Lots of walking, hours spent outside in the sun… traveling can be exhausting. Being 36,000 miles in the sky for seemingly endless stretches of time doesn’t improve dehydration too much either, but there are still ways to stay healthy during long airplane rides. Here are nine ways to stay hydrated while traveling.
How to Stay Hydrated While Traveling: 9 Experts' Tips (Slideshow)
We asked doctors, dieticians, and nutritionists to weigh in on ways to avoid the thirst and exhaustion that can sometimes accompany even the best journeys. The most obvious tip on how to stay hydrated? Drink water! Reusable water bottles, especially ones that have filtration systems in them, are great companions, though they can be heavy and unfashionable. Dr. Seema Marwaha, an internal medicine specialist, recommends drinking one or two cups of water when you wake up and before you go to sleep in your hotel or hostel, where you are certain the water is safe.
While water is the best solution to dehydration, certain foods will not only hydrate you, but help sustain the fluids in your body so you stay satisfied for longer. Potassium-rich foods and drinks like bananas and coconut water can help you walk long stretches without reaching for your water bottle every few minutes.
We were reluctant to tell you to avoid particular foods or drinks, because exploring local cuisine is, to us at least, the best part of traveling, but do be careful of caffeine, as it is a diuretic and makes you lose a lot of water. So drink that special local style of coffee, but make sure you balance it out with some water or other hydrating foods on this list.
You probably won’t have easy access to these delicious summer snacks that will cool you down, so these tips will definitely come in handy.
Add Chia Seeds to Water or Food
Chia seeds, which made our list of energy-boosting foods, have hydrophilic properties — in other words, they are attracted to water. “Chia seeds absorb nine to 12 times their weight in water,” dietician Tanya Zuckerbrot told us over email, which means that eating them can help you stay hydrated longer. Pack a bag in your suitcase and add it to water for a long day of sightseeing in the sun.
Avoid Sugary Drinks
While sugary drinks may quench your thirst initially, the sugars and artificial sugars siphon out your body’s water storage by making your organs work harder to process them. “Be especially careful of sugary drinks that are also caffeinated,” says Dr. Seema Marwaha, an internal medicine specialist in Toronto. “They actually cause you to lose more water than you gain.”
Expert-Backed Tips to Stay Healthy on a Road Trip
Experts share tips for boosting your health while you’re trapped in a car for hours.
No matter how loose or strict of a healthy eating and exercise regimen you follow, it’s easy to fall off the wagon when you’re trapped in a car for extended periods of time. But even on vacation, maintaining the structure you set for yourself will help you stay on track and ensure that you feel good once you reach your final destination. Here, health and wellness professionals share their best-kept secrets for maintaining healthy habits while on the road.
With Aaptiv, you can take your workouts on the road with you. All you need is your phone and some headphones to get your sweat on.
Just like meal prepping to begin a week of healthy eating, you should do the same when gearing up for a road trip. “Days before you leave, plan out what meals you will have, and write out a menu for each meal plus the snacks,” says Miriam Amselem, holistic nutritionist, fitness trainer, and yoga instructor. “Now that there’s a menu, list the time of day that meals and snacks will be eaten. This helps avoid eating throughout the car trip!” Pack easy finger foods that are loaded with nutrients to give you energy and keep your digestive tract moving. Think fiber- and protein-packed bites such as apples and pears with peanut butter, beef or turkey jerky, and nuts and seeds.
Avoid pit stops for unhealthy meals or snacks.
Depending on the length of your road trip, you’ll have to take at least a few gas and bathroom breaks—but when you’re at a rest stop, try to avoid the tempting food and drink options. “While many convenience stores and fast food restaurants have healthier options now, many are loaded with more salt and preservatives than you realize,” says Roger Adams, Ph.D., Houston-based dietitian, and nutritionist, and founder of eatrightfitness.com. If you’re starving, then registered dietitian and family nutrition food blogger Jodi Danen suggests looking for lighter options. Order things like grilled meats, broth-based soups, and marinara-based sauces instead of alfredo. Consider adding a side salad, and don’t be afraid to ask for sauce or dressing on the side.
Incorporate some movement.
There’s a special kind of discomfort that comes from sitting for hours. Avoid this by moving around as much as you can while you’re sitting stable. “Move your feet and legs around for several minutes each hour to maintain blood flow, stimulate the metabolism, and maintain a sense of movement that you would normally get during your non-driving routine,” Dr. Adams says. “Ankle and leg circles, shoulder shrugs, and even doing isometric contractions of each muscle group as you drive help tremendously.” Even squeezing a body part such as your glutes, holding it for ten to 15 seconds, releasing, and repeating helps energize you and prevents restless leg or cramping.
Get a quick stretch in with an Aaptiv stretch class.
Most of us associate the need for added hydration with an increased activity level like during a workout. But even when we’re stagnant, as we are during a road trip, it’s important to load up on H2O. “Most people get dehydrated from travel because they’re less likely to remember to drink their same usual amount,” says Isabel Smith, RD, New York City-based celebrity dietitian and fitness expert. Bring a reusable water bottle and refilling it at every pit stop. Aim to drink at least 64-80 ounces each day.
Stop and do mini workouts.
Stop for a breath of fresh air and some movement outside of your usual pit stops. This can help you feel significantly better upon arriving at your destination. “Park the car at the roadside park, and do some traveling lunges, bodyweight squats, marching in place, or even a light jog around the area,” Dr. Adams suggests. “Any way you can incorporate movement will pay off by keeping you more refreshed while traveling.” Don’t forget to stretch. Even five minutes can loosen up your body from being in a seated position for a long time, Amselem adds.
Limit caffeinated beverages to one per day.
Road trips usually mean more caffeine and coffee to make sure we’re wide awake, especially if we’re on driving duty. Skip it, Smith says. “It’s a vat for added sweeteners, calories, and extra junk. Skip it and instead go for water.” Extra caffeine can dehydrate you, too. This may make you more likely to dive into unhealthy snacks, she adds.
"Plan Ahead. Pick out what restaurants you want to try before your trip. Look for grocery stores in the area where you can stock up on healthy items. Pack snacks if you're going to be out and about for most of the day." — Lauren Manganiello, MS, RD, CDN, private practice dietitian and personal trainer in NYC
2. Focus on Eating Healthy, Nutrient-Dense Foods
“The gut is literally ground zero for a healthy immune system,” says Steven Gundry, MD, one of the world’s top cardiothoracic surgeons, a pioneer in nutrition, and a New York Times best-selling author of numerous books (including his recent release, The Energy Paradox). “Not only does our microbiome defend against invading bacteria and viruses, [but] if functioning properly, it educates our immune system about friends and foes we encounter and empowers it to fight against foreign invaders like the Coronavirus.”
Ilene Ruhoy, MD, Ph.D, founder of the Center for Healing Neurology and Gut Council Member for Jetson recommends eating plenty of red, orange, and green vegetables. “Phytochemicals found in golden or yellow beets, sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, nectarines, and pomegranates have intense anti-inflammatory activity,” she says.
If you didn't have time to plan out compliant places near where you are staying, take a walk when you arrive at your hotel to get the lay of the Whole30 land. "Whether you're staying in an apartment or hotel, do a little recon of the grocery stores around you," says Zeitlin. "Buy water, fruits, and veggies for in-room snacking and on the go snacks."
10 Pro Tips for Staying Hydrated This Summer
You know the summer cliché: Drink lots of water, and stay out of the sun when you can. But there&rsquos so much more to staying hydrated in hot weather, so we reached out to a registered dietician to snag her tips for staying safe and keeping cool. (Good news: It can be delicious.)
Maybe you’re great about towing a bottle of water everywhere you go. Or maybe you’re the person who waits too long, and after hours in the sun you feel like a literal meltdown is imminent. I’ve been in both camps, so I wanted to know what I could do better going forward. Here are the smart tips I gleaned from registered dietician and nutritionist Marci Evans, MS, of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1. If you&rsquore feeling thirsty, it might be too late.
“I do recommend in the summer that people keep beverages on hand and keep sipping on them even when not feeling thirsty,” says Evans. “When you’re feeling thirsty you’re [often] already dehydrated.” She explained that many of her clients feel 𠇋othered” by trying to keep up with hydration, or like “it can feel like a chore.” She often finds herself reminding people that “physically and mentally, you feel better when hydrated.”
2. Certain foods can help.
Handily enough, says Evans, “some of the foods we’re drawn to [in summer] are more hydrating.” She mentioned watermelon, tomatoes, stone fruits, and cucumbers as good examples, along with produce-centric soups such as gazpacho. “Most fruits and vegetables are hydrating,” she said. “Those that are the juiciest are likely going to be the most hydrating.”
3. Don&rsquot be afraid to mix up your H2O game.
Many of Evans’s clients have admitted that they find water boring, tasteless, or just plain dull, so consider using fruits and veggies to make your beverages a little more interesting, she says. Think: Lemon, cucumber, or berries. And adding sparkling beverages to juice or doing a water-juice mix is totally fine.
4. Seltzer is hydrating!
“There’s some misinformation” out there about seltzer and sparkling water, says Evans. Simple carbonated water is absolutely hydrating.
5. So is coconut water.
Coconut water fans, rejoice: This stuff is the bomb when it comes to thorough hydration, says Evans. “Not everybody loves coconut water, but it’s really hydrating,” she adds, thanks to its bevy of natural elecrolytes.
6. You&rsquoll likely need salt, too.
This is a little complicated on the cellular level and depends on a number of factors such as blood pressure and any health issues you have involving sodium, but “if you’re somebody who sweats,” says Evans, 𠇌hances are you’re a good candidate for taking in salt with meals.” (Note that medical dehydration treatments tend to involve both water and salt.) The best bet here, as always, is to talk to your doctor, because as Evans notes, “the amount of sodium you lose in your sweat is very individual.”
7. Soups can be your friend.
Those who love hot soups such as ramen and soba no matter the season, or chilled soups such as pea and cucumber soup, good news: Vegetable and chicken broths 𠇊re super-hydrating,” says Evans. “They’re very nutrient-rich and super-nourishing.” So keep it up!
8. If in doubt, look at your urine.
Evans suggests that if you’re not sure whether or not you’re hydrated, just look at your urine. Generally, if “it’s really concentrated and yellow, it’s a good indicator that [you’re] not well hydrated, but if it’s on the pale side, you’re probably doing a pretty good job.”
9. Watch out for coffee, beer, wine, and spirits
“While alcohol and caffeinated beverages are technically hydrating, they’re also diuretics,” says Evans. 𠇊 lot of people don’t really know that.” (Read: They’ll make you urinate more often, making them not as hydrating as water, and in fact they can dehydrate you.) So watch out for the #roseallday.
10. Decide to make hydration a priority.
The biggest issue Evans sees in dehydration is that people don’t think it matters. “There’s a lack of caring, a ‘This isn’t my highest priority.’” But there are consequences, she notes, like returning from a hike and feeling terrible and having a headache (or a more dire scenario). So grab a reusable water bottle, toss it in your summer bag, keep it handy, and fill it up when you can. “You’ll observe the payoff,” says Evans, and will feel oh-so-much better all summer long.
5. Take vitamins and supplements.
Even when making a concerted effort to eat right, it can be difficult to get all the nutrients your family needs, especially when away from home. That’s why I pack multivitamins for both adults and children. To be sure everyone remembers to take their vitamins while traveling, use a travel-sized pill case marked with the days of the week.
Melynda Coble Harrison from TravelingMel and Mel’s Garden advises, “Take probiotics and essential oil capsules before and during the trip. We take a room temperature-stable probiotic while traveling to help keep the digestive issues at bay, especially in countries where that is likely to be an issue for us.” Interested in learning more about essential oils for good health? Take a look at these tips for using essential oils while traveling.
A good night’s rest helps maintain both physical and mental health while traveling (Photo credit: romrodinka, Depositphotos.com)
The Best Ways to Stay Hydrated All Day Long
These ultra-hydrating foods and thirst-quenching drinks prove that getting enough H2O doesn't have to be a nuisance.
It&aposs a no-brainer that you need plenty of water, especially after soaking through your sports bra during a workout. But you may not be guzzling enough. In fact, on average, Americans drink a little more than four glasses a day, which is a drop in the bucket. Shortchanging yourself can affect your workout, your weight — even your brainpower. Why? Virtually every system in the body relies on H2O, says Lawrence Armstrong, Ph.D., a professor of exercise and environmental physiology at the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Connecticut. Water protects and hydrates our organs, transports nutrients to our cells and helps us stay energized and mentally sharp. It also balances the level of electrolytes—minerals such as sodium and potassium—in your body to keep your muscles functioning properly. (But do you need electrolyte drinks to stay hydrated?)
However, exactly how much you should drink is a slippery issue. The Institute of Medicine gives a ballpark goal of 91 ounces a day for women, which includes the water you get from food. And then there&aposs the standard eight-glasses-a-day rule. But neither of these edicts is right for everyone, experts say. That&aposs because you may have different water needs than the woman on the treadmill next to you. Not only that, your own water requirements change one day to the next depending on how hard you&aposve exercised, if you&aposve gained or lost weight, what your hormones are up to and what you&aposre doing at any given moment. "We have a very dynamic and complex water system in our bodies, which changes every hour of the day," Armstrong explains. "That&aposs why there is no absolute amount."
The best way to stay hydrated starts with determining how much water you need for the day ahead is to weigh yourself in the morning, he says. To find your happy H2O weight, drink what you feel is an adequate amount (until your thirst is satisfied and your pee is a light color it becomes dark when you&aposre dehydrated) every day for one week. Each morning, weigh yourself on a digital scale first thing after peeing. Take the average of the three most similar numbers—that&aposs your baseline weight when you&aposre properly hydrated. From then on, step on the scale every morning, and "if you&aposre a pound lighter, drink an extra 16 ounces that day," Armstrong says.
What You Need to Know About Water and Hydration
1. You don&apost need to guzzle a gallon of H2O during your exercise session.
It seems like the best way to stay hydrated during a sweaty gym session, but when you work out at a moderate intensity for less than an hour, you only need to drink enough to satisfy your thirst. If you go an hour or more or you&aposre exercising in hot conditions, weigh yourself before and after you work out and sip an extra 16 ounces of water per pound lost.
2. Water can give your workout a boost.
Plain H2O will hydrate you just fine during a typical sweat session so that you can get the most out of your routine. If you prefer the taste of coconut water, though, go for it. It contains some carbs, which can help give you a lift. If you&aposre deficient in certain nutrients, vitamins may help improve your performance. In that case, try vitamin-enhanced water. (Related: Drinking Beer Post-Run Gets the Hydration Stamp of Approval)
3. Stash your water in the freezer before you exercise.
Cold H2O is better for your workout than water at room temperature. In a British study, people who had a very cold drink before and during sweaty cycling sessions were able to keep going significantly longer than those who drank their beverage at warmer temps, probably because the icy sips kept their core body temperatures lower.
4. Drinking water can help you lose weight.
Sipping before meals helped dieters consume 90 calories less at each meal, according to a recent study. Again, cold water may be a better choice research has found that you burn slightly more calories after drinking it, probably because your body expends energy to heat the water up.
5. H2O is good for your skin.
"The hyaluronic acid in your skin absorbs some of the water you drink," says Doris Day, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. "This gives it some of its elasticity and vibrancy." But there&aposs no need to chug an ocean of the stuff. "Once the hyaluronic acid has absorbed all it can, you&aposll simply pee the rest out," Dr. Day says. The best rule of thumb: If your skin doesn&apost bounce back right away when you pinch it, drink up.
6. Your Starbucks habit is not dehydrating you.
Turns out, cutting back on coffee isn&apost the best way to stay hydrated. Caffeine is a mild diuretic, but it doesn&apost lead to dehydration, according to Armstrong&aposs research. You can even count caffeinated drinks toward your total fluid intake, says Lauren Slayton, RD, the author of The Little Book of Thin and the founder of Foodtrainers in New York City. Eight ounces of coffee equals roughly four ounces of water.
7. It is possible to drink too much water.
This can be a serious problem for endurance athletes, especially women, who are smaller than men and so have less water in their bodies, says Timothy Noakes, M.D., the director of research in exercise science and sports medicine in the Department of Human Biology at the University of Cape Town. Drinking large amounts of water can cause a condition called hyponatremia, in which the sodium levels in the blood drop too low and brain cells and tissue become bloated, leading to nausea, confusion, seizures, coma, and even death. But the condition is rare. The average gymgoer, or even a triathlete who drinks only to quench thirst, is highly unlikely to consume more water than their body can handle, Dr. Noakes says.
The Best Way to Stay Hydrated with Water
- Infuse your H20 for added flavor and hydration. Put fruit slices, such as lemon, lime, and orange, in a pitcher of water and refrigerate. (Related: 8 Infused Water Recipes to Upgrade Your H2O)
- Add coconut ice. Fill your ice cube tray with coconut water, then pop the cubes into your glass to give water a nutty, slightly sweet taste.
- Sip unsweetened flavored waters. The yummy flavors in Hint (watermelon, pear, or cucumber) and sparkling Ayala&aposs Herbal Water (cinnamon-orange peel or ginger-lemon peel) make quenching your thirst less snoozy.
The Best Way to Stay Hydrated with Food
These foods are a tasty and easy way of upping your H2O intake without hitting the bottle.
9 Clever Ways to Stay More Hydrated This Summer
We&rsquove all been there. It&rsquos really easy to get dehydrated&mdashnot to mention sunburned&mdashcome summertime. These are issues to be wary of year-round, but they&rsquore particularly tricky in warmer weather.
"Staying hydrated in the heat can be more challenging than in cooler temperatures because we lose a significant amount of fluid through our skin in the form of sweat,&rdquo Jonah Soolman, RD, a nutritionist and certified trainer at Soolman Nutrition and Wellness in Wellesley, Mass. tells Health. Since we need to replace the fluid lost in that sweat, Soolman explains that "our hydration needs tend to be higher than when the temperature is more mild or cold."
A 2004 report from the Food and Nutrition Board suggested that men aim for about 3.7 liters of water a day and women aim for about 2.7 liters a day. But that may change in different environments: Hot or humid weather can necessitate additional fluid intake, as can high altitudes.
Why does hydration matter so much? &ldquo[It&rsquos] important for several reasons, including body temperature stability, bowel regularity, reduced kidney stone risk, and filtering waste products, just to name a few,&rdquo Soolman says.
Well, then. Here are tips for hydrating yourself while keeping the process exciting, tasty, and good-looking. (Allow us to explain.)
Eating Well on a Work Trip
Although business travel can feel like a nice getaway from day-to-day office life, people should be mindful not to overindulge during these trips. Below are some ideas for healthy foods that people can pack when they’re traveling in order to satisfy their hunger and keep their calorie count down.
Business travelers who plan ahead can pack some perishable foods for their trip, which can be kept cool by placing them in a soft-sided cooler. In order to avoid overeating, it’s best to pack foods in single servings that can be separated with small, resealable plastic storage bags. The following are perishable staples that can be packed for a business trip.
- Fresh fruits
- Hard boiled eggs
- Cut vegetables
- Cheese sticks
- Pre-cooked meats
People who don’t want to travel with perishable items can still pack healthy snacks that will satisfy their hunger. The following are examples of non-perishable snacks that can easily be packed in resealable plastic bags.
Common Meal Mistakes While Traveling:
When people are traveling for work, they may be more focused on getting everything done, and not so much on what they’re eating along the way. As a result, they may make some common meal mistakes, such as the ones below.
- Skipping breakfast. Although work trips can be hectic, it’s important for people to start the day off right with breakfast, which helps to keep the metabolism running and staves off cravings later. But breakfast does not have to be an elaborate affair—even a quick bowl of cereal with fruit is enough to get the energy needed to get going.
- Eating oversized portions. “Don't feel the need to eat three full restaurant meals a day,” said JoAnn Yánez, Executive Director of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. “For most people, three full restaurant-sized portions are too much for a day’s caloric intake. You can ask for half portions or order from the appetizer menu.”
- Not drinking enough water. Oftentimes, dehydrations can cause sensations that mimic hunger, which can lead to overeating when what’s really needed is more water. In order to prevent snacking on unhealthy foods, it’s important to drink water throughout the day.
- Drinking too much. “If you want to treat yourself, have a drink, but limit yourself. You want to make sure your mind is clear for your meetings, so don’t overdo alcohol just because you are traveling,” said Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com, who is a frequent flier and traveler for work-related initiatives for her company. “Remember the reason you are there. Eat healthy, drink water, and limit alcohol intake.”
- Giving in to social pressures. “No one can make you do anything,” said Joey Daoud, CEO and Head Coach of New Territory Fitness. “Dinners and after parties can amp up the social pressure of feeling the need to overindulge or drink. You might feel pressured into not making the best decision in the moment.”
Best: Bring Your Own Food
With the airlines cutting out in-flight meals, preparing and bringing your own sky-ready food has become an art form. (Ignore the questionable looks from the TSA agent when he sees your Ziploc bag of protein powder). Here are some healthy and travel-friendly options to try:
Raw almonds and sunflower seeds: These are high in melatonin (the sleep hormone), which can help your body regulate your internal clock to an unfamiliar time zone. Almond butter with sliced apples, celery stalks or brown rice cakes are filling and easily packed.
Protein Powder: This can be mixed with juice or cold water. A study has shown that liquid protein was more effective than carbs or fat in suppressing nausea and symptoms of motion sickness.
Walnuts and dried fruit: Omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts keep your stress hormones and adrenaline in check in those high-stress, high blood pressure, high turbulence moments. Dried fruit supplies the antioxidants to protect cells from the stress effect of a flight delay and provides fiber for digestion.
Instant oatmeal: Individual packages can be easily mixed with hot water at the airport or in-flight for a filling high-fiber fix. (But do try to avoid brands with high sugar content.) Starbucks has one that's exactly 150 calories!
Eboost Supplement: This is an all-natural energy drink mix that, when added to water, forms a vitamin-rich supplement that increases energy levels and supports your body's immune system.
If you really want to upgrade your travel day, try committing to a 24-hour liquid cleanse. Cleansing on a travel day takes making poor diet choices completely out of the question, aids in keeping digestion and elimination on track in the new time zone, and sets you up for eating healthier/smaller portions the next few days of your trip. Not to mention you’ll look great in your bikini photos!