Guidelines for Vacation Well-Being
Whether you travel by train, boat, plane, auto or bus, a vacation is something to look forward to. You want to experience and enjoy all that a vacation can offer. So here are a few tips to help guarantee that stress and drama are not your travel companions.
One of the first things to do in planning the vacation is research. Determine where you are going and the typical weather of the vacation spot. You want to make sure that the weather will not cast a cloud over your enjoyment. A little research will also aid you in choosing what to pack, making sure that you are appropriately dressed for the climate. A key goal in packing is to keep it light, making sure that your bags are not a burden that you cannot handle.
You'll also want to get an idea of what activities you'll want to participate in when you arrive. This will help you pack well and provide an idea of the cost of a trip to the destination of your choice. Financial worries can quickly take the joy out of travel.
On Your Way
Get plenty of sleep; avoid starting your trip as a sleep deprived traveler. If you are traveling to a different time zone, when you arrive, try to adapt to the time it is when you arrive. For example if you're heading to California on a 5:00 a.m. flight from Maryland, it probably will be late morning or noon when you arrive. By adjusting to the midday activities of your destination city, it will help your body clock adjust more easily to the new time zone. Once you arrive, don't overschedule your time. Vacations are about rest and recreation; stagger activities so that you get enough rest without wearing yourself down rushing from one site or activity to another.
Choose loose, comfortable clothing and shoes to travel in. An unexpected delay paired with uncomfortable attire will create one unhappy traveler. Make sure you have a jacket or sweater that is accessible in your baggage should you need it.
Regardless of your mode of travel, have snacks on-hand and drink plenty of water to make sure you stay hydrated. Freeze a 16-oz bottle of water, and pack it in an insulated bag along with protein snacks such as lean lunch meat, cheese and fruit. If traveling by plane the frozen water is not prohibited-just make sure you drink any of the water as it melts before going through security. It will keep the other items cold and will melt gradually ensuring that you have water to sip and stay hydrated. Protein snacks such as lean lunch meat, hummus, and nuts will help keep your energy up. High-sugar snacks will create a boost of energy, but will ultimately leave you feeling tired.
Upon arrival, make wise wholesome food choices-you know my motto "everything in moderation, there is not one food that is totally good or totally bad for you." If you're on a cruise with buffet after buffet of good things to eat, choose plenty of fruits, vegetables, salads (sans creamy dressings) lean meats, poultry, and seafood. Alternate with your desserts-one day choose fruits, sorbet, or sherbet, and another day opt for cake, pastry or parfait.
Plan to get in some type of physical activity during your vacation. If your goal is to lounge at the water's edge throughout the trip, start the day with a brisk walk. Most hotels have a fitness center and can provide guests with a walking map. If you've planned a trip with sight-seeing excursions by bus, try to keep a few snacks such as energy bars, and nuts along with bottled water on hand.
Realizing you'd love to extend the trip and the positive karma it delivered, revisit the guidelines for starting the vacation as you wrap it up and return home. The tips that aided in starting a no-drama vacation will help get you home relaxed and refreshed.
Take Away: Pre-planning and research will help you make the most of vacation time. By following a few guidelines in starting your vacation, you'll be a step ahead to ensure that you return home refreshed.
Michelle J. Stewart MPH, RDLD/N, CDE is an experienced food and nutrition communication expert specializing in wellness