8 Tips for Healthy Habits on Vacation

healthy vacation

As I set off for vacation this week with my family, I stop to reflect and plan. With COVID, travel didn’t happen. I booked the trip during shut down in the winter, with hope for a brighter future, extremely low rates, and generous cancellation policies. This beach vacation is something we’ve been looking forward to for a long time. And now it’s here!


When planning a vacation, it can feel like we want to get as much in as possible. This way we maximize our time in a new place, get a return on our investment, and no one will get bored. Or we can lean to the other end of the spectrum and plan nothing except sitting around, over-drinking, over-eating, visiting every restaurant in town, and hitting up the ice cream shop seven times. Neither are bad and I’ve done vacations both ways. Each lead to me returning from the vacation only to need another vacation to recover or regroup. Can you relate???


For many of my clients, vacation is a time they are afraid of. A time of temptations and setbacks from their progress on important health goals. Creating healthy habits in our regular daily life is a challenge at first. Taking them out into foreign places is new territory.


So, when fear rises…pick up or gain some tools, lean into your strengths, and let go of perfection. Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. See what resonates with you and give it a try.


Set intentions on how you want to be and feel. We often plan vacations around what we want to do. First, I invite you to take a step back and ask yourself how you want to be and feel. Relaxed? Refreshed? Healthy? Cleansed? Energized? Inspired? Connected? Social? Adventurous? You get to answer this question and multiple words may apply. THEN you can get to planning what healthy things you do to help you reach these goals.


Eating out? Plan ahead<.Exploring new tasty restaurants and less cooking is a fun part of vacation. Find a balance in indulgence and healthy eating. What does this balance look like to you? How often will you eat out? What kinds of foods? What does indulgence look like? Research restaurants with healthy options. Check out the menu and pick a few items ahead of time. That way, when you arrive, you won’t have to struggle with decision-making or temptation. More confidence equals less stress.


Get your movement in. Sitting is an exciting and necessary part of vacation. Hammocks have a tendency to call my name. Usually travel to and from our destinations also requires lots of sitting. While you don’t have to cram in intense activities every day, try to move every day. How does this look to you? Evening or morning walks? Bike rides? Less driving? Short yoga session? Playing an active game with the fam? Swimming? Frisbee? Finding a local pick-up sport game, tennis court, or yoga studio to explore? Set a higher steps goal while on vacation? You pick one or two and decide. How would this look on your trip?


Having more time. In our daily lives we can often be “too busy” for healthy habits and have a wish list of things we wish we could get to; more movement, long baths, sleeping in, early bedtime, cooking nice meals, meditation, quality time with family, etc. Use vacation to do some of these things. This is your chance to have time. Choose one thing for your well-being that you have yearned to do and make it happen. Schedule it if you have to! Or have an intentional day where absolutely nothing is planned and see what feels good.


Healthy eating activities. Getting ice cream is a fun summer vacation treat. In balance, what could you swap this out for? Finding a quenching smoothie shop? Fruit and veggie picking? Visiting and supporting a local farmer’s market? Attending a local cooking class? Healthy eating has lots of activities in new places to enjoy that aren’t all “bad.”


Have days with little to no alcohol. Vacation can equal the desire to let loose and relax which can relate to increased drinking. That drink at the beach bar at noon is pretty nice. Until suddenly you are feeling low energy and gross. Being able to soak up vacation and feel your best means less happy hours. Try a smoothie or non-alcoholic drink to enjoy the same idea at noon. Give yourself permission to rest and feel well.


Pack a water bottle. Staying hydrated increases energy, digestion, mental and physical performance, and so much more! Save money on buying waters all the time. Pack your own water bottle and refill along the way.


Let go of perfection. No one is perfect and it’s all about goals. Have some self-compassion. A couple of slip ups on vacation are generally not death sentences to your progress. This is a time, as always, when you have a choice. Give yourself the power to choose how to feel and what you do. Want some ice cream? Go and savor it. If you find yourself beating yourself up, let it calm down and then do something healthy. Find your definition of balance and always put your vision of ideal health and well-being at the top of the list.


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