As Easter has just passed, many took the opportunity to take some time out and go on a road trip, a plane trip or a staycation. The thing with holiday’s we feel that we can indulge that little bit more than we usually do.
I travelled up to Queensland and yes I admit, there was a little more than 20% indulgence going on however I can be the only one responsible for that. Staying with family can be tricky, just as much as staying in a hotel or camping ground. With family you who are offering a bed I don’t want to make a fuss so I dine on whatever they are dining on and choose to eat or not eat certain things. Sometimes they accommodate your preferences like my brother who stared at a sweet potato with a peeler wondering if he should be keeping the skin on or take it off (bless him), other will load up the Easter Egg Basket as not to make you feel left out.
With a little planning and research, you can stay fit and healthy throughout your holiday, with little pleasures here and there so you can immerse yourself in the place you are visiting. Here are a few tips when taking some time off.
Staying with Family and Friends
You know how long you are staying and you may also know your schedule when visiting family and/or friends. When you will be out and about or staying in. As a thank you for making room in their home to accommodate you, why not pick a day/night (or two) and make a meal. See what is already in their cupboard asking if they wish to have anything used up, or go and buy what you need and make that gourmet meal, letting them sleep in and have breakfast ready, preparing a long lunch or gourmet dinner. Involve children and encourage them to help out in the future.
Planning is key here and a small cooler bag. To stay safe on the road we know we must stop and revive to survive. On Australian roads we have fabulous people who operate these Stop.Revive.Survive. stations serving drinks and snacks. There are also lovely spots where you can stretch your legs and visit the restroom. If you have prepared snacks for your road trip, freshly like cut fruits and vegetables, nut bars or bliss balls, cups of dried fruit or nuts along with bottled water you can enjoy a healthy snack in the fresh air. Walk around for 5 minutes (minimum) to stretch the legs and hips, even do some static stretches to lengthen the muscles as you have been in the seated position.
Buffet Breakfasts. Mini-Bars. Cocktails by the Pool. Oh MY!
When looking for a hotel we have our wish lists: location near shops, pool, swim-up bar, fitness centre, room with a view, kids club. But do you include farmers market or local grocery store proximity? I certainly look to see if there is a farmers markets are close by or on in a place I’m staying - they may be in a different season than Australia so trying new foods is a great experience. Hotel rooms usually have mini-fridges so there is no reason why you cannot utilise this for your own produce. You can call ahead of time and request to have the fridge empty during your stay, if they do not comply, empty it yourself leaving the contents visible so you are not charged. Be Aware of fridges that use pressure to charge you – this is when items are placed on a pressure-plate and once the item is lifted off a signal is sent and the item will be on your incidentals bill when you check out.
Hotel fitness centres generally have the basic equipment however it is better than nothing and they are improving. Find out the operating hours and if they have any classes you could attend. Refill your water bottle here also as the water will be cold and more likely filtered.
You can, of course, use the great outdoors which is a great way to orient yourself with the destination you are visiting. In most locations, mornings are the best time as the locals are usually out doing their daily fitness regime.
Up in the Air
Again planning is key here too. Airports are getting more options in terms of food offerings so walk around taking a look at the selection before making your choice. Some airports, and/or airline lounges have fitness facilities available so if you have a long transit instead of sitting down and occasionally standing up for a stretch – because let’s face it that is what is likely to happen on the plane anyway. Research if there are facilities at the airport/s you will be at and if there are not any facilities walk around and look at the shops, use the stairs instead of the escalators where possible, find a spot where you can do your own bodyweight workout (20 squats, 20 push-ups,20 lunges, 20 tricep dips x 3-4 sets). It’s not unusual seeing people running through the terminal to their gate because they are late, so you could do a jog throughout the terminal and no one will bat an eyelid. It may even inspire them to do the same!
Internationally you cannot take food into other countries, however you can take food from where you are onto the plane leaving it on the plane when you disembark (if anything left!). So you can take snacks of your choosing, maybe a pre-prepared salad from home using a takeaway container so you are not carrying it around while on holiday, banana/apple/orange, energy bars. There are liquid limitations also however you can still comply with these restrictions by using the correct size bottle fill them with olive oil, homemade salad dressing, milk (animal, nut or other as per your preference).
Domestically in Australia, liquid restrictions do not apply and although bottled water is readily available at the airport to save a few dollars upfront, take your own and re-fill from the water fountains in the terminals which are usually colder and sometimes filtered as opposed to water from the restroom taps.
While up in the air, it is best to avoid alcohol and stay hydrated by drinking water. Crew have bottles of water available so once you have finished one bottle, ask for another so it is readily on hand.
At a Destination
I mentioned Farmers Markets above so to extend on this, research local eateries and/or stores that offer your chosen lifestyle (vegetarian, paleo, vegan, juice bars, organic/wholefoods cafes and grocers). You can even chat to the staff and learn more about what they do in terms of getting their produce compared to what Australia does. They will also have knowledge of other eateries or markets that locals go to more than the tourist traps we get caught up in.
Look out for active activities and tours instead of sitting in a car or coach. Guided or self-guided touring bike and walking tours are great as you still see the main attractions but it will get the heart rate up.
On the Ocean
Cruising in my opinion is great value for money. Depending on the cruise, the tariff pretty much includes everything or you have the option to include everything if you wish. Food, beverages, destination tours, activities, lectures, shows – the lot! 24 hours prior or longer you get the schedule for the following day – this is when you can plan your day ahead which includes education lectures that do not go for long, exercise classes in the fitness centre, games on the deck, jogging circuit around the vessel, snorkelling trips (instead of lazing by the pool), hiking or walking explorations (instead of a coach tour) so there is no reason why you cannot get active in between soaking up the sun on a deck chair with a good book. Now in terms of dining, cruiselines have come a long way over the years with fresh produce, as best they can depending on duration and route. I was talking to a friend over Easter who had just returned from a 7 day cruise in the South Pacific, the food was brought up and the comment “there is so much. 3 meals a day, 3 courses – it’s so hard not to put on weight”. My reply “you don’t have to eat it all”. I’ll leave it at that.
A Note on Eating Internationally
It's mentioned that salads are a great healthy option when you're on the road, but if you're in a developing country where your risk of food, or water-borne illness is high, you'll want to pass on raw fruits and vegetables. Instead, try to find dishes that feature cooked vegetables, and make sure they're served piping hot or fruit that you peel. Similarly, while water remains your healthiest beverage option, check that your drinking supply is safe, particularly if travelling in a developing country.
Happy Travels and keep Active in the Season you visit