How to Stay Healthy and Energetic when Traveling

A brick paver trail in fog with pink flowers in foreground

Traveling full-time, part-time, or some-time can be exhilarating but at the same time exhausting. Finding a travel style and pace takes time and practice and will most likely change as you and your desires change.

Long before Al and I bought an RV, we usually traveled by air to our destination, and on occasion, we tent camped. Even when we were younger, whether we were flying or road-tripping, finding a pace that wouldn’t wear us out was always a priority. After all, the whole purpose of traveling was for us to explore and immerse ourselves in new places and that would require good health and plenty of energy. Most times, this was easier said than done!

For the better part of a month, I’ve battled a nasty cold that has kept me housebound, or rather RV bound. All that downtime had my mind wandering aimlessly. I was focused on feeling better. I was reminded of how important it is for us to listen to our bodies. During my illness, my body seemed to crave soup and vegetables. And of course, being the smart gal that I am, I listened to my body and fed it what it wanted.

Japanese Garden

So while downing gallons of warm nourishing soup, (okay, maybe it wasn’t gallons, but I bet it was close ๐Ÿ˜†) my mind drifted to places I’d like to visit and photograph. My poor camera has been sitting idle in the camera bag for weeks, and that does not make for a happy camper around this RV. Although I’m finally beginning to feel better, I’m still struggling with a lack of energy. Even with an addled mind and lack of energy, I’m still fantasizing about RV adventures.

Energy? … During our travels (and we’ve traveled a lot), Al and I have learned plenty of lessons the hard way … including the importance of food, rest, and listening to our bodies. By fueling ourselves properly and getting a good night’s sleep, we can put in ten-hour driving days. Now mind you, that’s not preferable but sometimes necessary.

Pinterest pin, tips to stay healthy and energetic when travelingI think we’ve all experienced those long road trips … grab some junk food, wash it down with some carbonated soda, and call it good. And an hour later, we’re either ready for a nap or just not feeling well, and we certainly aren’t enjoying the adventure of rolling down the road when we feel less than optimal.

Our bodies are constantly sending us messages in an attempt to find a happy balance. Are we smart enough to listen? I truly believe, the best thing for overall health is to learn what our bodies are telling us. Therefore, we can make better decisions that’ll help keep us healthy, energized, focused, and ready to discover what’s around the next bend.

When we feel great, we can immerse ourselves whole-heartedly in exploring new places, new environments, and new adventures.

And get that camera clicking again!

7 Tips for health and energy when traveling

1. Eating for fuel. Just like we try to put quality gasoline in our vehicle so it’ll perform optimally, we need to do the same for our bodies. This means being aware of what our body needs and eating when we’re hungry and stopping when we’re full.

Step away from the potato chips and no one will get hurt. Mindless snacking while sitting in a car or airplane due to boredom doesn’t do anyone any favors. That’s not to say, the occasional snack needs to be avoided, but in moderation and only after the body has been properly nourished.

When I know we’re getting ready for a stretch of long travel days, I meal plan ahead of time. Obviously, one of the best things about RVing is bringing my kitchen along. I’m able to keep items easily chilled and when it’s time to eat, all we have to do is find a convenient place to pull over. Badda bing Badda boom, lunch is served!

Bruschetta
Bruschetta board at Postino’s in Scottsdale, AZ. Great place for Happy Hour or Sunday Brunch. Smoked Salmon and Pesto – Ricotta, Dates, and Pistachios – Brie, Apple, and Fig Spread – Proscuitto, Fig, and Mascarpone.

2. Hydration is probably the most important thing we can do to maintain our health and energy, and not just while traveling, but every day. If you’re feeling tired, drink a tall glass of water. If you’re feeling hungry, drink a tall glass of water. If you’re having trouble focusing, drink a tall glass of water. I think you get the idea!

Paying attention to our water intake is even more important when visiting higher elevations or dry arid climates. If you once start feeling thirsty, you’re already dehydrated and probably feeling somewhat fatigued. Water is the only nutrient that has been shown to enhance performance for all activities including the most demanding endurance activities. So drink up!

I'm a Pilot coffee mug

3. Getting a good night’s sleep is vital to maintaining health and energy throughout the day. I think many of us may underestimate the effect disrupted or shortened sleep can have on our overall well-being.

Things to consider … avoid exposure to bright screens like phones, computers, or tablets right before going to bed. Studies have shown, the light from these devices interferes with our natural body clock making it more difficult to fall asleep. And speaking of body clock, try to stick to a routine. Al and I go to bed almost every night around 10:00 and get out of bed every morning around 6:00 making for a solid eight hours of sleep.

Avoid caffeine after a given time of day. This is where listening to our body comes into play again. Personally, I stay away from anything caffeinated much after 3:00 in the afternoon. Most people aren’t quite as sensitive as I am, but this is something to take note of and be aware of the effects of caffeine on you personally.

4. Move! Last summer while enduring some very long driving days as we transitioned from northern Wisconsin to Phoenix, Arizona, Al and I frequently stopped at rest areas to stretch our legs. Energy begets energy! If you’ve been sitting for hours on end in a car, RV, or airplane, simply standing up and doing some squats or getting in some walking will immediately get the blood flowing and make you feel more energized.

Don’t forget to get in some deep breathing while you’re at it.

5. Laugh! Al and I are the kind of people that seem to find humor in most situations. We don’t take life or ourselves too seriously. Studies have shown that laughing can boost energy and be a stress reliever. So, while you’re sitting on the side of the road in a broken-down RV waiting for assistance (if you can even get assistance), pull up YouTube on your phone and watch some silly videos. Laugh! Life is too short not to.๐Ÿ˜

Or if you’re like us and tend to break down in places without cell service (no internet), then all you can do is laugh at the situation, or make fun of your partner. We’ve been traveling in our RV since 2011 and have made a ton of RVing mistakes. At the beginning of our RV journey, these mishaps and mistakes would overwhelm and stress us and now we just shrug, tackle, and laugh.

Our favorite word to say after an incident is “recalculating“. Not only do we need to reaccess our schedule, but we need to be honest about how we’re feeling. Once again, we listen to our bodies! We may change the pace, grab a healthy snack, hydrate with water, coffee, or tea, or better yet, eat chocolate. Oh yeah, my fave!

6. When all else fails, eat chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better! Chocolate has caffeine which is a quick pick-me-up, and it also has flavonoids that have been shown to boost cognitive skills and improve mood. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m all in for improving my mood and functioning brain. So, we always have a stash of chocolate in the RV.

By the way, I’ll take one for the team, and eat your share of chocolate if cocoa ain’t your thang!๐Ÿคฃ

7. Listen to your body and do a mental check-in. We need to check-in with ourselves and travel companions regularly to access how we’re feeling. This is the perfect time to get real with what our bodies are telling us. And this holds true for our furry travel companions as well.

When we worked in the airline industry, we used to call it “get home-itis” (The determination of a pilot to reach a destination even when conditions for flying are dangerous). Don’t fall victim to “get there-itis“. When feeling tired, that’s not the time to ignore what your body is telling you and push through. This is when mistakes and accidents happen. Listen to your body! Be clear on how everyone is feeling and make simple changes as needed.

Pace yourself, drink water and eat more chocolate. If you’re not feeling your best and you’re driving, pull over … if you’re on a cruise, forgo that shore excursion … if you’re flying, take a nap. If you don’t feel well, do whatever is necessary to regain health and energy.

“The single biggest difference between people who get what they want and people who don’t is energy.”

By listening to our body, we can enjoy our travels while also benefiting from good health and plenty of energy. All it takes is a little inner reflection, planning, and flexibility.

Do you have any travel tips to help maintain health and energy?

old bicycle in a flower garden

(Thank you forย shopping my affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases and very much appreciate your supportย โค)

Hydration Backpack with Storage
Meal Prep – Reusable Food Storage Containers
Merci Finest Assortment of European Chocolates

40 thoughts on “How to Stay Healthy and Energetic when Traveling

  1. The only times Mark and I get sick is after we fly, especially in winter (which rarely happens these days), or when we hang out with our nieces or nephew. Iโ€™m glad youโ€™re finally feeling better. When the body is tired that doesnโ€™t mean the mind is, so I totally understand how youโ€™ve been active โ€œup thereโ€.

    I love that aviation mug! And your tips make sense. I used to not drink enough water – and that is still my biggest โ€œproblemโ€ out of your seven tips, because I forget – which leads to fatigue and/or headaches… Listen to your body, thatโ€™s right! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I was a Flight Attendant, I was constantly sick. Lots of germs floating around inside an airplane.
      Yes, drinking enough water is very important especially here in the desert. I have to constantly remind my Midwestern visiting friends to drink up. Makes a big difference!

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  2. Barb and I seem to stay healthy when it is just the two of us. It is when we are with crowds that we seem to pick up a bug. Luckily we avoided it this year when we were in Quartzsite. That is one of our biggest fears when attending events like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lucky you to have avoided this crud. Those big gatherings always seem to get me. But this too shall pass, and hopefully I’ll come out stronger. One can hope!๐Ÿ˜Ž

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  3. For me it comes down to hydration and pace between movement, R&R and sleep. I always carry travel pedialyte with me. Great Post and pretty spot on to how we approach traveling too. Happy Day – Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

    P.S. Here’s to getting your energy back to get out with your camera and explore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Traveling with Pedialyte is a good idea. Never thought about that. I’m hoping to get out with the camera today… another gorgeous day in the desert. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

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  4. I read a tip somewhere that has worked well for me: If you want to adopt a new habit, attach it to something that’s already established. For example, do 25 jumping jacks or walk around the perimeter of the service station every time you stop for fuel. Or drink a full glass of water every time you brush your teeth. Or, best of all, have a Lindt extra dark chocolate truffle every evening, as soon as all the supper dishes are cleaned up and put away. If I could remember the author, I’d give him or her credit for an excellent idea. Unfortunately, that train left the station a long time ago and probably won’t be back. Love Al’s mug and your photo of the bicycle!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I’ve read quite a few articles about forming a habit. I seem to always stop before that key time frame necessary for it to become a habit. ๐Ÿ˜†
      I’ve had fun going through my external hard-drive and finding these photos. Reminds me of all the beautiful places we’ve been blessed to visit.

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  5. Great tips! I laughed at when all else fails eat chocolate! When we are in the “boonies” we make do with cheese, crackers, fruit, and a Snickers bar (it has nutritious nuts -right?). ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love the idea of Snickers bar. I watch some photography YouTubers who visited Nepal and they enjoyed a regular diet of Snickers … so funny. These days I’m on a KitKat kick!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m glad you are feeling better, Ingrid. I know several folks who contracted a more serious cold from which took a while to recover. I have to agree with everything on your list! I pack a lunch for our long drives. Some of those RV travel has stops have horrible food! We’ve tended to travel in winter months and it is hard to drink enough water, but doing so is extremely important for overall health. Movement on a long trip is difficult so luckily our dogs need walking, so every step counts. We are planning another drive to Spokane at the end of March, so I shall remember this great advice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since changing our mindset and habits on travel days and focusing on nutrition, we are able to handle long driving days much easier. What a huge difference it has made by us paying a little more attention to our bodies. Yeah, the doggie walks are always good for everyone involved. Without the needs of a dog, Al and I have to force ourselves a little more to get in some walking.
      Fingers crossed all goes well on your Spokance adventure. Look forward to hearing all the details.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Get home itis…..a pilot mantra that works well in all facets of life. Dave always uses this phrase and the one time he didn’t heed it’s warning, we made a stupid mistake. It really all boils down to Listen to your Body, and sometimes it takes years to learn how to hear it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hopefully, we’ve all gotten a little wiser with age. Sometimes, Al and I have to remind each other not too push and we’ll use this phrase. Happy trails!

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  8. Hi, Ingrid,
    You are echoing my exercise class instructor at the Y—“Pace yourselves, Listen to your body, drink plenty of water.” I can attest to the fact that it works and gets me through the 45 minute class.

    The only advice I can offer to RVers is to travel at the times when your energy level is usually the highest. For me, that is very early morning. For others, it is later, after coffee and breakfast perhaps. Early departures require getting organized the day before, but it works for us. Joe

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Traveling early in the morning works well for us also. I usually take the first leg and don’t mind driving as the sun comes up while sipping coffee. Al takes over after our first stop. That’s how we manage to get in long driving days without too much problem. Coffee, chocolate, and a good nights rest ๐Ÿ˜„

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  9. We have definitely found all of this to be true. The most important for me, personally, is getting enough sleep. I am not a good sleeper to begin with, but when it’s really interrupted or limited, I am just not functional the next day. Too much of that, and I get sick. It really is so important, but so easy for people to forego in their hectic and over-planned lives. Anyway, great tips! Hope you’re back to 100% soon!

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    1. Still working on getting back to 100% … hoping soon! I hear ya on the sleep. Hope you get plenty on your trip to Alaska so you can enjoy every moment!

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  10. Being allergic to chocolate I shall substitute bagels for it! I think you gave me your cooties cause now I’m down with a virus and feel all limp and wimpy. You may now beat me at hiking once again ๐Ÿ™‚

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      1. Nicely deflected, had you said I had some 75%+ Cocoa Dark Chocolate – a small amount for medicinal purposes – I may have bought it but the phrase

        “obsessed with chocolate concerns me ” lol

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