10 Ways to Stay in Shape Whilst Travelling! by the lovely travel blogger Matilda Belle

10 Ways to Stay in Shape Whilst Travelling!

Travel is one of life's greatest luxuries - experiencing new cultures, seeing new places and immersing yourself within a new city is a feeling like no other.

There is so much to benefit from travel, however there are the occasional downfalls when it comes to being on the road. Staying on track with diet and exercise is definitely something people struggle with most when travelling, especially overseas. 

In light of this, why should you have to restrict yourself from trying the best noodles in the city of Bangkok purely so you won't have to return home a few kilos heavier? Travel is supposed to be rewarding for the heart and soul, not a total restriction in the hope of returning home the same as you left. Every traveller should immerse themselves completely within a new culture, returning home with new experiences and memories to share.

Travel is supposed to change the individual, but in the best ways possible. What follows, is a list of 10 ways for every adventurer to stay in shape whilst travelling but still enjoy life's greatest little luxuries!

Also note; I am not a qualified nutrionist or dietician, these are methods which have simply been tried and tested by myself personally and are just simple recommendations. If you feel I am wrong to give advice at all about this, simply stop reading :)


1) Drink Plenty of Water (Preferably Bottled when overseas) 

I can't stress this one enough! Drinking at least 2 litres of water a day can suppress hunger, reduce overconsumption, increase energy levels and leave you feeling fuller for longer. A lot of the time people tend to overeat simply because they are overcompensating for dehydration they didn't even know they had! When eating at each meal, no matter what time of day it is always make sure there is a sip of water accompanying each bite - this way you will fill up faster but not have that bloated, over-eaten feeling in your stomach! Even if you've already got a juice, coffee or other beverage to help you quench your thirst at a meal, drinking water is vital to ensure your organs are keeping hydrated especially during hotter climates.

2) Order fruit or leafy greens with each meal to avoid over eating on higher carb / fat induced foods.

When in Rome (or anywhere else in Italy for that matter), you're more than likely to option for that cheesy slice of pizza rather than a salad - and why shouldn't you! You didn't go on vacation to eat salad, and most romantic European films usually involve two sharing a big bowl of pasta rather than some leafy greens. However, your body needs plenty of vitamins and nutrients especially whilst travelling to avoid catching any foreign bugs. Swapping a plate of garlic bread for a bowl of salad or fresh vegetables  will help keep your immune system active, and avoid over eating. Despite what the Simpsons will teach you, you actually can make friends with salad - it doesn't have to be boring - Greek salads are a perfect option to fill up on veggies before your main meal and are super tasty! Just make sure wherever you are, the vegetables are being washed carefully so you don't contract any nasty bugs whilst abroad!

3) Snack on a piece of fruit during the day to avoid over eating at meal times

As you stroll through the hustle and bustle of foreign cities and towns, you may encounter plenty of gorgeous little fruit stalls owned by locals selling their fresh produce. My advice: buy as much fruit to snack on as you can! Although these may not look quite as aesthetically pleasing as a beautiful little french patisserie, your money will be going to a good source and you'll know what you're putting into your body. Often the most extravagant looking pastries are loaded with sugar, butter, cream and other ingredients that may not sit too well as you continue to stroll through the towns. Snacking on some local fruit is far more cost effective, and you won't have that bloated look or feeling so it'll definitely be helping you maintain that bikini body you worked so hard for!

4) Try not to eat meat...in fact try to eat plant based as much as possible.

I noticed a huge difference in my body shape as soon as I began cutting out meat and dairy products in my diet. I had more energy, I never bloated and despite how much food I'd eat, I would rarely gain weight even if i wasn't working out as much. I could eat plenty of plant based food, and never feel sick or as though I had over eaten. That sick feeling is usually come from your body trying to reject the foods you have consumed, due to an overconsumption of too many ingredients that don't sit well with your organs. A plant based diet encompasses natural, healthy and unprocessed foods that can fill you up without making you feel bloated or heavy. If you're a light sleeper like me, you will notice a huge difference in your sleeping patterns too. Doctors say having consumed too much processed food is what causes irregularities in sleeping patterns. On a plant based diet, your body will be fuelled by nutrients and burn this off quicker, rather than oily, fatty food that cannot processed as well by your internal organs for energy.

5) Travel around on foot as much as possible

Instead of catching a cab down to the best shops in London, or asking a local to give you a ride on the back of his scooter, try walking to your destination! As you stroll down Oxford Street in London, or hike the cobble stone staircases up the hills of Greece, you will be giving your legs a much needed workout to burn off all that delicious local cuisine! It won't cost you anything, plus its the best way to experience first hand the rich culture of all the places you've travelled to! Try waking up early and going for a run to find all the best spots to grab a bite, bask in the sun or find the prettiest shops to explore.

6) Try to book hotels with a gym

When I first started travelling on a budget, I realised that I soon regretted booking the cheapest hotels / hostels based on getting a free breakfast and proximity to the town centre. As an active person, I need to be able to release stress and any negative energy on a good workout, especially if I feel like I've been eating more than I've burnt off in the day. I now try to make sure that I book decent hotels that include a gym unless I'm staying by the beach and can get some beachside runs in! Its honestly worth spending a little more, knowing that you can continue your workout regime whilst travelling. Working out is so good for the mental and emotional wellbeing, not just the physical. Waking up early, going for a quick workout in the morning before you start the day will do wonders for your overall health and immune system whilst on the road!

7) Alternate between healthy and less healthy options.

If you're someone who always splashes out on a yummy creme' brûlée in France, or can't go past a Portuguese tart in Lisbon, then try to alternate your days or meals where you allow yourself one little treat or big meal, and the rest healthy. This is a great way to make sure you're still allowing yourself to indulge from time to time, but still making sure your diet is full of healthy choices. For example, have one day where you eat majority fruits, veggies, salads and healthy proteins and then have one dessert after dinner. Or, alternatively you could have pancakes or waffles for breakfast, but then just have a light salad for lunch and dinner. This way you can have your cake and eat it too, just make sure its only 20% of your diet! :)

8) Swap items for healthier options whilst travelling.

Its not always easy to be able to workout depending on where you travel to, so sometimes its much easier to control a healthy diet in order to maintain your shape whilst being on the road! Here are some healthy alternatives to implement in your diet when travelling;

  • Swap a Beef Curry for a hearty Chicken or Lentil/Vegetable Soup
  • Swap the big breakfast with fried eggs, sausages, hash browns and toast for poached eggs and avocado on toast with mushroom (steamed not fried).
  • Swap the Ice cream for a fruity sorbet.
  • Swap the Creamy Pasta for a light crusted pizza with lots of vegetable toppings.
  • Swap the Garlic Bread or Spring Rolls for a side salad with a vinaigrette or light dressing.
  • Swap the hot chocolate for a herbal tea
  • Swap the Milkshake for a fresh juice with fruit and veggies
  • Swap the vanilla yogurt for an unsweetened coconut yogurt
  • Swap the Chocolate dessert for Fruit and honey.
  • Swap Beef or Pork for Fish or vegetable curries.
  • Swap the latte for a long black with a side of almond milk
  • Swap the noodles for a stir fry!

9) If you're eating from a buffet, choose smaller and healthier portions first.

There's nothing better than waking up fresh in the morning at the hotel, having a good workout and then wandering down to a beautifully enticing breakfast buffet with a huge assortment of options. Its really easy to over do it at a buffet, especially considering you'll be paying the same amount regardless of how much you eat! So the best way to monitor this is to choose smaller plates so you don't over consume without realising. They say it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register these chemicals produced when your stomach begins to fill up. Also by eating slower, you are able to process when your stomach feels full before over eating, giving your brain time to register these signals. Try to drink plenty of water throughout meals too - hydration can often be disguised as hunger so keep this in mind especially during hotter climates!

10) Nourish your insides, but don't Punish yourself!

Its so important to love yourself no matter what shape you are, so make sure all your decisions regarding diet and exercise are to nourish not punish yourself! Food is meant to bring people together in times of celebration, not to test someone's willpower. If you feel as though you are simply no good at holding back on the cheese platter when in France, then allow yourself to simply indulge! Just make sure you try to compensate by going for a long brisk walk, or having fresh fruit and veggies with your next meal! Remember that everyone has weaknesses and its okay not to be perfect in your diet and workout regime from time to time! The most important thing is to enjoy yourself and make sure you're making healthy choices that will make you happier and healthier in your mental wellbeing, not just your physical wellbeing.

Bon Voyage and safe travels!

Remember to comment below if you have any other tips on staying in shape whilst travelling below! 

With Love,

Matilda Belle xx


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