Taking care of well-being when traveling is essential for having a healthy trip. Our body and soul need attention and a bunch of self-love to keep strong and resistant. But how to take care of yourself when traveling long term or on a busy schedule? We tend to be so focused on what surrounds us, that we forget of what matters most. It’s all about finding balance between seeing places, work (in case you are on a business trip) and the “me” time.
Staying healthy when traveling long term is not easy, especially when you are facing different climates, bacterias and cuisines. Therefore, you need to support your body and mind in adapting to new temperature, improve your immune system. Being conscious during the day will let you remember to drink enough water and take a deep breath whenever you feel stressed. How to take care of yourself when traveling for a long term? In this post I will give you a few tips and share my experiences.
How to take care of yourself when traveling?
Nobody is perfect. In fact, it took me a long time and many trips to understand how important is to take care of yourself when traveling. I learned how to practise self-love and what’s essential to provide for the body in order to travel healthily. Feeling well and nurtured is crucial to actually enjoy the trip and those who have ever got sick on the road know, how it can ruin the overall experience.
I would like to share with you, what I do to take care of myself when traveling and keep feeling healthy and nurtured. I am sure that these points will help you to organise yourself on the road, remembering about your own body and mind. So how do I start?
No matter how much I like to be spontaneous and take things as they come when I travel, I think having a plan for workouts and self-care is essential. Planning a potential health habits before the trip is one of the things I carefully note in my bullet journal. I draw tables with the activities I want to do regularly like yoga stretching, meditation practise, peeling and masks for my skin or riding a bicycle. Marking it down in the table helps me to keep a track on the things I have done and motivates me to kick ass when I see that I have missed some point for a couple of days in a row.
One of the most important points to take care of yourself when traveling, if not the most is drinking lots of water. We often escape to hotter climates, walk a lot on the trip and drink significantly more alcohol. All of these factors necessitate to drink even more water than usual. That’s why refillable water bottle is one of the eco-friendly travel essentials I always have with me when going for a journey.
Reusable bottle not only helps to limit plastic waste but thanks to the nice designs and functionality we tend to carry it more often than a one-time-use plastic which is quickly to become a trash. Therefore, if you are one of these people, who forget to drink enough water, don’t hesitate to invest in a fancy design reusable container, which you will remember to take with you as it looks so cool and fits to your style.
While drinking lots of water is on the first place, we should also remember to moisturise our body from outside. I always have with me some coconut oil, and managed to refill the same container twice during my trip in South-East Asia, where it’s largely produced. Traveling to the exotic climate, we get to remember about putting on some sunscreen, especially during the beach days. Try to get some organic ones as they are safe for you and don’t harm the marine life when you are swimming.
Intensive schedule and long bucketlist makes us so excited, that we often ignore the body’s tiredness. Waking up too early for a train, going to sleep too late because of that amazing bar – in a long run these will just take all the joy from visiting places. That being said, balancing time for discoveries and rest is crucial for a healthy travel.
Having enough sleep is what I usually lack when on the journey, while we seriously need it for regeneration. I remember traveling in Indonesia and visiting a bunch of destinations where “a must do” was the sunrise. I am definitely more of a sunset person and feel like a zombie when I wake up too early, but of course I didn’t want to miss what was said to be “the best”. To compromise I took a lot of time to rest after and before each busy day and extended time in every place to have enough sleep.
If you want to particularly focus on a deep relax during your trip, you can join some meditation retreats or yoga classes. I had a 10 days break during a long term travel to rejuvenate in the Buddhist Monastery in Thailand on Vipassana meditation. It was truly lifechanging experience and vacation for mind and soul.
For me, being tired from every day walking is never a good motivation to exercise. Adding to that no space in a room and no equipment make a perfect excuse to skip a workout. However, that’s not the way it should be and staying healthy when traveling long term should come with a regular exercise. So how to fight the laziness and tiredness? Here again, comes the topic of balance. Having busy schedules and not enough time for ourselves will rather make us go to sleep than having energy to do an exercise. Therefore, planning a day well, with time for what we want to see as well as the “me” time, is the key.
It’s your personal choice how much you want to exercise. But remember to be kind to your body and don’t force it over the limit, especially when you are tired. I don’t exercise a lot. Every few days I am trying to do yoga and stretch myself a bit. It really helps me to keep the strength of muscles. I tend to make choices that support wellbeing, by walking instead of taking a taxi or riding a bike instead of a motorbike, when possible.
Before sleeping I often to a bedtime yoga to release body and mind from tension. The good news is that I can do it in my bed, so no extra space and a mat needed. How to do that?
I start from sitting for a while in a lotus position to slow down the breath. The best thing to fall asleep easily is to massage you feet before sleeping. Sitting in a lotus position I massage one foot after another, starting from the central part and heading to my toes. After, I lay down with legs high on the wall. It helps the blood to flow down and rest the legs after the whole day walking. I focus on the breath and mindfully inhale and exhale each time deeper and deeper. Now, it’s time to relax the hips. I lay down with my feets joint together, knees as wide as I can for a couple of breaths. Lastly, I hug my knees to the chest for a while and fall to one side putting one hand under my head. I am ready to sleep.
I have this thing that I am trying to save money on every step while on the journey. First of all, it’s the side effect of when I was a student and every little money was important. Secondly, it’s also effect of my recent trips, when I had money but didn’t really know how long I am going to travel, so was saving “just in case”. Believe me, it took me a long time to understand how to take care of myself when traveling long term and how important is to eat well. In a long run the body gets depleted, if we don’t provide proper nutrition. Nowadays, I force myself to remember about getting as much healthy food as possible and eat fruits whenever I can.
What really helps me to be conscious and remember about eating well, exercising, taking time to rest and so on is slow travel. Traveling slowly means taking time in each place, immersing with locals or even staying with local people and trying to live like them. I prefer to see less and explore the place deeper than run to the next destination for the sake of seeing it. I saw a lot and now the meaningful experiences are on the first place.
The best places I found to eat healthy food when traveling are local markets. In every country you are sure to get fresh fruits and vegetables or even some home made snacks on the bazaar. In Asia, street markets also offer juice or seeds, nuts to grab. Even though, some of the street markets may look dirty, they are the most authentic places to get food, which is surely more healthy than the perfectly hygienic but processed food from supermarkets. What’s more, there is no better place to learn about local cuisine, see what kind of fuits and other crops this land has to offer.
Those words together sound ridiculous as travel is exactly the opposite to stability. However, it’s worth setting a tiny routine every day for exercising, eating regularly and going to sleep in a similar time. Of course, that is not always possible and I absolutely believe in indulging while on holiday. Nevertheless, the more you try to keep the daily schedule up, the more it works as planned.
Time flies when we travel and what I do to keep track on my daily/weekly tasks is making notes. I always have a tiny notebook with me where I note some useful addresses or things to remember. It also works as a typical bullet journal, where I draw a table of content for each day and tasks I want to fulfill like jogging, yoga, juice, fruits, water and any other things I want to remember about.
How to take care of yourself when traveling long term? Give yourself a bunch of self-love! Travel lets us do things we always wanted to do and go out of the comfort zone. Listen to your guts and treat yourself the best you can. Don’t hesitate to go for a local massage or SPA. Wellness treats are definitely expensive but when I am on a long journey, I just feel I need to rejuvenate. Otherwise, why not massage yourself? Touch is incredibly healing yet we tend to rely on others for the benefits. In fact, who knows what feels best for your body but you?
Take care of your mental health
Treating yourself influences our mental health as well. From time to time make something to make yourself feel beautiful, do a face mask or body scrub, go for a manicure. Keeping in touch with your family when you are away is very important. They are worrying about you and miss you. Your friends support you when you need to talk with someone.
What’s more, whilst traveling we meet new people every day. Having a fulfilling conversation with a stranger can give us totally new perspective on things. No matter what kind of character you have, you cannot deny the human nature, which is a need for feeling of safety and social contacts. Conversation and friendships on the road are important aspects of self-growth and a constant source of inspirations. You never know who you meet on your path, so my advice is: don’t hesitate to start a conversation with a stranger.
Insurance & medicines
Talking about a mental health, having insurance when on the journey is something we shouldn’t leave home without. Even if you will not need it, it will save you from worries and anxiety. The truth is that only those who traveled without insurance know how much does it cost to pay from your own pocket when something bad happens abroad.
Of course, it’s easier to avoid than cure, so I try to remember about my immune system when I travel. Eating healthy with lots of fruits and vegetables will surely help to keep stronger. Adding some ginger and turmeric or other local superfoods, will give a special boost to your immunity. Regular exercises and meditation also support your body strength and resistance.
When I am getting sick, first I try to look for local natural remedies. Herbs are golden when it comes to simple health issues, and every country has their own unique set. Local people, street markets or pharmacies should be a good source of information on what to take. I often stay with locals from Couch Surifing and they always know where to find anything I need. I am so crazy about natural medicines that I always bring from trips some local herbal teas or oils. They are amazing! This is how I found blue tea in Thailand which is a great source of vitamin C or onion tea used by Dayak tribe on Borneo.
Last word on healthy travel
Taking a good care of yourself when traveling requires some effort, but it’s worth it. Good health involves a combination of eating right, staying active and taking care of our mental state. It can be done when you travel with a little planning and a bunch of self-love and self-respect. Your time is precious, and you can use the travel as the time for you. You can be selfish here and think of what exactly you need and what exactly you want to do. Therefore, every day reserve time dedicated to no one but yourself.
The Bee is a nature lover and tea addict. Loves the idea of slow life and responsible traveling, constantly trying to improve to bee more eco-friendly. Appreciates old cultures and traditions, loves to immerse with locals, listen to ethnic music as well as taste regional food and drinks. Her favorite spots while traveling are family houses and street markets.