How to Stay Healthy on Vacation

While we all love a nice getaway, many of us find ourselves struggling to stay healthy on vacation. It’s challenging to keep up with our weight, healthy eating habits, and exercise routines when you’re away.

You spend the last few weeks before a trip trying to get “bikini ready” by dieting and exercising like a maniac. Then, when you’re finally on vacation, all thoughts of calorie restrictions and workouts go out the window. After the getaway, you come back home to find you’ve regained all the weight you worked so hard to shed. You either stay in a funk for a while or go back to the excessive dieting and exercising in yet another attempt to lose those pounds. Up and down go the numbers on the scale, the cycle never ends, and thus is life. This is a completely unsustainable way to maintain your health.


Surely there must be a better way to stay healthy on vacation and maintain it even afterward.. right? Right!!




It’s been an exciting, travel-filled summer for me, with both domestic and international trips. I was sure I would be gaining plenty of weight because I was eating some delicious, rich foods. But hooray I maintained my weight and habits (actually even lost 2lbs!) without having to restrict myself.

I admit that I’ve faced these challenges time and time again when I am away from my home and my typical routine.  Through trial and error, I’ve figured out a simple, realistic approach to keeping my wellness level up before, during, and after a getaway. I hope this helps you stay on track and understand how to stay healthy on your next vacation.

Let’s dig into this, shall we?



Without structure and a routine when on vacation, it’s easy to lose sight of your wellness priorities.  For me, these priorities include honoring my body and maintaining a spiritual practice, among other things. I disregard these priorities by not resting enough (I get too excited and try to see and do as much as possible), throwing caution to the wind with food and beverage choices, and not making time for exercise, prayer, my thoughts. But there just isn’t enough time for everything, am I right?

So we’ve got to be intentional and creative to make the best choices for optimal results.

First, you have to release the mindset of feeling like you must to stick to a specific diet/exercise regimen while you’re on vacation.  Stop worrying about gaining weight. It’s times like these that the whole “have balance” philosophy comes into play. While you might be great at staying disciplined in your usual day-to-day schedule, when you’re on vacation it’s OKAY to indulge a LITTLE and relax. Now, on the other hand, you shouldn’t throw caution to the window and completely overindulge.

Well of course treating yourself is okay, but sometimes we overdo it and cross that fine line where treating yourself TOO much actually ends of hurting you.

Try your best to uphold your wellness priorities and healthy lifestyle without making it feel like a duty. Be intentional with your actions and choices.



I must applaud those of you that get up early and workout on vacation.  If you’re like me, working out just isn’t too appealing when you’re away. Some challenges that occur are lack of facilities, not enough space, or you’re too tired from staying out late the night before.  Not all is lost, however, because there are still plenty of ways to stay active, and in turn stay healthy on vacation!

Prevent yourself from gaining weight and getting out of shape by staying active as much as possible.

Some easy ways to get a little exercise without actually exercising can include: Walking, swimming, jogging, hiking, bike tours, stretching, local/ free yoga 


A kayaking tour in Portugal was a fantastic form of exercise with a view



When it comes to food, it’s a little more challenging but here’s my strategy. Stick to simple breakfast options like nutrition shake, smoothie, or fruit and nuts so you are sure to start the day off nuritionally strong. I loovveee brunching, but limit it to just once or twice a week.

For lunch and dinner, whatever you choose to eat think about the option to share your dish. You are less likely to overeat this way.  I recommend checking out Yelp to review restaurant menus in advance.  Also consider visiting the nearest farmers market to try out local snacks and produce.


A yummy meal in Costa Rica, with plenty of veggies

You know how much I love vegetables and plant based foods so it should not be surprising to you when I suggest focusing on getting vegetables into your meals. I know this can be difficult to do on vacation, but start small and try to aim for vegetables in AT LEAST one meal a day. That is the bare minimum you should strive for.


Limit dessert and decadent treats. Don’t make it a daily habit to have these.  In all honesty, desserts are my weakness ESPECIALLY on vacations. I’m tempted to try the best ice cream shops and all the famous desserts. A few strategies for this: share the sweet treat, make the rest of your meals healthy and load up on veggies, limit sugar in your diet with all other meals.

And most importantly, carry your own snacks with you because you never know when you’ll be stuck at an airport or in a position where you’re hAngry and the only options are fast food.  Coming up this week I will share with you some of my favorite healthy travel snacks. 

One final tip is to never have two unhealthy meals in a row. Always follow an unhealthy meal with a healthy one. This keeps me accountable to making sure that next meal will be nutritious and nourishing.


Whatever you do, don’t be miserable on vacation because you’re worried about getting “fat.” Check in with yourself to ensure your not overindulging. Don’t completely abandon the good stuff- fruits and veggies; And find creative ways to stay active.

Enjoy your trip, #treatyoself, and honor your wellness priorities. 



A delicious dulce de leche donut at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn


What are your wellness priorities and how do you stay healthy on vacation?

Have you had a bad travel experience because you were worried about dieting and weight gain? Share your story or any advice.






33 thoughts on “How to Stay Healthy on Vacation

  1. I’m about to leave on a vacation, so I found these tips right in time. I think I’ll buy some fruit and nuts as soon as I arrive, so I can snack on those instead of candy.

  2. A couple years ago I went away and I have a kidney failure (nothing serious) and it was quite frankly horrible. It was a nightmare. I ended up flying home on air ambulance. Never again…

  3. I recently booked our next vacation. We chose a condo over a hotel because we will have a full kitchen. I know we will splurge some, but I want the treats to feel special. Besides, I don’t feel well when I don’t eat well. Who wants to spend vacation feeling gross?!

  4. I love visiting towns and cities that are walking friendly. That way I know I’m working some of that indulgent food off as I’m sightseeing.

  5. Great post on something that’s so hard to do for me. Though it’s been quite a few years since my last trip these are great tips to take along on my next one

  6. I love these tips. I am a vegan, so it is actually really hard for me to find any options while on vacation! But I love that you too eat so many fruits and veggies! I hate coming back from vacation and feeling like a pig. I do a lot of yoga while on vacation.

    • Hey Kristen, I try to eat mostly vegan and I can understand the dietary challenges that happen while traveling. You just have to get creative and work with what you’ve got. and YES yoga is so awesome especially because you can do it anywhere.

  7. One of my funniest health tips for vacation is to go on a cruise and take advantage of the availability of the food, but in a way that supports your health. For example, I will order a vegan entree and a fish entree so that I am sure I am getting great vegetables. I skip the carbs from both.

    • haha, I like your view on this. You’re totally right through, take advantage of that food..the good stuff though 😉

  8. Great points. I have been adamant about not getting into cars while I’m in Europe and I usually take public transportation and walk everywhere. I am getting in the same amount of steps as I do when I’m running around my school, so that’s excellent. Thankfully, I’m not too much of a sweets person so I don’t deal with that battle much. The most I do is alcohol / ice cream! lol But yes, the size of the meals for me are key too. I don’t want to feel too sluggish at all points of the day. Cheers.

    Courtney |

  9. Yes, these tips were fantastic!
    Here are some exercises I do for limited space:
    -squat jumps (like 50 or so) x 3
    -ab roller
    -hip raises

    And there are a few more, just in case there are people that want to exercise. I feel bad when I DON’T exercise lol. Great tips, though, especially the share your meal!

    • Thanks for the exercise ideas! Planks are a really great one. And I totally agree with you. I feel awful, not only when I don’t exercise, but also when I don’t eat right.

  10. Pingback: Healthy Travel Snacks to Pack on Your Next Trip • Prescribing HealthPrescribing Health

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