International travel is a blast – it’s the dream, right? My husband and I just got back from touring through Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore) and I thought I’d share my top healthy eating tips for international travel PLUS my favorite snacks to pack!
As fun as it is to see the world… sometimes flexible plans and long trips on planes, trains and automobiles can make healthy eating challenging. If you aren’t prepared, it’s easy to overspend (good thing that THREE DOLLAR banana is duty-free, right?!), have hanger overkill or unintentionally ditch your healthy eating goals.
1. Fuel Before You Fly
Eat a meal before long stretches of travel. Whether it’s at home, in your hotel or at the airport, eat up before takeoff. Include protein and lots of fiber-filled foods (think fruits and veggies) to help stave off hunger. On layovers, look for easy, healthy options like Greek yogurt, fruit, made-to-order salads, wraps or grilled chicken sandwiches. Keep add-ons like bacon bits and dressing on the side if possible.
2. Pack Small, Healthy Snacks
Healthy snacks are helpful on long flights (especially if the meals served aboard don’t look too appetizing) and great to keep on hand while you’re sightseeing all day. It’s not uncommon to spend way more time at museums, out hiking or on tours than anticipated. These should be non-perishable and shouldn’t take up too much space.
Here are some of my favorite healthy snacks to pack for travel*! Some of these are protein-rich, some serve as “packable fruit” and some are for quick-energy before for a hike or an early morning workout.
3. Plan Out Your Meals
If you’re heading on a big trip, chances are you’re planning out each day. Go the extra mile and stake out a general idea of where you will eat. Is breakfast included? (This is my personal favorite hotel upgrade because it keeps mornings simple!). Do you have a kitchen in your suite or at your Airbnb? If so, plan to grab a few simple groceries the day you arrive. Is lunch included on your day trip? Are there some popular local restaurants you definitely want to check out? (Yelp or TripAdvisor are helpful.) Including at least a general idea of where you plan to eat each meal in your itinerary can help simplify your travel!
4. Drink Up!
Keep in mind when flying, altitude can be dehydrating. Plan to drink an extra 8 ounces for each hour of flying. If you’re out sight-seeing, definitely keep water on hand. Grab a large, sealed bottled water from a nearby convenience store. If the public water is questionable, only drink bottled water. If the water is safe at your hotel or resort, you can refill there. If the public water is safe, refill your bottle around town.
For the most part, stick to water or infused water. If you’re craving a soda, reach for a diet soda instead but still be judicious with its frequency. Want to splurge on a specialty drink? My tip for moderation is not too much and not every day.
5. Check Local Health Guidelines
Lastly, check the local health guidelines for the countries to which you’ll be traveling. Look at the Centers for Disease Control site here and enter the country name. In some countries, you’ll need to avoid uncooked vegetables and fruits without peels. In cases where tap water is unsafe, use bottled water only (including for brushing your teeth!) and don’t use the ice.
Healthy eating is totally doable while traveling internationally, but it does take a little bit of thought and planning. You’ve learned the tricks of the trade: eat before you fly, bring packable healthy snacks, plan ahead for meals, drink up and check the local food guidelines. Now, go enjoy your trip and don’t forget to take a dip into the food culture around you!
Disclosures: *We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. | All opinions are genuine. This post was not created in partnership with any product or brand.