Staying on Track during Summer Travel

I am SO happy our beloved Trainer Jani wrote this post for us.  I hope you guys all read every word!  A couple of summers ago I had a few months FULL of travel.  I had fun and enjoyed myself and halfway through the summer I realized I had gained 10lbs!  I very much had an attitude of “I’ll just have fun and enjoy myself and after this one last trip I’ll just hit it hard and everything will be great.”  I was working with a great trainer at the time and he wasn’t putting up with any of that.  I was about to leave on one last trip that involved over 4 straight days in a car and a long vacation.  He challenged me to ditch the attitude I had and instead, commit to eating healthy, keeping an eye on my calories, and exercising every day on my trip.  I begrudgingly agreed, thinking it would completely ruin my vacation and I was so wrong.  It wasn’t hard to make a few little changes, and it helped me stay focused and make good choices.  I had a great trip and came home 2lbs lighter!  It was a great reminder to me that travel and fun don’t have to totally derail the good habits you’re building now, OR make your vay-cay a total bummer.  So read this post of Jani’s and leave a comment with your best travel tip in the comment section!

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Trainer Jani

Summer is nearly here, kids are almost out of school and it’s time to play!!!   Get ready for backyard BBQ’s, camping, picnics at the park, trips to the pool or the beach, 4th of July celebrations, family reunions, vacations, road trips, etc!  But hold on.  You’ve worked hard to get where you are.   You’ve made it a priority to get in regular exercise.  You have cleaned up your diet and your healthier choices have been paying off.   You feel better, you are healthier, and hopefully the inches are slowly but surely coming off.  Don’t let summer be a time to just undue all that you have accomplished!  With a little planning and a few simple strategies in place, you CAN stay on track while on vacation or on that family road trip.

  • First of all, pack a small cooler for the car filled with healthy snacks such as, fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese sticks, yogurt, individual peanut butter packets, nuts, trail mix, granola bars (homemade are best), beef jerky, protein bars, dried fruit, etc.  If you are travelling via airplane, stash some of these non-perishables in your suitcase and a few in your purse to have on hand while on the plane.  If you bring along nuts, granola, or trail mix, be careful of mindless eating while bored driving in the car.  Pack them in individual snack size bags so you don’t consume too much, as these snacks are healthy but not low calorie.
  • Keep a water bottle with you filled with ice water to prevent dehydration.  Pack along some flavor packets to pour in if you have a hard time drinking plain water.  While in flight, avoid alcohol and soft drinks — both can dehydrate you. Water is always your best bet for staying hydrated and sticking to your diet.
  • When stopping for meals , avoid fast food restaurants.  I know.  I have 5 kids and sometimes, it’s just easier.  Choosing a salad with the grilled chicken will be your best bet and use the dressing sparingly.  There is an app called Around Me you can download to your smart phone which can help you locate healthier restaurants such as Sweet Tomato, Chipotle, Zupas, etc.
  • Try to eat every 2 to 3 hours so you don’t get so famished and opt for that gas station hot dog, or an entire bag of chips.  Keep those healthy snacks handy!
  • If you’re going to be in the car all day, stop every couple hours to get out and stretch and move around a bit.  You can also use the Around Me app to locate local parks.  Let the kids out to play and don’t forget to play with them!
  • Choose to stay at hotels that have a fitness center.  If there is no fitness center available, print off some workouts that don’t require any equipment, such as Our Best Bites fit club summer hiit, core challenge, or 20 minute AMRAP and you can do them right in your hotel room in less than 30 minutes.
  • Continental breakfasts are definitely a bonus when you have the kids to feed.  Your healthiest option will most likely be the eggs, fresh fruit, and whole wheat toast.  And while you’re there, snag some apples, oranges, and bananas for snacking throughout the day.  Or you might consider staying at a condo with a kitchenette or rent a house so you can make your own meals, which will not only save on calories, but money too!  When my husband and I went to Hawaii a couple years ago, we only ate out once a day for dinner.  We packed our suit cases with many of the items listed above and when we got there we went to the famers market and picked up lots of fresh fruit and veggies.  We made our breakfast every morning, and would pack a lunch to go with us during the day.

It doesn’t take much effort to implement a few of these ideas, and certainly it will make getting back into a routine easier if you didn’t completely let yourself go.    Save a few calories here and there by skipping out on the fried foods, sugary drinks, and vending machine snacks.  Stay active wherever you can, and go ahead and indulge on the things you really want and when you do, savor it, eat slow, and enjoy every bite.  If you have any good tips or ideas to make staying on track while traveling easier, please share by commenting below!


Jani has over 20 years of experience working in the fitness industry.  She has a BS in Health Promotion and is certified in many disciplines including personal training, group exercise, yoga, Pilates, TRX suspension training, Insanity®, Zumba®, and water fitness.  She currently teaches a variety of group exercise classes for the Treasure Valley West YMCA in Boise, ID  and also owns her own personal training business, Body Balance Training.  As a busy mom of five kids she understands the challenge of finding a balance between  family , church, work, maintaining a home, and taking care of ourselves.  She believes that if we can make our own health and well-being a priority, we will be better equipped to handle the demands of a busy lifestyle and enjoy a better quality of life.


  1. Great tips! We do most of them. I do find that sticking to what I usually eat at home ensures that I feel better during the trip.

    One thing that I started doing for road trips was freezing water bottles and using them to cool the cooler for the drive. We don’t need all those water bottles right away, and it helps to keep things cool without taking up extra space. And we find that having our own breakfast is the easiest one to pack and bring with us. The kids even are used to us bringing along our own shelf stable milk cartons so they can have milk on their cereal first thing in the AM.

  2. just the post i needed for getting ready for our road trip this summer. I am so excited to have your 20 minute workouts that don’t need anything to incorporate into my travel fitness routine this summer. Thank you!

  3. These are great tips! I’ve been doing these on our trips already, and they have helped me maintain weight even through our move across the country where I’ve been unable to workout at all due to spending almost 20 hours a day awake and unloading, unpacking, getting 3 kids settled, etc.

    I will say that fast food salads turn out to be more of a “cleanse” than a nutritious meal in my case. If we eat at McDonalds, I just get one small hamburger and one small fries, or just 2 small hamburgers, and have water. Then it’s just the calories of a normal lunch.

    I also totally agree with eating often enough. I find the old advice of “don’t eat if you’re not hungry” to actually backfire – once I’m hungry, I want to FILL UP! If I eat before that, and never let myself get too hungry but instead keep an eye on the calories for the day, this goes so much better. And I agree on the water. If I’m too hungry on vacation, it’s almost always dehydration. It’s hard to drink enough when you’re not always sure where the next bathroom will be!

  4. We have done several long car trips (East coast to Utah/Colorado) with our 6 kids. I like to print out fitness activities we can do at a gas station or rest stop and at each stop we draw one out of the bag and do whatever it says. We’ve done push-ups on the side of the car or building, we’ve done laps around the gas station, we’ve done jumping jacks in the gas station bay, we’ve raced down the street or along the length of the rest stop. The element of surprise from drawing it out of the bag makes it fun and as long as I’m not embarrassed about doing it, the kids have fun doing it. It helps us move around a bit so we can be ready to sit again.

    Also, I’m trying to make a distinction for my kids between “treats” and “snacks.” When we are traveling we like to eat lots of snacks, but they don’t all have to be treats. When I make the effort to pack baby carrots, string cheese, apples, etc. instead of just treats all day long, we all feel better by the time we get there.

    Last thing is that I make lunch in the car instead of stopping for fast food. Even when we are traveling for multiple days, we can take turkey and rolls or bread in the car and it saves time, money, and calories. Even if we eat fast food for dinner, we feel way better if we only eat it for one meal a day instead of 2. And when we stop I almost always opt for a Chick-fil-A asian salad with grilled nuggets, which is tasty, satisfying, and does very little damage to my diet.

  5. On our spring break vacation to CA, I made a lot of stuff ahead of time and froze it. We only ate out 3 times for the whole week. It was nice to come back to the house we stayed in and have our dinner ready in 30 minutes or less. I made things like sloppy joes, your chicken taquitos, black bean burgers, granola, muffins, etc. We all felt so much better eating foods we were used to and that were so much healthier than eating out! I’m doing the same thing for another trip we’re going on this summer.

  6. Even if you’re not renting a house or condo, lots of hotels have rooms with microwaves and fridges, and you can do quite a bit of cooking with just those! I generally do it because of food allergies, but it really helps to make healthier choices as well. I like to pack oatmeal cups and cereal for breakfasts, and if I’m only traveling a few hours I’ll even stick leftovers in a cooler to re-heat!

    My tip is if you’re visiting or staying with family – do the cooking (or at least some of it!) Although I know for some people not cooking is what vacation is all about! When we stay with my in-laws, I plan meals and do most of the cooking. I enjoy cooking and like it when I get to cook for more than 2. It means we avoid some of the less healthy choices others might cook and we eat out less. Again, I need to do this because of allergies, but it means we stick closer to the healthy diet we eat at home.

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