Three Ways to Stay Healthy on the Road

Ainssss pero te estás quedando en nada!

Rosa seems to think I’m getting skinnier, but even as I’m preparing for my wedding next summer and taking a bit better care of my body (read: no Doritos for breakfast).

“Come back after Christmas and you’ll see what two weeks of vacation does to me!” I quipped.

German food collage

Last year we were gorging on beer and brats in Austria (case in point above). The year before, I fell for catalán pastries. And now that I’ll be in America for nearly three weeks and likely stress eating, there’s no telling.

It might be in vain, but whatever the reason, many people choose to go on a diet before travelling. But on arrival at the destination, regimes tend to fall apart. Thanks to the temporary nature of vacations, scarfing three slices of French toast and honey at breakfast (or endless pastries because, Paris) suddenly seems okay. But there are ways to stay fit and healthy while on the hoof.

I should take my own advice.

Use the facilities

If your hotel has the facilities, it might be time to break a sweat in that gleaming, state of the art gymnasium, or attempt a few laps in the pool. You’ll feel invigorated for the day ahead, and what’s more, when you get to the buffet breakfast, the choices you make will be smarter than simply loading up on carbs.


I used to marvel at a traveling recruiter who always managed to stay so thin, even when on the road. She told me her secret was in buying day-long gym passes or simply booking a hotel with the right facilities. Duly noted – my tennis shoes are packed for my Christmas trip!

Incorporate exercise into your sightseeing

Take the opportunity to do something amazing on your bucket list that will also work wonders for your fitness. It might be getting up at 5am, taking the Metro across Budapest and enjoying a swim in the thermal baths. You could sign up for a scuba diving course in Egypt, or book a horseback expedition in Cyprus. There’s also the joy of exploring a location on foot – some cities, like Seville, are worth ditching the taxi fare for strolling around.

Going Hiking in Spain

I’ve got the perfect excuse this Christmas – I’ll be snowboarding Summit County Colorado for nine days!

Eat right

Just as it is back home, local food can make you fit or flabby – it all depends on what you choose to eat. Yes, it’s tempting to indulge in foods like crepes or deep dish pizza, but doing this on every day of your vacation will make you feel sluggish. You need fuel for sightseeing, not fat.

eating a thalis in India

Make sure to sample some of the healthy local produce or cook in your rental if you’re able. Sampling local cuisine is literally at the top of my list each trip, but remember you want to broaden your horizons, not your waistline.

While I’m committed to making these holidays my least gluttonous yet, there is one thing I can never help when it comes to being healthy at Christmas – KIDDIE GERMS! Fingers crossed my body holds up for the next week as I tackle exams and cross-Atlantic flights!

How do you stay healthy when you’re traveling?

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. Usually when traveling, I like to walk everywhere, which can be annoying to those I travel with sometimes. This generally makes me work off some of those extra calories I’m eating because, “I have to try everywhere since I’m here, right?” I also try to use the facilities where I’m staying, especially if it’s a hotel. If it’s a hostel, I’ll usually try to load up on their free breakfast, if they have one, because it keeps me hungry throughout the day and helps the budget as well. If I skip breakfast and start sightseeing, then I usually wolf down too much later in the day when my stomach is yelling at me for skipping breakfast!
    Mike of Mapless Mike recently posted..Upcoming Christmas Travel Plans!My Profile

    • My plan is often: walk, walk, walk, beer. repeat. I sometime forget to eat big meals when I’m traveling and often lose weight if I’m traveling in the summer!

  2. I wish I had your motivation to go to the gym on the road. It just doesn’t happen to me. I make sure I take probiotics, drink loads of water (obviously not from the tap, depending where I am) and every few days have a sachet of Vital Greens (this superfood/vitamin power you can buy in Australia and comes in travel sachets).
    Cyra | Gastronomic Nomad recently posted..#illridewithyou – Why Terrorism Won’t Work in AustraliaMy Profile

    • I don’t do it often – I opt to walk and try and not over exert myself. Depending on where I go, I usually take antibiotics or at least bring them along, as well as wet wipes. The only times I seem to get sick are when I finally get to see my family at this time of year, so I’m being extra careful (which means less Christmas parties and more sleep…someone is about to turn 30!)

  3. Way to make me feel ashamed Cat! He he he.

    Seriously though… I do tend to indulge when I’m away… but I forgive myself by justifying it against all the walking I do as part of my sightseeing.

    Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones

    Elle, Alan and the hounds xxxx
    Elle | Spain Buddy recently posted..How to eat in SpainMy Profile

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