How to Stay Healthy While Traveling: 19 Quick Tips For Nomads

Life on the road can take a toll on the body. There’s the drinking, drugs, women, and all around hedonistic lifestyle. Without a little focus, it’s easy to let your physique and health go to hell. You truly have to learn how to stay healthy while traveling.

I remember my first trip backpacking in Central America. I was at a backpacking bar filled with degenerates in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

The place was located over the ocean, EDM music was blaring, drugs were plentiful, and people kept jumping into the ocean with their cargo shorts on.

It was an odd scene. Somehow I ended up chatting with a long-haired, skinny-fat dude who had to be the oldest guy in the bar. I wanted to chat up European backpacker babes, yet was in a conversation with this clown dick.

I was yoked at that point and my clothing attire made sure everyone in the bar knew it. Yet this chode tried to badger me about it:

“Man, you gotta have some fun. Why do you work that hard on your physique? You gotta to learn to enjoy life a little.”

I looked at him perplexed. Here I am drunk as hell on a Wednesday night in Panama, traveling the world, and some old guy who looks like shit is trying to lecture me about how to live life.

I politely exited the conversation when he tried to broach the topic, again. I just couldn’t relate. Why can’t you stay healthy while traveling? I wanted to have my cake and eat it, too.

Luckily, we can. Once I really learned how to stay healthy while traveling, things became simple. You get into a travel routine that can maximize the fun times, while you improve your overall health and fitness.

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling: 19 Quick Tips For Nomads

Now, we’re all different. Some of these tips may be useful to you, while others may seem weird. That’s cool. Take what works for you and discard the rest. When talking about how to stay healthy while traveling, there’s no exact science.

Without further ado, here’s a few quick tips for nomads looking to stay healthy while traveling:

Always Be Walking

The absolute best way to stay healthy on the road? Walk it out. Seriously. You’re in a new city and you want to explore. Just walk everywhere.

Walking is great for your health and probably the best way to really explore your new city. You’ll find places that would never be on Trip Advisor and burn calories while you do it. A win-win!

I’ll often walk 4-5 miles a day during the first couple days I’m in a new city. If the place I want to go is less than 30 minutes walking, I refuse to call an Uber. This lets me see a new side of the city and helps me stay healthy while traveling.

Sleep is Key

Most travelers get sick when they haven’t got a proper night sleep in a few days. You can’t expect your immune system to fight off new germs and illnesses in a far off land when you’re staying out late every night and getting less than optimal sleep.

Make sleep a priority while on the road. Get a private room at the hostel. Better yet, rent a whole private apartment on Airbnb.

If you go out late at night, don’t try to wake up early for a tour or excursion the next day. Turn the alarm clock off and sleep in.

If you have trouble sleeping while on the road, like I sometimes do, make sure to plan ahead. I always pack some ear plugs and a sleep aid, like cherry juice pills, to ensure I get a great night of sleep no matter where I am.

Always Join a Gym

Some people hit the road and decide to let their fitness go to shit for no reason. They might be on a four month backpacking trip, but they decide to not workout the whole damn trip.

Why? Every single city I’ve been to has a gym. Even cities with 10,000 or so people still have some type of gym. Many of these gyms are dirt cheap. I’ve been to gyms that only cost $0.50 USD a day in Central America.

The only city I’ve been where gyms are expensive is Lima, Peru. And guess what? The outdoor gyms on the malecon with Pacific Ocean views are free. You could run, do push ups, pull ups, dips and more here. There’s even free yoga classes on occasion. No excuses!

If you’re in a city for a week or more, always try to find a gym. Being on the road isn’t an excuse to stop working out.

After a few push ups at Machu Picchu.

Pre-Workout Rocks

Now, we’re all human. I get why some dudes decide to not hit the gym for months on end while traveling. It’s because they wake up every single morning with a massive hangover and can’t get up before noon.

We’ve all been there. That’s why I always pack pre-workout while on the road. Even when you’re hungover, you can still get a fantastic workout in when the stimulants from a good pre-workout kick in.

I’ve woken up hungover around 10 AM many a time and stumbled to a local breakfast joint, grabbed some breakfast, and then felt like shit for a couple hours. The gym was the last thing on my mind, but I mustered up the will to down some pre-workout and get to the gym

Then the pre-workout kicks in and I have a great workout. The workout reenergizes me and I’m ready for whatever afterwards.

Personally, I like this pre-workout, especially while traveling.

Fasting For the Win

One of the easiest way to simplify life on the road? Intermittent fasting. Plus, it’s great for your health and saves you time and money. Honestly, it’s absolutely ideal for travelers.

Intermittent fasting offers a number of health benefits, including being ideal for weight loss and potentially helping testosterone production.

For digital nomads, it’s great, too. I wake up, drink black coffee, and get my work done first thing in the morning. Then around one in the afternoon I eat my first meal.

If you’re looking for a quick health tip while traveling, give intermittent fasting a try. Just skip breakfast and eat all your meals (2-3/day) between noon and 9 PM. It’s that simple.

To learn more about intermittent fasting, click here. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Cook

I almost always rent apartments on Airbnb for two reasons. First, I value my privacy and sleep. I prefer to always sleep alone and like to get away from the hustle and bustle each day. You can’t do that in a hostel.

Second, you can cook your meals when you rent an apartment. With intermittent fasting, I usually cook 1-2 meals a day and eat one meal out.

I almost always cook breakfast, usually eggs, yogurt, fruit, and nuts. Then I eat out my second meal of the day.

If I’m lifting that day and don’t have protein, I’ll add a third meal to my schedule and eat a big serving of Greek yogurt with fruit.

Eating eggs, Greek yogurt, and fruits is much healthier than hostel pancakes every day. Trust me!

I didn’t cook this 😉

Keep Your Hands Clean

When you travel to new places, you expose your body to tons of germs. Taxis, buses, and metro systems are not clean places. Your new favorite restaurant might not be up to par with health standards back home. Plus, you meet dozens of new people every single day.

It’s important to keep clean with all this extra exposure. As such, I always travel with African Black Soap. I wash my hands with this soap before every single meal, if I can help it. Highly recommended!

Slow Your Roll 

Travelers often get sick because they try to do too much. Dudes on a two-week trip might drink 4-5 nights each week and go on tours and excursions every single day. Then eight days into their trip they get sick.

No shit! You’re pushing your body too hard. Drinking every night, taking buses every other day, and only getting a few hours of sleep. Of course you’re going to get sick, bro.

If you want to stay healthy while traveling, then slow things down a bit. Spend at least a week, if not a month, in each city. Only drink 1-2 nights a week. Don’t try to do everything in one day. Just relax a bit and enjoy your travels.

Try to Avoid Back-to-Back Binging

I like to party just as much as the next guy. Hell, I couldn’t have wrote these nightlife guides if I didn’t:

Yet, you can’t binge drink every single night and expect to stay healthy on the road. That’s just not how the body works. Well, unless you’re a practicing functional alcoholic.

Luckily, there’s a simple solution. Don’t binge drink two nights in a row. It’s that simple. If you want to party, go out once on Wednesday/Thursday and then again on Saturday.

This avoids binge drinking on back-to-back nights and is infinitely healthier than trying to get hammered on Friday and Saturday.

Plus, Wednesday or Thursday is often ladies’ night. Drinks are cheaper and the crowds are often way more fun. People who go out on a weekday are looking to have a good time!

Partying in Bogota, Colombia!

Yoga is Ideal

Yoga and traveling are a match made in heaven. If you’re on the backpacking circuit, you’re sure to find a number of places to do yoga. Even some hostels offer short classes these days.

There’s also yoga studios in most big cities these days, although they can be pricey. Usually, I just bring my travel yoga mat, throw on a YouTube video, and do 20 minutes in the morning at my apartment.

Yoga is amazing for your health and I can’t recommend it enough to fit travelers concerned with their health on the road.

Hiking is a Workout

Never pass up an opportunity to go on a hike while traveling. Hiking is a fantastic form of exercise. You work the cardio vascular system, train your legs, and get some fresh air and sunshine. All great things for your health!

Plus, you get to enjoy nature, explore a new country, and see some stunning views. Truly a win-win! Hiking is also a great way to make friends with locals and travel buddies alike.

Relaxing after a three hour hike to a finca in Ibague, Colombia.

Get Your Electrolytes Up

You don’t want to get dehydrated while on the road. Trust me! This is especially true if you’re at a high altitude or have been drinking. Plus, there are times you won’t be able to drink the tap water, either.

So, you need to plan ahead. One easy way to get your electrolytes up? Pack a few of these for your trip. I prefer to mix these electrolyte packets with water over drinking Gatorade.

Gatorade has tons of sugar and just isn’t that healthy unless you’re playing a sport. These little packets have all the benefits of Gatorade without any of the adder sugar. Plus, they’re tiny and easy to pack.

Greek Yogurt Quickies

You’re going to be in a rush every now and then while traveling. Maybe you wake up around noon with a raging hangover, but you’re supposed to meet your buddy in 30 minutes for a tour.

You can’t ditch him, but you need some food first. Enter Greek yogurt. You can buy Greek yogurt in most countries around the world. Then simply add some fresh berries and nuts to it for a great, quick meal.

Plus, you don’t even need a full kitchen to make this meal. If you have a mini-fridge, then you’re set. This is my go-to quick meal while on the road. It’s healthy and there’s nothing you could prepare that’s quicker.

Handle Hangovers Properly

Drinking is part of traveling for many, especially the younger crowd. Thus, hangovers become a weekly ritual for most on the road. Luckily, they don’t have to be any longer.

Through a little experimentation, I’ve found getting rid of hangovers rather simple. I just take two of these before drinking and two more before I go to bed. Then I don’t set my alarm clock.

I wake up feeling like a champ – even if I went on a bender! But don’t take my word for it…

Grab a bottle of Party Night and try it out for yourself!

Try Going Out Sober

After spending a month or so boozing pretty heavy in Bogota, Colombia, I knew it was time to lay off the sauce for a bit. So, I started looking into going out sober. I wanted to have fun without hindering my health.

After some tweaking, I found a way to not drink a drop of booze and still have a ton of fun partying. If you’re looking to stop drinking for a bit, check out my post on how to go out sober here.

Be Skeptical of Street Food

Every single traveler has a tale of street food gone wrong. While some street food is absolutely delicious, there’s time where it’ll make you sicker than a dog.

I remember a buddy of mine who ate ceviche from a cart in Lima, Peru. Fresh seafood for $1.50? Yeah, I was skeptical and passed. Less than 12 hours later he was violently throwing up at our apartment for the next day and a half. It was the street ceviche.

Always be skeptical of street food. See how many locals eat from the vendor before buying anything. Watch how the vendor cleans up after a customer. Then see if you’re still hungry.

Not street food or even healthy, but damn delicious.

Try Local Produce

While I just hated on street food, I almost always buy produce from local vendors and markets. Not only is it cheaper, but it’s often much fresher than the supermarket, too.

I remember when I was living in the Dominican Republic. There was a fruit stand one block from my house. For $1.50 USD, the guy would chop fresh pineapple, watermelon, and more into a massive box – with a machete!

The fruit was fresh and delicious, prices were cheap, and ole’ dude used a machete. I went damn near every day.

Don’t Skip the Sunscreen

It’s almost a right of passage for a traveling gringo to get a massive sunburn while in the tropics. I can’t remember how many times I’ve seen a pasty looking dude fried to the gills and red as a lobster after a day or two at the beach.

Hell, I’ve been in the situation myself. Never skip the sunscreen, especially when traveling in tropical locations. The sun is just stronger down south. Even just a few hours outside could mean a massive sunburn.

Multi-Vitamin Vitality

Last, but not least – don’t expect your health and nutrition to be absolutely perfect while traveling. You might not get enough green vegetables one week. Your macros might get all messed up.

That’s perfectly fine. If you wanted the comfort and routine you had back home, you would have stayed back home.

Still, you need to make sure you’re getting proper nutrients. One easy way? Take a multi-vitamin each day.

While some hate on multi-vitamins, there’s no denying that replacing the vitamins and minerals lost after a night of drinking is beneficial. Plus, you’ll make up for any deficiencies in your travel diet.

After testing a half-dozen brands, I prefer this multi-vitamin.

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling 101

Whew, that was a lot, but I hope the quick tips and tricks above help you stay a little healthier while on the road. In today’s day and age, there’s no reason to let your health and fitness go to shit because you want to travel for a bit.

If you have any health and fitness tips, sound off in the comments below. If they’re good, I’ll make sure to add them to the list!

Post-gym in Lima, Peru.

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Jake Nomada

Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel - one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.

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