5 Healthy Travel Habits for the New Year

07 January 2019

two travelers exercising

If you’re looking to detox after the holidays and get the New Year off to a healthy start, travel might sound like a counter-productive idea. After all, one of the best things about travel is how quickly it shakes up our daily routines. But the good news is, it’s easy to keep your mind and body happy even when you’re on the road. Just follow these tips for developing healthy travel habits and you can kick the year off right, no matter where it takes you.

Use the Hostel Kitchen

two women cooking in a hostel kitchen

Eating your meals out while traveling can be fun, but it can also quickly leave you feeling over-indulged and cash poor. Instead, save some money and keep it healthy by making your own meals when you can. Visit the local farmer’s market to scoop up seasonal, fresh fruits and veggies on the cheap; band together with fellow travelers you meet in the kitchen to make multi-cultural pot-lucks; and don’t forget to check out the hostel kitchen’s free bin to see what ingredients past travelers may have left behind. For more inspiration, check out these hostel kitchen hacks.

Look for Free and Cheap Fitness Opportunities

yoga class at HI San Diego Point Loma hostel

From city pools, to donation-based yoga studios, to public basketball courts, tennis courts, and soccer fields, most American cities offer lots of opportunities to break a sweat for a few dollars or less. Tons of HI USA hostels also offer their own activities for travelers in need of a work-out, from free on-site yoga classes, to bicycle and walking tours through unique neighborhoods. Some hostels even lend out equipment like surf and stand-up paddle boards for free. If you prefer to exercise with a little peace and quiet, mix in visits to off-the-beaten-path destinations surrounded hiking and running trails (we love California's Marin Headlands and Point Reyes National Seashore, Minnesota's Itasca State Park, and Maryland's Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park).

Stay Hydrated

When you’re bouncing around from stop to stop, it’s easy to forget to do even the simplest things – like drinking water. But drinking plenty of H2O will keep you feeling your best, and can even help you fight off jet lag. Carry a re-usable water bottle so you can stay hydrated on the go and keep single-use plastic bottles out of the landfill. We especially love a foldable water bottle that you can roll up and tuck in your bag when you’re not using it; it even made this list of our five favorite travel accessories.

Take Breaks from Your Phone

woman looking at an iphone

We know, we know: putting the phone away is hard. Especially when you’re traveling and want to take photos, catch up on news from back home, or look up directions to that pizza place you saw on Instagram. But taking a break from the screen might just make your travel experiences better by helping you to live in the moment and meet new people. Plus, cutting back on phone time has all kinds of health benefits, from giving your eyes and neck a break, to helping you sleep better.

Get Help from Apps

Even though you may want to cut back on the time you spend looking at your phone, a few carefully chosen apps can help make your trip healthier. Check out free meditation apps to combat stress and sleeplessness; find free fitness apps to walk you through exercises that don’t require any special equipment; and check out white-noise apps that will help you fall asleep no matter who’s in the bunk next door.


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