Feeling your best is a key component to enjoying your travels. If you’re dehydrated, sore and tired, the Paris skyline won’t seem quite so magical. Here are a few strategies we use when traveling to keep up with our healthy goals (and to continue to meet our New Year’s Resolutions).
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Whether you’re taking a taxi, train, or plane, keeping your body healthy and active while traveling can be a difficult endeavor. On one hand, you want to focus on enjoying your trip (or completing your business). On the other, you want to keep fit and healthy.
Most modern travel doesn’t encourage you to get up and stretch your legs (as flight attendants remind us when the seatbelt sign is engaged). And if you’re trying to get some active sweat hours, you’re often stuck relying on a cheap hotel gym, or going for a run in an unfamiliar city. But don’t let that stop you from taking care of your body while you travel!
Here are our favorite healthy travel tips that work for both business travel and vacation.
- Pack to Prioritize Your Body’s Health
- Take Advantage Of Your Location (And Get Outside)
- Seek Out Rest Relaxation Where You Can
- The Best Bag for Healthy Travel is an Expandable Backpack
Pack to Prioritize Your Body’s Health
One of the most important things you can do to stay healthy while traveling is to pack the right gear. This means bringing comfortable workout clothes, running shoes, and any other equipment you may need to stay active in your exercise form of choice. You can always get a day or week pass to a gym when you’re traveling, but sometimes a full gym isn’t often available to you. If you focus on creating your own workout routine with resistance bands, jump ropes, lacrosse balls, and body weight exercises, you can still maintain a healthy lifestyle while you are on the move. And, if you’ve packed for healthy travel, it’ll be a lot easier to listen to that little voice that says “Even on vacation, I should go for a run/walk/hike/swim.”
Sample Packing List
Athletic shoes: Proper athletic shoes are essential for any kind of workout, but Kendyl from Kendyl Travels recommends trying to bring a versatile shoe. “I love bringing a pair of shoes that are good around the city but also great for hikes and the gym. I don’t pack a lot, even on extended trips, so I love having a versatile shoe that can help me stay active.” The main bonus is, if you get a pair that can dress up, you won’t have to carry around extra kicks in your bag. Do be aware of the smell though; you might want to invest in cedarwood balls or other scent-suppressants.
Workout clothes: This might be an obvious one but you don’t want to be jogging through the city in jeans, trust us. Be sure to pack a pair of shorts or joggers and breathable tops. Use these strategies to help you maximize space in your bag.
Wireless Headphones: You’ll want to pack wireless Bluetooth headphones to listen to your favorite playlists during your workout.If you’re traveling abroad, ensure your phone plan will allow you to connect to your Bluetooth without wifi. Have a backup playlist downloaded directly to your phone, just in case.
Water bottle: Staying hydrated is important for any traveler, and especially so for those who are working out. Pack a reusable one so you can fill it at water fountains in the airport or while traveling.
Resistance bands: These lightweight and compact exercise bands are great for strength training and stretching, and they pack easily.
Resistance loop bands: These small, lightweight bands are great for lower-body workouts and can be easily packed in your bag.
Jump rope: A jump rope is an easy-to-pack workout accessory that can give you a great cardio workout.
Shake bottle: If you plan on making protein shakes or smoothies on the go, this handheld mixer will be a convenient accessory.
Compression socks: These socks can help improve circulation and reduce swelling during long flights or after a workout.
Healthy snacks: Packing some healthy snacks, like protein bars or nuts, will help keep you fueled and energized during your travels. Protein & caffeine-dense snacks will go a long way to keeping energy levels high while travel-cizing.
Crossbody Sling: A great accessory for holding your phone, keys, and other small items while you get your steps (or miles) in, and can easily accommodate a change of clothes while on the go. Read more here to find out what makes a sling bag the best option for the gym and everyday carry.
First aid & medicine: Packing a small first aid kit can come in handy if you get a minor injury during your travels. You’ll want bandaids, gauze, anti-blister pads and headache medicine. Paige from Paige Minds The Gap also recommends the following extras: “a set of "travel meds" ready to go that has common medications like ibuprofen, antihistamine, decongestants, and motion sickness medicine.”
Sunscreen: If you plan on working out outdoors, don't forget to pack some sunscreen to keep yourself from looking like a lobster.
Insect repellent: If you're traveling to an area with mosquitoes or other biting insects, packing some insect repellent can help keep you comfortable during outdoor workouts or hikes.
We asked Knackpacker and professional traveler, Nora Dunn from The Professional Hobo how she packs to stay healthy during her travels. Her response was “For exercise, I have a glute resistance band for body-weight exercise days and an outfit that allows me to walk/hike as well as hit the gym if there is one at my accommodation.” She also recommends carrying probiotics and a collapsible water bottle to save on space.
Take Advantage Of Your Location (And Get Outside)
If your travels take you away from a hotel gym and into the world of Airbnbs and vrbo, take advantage of outdoor activities to keep up with your health goals. If you’re in a new country or a new city, a simple long walk can get your body moving, stretch your muscles, and let you enjoy the sights. Be open to joining a pick-up rugby game or kicking a ball with some locals you notice as you move by.
Traveling isn't just about sticking to a strict plan, it's also about embracing the freedom of exploration and discovering unique experiences that you might not otherwise encounter. To stay ready for anything, bring an expandable backpack with extra items as you venture out.
Instead of taking the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower, why not climb the stairs? Instead of hailing a cab to visit Piccadilly Circus, take the tube to the nearest stop and walk there. Do a bit of research before you arrive at your destination and discover some great local places to do some exercise. Hail a hackney cab, rent a bike, or borrow a hoverboard! You can experience a new place in a unique way by relying on nontraditional means of transportation.
Seek Out Rest and Relaxation Where You Can
In addition to exercise clothes and equipment, include items and activities that can help you with self-care while you travel. This could mean including a bath bomb or a soothing facemask in your packing list, or it could be as simple as bringing a favorite healthful snack or a beloved book. Recovery and enjoyment are as much a part of healthy travel as the exercise of it, so don’t neglect them! Treat yourself. Here are some strategies you can use.
Take a mindful walk: Take a leisurely stroll through a park, garden, or quiet street while being mindful of your surroundings. Pay attention to the sights, sounds, and smells around you. This isn’t so much about moving your body and exercising as it is about the senses of the body, and connecting to the new place you find yourself in.
Try intentional stretching and yoga: Many hotels and accommodations offer yoga classes, or you can easily find a yoga studio in your travel destination. Even if you don’t have one easily accessible, you can lay out a towel and focus on breathing and connecting to your body. Weather permitting, take it to a local park and get a little fresh air while you breath.
Get a massage: Getting the kinks out of your body can be an excellent form of self-care, particularly when you’ve been sitting for long periods of time, like during a plane or train ride.
Take a digital detox: Disconnect from technology and social media for a few hours, or even a full day. This can help you be more present in the place you’re traveling. It might be a good idea to keep your devices on you, but to intentionally shut them off or silence them. That way they’re in case of an emergency (or if you forget how to get back to your room) but you can still be present and active in your new location.
Listen to a new album: Here’s a brain hack: if you listen to a brand new album when you visit a new place for the first time, your mind will bind that music to the location. For years after, whenever you hear those songs you’ll be transported back, reminded of the feelings you had, the sights you saw, even the people you met. It has to be brand-new music though, so if a new album comes out that you’re eager to hear, hold off until you’re traveling.
Take a warm bath: Bring some bath bombs, listen to music or a podcast, and let your body ease.
Read an old favorite book: All of us have stories we treasure, and taking those old tales on our trips with us can help us feel grounded when we’re in a new place.
Journal: Take some time to write in a journal or notebook about your travels, your feelings, or anything else that comes to mind. This can help provide clarity and perspective, as well as serve as a souvenir of your trip. If you’re an artist, you can do a sketching or painting travel journal where you draw the sights of your new location.
The Best Bag for Healthy Travel
At Knack, we’ve designed our bags to be versatile and functional. All Knack Pack’s have the ability to expand allowing for room to store your workout gear, water bottle, travel journal or any other items you need to keep up your physical and mental wellness while on the go.
With multiple compartments and pockets, you can easily organize your items and keep everything in its place. The high-quality materials make them durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of years of travel. Take a look at this blog for what to look for in an everyday carry.
Sleek and Minimal Styling
One of Knack’s key features is the sleek and professional design. Unlike most gym or travel bags, we designed our Knack Packs without dangling straps, a bunch of external buckles, and external water bottle pockets hanging off the bag. While you travel, you can go directly from the hotel gym to lunch, the museum or a meeting with just one bag.
Space for Your Gym Gear
The large, Series 2 Expandable Knack Pack is not only stylish but also practical. With a super-organized main compartment for your work items, such as a charger, notebook, and pens and separate padded laptop pocket, you have plenty of space to carry all of your tech. But, the most unique feature is its separate, patent-pending, expandable compartment that can hold up to 16 additional liters of space for your gym clothes, shoes, workout accessories and separate water bottle pocket. This means that you can carry all of your essentials in one bag, without worrying about mixing your gym gear with your work items.
Danny from Danny Packs says this: “My favorite thing is the ability to use one bag for both travel and my day-to-day once I arrive. Since the Knack can expand and compress, I don't have to bring an extra packable day bag and I am able to safely carry everything that I need while working remotely in a protective and reliable bag.”
All Knack Pack’s are made with an antimicrobial lining, which means that your bag will always smell fresh. Whether you have damp towels, sweaty t-shirts, or even your sneakers, the antimicrobial lining will offer protection against bacteria, mold, mildew, and other hazardous microbes.
Designed For Comfort
Designed with comfort in mind. Knack’s padded, adjustable shoulder straps, and padded back panel distribute weight evenly across your shoulders and hips. The back panel is also breathable, which makes it perfect for biking, walking, or commuting on a hot summer day. The backpack's weight distribution pockets keep the heaviest items, such as your laptop and shoes, closer to your back. This helps to distribute weight evenly and prevent the bag from pulling away from your body.
A Gym Bag (with a Laptop Compartment)
The separate, padded, zippered laptop compartment allows you to protect your laptop from everything else in your bag. The side-accessible separate compartment makes it easy to access your laptop when you need it. This is particularly important for people who need to work on the go, as it allows them to quickly and easily access their laptop without having to dig through the rest of their bag.
We’d love to hear how you pack to stay healthy on your travels. You can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please tag @knackbags and use #knackbags on social media when you take your Knack on your journeys!
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