The feeling of galloping into an unknown sunset with nothing but a backpack and an unabated sense of adventure is hard to beat, but when you find yourself plodding home with a few extra kilos and a general feeling of blah, the holiday high can quickly nosedive. Here are ten tips to keep the dreaded post-holiday health hangover at bay.[listicle]
Pack a snack
Before you set off each day, swing by your local supermarket to stock up on snacks like fruit and nuts to reduce mid-morning pastry temptations. Just make sure you opt for non-squashables, because, let’s face it, a forgotten banana in the bottom of a backpack isn’t something anyone wants to deal with.
Skip the fries
Eating out is all part of the fun when abroad, but meal-fillers like bread and chips can quickly up your calorie count without adding much cultural diversity to your plate. So trade the carbs for a side salad or skip them altogether.
Find a kitchen
When scouting accommodation, look for apartments or hostels with a kitchen so you have the option to prepare your own meals. With a fridge and stove on hand there’s no excuse not to whip up a simple salad or stir-fry for dinner here and there, which is good for both the waistline and the hip pocket.
Hit the pavement
A kick-ass public transport system can make travelling a breeze, but when you’re on the road for an extended period you can’t beat good ol’ pavement pounding to see a city’s sights. Not only will you get a good dose of cardio, you’ll also find streets, shops and cafes impossible to spot from an underground tunnel. Better still, these little discoveries often end up being more memorable than the attraction you set out for in the first place.
Pop a pill
There’s nothing like a lingering cold to dampen your holiday spirit, so stay proactive with a daily multivitamin (yeah that kind of pill). Keep a sneaky stash of your fave cold-busters like echinacea and zinc on hand too in case that telltale scratchy throat strikes.
Cut the noise
Centrally located accommodation provides the best access to food, attractions and places to party, but on the flipside, there’s no off-switch in the event you actually decide to sleep. Therefore, come prepared with an eyemask and earplugs so you can get some shut-eye even if you share a street with rattling trams and solar-strength streetlights.
Choose to move
You could see the sights from the comfort of a bus…or you could get the blood flow pumping by opting for tours involving walking, cycling, kayaking or other means of active travel. Not only will you get a good day’s workout, you’ll also get a unique perspective of your destination by immersing yourself in the local environment.
Play it safe
While trying local cuisine is one of travelling’s greatest pleasures, at times you need to err on the side of caution to avoid falling ill. Minimise your risk by choosing well-cooked food that’s made fresh in front of you and drinking bottled water, and remember to regularly wash your hands. Being trapped in a toilet is the last way you want to spend your trip.
Go with the flow
When on the road, days lazing by the beach can be interspersed with days managing public transport trifectas in a foreign language, draining your zen stores in an instant. But if you accept that travelling is a package deal complete with language fails, ticket screw-ups and timetable miscalculations, you’ll save yourself a great deal of stress. In most cases, if you miss a train, you can catch another, or if you get lost, you can ask for directions (even if it means a game of footpath Pictionary). So roll with the punches and rejig plans as required, knowing you’ll be back on the beach in no time.
Treat yo’self… in moderation
It’s no fun being a total food scrooge on your globetrotting adventures because eating, drinking and being merry is all part of the experience. So give yourself permission to try local dishes – hello pasta and gelato – but limit your portions and try to choose at least one healthy meal per day. Not too hard, right?[/listicle]
Emily McAuliffe is an Australian travel writer and photographer based in Europe. Her work has featured in national publications such as the Qantas, Jetstar and Tigerair inflight magazines, Get Up & Go, the Australian Yoga Journal and Women’s Fitness. Subscribe to her blog at www.theportugalwire.com and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can view Emily's copywriting website and portfolio at www.emilymcauliffe.com.