How to Eat Well and Stay Hydrated When Traveling

By Michele C. Hollow  @michelechollow
August 18, 2016

It’s essential to take care of yourself when you’re on the move.

You have to be at the airport early in the morning. You wake up late and skip breakfast. You tell yourself you’ll grab something fast at the airport, but it’s early and you don’t feel like eating. You find your seat on the plane and your stomach rumbles. 

The flight’s long and, when you reach your destination, a taxi is waiting for you. At the hotel, you check in and have a few minutes before your meeting begins. It’s late, and the only thing you’ve eaten or drank were some crackers and a glass of water on the plane.

See where this is heading? Not eating on the go is stressful on your body and mind. The solutions are simple.


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If your flight is long, bring food with you. Not all airlines serve food, and most meals on planes are not healthy. You can purchase healthier options at the airport after you go through security. Several kiosks sell apples, bananas, dried fruit, nuts, and sandwiches of lean meats and vegetarian options. 

The same applies to liquids. Usually, you can get a free nonalcoholic beverage on a plane. For long flights, you’ll want additional liquids. It’s a good idea to skip the carbonated sodas and fruit juices. Water is the best choice for staying hydrated. 

You won’t be able to bring liquids that are more than 3.4 ounces through airport security. All airlines abide by this rule. So, if you’re going through airport security with a bottle of water, you’ll be asked to drink it or throw it out. Buy bottled water after you go through airport security, which you can bring on the plane. You can also pack an empty water bottle with you to fill up once you reach your destination.

If you’re taking a road trip, you’ll have lots of options to eat well and stay hydrated. You can fill a cooler with fresh fruits, raw vegetables, sandwiches from home, and lots of water. Instead of dining at a fast food restaurant, enjoy a meal at a local café. You’ll most likely have healthier choices and, as a bonus, you’ll get to meet the locals. 

If you plan on being in the car for several hours, schedule a few breaks. Driving for long stretches of time is exhausting. Yes, you want to get there, but you’ll feel refreshed if you stop and take a walk. Check your GPS for nearby parks or small towns to explore. Getting there should be part of the journey.

Not skipping meals, having healthy snacks, and staying hydrated are part of the equation. Don’t forget exercise. Book a hotel with a fitness room, and use it! It doesn’t have to be elaborate. You can also take the stairs instead of the elevator. Traveling interrupts our fitness routine. Walking, taking the stairs, and getting a brief workout are good ways to stay in shape and feel good. 

If you have a few hours before your next meeting, plan on visiting a local museum or taking a walk in town. Ask the hotel concierge for information about your location and find out if there are any unsafe places to avoid.

Whether you’re flying or driving, try your best to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even if the times are different from your regular schedule, not eating can cause your blood sugar to drop and can make you feel faint and irritable. 

If you’re heading overseas, find out about water-borne illness. If the water is unsafe to drink, buy bottled water and avoid salads and raw fruits that are washed in local waters. Choose vegetable and other foods that are fully cooked. 

Travel should be an adventure. You can try new foods and enjoy the local cuisine. You won’t risk feeling ill, when you eat healthy and stay hydrated.


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April 09, 2020

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN