Traveling for Work and Staying Healthy

Patricia shares her tips on how to stay healthy while traveling for work!

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Travel can be pretty exhausting and traveling for work can be twice as grueling. Not only do you have to fly to a different location but you often have to be “on” as soon as you arrive. You can easily find tips for business travelers and how to take advantage of travel programs. However, staying healthy while on these trips is more tricky. I’ve read about it, tested out various ideas, and came up with my top tips for being healthy while on the road.

Use Luggage That’s Easy to Roll

One of the first mistakes I made as a newbie business traveler was carrying heavy bags on my shoulders. This is a huge no-no. I ended up injuring my shoulder from the strain and I’m not alone. You are often rushing around airports, hotels, cities, etc. and you don’t need the extra weight holding you back. It is important to invest in good luggage that rolls easily and a bag that has a luggage sleeve to allow you to have free shoulders. Some people prefer to go the backpack route but that can do damage on your body as well. If you rarely travel, it’s probably not a problem, but with frequent travel, I believe you should err on the side of physical safety.

luggage for traveling for work
I use this Lo & Sons bag plus this tiny Tumi carry-on on my business travel. I pack pretty light!

Plan For Your Workouts

Working out while on the road can be a challenge but if you plan and have the tools you need, you can do it! I travel in workout clothes. It’s hard to fit sneakers in a small carry-on when you have your business attire in the suitcase as well. I find traveling in the gear is the only way to guarantee that I have space for it. I also have a travel yoga mat that doubles as a travel pillow. Sometimes I have a hard time making it down to the hotel gym and find it easier to do a quick workout on my mat in my room. Living on the west coast, the time difference going east works against me. It takes a lot of effort to get dressed and downstairs in the early mornings so my own mat is very helpful. In addition, I carry mini bands to add some resistance to my workouts. They are tiny and super easy to take anywhere for a quick workout.

Types of Workouts

There are many free workouts you can access on your phone or computer and even more paid apps and websites to help guide you if you need it. I use Studio Tone It Up and MyYogaWorks to let me take classes from the comfort of my hotel room. Of course, you can always get to the hotel gym too if you feel up for it. If I stay in one town or city for more than a night, I will look for nearby studios that offer classes I may be interested in.

airport gym
Some airports have gyms too (like Vancouver!) and may be a good option for those trips that have long airport waits.

Scheduling Your Workouts

While there are so many options on the type of workout you can do while traveling for work, the most important part is scheduling it. Between client meetings, dinners, and happy hours, it’s easy for your quick work trip to take over any personal time. I map out my days on the trip and see where there may be 30 minutes to squeeze in a workout. Often times that means waking up a little earlier but sometimes I can fit it in right after my flight. I literally look at my calendar to figure out when my meals with coworkers will probably be and our prep time, in addition to the formal client meeting. Based on that, I schedule my workout just like any other meeting and make sure I get to it. Often times I’m exhausted but even a 30 minute yoga session will help you feel more energized, grounded, and ready to tackle the rest of the trip. Do not underestimate the importance of planning!

Make Time for Self-Care

In addition to fitting in workouts, it’s important to not let the entire trip be dominated by work. You take personal time in the evenings at home – why should a business trip be any different? I have a different ritual while traveling for work than I do at home but I love it just as much. Reading is always relaxing for me so I always have my Kindle with me on trips. I actually end up reading a lot more on a trip than I do at home. Additionally, I travel with face masks. My skin is very dry and plane air wreaks havoc on my face. It’s important for my sanity and my skin’s health to really take care of it while on the road. Thus, my favorite travel ritual is to put on a face mask and curl up with my Kindle in bed for at least 20 minutes before I need to go to sleep. I recommend creating your own ritual to help you feel pampered and relaxed even while traveling for work!

traveling for work ritual
Snapchat and eye masks are a match made in heaven!

Pay Attention to What You Eat!

In my opinion, the easiest thing to lose control of while traveling is your eating. You want to try new foods and you are almost always eating out. It’s so easy to convince yourself that it doesn’t count because you are traveling. But if you travel as much as I do, it definitely adds up. It’s all about balance. Usually on a work trip, I do end up having a fun dinner with some coworkers or a nice dinner treating clients. Either way, I pick one meal where I can splurge a bit.

Plan Your Eating

Similar to the workout tip, it’s important to plan. I always bring healthy snacks with me in case hunger strikes and I’m in a place where there are no good options. I bring things like jerky, oranges, and protein bars. Personally, breakfast can often be a hard meal to do correctly especially when at the airport or eating at a hotel breakfast buffet. I’ve learned that ordering a scramble or omelet at the airport often means getting powdered eggs that usually have other fillers like dairy. Trust me – I’ve asked around a lot. I once did Whole 30 while on the road and it required asking a ton of questions! Preferring to eat fresh and clean, I will order a different preparation for my eggs, like poached or over easy, to ensure I get the real deal. It’s also important to try to stay away from lots of starchy or salty foods that can exacerbate the bloating from plane travel.

protein donuts
Sometimes I make mini protein donuts as a healthy sweet treat when I’m surrounded by airport candy!

It’s All About Balance

Overall, this tip is about balance. You know what’s healthy. You know what to order while eating out. Just make sure you take the time to plan out when you are ok with splurging and when you want to stay on track with your healthy living goals. You are not on vacation so don’t give yourself the vacation excuse. This is just any other day of work with a few extra challenges to overcome. Eating healthier is generally getting easier across the country. You can find something that works with your goals. Again, if I survived traveling on Whole 30, you can make it work too! Just prepare yourself to say no to the fancy French toast before you even leave for the airport. As long as you make a plan for eating while traveling for work, you can stick to it!

Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More

The theme of this post is really about planning. If you plan for your travel, you can be successful in maintaining your healthy lifestyle. Plan your workouts, food, and self-care. Once you do this a few times, it’ll become second nature. I have a shelf in my closet that has all of my travel necessities stored – luggage, chargers, travel workout equipment (mini bands and yoga mat), face masks, and travel sized toiletries. My pantry also has a shelf that is just for my travel snacks. I don’t usually eat protein bars or jerky very much but my shelf has all of these healthy snacks ready for me to grab before a trip. These spaces dedicated to my healthy travel has really helped simplify my packing process.

Over time, you will become a pro at traveling for work. Please let me know what questions you may have or additional tips you might want to hear! I’d also love to hear what tips you have if you are a frequent business traveler too. Leave a comment below!


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