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How To Stay Healthy on a Road Trip: 9 Essential Tips

Use these nine easy, practical and affordable tips for maintaining your healthy lifestyle while you travel!

Liz Traveling with Suitcase


School is officially out and the busy summer travel season has commenced! As much as I love to travel (I live to travel, honestly), I have learned that maintaining my 60+ lb weight loss is definitely a lot harder when I’m on the road.

Liz Sprinkling Salt on Veggies

At home it is always easier to get to the gym every day, prepare healthy meals, take in enough water, etc. The minute I leave the house, however, I have to work that much harder to stay healthy. From frequent restaurant meals to busy schedules with limited sleep (and never enough water!), it is no wonder so many of us return from a trip feeling sluggish and exhausted.

Tent Rocks Liz Walking

In fact, this is exactly what inspired me to start my wellness travel series, What to Eat & How to Burn it Off, two years ago. My mission is to show people that it is possible to travel well, travel frequently and actually return home feeling energized and refreshed. To date, I’ve traveled to 20+ destinations including Denver, Vancouver, Palm Springs and more.

When my friends asked me to share my tips for staying healthy during summer road trips, I couldn’t wait to get started. As luck would have it, I had a road trip already scheduled to Detroit so the timing was perfect to not just write about my experience but to show my Instagram followers exactly what I did to stay healthy on my trip.

If you missed those Insta-Stories, no worries. Here is my list of 9 Tips for Staying Healthy During Road Trips:

Book Accommodations with a Kitchen:

Hands down, one of the easiest ways to keep your nutrition on track while traveling is to book a hotel room or rental unit with a kitchen. Even if you can get your hands on a mini fridge, you’re one stop ahead of the game.

Liz Doing Dancer Yoga Pose

BYO Workout: 

Whether it’s a yoga mat, an exercise band or even your favorite workout app on your phone, a little pre-planning can pay off big when you’re on the road. Even if you can carve out just 10 minutes, three times a day, to sneak in a yoga workout or do body weight workouts at the park or in your hotel room, you’ll feel so much better when you get home knowing you stayed active while away.

Fuel Up: 

Instead of hitting up just any gas station, I always recommend fueling up before you leave so that you can run into the store to stock up on healthy, portable snacks for the road. From fresh fruit to granola bars to cashews and more!

Get Your Zzz’s:

As tempting as it can be to cram your schedule to take in as much as possible during your trip, I urge you to listen to your body and get enough sleep. If you find yourself craving sugar at the end of the day, that’s a sign your body is tired and searching for energy (in the form of sugar.) Instead of indulging in a sweet treat, head to bead. When you hit the road in the morning, you’ll be re energized and ready to go.

The Marker Key West Guest Rooms

Make Pitstop at Local Parks to Run Around:

Playground with Jacob

Thanks to handy tools like Google and Google Maps, I love mapping out my drive and finding local parks to stop and stretch my legs along the way. If you have little ones like I do, this is not only beneficial, it’s practically mandatory. Kids have a ton of energy (or is that just mine?) so assuming they’ll want to sit still in a car all day is not only impractical, it’s not going to be much fun for anyone involved. Do yourself a favor and build in stops every couple hours. The fresh air will make everyone a whole lot happier.

Search for Healthy Restaurants:

Fruitive DC Wraps

Before I hit the road, I love using websites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google to scope out healthy restaurants along my route and in my final destination. While it does require a little pre-planning, I find that I make up the time along the journey because we don’t have to drive in circles deciding on where to eat. Even better, we don’t end up in a drive through making poor decisions.

Stay Hydrated:

When you’re on the road, it’s even more important to stay hydrated. While I love coffee as much as the next gal, be sure to make water your primary beverage of choice throughout your journey. The health benefits of drinking water are endless but top on my list are the fact that it keeps my skin hydrated, keeps my energy levels high and helps maintain a healthy digestive system. (Read: limits bloating!)

Liz Drinking on Yoga Mat

Stock the Car with Healthy Snacks:

There is no better way to avoid making poor food decisions along your road trip than to stock your car with healthy, portable snacks.

My boys love freeze-dried fruits (mango is their current favorite), my husband loves Planters whole cashews and I’m a sucker for date bars (especially the chocolate peanut butter flavor!) These shelf-stable snacks are great for stashing in the glove compartment or in reusable bag in the back seat. Depending on the length of your trip, a cooler with ice is also great for storing beverages and perishable items.

Rooftop Barre Class at Palomar

Take a New Class at a Local Fitness Studio:

My final tip is to sign up for a class at a local fitness studio in your final destination! Almost every studio offers one day guest passes and many hotels have fitness offerings as well. Not only is it a great excuse to try out something new, but it’s a fun way to stay active during your road trip. When you get home you’ll be so glad you maintained your fitness routine while away.

Greetings from Austin Mural Liz 1

What are your best tips for staying healthy during summer road trip season? I’d love your tips! We are heading on another road trip in just a couple weeks. Can’t wait to hear your ideas!

For more tips on healthy living, follow my Pinterest board!

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Liz DellaCroce

Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been sharing delicious recipes that just so happen to be healthy. By using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality, Liz has built a growing audience of loyal readers who crave good food for their families.

1 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this. Your tips are very helpful. I am a travel freak and travel a lot. Next year Alaska is on my card.Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness., and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Next year I definitely want to explore Albany.
    People often have a theme that they base their worldly travels on, but how about a mental mantra for your travel? Out of a cheerleading event that consisted of our family shouting supportive words at our daughter who was attempting to kill a rather monstrous spider that the rest of us were too chicken to get close to, came this great quote, “If you don’t think, and you just do….then it’s done!”

    This quote came back to haunt me when on vacation in Seattle. I thought it would be a great idea to take the kids on the Seattle Great Wheel, the ferris wheel overlooking the ocean, but as we approached it, I realized how high it went and immediately panicked! Just as I had decided to put the kids on it on their own, my daughter says, “Come on dad…If you don’t think, and you just do….then it’s done!” What could I do at that point?! She was telling me to stop thinking and creating more fear about the situation and just get on the thing!
    “If you don’t think, and you just do, then it’s done!” We all now keep this quote in our back pocket, ready to whip out at any time to push one of us forward into an adventure we know they won’t regret. No hesitations, don’t allow any time for fear to set in, and be prepared for your kids to turn your life advice back on you

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