I always used to think travel days meant bad airport food, lots of sitting, and swollen fingers for hours. Now with several years of working a traveling job under my belt, I have started to welcome these “off days” from work.
Usually a travel day means my one of two off days for work traveling home and then back the next day to the next production location. That’s not a lot of time on the ground at home. For instance, just now I am in Richmond, Virginia after flying home from Darlington, South Carolina yesterday afternoon. I spent the night at home though, did three loads of laundry and ate food from my own pantry. Oh the simple pleasures in life, right?
With so much time spent on the go in terms of travel, it can be hard to eat right and get active, but I’ve come up with a few key things I do every time I’m airport bound to feel my best when I get to my next destination.
- Water. Seriously. Grab a bottle from home, buy a bottle at the airport, ask for water on the flight. Whatever it is, get as much of the good stuff in your system as you can. Refill bottles at the airport with hands free stations by most of the water fountains. Keep chugging all day long.
- Bring snacks. My go-to travel snacks are usually 100 calorie almond packs, half a peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread, a banana, a few pieces of dark chocolate, etc. I bring one or a combination of those items in my carry-on so I know I won’t be ravenous and headed for Bojangles or Sbarro as soon as I get off the flight (I travel through Charlotte a lot, hence the chicken ‘n biscuits reference). The nuts/nut butter give protein hits with some fat to keep you full. Bananas are filling and easy to eat on the go while dark chocolate keeps my cravings for those airport counter soft serve or gelato stands away. It’s also important to note that if your airline is serving you a snack, its generally not packing a nutritional punch. American serves either peanuts, pretzels or biscoff cookies, while United has caramel waffle cookies, and Southwest varies from peanuts/pretzels to 100 calorie packs of snacks. Be mindful of your inflight munch, it’s very easy to consume empty calories when your bored on board.
- Walk. And walk some more. In Atlanta, there’s a way to walk to every concourse or the option to take the “plane train.” If you’ve got time to walk to your gate, you can get up to a mile of extra activity just by walking from the ticket counter to your concourse. Once you’ve found your gate, if you’ve still got before boarding, keep walking around. Find the farthest bathroom, peak at all the other gates to where people are heading. Just keep moving! You’ll have the whole flight to sit down.
- If you can, plan. My off days to travel home are built on my own schedule. For instance, on Monday I chose an early afternoon flight because we worked until 2am that day. I was able to log six hours of sleep, have a healthy breakfast, do a Tabata work out and then board my flight. It beat feeling like a zombie on 3 hours of sleep to get home and not feel up to anything else that day. Try choosing flights that will let you get your work out in before takeoff or once on the ground. Today I was able to get 40 minutes in in the morning before packing and heading up to the airport. It’s all prior preparation!
- Don’t skip meals just because you’re on the go. Just because the airport has tons of fast food, it doesn’t mean there are no healthy or better options. Today I found a turkey avocado sandwich on a baguette for 400 calories. It’s better than the burger joint next door or the taco stand around the corner. A lot of restaurants have sushi, salad bars, even stands with healthy snacks like nuts, granola bars and yogurt. Even though there’s nothing wrong with having some junk, it’s nice to get ahead of the game and choose some smarter choices!
Do you have any tips and tricks you use to stay on track while on the go? Share them below in the comments!