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5 Tips to Stay Healthy on Holiday

I just got back from a holiday in Mallorca, and it’s one of the first times that I’ve arrived back from holiday not feeling like I need to ‘work off’ any extra pounds I gained from the trip, or like I have to get back into a healthy routine after a week of over-indulging... If anything, I feel like I’m in better shape now than when I left!


Because I made sure I was well-prepared this holiday, with tools and tricks that helped me stay healthy (and even boosted my health!) whilst out of my usual routine. If you’re someone who finds that you get a ‘holiday hangover’, or who feels like you need to 'detox' after a holiday abroad, here are my top 5 tips to make your next holiday the healthiest yet...

#1 Find out if there’s a gym or fitness classes at the hotel

My no.1 tip is to take your running/gym shoes with you on holiday (and some workout clothes). If you’ve made space for them in your case, you’re more likely to make the effort to use them (otherwise you could have brought that extra pair of hair curlers!)! The next step is to find out if there’s a gym or fitness classes offered at the hotel you’re staying at. If so, great. Make it part of your routine to spend at least 10 minutes at the gym each day (even just running on the treadmill or cycling on a bike if you don’t know how to use the weights correctly yourself), or go to a class. Find a time that works for you – the weather was so hot on my holiday that I found mid-morning was perfect, as it was too hot to sit out at that time. I had breakfast, did an hour or so of journalling/reading indoors, and then headed to the gym around 10.30am for a short workout, which still left me plenty of time to enjoy the sun for the rest of the day (and it meant I didn't burn!).

If you’re not staying in a hotel, or if there’s no gym, is there outdoor space you can go for a run (if it’s not too hot) or a long walk? Alternatively, take a travel yoga mat and do some yoga in your room! I always make space for my yoga mat in my case, as I love rolling out of bed and straight on to the mat to do some stretching and a light 20-minute flow in the morning. You don’t even need to pack running shoes in that case! As long as the room is not too tiny, there’s always usually space enough for a mat, and you can find great, short yoga flows on YouTube so all you need is your phone (I love Boho Beautiful).

#2 Familiarise yourself with the salad bar

If you’re going all-inclusive then you’re at the mercy of the hotel in terms of healthy eating options. While I usually get recommendations beforehand for hotels that have good plant-based options, most hotels abroad will have a salad bar with (more or less) extensive options. So, even if you decide to indulge at lunchtime, you know you’ll be able to have a healthy, light dinner (it’s better to have a lighter dinner than lunch, so that it won’t impact your sleep).

If you’re eating out, or not going all-inclusive, apps such as Happy Cow are a great way of checking in advance what plant-based (and usually healthier) options are available in the place you’re going. You can also email restaurants ahead of time to find out if they have something that suits you (sending an email, rather than calling, also means you can use Google Translate if it’s a place that doesn’t speak English, and you don’t speak the local language!).

If all else fails, and you know the only choices available are not the healthiest, try asking for a side salad along with your meal. Filling up on salad as a starter makes you less likely to overeat and also means you’re getting those all-important greens in. Even the simplest of salads can be made tasty with a good dressing, or some olive oil, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar!

#3 Try milk thistle to combat a hangover

Health-wise we really want to minimise (or completely eliminate) our alcohol consumption, especially if we have a hormone imbalance. At home, you can replace alcoholic drinks with, for example, kombucha, soda water with fruit, or unsweetened tonic water. But this isn’t always possible when out in a restaurant or hotel, as there aren’t many that offer kombucha or healthy drinks (and most non-alcoholic cocktails are filled with sugar or fruit juice). While I don’t recommend or support binge-drinking or drinking to excess, if you know you’re going to be drinking more than usual, then it’s important to support your liver even more than usual. One way to minimise a hangover and stay as healthy as possible is to take liver-supportive herbs, such as milk thistle, before and after drinking. Some of these may interact with any medications or other supplements you’re taking so it’s important to check with your healthcare practitioner or pharmacist before taking any new supplements.

#4 Make sure you’re drinking more water

Drinking water is vital for our health at the best of times, but it's even more important when we’re in a hot climate and sweating a lot. Extreme heat plus day-drinking, which is so common on package holidays, is a recipe for disaster (dehydration and sunstroke) if we’re not also consuming a LOT of water.

How much water do we need?

You can get a fairly accurate estimate using this calculation: your body weight in pounds, divided by 2, equals the amount of water (in oz) you need per day (if you use the metric system it’s your weight in kilograms, divided by 30, equals the amount of water, in litres, you require per day). This is only under normal circumstances, so in hot weather, if you’re exercising a lot, and/or if you’re drinking alcohol, you’ll need more than this.

Remembering to drink water can be difficult, especially if you’re not used to it at home, so, if you need to, set an alarm on your phone to remind you to drink every hour, or use an app that sends you an (usually annoying!) alert. Always have a (preferably reusable) bottle of water with you at all times; most hotels will allow you to refill this at the breakfast buffet, and you can usually ask them to refill it at the bar throughout the day (unless they have a water fountain, in which case, make the most of it!).

The more guests ask for water-refill stations, the more hotels will take into account this environment-saving (and health-saving) hack.

Make sure you always check the tap water is safe to drink before trying to refill yourself.

#5 Stock up on fruit at the breakfast buffet

To avoid the temptation of fries, salted peanuts, or other unhealthy bar snacks (like pretzels or crisps), make sure you have some healthy snacks on-hand during your holiday. If you’re staying in a hotel, one trick is to take some of the loose fruit at the breakfast buffet (preferably ones that aren’t messy to have in your bag, like apples, bananas and oranges) and pop it in your bag for later in the day. After all, you’ve already paid for it! Other healthy snack options are olives and (unsalted) nuts, which are usually easy to find at bars or other holiday destinations (especially in Europe). If you’re staying in a town or city, you could also pop into a local supermarket or farmer’s market and buy some fresh fruit or, if you have a fridge in your room, other healthy snacks such as yoghurt or kefir.

# Bonus tip: Enjoy yourself!

The most important is to not beat yourself up if you can’t stay as healthy as you’d like on holiday. We can prepare as much as possible (using the tips above) to set ourselves up for success, but, after that, we have to let go. Health also comes from spending time with people we love, relaxing, and being in the sun, and if you’re too busy stressing out over whether there’s sugar in your mocktail (for example), you’re not going to get the enjoyment (or the other health benefits) out of the experience. It’s also not what we do once-in-a-while, on holiday, that makes the biggest difference to our health. It’s what we do consistently, on a daily basis, that’s more important. So if you want to indulge on holiday, do it, but most importantly, enjoy it. Really allow yourself to let go and savour the experience, otherwise it’s not worth the ‘blip’ in your routine!

Over to you

I hope this gave you some ideas of how to stay healthy on holiday this Summer, and not have to ‘detox’ from what should be a wonderful, relaxing experience!

Let me know what you struggle with most on holiday... write in the comments below or send me a message!

How do you stay healthy on holiday? Share your tips over on Facebook!

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