How to stay healthy on the road, naturally

Travelling does all sorts of crazy things to your body.

Different weather, different water, different routine, different time zones, different foods. Throw in too much booze, too much sun, long days and long haul flights and it's not surprising that lots of people get sick on the road.

Of course, most of us don't pack our bags to then go and deprive ourselves of french pastries, Italian deserts, cocktails with little umbrellas and late nights in local clubs. But, there are some simple things that we can all do to stay a little healthier and a little happier on the road. 

Beautiful doors in Salvador, Brazil

drink plenty of water

Not downing enough agua can leave you sluggish, give you a dreadful headache or a short temper and generally make you a pretty crappy travel buddy. Not really what you want when you're supposed to be off having fun.

But, what do we mean by enough?

Technically, two litres per day. But what many people don't realise is that you need to drink much more when you're travelling in hot countries or taking part in strenuous activities; even sight-seeing in Europe during the summer months will deplete you pretty quickly.

That's why it's so important to have a constant supply of sanitised water with you at all times (especially if you're in a country with unsafe drinking water where drinking out of the tap simply isn't possible).

And remember, by the time you're feeling thirsty, your body has already been needing water for a while! Downloading a water drinking app, to track and remind you how much you've consumed daily, is handy for making sure you keep topped up and avoid dehydration.

Just do us a favour and go easy on the plastic bottles, even if you are in a country that recycles. Why not invest in a good quality BPA free water bottle, or a steripen if you're travelling to a country where you can't drink the tap water? The environment will thank you.


go big on fresh fruit and veg

We know, we know. The five-a-day rule is not something new - most of you probably go silently throughout the day ticking them off your mental to-do list. And whilst this might be easy enough whilst wondering around your local Sainsbury's, in some countries and on some trips, you might have to try a little harder.

How to stay healthy on the road, naturally

For those of you that enjoy eating out, try and vary your restaurant choices so that you're not always hitting the same steak houses, burger stores and pizza joints - actively seek out restaurants that offer vegetarian options. They may be a little harder to find, but it usually guarantees that you'll be able to find something a little greener than a pathetic side salad sitting next to your fries.

If you travel on a budget, getting your daily fill of fruit and veggies can actually be a little easier. Whilst so many backpackers opt for instant noodles and giant bowls of pasta, cooking up something healthy and nutritious is much simpler than most people realise - it just takes a little more effort! If you're travelling for a while, check out our post on the secret to great hostel cooking, and never cook a dull meal again.

Another excellent tip is to check out juice and smoothie bars, where you can get a good serving of fruit and/or veggies in one go - just make sure to ask for it without sugar! We learnt this the hard way in South America, a place where to have your smoothie without two tablespoons of sugar is something of a rarity.


packing supplements

When you're based at home with access to regular healthy meals, the experts tend to agree that taking multivitamins is usually unnecessary. However, there are often days when we travel when we'll barely consume an entire vegetable, and the only fruit option will be sweetened orange juice.

This is why we choose to take a supply of multi-vitamins with us. We know it's not a replacement for a balanced diet, but we both recognise that poor nutrition leaves us feeling crappy, and that there will always be days where most of our time will be split between buses and the bus station, with a giant pack of Doritos as our main meal. 

Sometimes, despite the best of intentions, getting consistent good nutrition on the road is just too difficult. Throw in the bugs floating around the plane and all the new, wonderful (and not so wonderful) things you'll expose yourself to, and it's understandable that travelling can sometimes leave you feeling run down.

It will give you the poops, bung you up, hand you a cold, make you puke, or possibly leave you with the worst hangover of your life (or a heady combination of all of the above depending on how often you indulge in that dodgy food stand or the entire bottle of local spirit!) That's why it's so important to not only try and establish healthy travel routines, but to also be prepared for those times when your body inevitably suffers.

Alongside an over-stuffed first aid kit and fantastic travel insurance, making room in your hand luggage for travel-specific natural remedies to ease common traveller health complaints is sensible. Mother Brown's simple, plant-based supplements provide a natural way to deal with and alleviate the problems we all inevitably encounter on the road - like jet-lag and 'traveller' belly'. After all, the side-effects of late nights, street food and a great parties with new friends shouldn't be allowed to ruin your next adventure!


natural sleep patterns

Late nights out, early mornings sight-seeing, noisy streets and even noisier room mates plus the dreaded long haul flight. It's not surprising that your sleep patterns get thrown out of whack when you set off on an adventure.

Not so dreadful if you're travelling for months, but a nightmare if you've only got a couple of weeks - the last thing you need is grogginess or exhaustion getting in the way of your all too brief holiday and adventure!

For someone who is used to working ridiculous shift patterns, I know that fixing a disrupted sleep pattern is much easier said than done and that no amount of great advice is going to have you flip your body clock immediately upon flying into Sydney from London. 

However, there are simple things that you can try both before, during and after your flight to help you adjust. For example, in the run up to your trip, try and slowly alter your body clock rather than simply staying up super late the day before you fly. 

Drinking from coconuts in Brazil

Once you've boarded the plane, the temptation can be to hit up the free alcohol trolley, eat everything that's offered you and abandon all hopes of easing into the new time zone with binges of whatever box set your airline is showing. Instead, avoid caffeine heavy drinks and alcohol, opting for water instead, eat only when you're hungry (airplane food is notoriously dull and not terribly good for you, so you could even consider bringing your own healthy munchies!) and set your watch to your new timezone. If you should be sleeping, try and get some rest!

The same goes for when you arrive. If it's midday, have some lunch and try to last until evening, if the sun's shining go for a walk and if it's night-time, head straight for bed. It may well feel horrible, but I promise you'll adjust a lot quicker!


just move!

Some trips are designed to be action-packed, calorie-busting affairs that work muscles you didn't recall having. Others involve flouncing around vineyards, checking into the best restaurants, club nights and greasy street food.

One of these will leave you happy, but possibly a few pounds heavier. However, as firm believers in the merits of the latter approach to travel, we know that the days spent bar hopping need to be mix and matched with bike rides, country hikes, pounding the pavement and the beach run.

Thankfully, it's actually quite easy to get a bit of exercise in on the road - you just have to remember to do it. On our travels we've found loads of hostels offering free (or very cheap) yoga classes, hotels with gyms, beautiful running routes and salsa classes. 

If you look hard enough, you can usually find a spot to chuck a towel down and run through a sun salutation or two or one of the many quick and sweaty circuits on pinterest. Planning on sticking around in a place for more than a week? Contact the local gyms as it os not uncommon for places to let you join short-term.

If all else fails, chuck on a pair of trainers and go for a jog and conquer the city on foot. There are lots of great sites for finding local running routes around the world - a couple of our favourites are mapmyrun and runkeeper.

Lastly, to avoid more serious illness when travelling, ensure that you are adequately vaccinated for each country you visit. 


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Nobody likes getting sick on the road. Click on the pin to discover some simple and natural ways to stay healthy on your next trip!

This post was produced in collaboration with Mother Brown's Remedy, a fantastically natural and vegan-friendly company whose products we have used on our summer 2016 travels and can recommend. All opinions, as always, are ours.