One of our hobbies is travelling and we go on trips a few times a year. We love to explore new places with their local history, get to experience different cultures, traditions and ways of thinking, and most of all, we value the family time we get from travelling.
Since we eat plant-based at home and like to keep a wholesome lifestyle even on trips, we always plan ahead many details of the trip.
Pack your own airplane food
We do not own a car, so whenever we travel we mostly go by plane. Sometimes we rent a campervan or take the train. However, regardless of the means of transportation, we always bring our breakfast, lunch and/or dinner with us. We have food containers with 2-3 compartments, which give us the flexibility to pack different kinds of food and keep them fresh and separated. Some of our favorite options are:
- Arepas with slices of tomato, avocado and oregano
- Hard-boiled eggs with whole grain bread, with cashew, peanut or almond butter
- Homemade granola and fruit
- Homemade whole grain pancakes with different kinds of butter and fruit
- Steamed vegetables with whole grain rice pasta
- Homemade ratatouille with whole grain spelt couscous
- Homemade veggie-pesto, swiss chards or spinach with baked potatoes
- Whole grain corn tortilla with beans or lentils, pico de gallo, avocado, lettuce and mushrooms
- Steamed vegetables with whole grain rice in a coconut-turmeric sauce
- Hummus with carrots, celery, fennel, cucumber and kohlrabi
- A vegetable or pumpkin soup with some nuts
* Fruits, raw vegetables and nuts are our favorite companions on the road.
Keep H20 flowing into your system
Staying hydrated is something we always pay attention to. We take our water bottles with us everywhere, and every time we fly, we bring them empty and refill them at water fountains.
I am a true believer that keeping our bodies hydrated is much more important than feeding them. Water supports every organ function, keeps you active and energized, and aids your gut microbiome in removing and excreting waste properly. Sometimes we like to combine water with some drops of fresh pressed lemon for vitamin C support. At this point, it is proper to mention that I am aware of how hygienic, or not, public bathrooms are in general. That is why I always keep a disinfectant, a small bottle of soap and tissues in my handbag.
Move your body every chance you get
We pack food and water, but in order to maintain a wholesome lifestyle we need movement. We take every chance we get to stand up, move around or stretch without thinking twice. Movement gets our bowels moving and our blood flowing. It stimulates our immune system and increases our oxygen level and it also helps us to continue with regular bowl movements, as well as helping us stay energized. If we are on a plane or a train, we walk back and forth and look for a spot where we are able to do some stretching exercises. If we are driving, we stop regularly to move a bit, stretch our legs and go to the bathroom.
There are many ways of advertising healthy and family friendly hotels, but oftentimes they do not meet our needs. Doing thorough research on the type of food hotels have to offer, where they are located, and if they have a gym or spa option is our standard program when choosing where to stay. On one hand, going on vacation means that from time to time we want to relax and spend most of the time doing activities that keep us away from preparing every single meal. Mostly, we like to have our breakfast included in order to sleep longer. On the other hand, we usually prefer hotels with rooms that have a kitchen, or at least a fridge; in that way, we have the freedom to buy groceries and eat fresh, homemade, organic food.
Healthy food options surrounding our hotel and excursion sites
Aside from choosing hotels that offer healthy food and that preferably have a small kitchen in the room, we usually plan ahead where we are going to eat lunch and dinner. We are aware of the fact that we cannot maintain the type of nutrition we have at home while on a trip. Nevertheless, we try to keep to it as much as possible. The fantastic thing about technology is that it brings us as close as possible to what we want.
Our step-by-step system: we open Foursquare and HappyCow and search for “healthy food”, “plant-based”, “organic restaurant or supermarket” and “farmers’ market”. Then we search for “vegetarian” and “vegan”. Even though we do not eat vegan, this term often pulls up tasty and nourishing food spots. After we are through with both, we compare our findings with those of Google maps. We believe in comparing to get more objective results and places these apps may have missed. In the end, we mark all our findings on our Google maps and have them ready for whenever we want to eat or do grocery shopping.
Explore through movement
The best way to explore a place is on foot or by bike. Not only is it the best way to get our body to move without having to set aside time for exercise, it also allows us to discover and see more of our travel destination. On our arrival, we have already marked some recommended sightseeing activities and places that represent to a certain point the culture and history of the place we are visiting. We plan our excursions depending on the distances between the places in order to take the metro, bus or taxi as little as possible. However, many of our most treasured memories are of places we discovered just by starting to walk through the streets and letting ourselves be carried away by our curiosity and the advice of the locals. Independently, of how we decide to see our destination, movement keeps our metabolic and digestive processes active and supports our gut microbiome withstand the changes in diet we might experience on a trip.
Take time to embrace the moment and reduce stress levels
Moving around, eating foods of a similar quality to that which we eat at home, exploring new cultures and encountering locals is a marvelous life experience. We also need to take some time for ourselves. For us, travelling with a 4-year old means that we need to find her playgrounds and places, where she can run, climb and move. Every day she yearns for a children’s spot. It is her right. We do the same kind of research as with the restaurants, cafés and supermarkets and offer it to her. While we observe and enjoy how she plays and interacts with other children, we also devote a few minutes to our breathing. We stand and take turns watching our daughter and doing focused breathing so that each of us can do it deeply and in a concentrated way. We love to embrace living in the present and keeping our stress levels controlled. And what better time to lower our stress levels and help our hormonal system get balanced as well as possible than when on holiday?