The Instagram logo

Healthy holiday hacks

Expert advice for how to stay healthy when you're travelling abroad this summer

If you're jetting off to sunny climes this summer, then you'll no doubt be looking forward to plenty of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation! But, at the same time, it can be easy to let our health and wellbeing slide a little when we are taking time off. Here, YHL gets some tips and advice on how to stay healthy and well during a summer getaway.

Plan balanced meals

"Indulging in local cuisines can be one of the highlights of any trip, but it's important to maintain a balance," says award-winning personal trainer, Amanda Place, founder of Sculptrition ( "Seek out restaurants that offer healthy and nutritious options, focusing on fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Opting for smaller portions, staying hydrated with plenty of water and limiting your consumption of sugary beverages can also prevent overeating and keep your gut health on good form." Amanda adds: "Snacking can be a tempting habit while on holiday, particularly when faced with an array of tempting treats and street food. Instead of giving in to unhealthy options, pack your own nutritious snacks such as fresh fruits, nuts, or protein bars. These portable options can help you avoid unhealthy snacking and provide sustenance between meals."

Make some time to exercise

"If you can find a nice spot in the shade outdoors, then I would use that space to get a quick workout in if you can," says Penny Weston, a nutrition, wellness and fitness expert, director of Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat and founder of "All you need is a beach towel, as an exercise mat is not something you want to be jamming into your suitcase. You don't always need specialist equipment for a workout: your own body weight is great. There are lots of total body workouts you can do from home, just using your own weight. If you did want to make things a bit tougher, why not add some water bottles in to use as weights. You can also use towels as resistance bands and chairs, as long as you have secured them properly, for exercises like tricep dips. Stairs are also great for running up and down (carefully) and strengthening your calf muscles with toe lifts."

Get sufficient sleep

"Adequate sleep is crucial for keeping your immunity levels boosted so you can return from holiday energised and refreshed rather than feeling even more run down and exhausted," says Amanda Place. "Prioritise good quality sleep by establishing a regular sleep routine and avoiding excessive caffeine and screen time before bed. If travelling across time zones, try to adjust your sleep schedule gradually to minimise the effects of jet lag. Engage in activities that help you de-stress, such as reading a book, meditating, moving mindfully, or enjoying a spa treatment. Completely logging off not only rejuvenates your mind but also supports your overall health and immunity."

Look after your gut

"Digestion is harder for the body when on a flight due to the expansion of gas in the stomach," says Penny Weston. "I would opt for a lighter meal when travelling, especially if you are flying long haul. Although fast food at the airport is a ritual for many of us, it should definitely be skipped. Fast food often contains more sodium, which can dehydrate you and cause headaches and dizziness. Fast food also contains a lot of saturated fats, which are difficult for the body to process. I'm a firm believer in eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in all the essential nutrients that come from plant-based goodness, such as lots of fruit and vegetables. If you choose vegetables in a wide range of colours, then you will be stocking up on essential antioxidants to best help your body's inflammatory response. They are also high in fibre, which is good for feeding gut bacteria and helping the process through the gut."

Stay hygienic

"Maintaining good hygiene practices is essential to avoid falling unwell while abroad," says Amanda Place. "Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and use hand sanitisers whenever they're available. Be cautious of the food and water you consume, opting for bottled or filtered water and avoiding raw or undercooked foods."

Protect your skin

There are several steps you can take to avoid getting sunburnt, which is a common predicament for many holidaymakers. Keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, which is the hottest part of the day. Wear a long-sleeved cotton shirt during the hottest times and also wear a hat – ideally with a wide brim to shield your face, ears and neck from the sun. Sunglasses will also help to protect your eyes from sun damage. Check to make sure that they block out 99 to 100 per cent of the sun's UV rays. Opt for a natural sunscreen that is mineral and/or zinc-based and be sure to reapply it every two to three hours, or after swimming. If you do get sunburnt, try applying some aloe vera gel to soothe and calm any redness and pain.

Read articles from our latest issue here...