December 01, 2019

As the colourful brilliance of Autumn’s symphony is transformed into a white winter wonderland, we can be left with a yearning for the warmth of sun on our skin or a feeling of restless unease at being locked indoors. For many, this ignites a desire to travel; to jet away to a favorite destination or book a few nights at a local getaway. But before we invariably opt for the same location as last year, let’s explore the reasons behind our travel tendencies and discover whether, this season, we should escape from our comfort zone and try something new. Take a moment now to ask yourself the following:

  • Do I tend to go to the same places, or revert to the same type of travel, every year?
  • Am I concerned that alternative travel will negatively affect my ability to stay healthy while travelling?
  • Are my winter travel plans dictated by a fear of the unknown?
  • Am I afraid that I won’t be able to handle the challenges of a new type of travel?

If you answered yes to any of these questions (be honest!), consider a new destination or type of travel this holiday season. To pull from my own experiences, maybe try a road trip to Tuktoyaktuk or Zion National Park, hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, or sit with the monkeys in Kathmandu. Ok, maybe my travel escapades are a bit extreme for a winter getaway, but you get the idea. Try something that you have never tried before!

To make your adventure a memorable (and positive) experience, it is vital that your healthy lifestyle choices are brought along for the ride. In order to do this, preparation is key. So, once you’ve chosen a destination and method of travel, formulate how you will stay healthy while travelling by making a list of your daily healthy habits and noting triggers that undermine them or cause you stress. For example, my daily routine includes drinking 2-3 litres of water, eating a vegetarian diet, and practicing yoga. My triggers include loud/crowded places, headaches brought on by shoulder/neck pain and stress, and spending too much time focused on helping others.

Once you’ve made your list, brainstorm ways to counteract your triggers and overcome obstacles to maintaining your daily routine. For example:

    • When travelling to a destination where clean drinking water may be an issue, bring water purification tablets or a water filter with you.
    • As much as possible, pre-plan your meals and ensure that you have the option of cooking for yourself (i.e. Book a hotel with a kitchenette or take a full-size camp stove on a road trip).
    • Research your destination so that you have a general idea of where local services are and have a plan in case of emergency situations.
    • Make a packing list, being sure to include items appropriate for the weather and any products that help with stress reduction and/or pain relief (If you’re flying, be sure to check the liquid limits of your airline).
    • Have a plan to keep up with daily exercise routines (i.e. Research local yoga classes, bring a travel yoga mat, or research local hikes and walking tours).

    Once you’ve thoroughly prepared, packed, and set off on your journey, stay healthy while travelling by incorporating the following:

      • If you’re travelling by air, get up and walk the aisle every hour. On a road trip, make a habit of stopping regularly to do some light stretching or go for a short walk.
      • Take time to rest. If you’re in a different time zone and/or travelled far, spend your first day recuperating.
      • Talk with localsand find out where/when farmers markets are, or where/how they buy their produce.
      • If you’ve run into any unforeseen travel stresses,find a quiet space to sit and reflect. Do some mindful breathing exercises or a body scan to release  tension.
      • Instead of relying on public transit, taxi’s etc. to get around,try walking or renting a bike.
      • Pay attention to your body. At the end of each day, notice how you’re feeling and adjust your plans accordingly.
      • Make a habit of washing and sanitizing your hands regularly.
      • Get a book about the local culture, history, or natural surroundings. Learn about the healing properties of local plants, or the ways in which locals live.
      • Every morning, find time for stretching, yoga etc., no matter what. Even if it’s short, a little can go a long way.

      There are many ways to stay healthy while travelling, but ultimately preparation and awareness are paramount. Have a plan, then be as flexible as possible, remembering above all else to notice what’s going on in your body and be kind to yourself. Happy holiday adventures! 


      Written by: Zoë Tomichich

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