Nothing says freedom, summer or extended vacation like a trip along the open road, whether that’s at home or travelling around your favourite continent. The classic road trip is a staple of American culture; grabbing a few friends and hitting the dusty roads in a beaten up old car is probably the epitome of it! These days “road trips” can include backpacking around Southeast Asia, or train-hopping around Europe, but whatever the method of transportation, extended trips like these are truly life-enriching. If you’re looking to enjoy your next road trip to the max, ensure that you make good health a priority by following these tips.
In the weeks before your long road trip, make sure you start to take extra care of yourself. Eat well, try not to stay up late and remember that weeks spent on the road are a lot for your body to go through. Now is the time to think about the places you want to visit, any goals you would like to accomplish during your trip and to arrange things that you might need to contact your chosen hotels or hostels about in advance.
Mind what you eat
One of the great things about road tripping is that you can pack some smart snacks for your trip in advance. If you’re crossing borders, there may be restrictions with regards to the food that you can bring through, but for the most part you can fill up a cooler with plenty of nutritious and simple to eat or prepare snacks. Greek yoghurt, fresh fruit and chopped up veggies may not have a long shelf life, but they are definitely a staple way to snack healthily on the road. Trail mix is great whenever you need an energy boost, as are nuts and seeds, seaweed and good ol’ beef jerky.
Fresh fruit is one of the healthiest ways to snack on the go
Road trips are often the time when eating well goes out of the window, particularly if you have certain dietary requirements. If you’re planning to stay in hotels and hostels on your trip, contact them in advance with any special requests for food that you might have. Accommodation providers are usually happy to prepare meals if they know well in enough in advance, and can recommend local restaurants and stores to visit if they can’t meet your needs.
Avoid the temptation to knock back sugary, caffeinated drinks when you’re on the road. Red Bull may promise you extra energy, but drinks like that can contribute to dehydration. The best way to stay hydrated is to regularly drink plain old water, and if you need a flavour to your drink herbal teas are a great way to get some taste. Bring plenty of reusable (and BPA-free) water bottles with you to fill up on rest stops along the way. If you can’t guarantee the quality of the water supply in the country that you’re staying in, then you can treat it by boiling it for 1-2 minutes over a camping stove or in a travel kettle.
Staying in shape on the go
Exercise programs like the P90x, have long been a favourite with individuals for whom international travel is a part of their lifestyle, such as elite poker player Daniel Negreanu. There are literally hundreds of exercise apps that you can download onto your mobile device that will give you short and effective workouts that you can do on the road. If you find yourself in a place with a strong internet connection, YouTube fitness influencers like Cassey Ho of Blogilates, The Body Coach and Athlene-X all have tons of workouts you can do on the road on their YouTube channels. These cover everything from mobilisation and stretching to HIIT and even hotel room-friendly silent workouts.
Give your mind a break
Road trips are exciting and energising, but they can also be exhausting if you don’t take care of your mental wellbeing, too. In fact, a road trip can be the perfect time to implement some longer term changes into your lifestyle. If you’ve always wanted to give meditation a try, start a yoga practice or get creative by writing or drawing. If you can find time to do a little bit every day during your road trip you are much more likely to integrate it into your daily life when you get back home.
It goes without saying that the personal safety of you and your friends is paramount. Before you set off, make sure you check your car is in good working order and will be able to withstand the length of the journey. Similarly, if you’re travelling by train or public transport make sure you pack all the necessary tickets and travel details that you need. Keep your identification cards or passport close to you at all times, and swot up on any individual country laws that could apply to you if you’re travelling to a different continent.
If this is your first road trip, or if you’re travelling alone, try to stay in regular contact with friends and family back home. Pick a certain time of day or night when you’ll check in with someone, and if you have to alter your travel plans at any point keep everyone updated. Carry a set of travel chargers, and international travel plugs for journeys abroad, and consider purchasing a cost-effective pay-as-you-go mobile phone with an international sim card before taking your trip.
Article written by Veselina
(Photo by daniel-wehner via Flickr)