Tips for a Healthier Family Vacation

Promoting a healthy and active lifestyle for kids has been on my agenda for a while, since promoting FitFutures with Eleven Lifestyle.

Kendra recently contacted me to collaborate on this article, which I thought was a genius idea to discuss and share tips for a healthier family vacation.

While Kendra’s travel background is beyond extensive, I on the other hand travel less frequently (and do not have kids).  But when I do, I ensure a healthy vacation, not only for the body, but for the mind.

Whether you are traveling alone, with a partner or friends, it’s easy to overlook what you are doing and eating while on vacation – you are on vacation, what’s so wrong about the 24 hour All You Can Eat Buffet, or having access to an open bar?!  Not only will you get sick on your return home, or possibly even on your vacation, you are neglecting yourself of a well-nourished lifestyle which can easily be achieved.

While traveling with family, Kendra explains:

Routines help me keep my family healthy. When routines change or we take a trip out of town, keeping up with healthy habits can become difficult. I love to travel, so I’ve spent time figuring out ways to keep my family healthy when we travel together.

Here are a few tips we’ve come up with to help and guide you and your family into a healthy family vacation …

Avoid Airport Foods

Today’s airports are full of greasy, unhealthy eating options. Instead of breaking down and purchasing food that will sit on your stomach like a sack of wet rags come take off time, pack a few healthy snacks of your own. You can also purchase fruit and other healthy food items as airport newsstands. Also, plan ahead for eating well in flight. If a meal is served, select healthy low-sodium or vegetarian options when you buy your tickets.

 Stay Hydrated

Water bottles always come along on my family vacations. Kids have their own bottle. I make sure we fill them up with clean, cold water before heading out on any excursion. If we are traveling by car on a hot day, I often pop the full bottles in the freezer for a while before we depart. Staying properly hydrated will help everyone feel better, especially on hot summer days.

Use the Hotel Gym

I make sure to book accommodations at hotels with functioning, well-equipped fitness centers. While I don’t usually do my regular workout while on vacation, I can usually squeeze in a short workout before breakfast in the mornings. Hotels with yoga classes or in-room video work great for me and are a fun way to get a workout in. We sometimes do family yoga right in our hotel suite. Other times, we exercise as a family by playing around at the hotel pool.

Partake in Outdoor Games and Excursions to Stay Active

Check with your hotel concierge for family activities that you and your family can join.  Not only is this a cost effective way to stay active, but it allows you to bond and spend time with your kids, by participating in the same activities they are doing.

Excursions are great to explore and experience activities away from the hotel, which is a great learning opportunity.  Look for Eco-Friendly Tours, which will teach your family about preserving the ecosystem and eco-friendly practices, while you are supporting the surrounding communities and their people.

Other tours which can educate your family include places such as the natural wonders, historical sites, old libraries, cathedrals, castles, aquariums, planetariums and zoos.

Eat Well

Although traveling involves eating out, it doesn’t have to mean you eat unhealthy food throughout your trip. I try to pick restaurants where my family can get healthy entrées. I always encourage the kids to pick fruit or vegetables as sides in place of greasy fries. If we indulge in a famous local diner that feature delicious, high-calorie fare, we make sure to eat healthier dishes at our other meals that day. Getting a good breakfast of fruit, oatmeal and a boiled egg in the morning at your hotel will set the tone for a healthy day.

Another great way to eat healthy is to look for the nearest grocery store or farmers market.

Stick with earth grown whole foods, which you and your family can enjoy.  Not only are you supporting the local economy and their farmers, you are promoting healthier eating habits for your kids while on vacation.

Skin Protection

If you are traveling to a sunny destination, packing sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection should be a high priority.  Sunscreens labelled as “Broad Spectrum” or “Multi-Spectrum” offers protection from both ultraviolet A and B.  Most people look for a high SPF (sun protection factor), which only blocks the UVB rays only.

Familiarize yourself with the different products available that will best protect your and your family from sun damage.

Pack a First-Aid Kit

While travelling away from the hotel, I always carry a mini first-aid kit in my tote.

If you prefer carrying a smaller handbag or belt bag, toss items in a zip lock bag that will easily fit.
Helpful items include: Band-Aids, topical medication/ointment, gauze, medical wrap and disinfectant.

To avoid having to carry bulky items, check out a medical store before your trip, for individually wrapped items such as disinfectant and medical wraps.

Travel Insurance

You’ve planned the perfect trip, and practice safety and street smarts with your family, but sometimes situations arise beyond your control, and the consequences of being unprepared can be extremely damaging.   If you don’t have travel insurance, any accidents, emergencies, losses and cancellation costs will come out of your pocket, which is a total bummer to say the least.

Most people may over look this additional fee while booking a trip, so here is why travel insurance is so important…

  1. Medical and Emergencies.  This should be your #1 reason to buy travel insurance – coverage for you and your families well-beings..  You wouldn’t drive a car without insurance, so the same thing should apply when travelling.
  2. Trip cancellation covers the cost of your trip, should an unforeseen situation arise.
  3. Baggage and Personal Belongings.  It’s funny how the loss of personal belongings is the main reason people buy travel insurance.  This should arguably be the least important, as your things can be replaced.  You cannot.
  4. Reading and understanding your coverage.  It is important to take the time to thoroughly read and understand what you are and are not covered for.

Wherever you travel with your family, it is important to make healthy choices. For an upcoming trip to Disney, my family will certainly be ready. I always look for hotels that have a useful gym just in case it rains. With so many hotels in Orlando, sites like Gogobot allow you to read user reviews so you can be sure you booked the right hotel. It can be difficult, but it’s worth it when everyone feels good and enjoys themselves.

It is super simple to implement and stick with a healthy lifestyle through eating healthy and staying active, to make your vacation enjoyable for everyone.

When traveling with your family, what do you do to stay health-conscious? Let me know in the comments below.

Kendra Thornton

Travel Industry Publicist and Spokeswoman
Kendra Thornton has been packing her bags and traveling the world since she visited the Bahamas at 3 months old. She comes from a family of travel agents and founded Thornton Public Relations LLC in April 2005 in an effort to bring strategic and low cost public relations to start-up and established travel, consumer and technology companies. Ms. Thornton also appears regularly as a travel expert on ABC, CBS, NBC and CW affiliates across the country to share travel trends, tips and deals with millions of viewers every year.

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