By Claire Yanta-O’Mahoney, Veteran Spouse

Who loves to travel?  All hands go up.  Who loves that sluggish, blah feeling that comes about after you return home when you think about all the rich food and lack of activity that occurred while you were gone?  No hands.

Well, the good news is that with a little forethought, motivation, and creativity, you can rest assured that the end of a trip doesn’t have to equal a strict detox.

How to eat healthy on vacation

Here are my favorite tips for making healthy choices while traveling, regardless if it’s a PCS, work, or pleasure trip taken by plane, train, or automobile:

Pack Athletic Clothes

Half of the battle can be not having the right stuff, so eliminate that issue by putting clothes in your suitcase that are suitable for a workout.  Another way to make this easier and more efficient is to pack “ath-leisure” clothes so they can double as daytime outfits and for exercise!  Lastly, feel free to wear your exercise clothes while you travel to keep your feet (and your body) comfortable.

Bring Your Own Snacks

There can be many unknowns when you travel, but one thing you can control is what you snack on.  Before you leave, grab some nutritious, easy, on-the-go snacks that you can throw in your bag and eat as needed.  Not only will your thought-out choices be better for you but they’ll likely be less expensive, too.

Drink Up

Drink your H2O that is!  PCSing or just traveling for fun can be exhausting, and air travel can be especially dehydrating, so combat symptoms (look into it, you might experience dehydration more often than you realize!) by guzzling your water.  This will help flush out toxins, keep you full, and get you up on your feet to use the restroom.  Water is the elixir of life!

Plan Activity into Your Day

You might not always have time to hit the gym, but there are ways to sneak some activity into your day.  If it’s a work trip, then suggest to a coworker to take your meeting outside for a walk, bypass the elevator and choose to take the stairs, or do a couple of desk exercises.  If it’s a pleasure trip, explore your surroundings by going for a run or walk, rent bikes, try out a new fitness studio with a drop in pass, or schedule a fun activity that will get you up and moving.

Do Your Research                                                                                      

If you’re traveling to a new city, do a quick online search to find a healthy restaurant that will have tons of good options.  There are websites dedicated specifically to helping people find different types of foods in various areas, so check it out!  Also, don’t be afraid to ask other people, locals, or hotel staff for recommendations.  You deserve to know what amazing options are at your fingertips!

Get Creative                                                         

At first glance, your hotel or bedroom might not look like a gym, but that’s just a disguise.  There are tons of ways to get a workout in!  YouTube has countless videos about hotel room workouts, or seek out a trainer to give you specific ideas that are appropriate for your level.  Another tip is to search for a hotel that has a fitness center!

Speak Up

When you’re out to eat with a group, volunteer to be the first to place your order.  By making a healthy, confident meal choice you set the precedent that you’re choosing to take good care of yourself, and your fellow diners will probably be less likely to make a less healthy decision.  Just think about the opposite – when someone else orders before you and they order the fries, you get the message that ‘oh it’s ok to give into the fries, we’re splurging tonight, and yum, they sound good!’  Eat your veggies at every opportunity!


Traveling is about seeing different places, meeting different people, and experiencing the world.  There will be times where the dinner options are either a burger with fries or a giant cinnamon roll.  There will be times when the food in that new country is absolutely delicious and you know it’s not the healthiest choice, but it’s just OH so good.  And there will be times that your trip is too busy, or there isn’t the opportunity to sneak in a workout.  That is all OK.  Instead of beating yourself up about it, understand that fitness and nutrition are all a balancing act.  Maybe eat a little cleaner and work out a little harder before or after to balance out the trip and give yourself credit for taking good care of yourself.  Life is short so enjoy your adventures and treat your body well!

Claire Yanta-O’Mahoney is a proud veteran spouse originally from St. Louis. She started Fleur de Lis Fitness as a way to help clients seize the day and transform themselves into the healthier person they deserve to be. Claire is an American Council on Exercise (ACE) Certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Masters of Science in Developmental Psychology from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA.