Holidays are a great time to unwind, switch off from work, spend time with friends and family, and enjoy delicious food. It can be tricky to find the right balance between rest and activity but with a little bit of forward planning, you can enjoy your break and return feeling good rather than hungover, exhausted, and nutritionally depleted. Here are some tips around food, hydration, movement, sleep, and supplements/medications which may be especially helpful if you are going away for a long period, on a holiday or for work.
1. Healthy plant-based options
Travelling away from home usually means eating differently from how we usually eat so do not stress if plant-based options are less than perfect – if you are stressing about food, that is not going to make for a very restful or enjoyable break!
If I’m travelling somewhere where I know there are few vegan options, I usually pack some staples in my suitcase until I make it to a larger supermarket with a focus on plant protein as that can be challenging in certain places. This is what I take:
- a carton of soya milk (Alpro Soya)
- Couple of small packs of tofu e.g. Taifun tofu (they fit in hotel minibars)
- Small pack of protein powder
- Agile bowls from ZenB (incredible on-the-go option which only needs hot water to prepare)
- Oats (it can be surprisingly hard to find unsweetened cereals in some countries and expensive)
You can search healthy options using HappyCow (a vegetarian/ vegan app), Google Reviews and TripAdvisor. You can leave a review if you enjoyed a place and this can really helps other vegans and plant-based eaters find good places to eat in the future.
Usually, plant-based milks are everywhere at hotel buffets. If you are going somewhere where that might not be the case, you can usually send an email to the hotel to request them so they have time to source them for you.
I also try to find fresh fruit for the room from a nearby supermarket/ market. I usually go for bananas, apples, and a box of berries to put in the minibar.
I find that I can get really dehydrated while travelling. To help with this, I always have a large reusable water bottle (BPA free) and ORS solution in tablets. These tablets really help me after air travel when I feel especially dehydrated. I also bring a reusable coffee cup for hot drinks.
As tempting as it might be, try to limit caffeine and avoid alcohol while travelling especially during air travel as they can further disturb sleep patterns
Travelling can interrupt your usual movement routines. While this can be good, either to switch up our usual routines or give our bodies more of a break, it can still feel really good to include movement in some of your days away.
You can choose a hotel with a gym or look for local gyms that offer cheap one-day or one-week passes.
If you don’t want to go to a gym, checking out local running or walking routes on Strava can be a great way to get outside and explore a new place. You can also carry resistance bands and a lightweight skipping rope so you can do a workout anywhere without equipment – there are some great YouTube options.
4. Supplements and medications
I usually carry a pill box with all my supplements and medications in one place for convenience and to save space and weight
If you are taking the contraceptive pill or any other time-sensitive medication, I suggest setting an alarm on your phone so you don’t miss your dose.
Like many people, I am prone to digestive issues when I travel so I pack the following:
- psyllium husk (I go for an unsweetened one but Metamucil/ Fybogel are the popular brand names)
- a packet of chia seeds (to add to oats/ smoothies/ water)
- a few herbal tea bags, especially ginger and peppermint to help with digestion
- antacids e.g. rennie
- dried ginger to suck on if nauseous
My immunity always takes a hit when I haven’t slept well so finding any way to get more shut-eye is a must.
I use an eye mask to block out light and earplugs from Loop to block out background noise. This can be helpful on a plane or in a new and unfamiliar bedroom.
Comfortable clothes with multiple layers are a must. I like smart loungewear and trainers that are one size up as feet often swell during a flight and I also try not to wear much jewellery and avoid make up
Compression socks may not be the most chic but they are a gamechanger. Try to walk up and down the aisle and do calf raises if it’s a long flight. This is especially important for anyone who is on the Pill, pregnant or on hormonal medication (such as dienogest). Please speak to your doctor if you have any questions about travelling on with your medication.
These are just a few of the ways I try to include some balance in my holiday. I would love to know your tips too – pop them in the comment section below.