. The best part is you can buy one for as low as $10, so if you don’t have it already, you won’t break the vacation budget by getting it. Use this fantastic list of resistance band exercises from Greatist to work on your fitness without ever leaving your hotel room. Plan for a 15-minute workout at least 2-3 times over the course of your vacation and you’ll be feeling like a superstar in that brand new bathing suit.
Any health professional will tell you that water is key to a fit body. This is especially true on vacation, where you’re likely taking in more sodium than normal, and need extra water to flush it out. Without this, you’ll feel bloated—not a great way to spend your beachside afternoon. Add a glass of water between cocktails, and spice up regular aqua with local fruits to add a little vacation flair. Note that you can go through security with an empty water bottle, so bring your favorite one from home. Or, buy one when you arrive and you’ll have a great souvenir to remember your trip by.
A fitness tracker, or wearable, makes it easy to stay healthy while on vacation. With it, you can keep track of what each day looks like in terms of steps, heart rate, sleep, total active minutes, floors climbed, and miles walked/run. Check in at the end of each day to see where you were successful and where you fell behind. Didn’t get enough steps? Plan an impromptu walking tour for the next day. If you don’t already have a fitness tracker, you can invest in one on the cheap just for vacation. While the most popular wearable is the FitBit, you’ll pay a premium to get it. Go for the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 for just $45, which was found to be the most affordable option in a recent analysis of 50 wearable models. You’ll save money while getting all the necessary health-tracking features.
Sleep, is critical to your daily health, especially vacation, when you’re hitting the pillow less and staying out under the stars later. Unfortunately, this makes for a cranky travel buddy as you’re running from one excursion to another with minimal rest to keep you moving. Whether you’re a light sleeper or not, bring earplugs with you. This will help you cut down on outside noise (especially helpful at popular hotels during spring break and other popular travel times) and get the shut eye that your tired body desperately needs.
There’s minimal room in your suitcase, but leaving your sneakers at home is a mistake. Having them with you allows you to hike, bike, run or hit the hotel gym, making it easier to stay healthy every day you’re on vacation. Make time for at least one of these activities every day, or every other day, to make the loss of extra packing space worth the trouble. Stay healthy on vacation with these simple, but effective items. When you drink more water, get enough steps each day, and make sure you get quality shut eye, you’ll feel great and enjoy your vacation even more.
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is currently a full-time blogger. She is also an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition specialist, and the owner of her own personal training business, Honest Body Fitness. She’s using her experience from writing, editing and marketing to help people get healthy and learn to love what their bodies can do. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for health articles, new workouts and more.