Guest Post – Staying Healthy on Holiday

Today I have a guest post from a fantastic travel blogger Emma, from Wanderlust and Wet Wipes. Emma shares lots of advice and tips for family travel without the stress so well worth a look over on her blog.


As someone who has seen her weight fluctuate (mostly up) over the past couple of years, I’m in the surprising position of being one of those people who feels a little anxious about the damage I might end up doing while I’m away. 

While I do love a bit of overindulgence, I really can’t get away with what I used to (*shakes fist at aging metabolism*). And, frankly, I don’t want to as much any more either. Late nights are MUCH less fun when you have 2 kids (we call them the Things) jumping on your head at 5am. Rich 4 course meals lose their appeal when your digestive system recoils at the change from healthy meals at home…and let’s not get into how unattractive you feel bloated in a bikini because you haven’t so much as looked at a green vegetable all week. 

In general, though, I am one of those people who doesn’t put on (much) weight when I go away. And it got me to wondering what it is that I do that makes the difference? I mean on the most basic level, I burn more energy than I consume.  So what are some easy ways to achieve that?

Energy out

It’s not what most of us really want to be doing on holiday but it’s definitely a good way to help keep those extra pounds at bay. 

Pack smart

Before you’ve even left there are things you can do to make sure you are active on holiday. Pack light but smart – taking too much stuff is unnecessary but a few things will make all the difference:

  • Trainers / sneakers – all you need is a pair of trainers to stay active. Even if you can’t pack enough to go for a run or a proper workout, a pair of trainers will take you for a walk. They’ll keep your feet more comfortable and your back supported meaning hikes and walks can last longer and you won’t be paying for the, for days. 
  • Swimming costume – lightweight and compact, a quick swim before breakfast every morning can be just what you need to get the blood flowing and to kickstart your metabolism. 
  • Resistance band – used to doing strength training, resistance bands can help keep working your muscles in a variety of ways without the need for heavy weights 
  • Skipping rope – another thing that is lightweight and compact, skipping is great cardio and you can do it pretty much anywhere.
  • Hotel equipment / classes – if you’re staying at a hotel they may well have classes that you can join for free. They might be what you’re used to doing at home or they might be something totally new. Either way, fixing a time and date sometimes helps you stick to the plan. 
  • Laptop / tablet / smart phone – there are so many apps that can give you a workout to do these days. Others will time interval training or track your running route. If you want to take all the thought out of it, a quick Google or You Tube search will find you an easy routine to follow. 

Stick to what you know 

If you are used to working out and you have a workout that you love and could do with your eyes shut then do that. You won’t waste time in the gym wondering what to do or surfing You Tube and *accidentally* watching clips on the most emotional X factor auditions from 2014. 

Or try something new

If you’re in a new location then you might find there activities available to you that aren’t an option at home. Think about trying a new water sport like surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, snorkelling, windsurfing or kite surfing. If you want to explore a bit, why not hire some bikes or go horse-riding. If you’re on a winter fun holiday, it’s not just skiing that will get your heart rate up! Why not try snowshoeing or cross country skiing? Even walking up and down a hill with a sledge will set your pulse off! 

Be efficient

You might not have as much time or space as you would have at home but that’s not to say you can’t workout. Try doing some short but intense HIIT workouts – find them in a magazine or start exploring You Tube (watching out for the inevitable distractions of course!) 

Work it into your day

If you’re in somewhere touristy make sure you take the stairs to the tops of towers, walk up the hills instead of going straight for the cable cars. Go hiking or running and get to know the area better while you’re at it. You never know what you might find – my brother in law went for a run last year and came back with pastries for breakfast!

If all else fails… Stay active

It doesn’t have to be a full body workout like you’re used to at home. We are a pretty active family so we spend lots of time in the pool or at the beach. We like to do things like go surfing or snorkelling together or just hang out building sandcastles and jumping over waves. My kids can spend hours jumping in at the deep end of the pool. Until last year they couldn’t both swim so I spent a good deal of time treading water and trying to save them from drowning! 

Energy In

Here’s the thing. It’s great to workout and stay active on holiday. It keeps you in the habit, it great for heart health and absolutely helps to offset those little indulgences you’d normally avoid at home. 

But as much as exercise is a great thing to do while you’re away…You simply can’t out-train a bad diet. 

Eat local

Step away from the fast food. I repeat. Step away from the fast food. 

Fast food on holiday is just so easy isn’t it? You’re jet-lagged and starving or the kids are hungry and you need to get food in them quickly. It’s one of the things that will derail your plans the quickest on holiday and it’s one of the easiest things to fix. 

Why eat food you can get at home when you can try local cuisine? And if you’re worried about your picky kids, try to encourage them to try too. Most restaurants will have something that’s kid friendly even if it’s just grilled chicken and chips if push comes to shove. You may even find you find something you all love – my son realised he liked lentil soup after a trip to Jordan last year. He’s as picky as they come and no-one was more surprised than me!

Eat clean

I get it. Holidays are hard. If you’re calorie counting you don’t always know what has gone into a dish or how it’s been cooked. It’s especially tricky if you’re eating out or in a hotel a lot but there are still clues on menus that can help you. Opting for foods that have been grilled, steamed or roasted is a great start. Other words to look out for are things like poached, broiled and stir fried. Avoid sauces that are described as creamy or buttery and ask for salad dressings on the side so that you can control how much of them you eat. Consider skipping starters and desserts or sharing them with a travel companion. 

Have a plan

Having a plan is the best way to go. If we are heading to a restaurant and I know where we are going to eat, I try to make sure I check the menu and choose my order ahead of time. I make the WORST decisions when I’m hungry! Better still, if you’re in self catering accommodation you can plan all your meals to make sure that your choices are sensible and healthy. 


Choose your treats wisely. I like ice-cream, for example, but I don’t love it. So I tend not to eat it on holiday. I figure I’m going to have a hard enough time keeping the inches off my waist, why make it harder by eating something I’m not even that fussed about? That mindless eating and those little treats will all add up. I’d rather really savour something that I’m excited to eat and make it worth it!

And finally…

Everything in moderation

At the end of the day this is a holiday not a military training bootcamp (or maybe it is – if that’s what you like for your holidays). You’ll be away for a week or maybe 2 and then you’ll go home. Take it easy on yourself as there’s no point spending all that money if you’re going to spend the whole time calorie counting, stressing about what you’re eating or on a massive guilt trip! Holidays are meant to be fun! 

And as Buddha says, everything should be practised in moderation, and even moderation should not be practised to excess. 

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