Last updated April 10, 2023
A road trip is one of the best ways to discover new places, shift your perspective and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Yes, that’s right. Contrary to what you might think, a road trip doesn’t mean you leave your healthy lifestyle behind the minute you hop into your car.
Depending on where you’re heading, a road trip can incorporate time for self-care, wellness and movement. And when you prioritize the destination (rather than endless hours of driving), you have a much better chance of connecting with nature, sampling local culture and expanding your palate to experience delicious, yet healthy cuisine.
Don’t let a road trip deter you from making healthy choices. Here are some wellness tips for your next road trip to make your getaway the most healthful it can be.
Healthy & Happy Road Trips
With the world as your oyster, how do you make the best choices for a road trip—both as a travel experience as well as for your health?
Choosing the right destination really does make or break a trip. But it also boils down to choosing your health over everything. Below are my top six suggestions for a healthy and happy road trip.
1. Consider your personal situation
There’s no right answer when it comes to expectations. We all want different things out of a road trip. Ask yourself what would you like to experience right now. Considering where you are in your health journey or what you’re interested in at this moment in time can really help you to decide where to go and how to maximize your time.
2. Driving distance
Driving long distances can really drain you. On a successful road trip, you really want to have a good balance between driving and relaxing. Before making your final decision on a destination, one of the most important things to consider is the driving distance. I like to map out the route on Google Maps and calculate how many miles I’d need to drive each day. If it seems like a lot, then it might be a good idea to reconsider your route. It’s not fun for you nor good for your health to spend too much time behind the wheel.
3. Availability of healthy foods
Sadly when it comes to the open road, often the only things available are fast food drive-ins and gas station snacks. It helps to do the research to see if this is the case for most of your trip. It’s a good idea to choose a destination with infrastructure along the route that does provide some healthy food options—at least for some of the journey.
4. Prioritize nature and beautiful landscapes
Spending time in nature has a way of making us feel better. It can better our mood, increase mental energy and clarity and provide an opportunity for more physical movement. By choosing a road trip destination with plenty of natural spots, getting out and reaping the benefits won’t need much of a push.
5. Know your interests (but be willing to try something new)
When trying to choose the perfect road trip destination it really helps to know what you like to see. This might all seem quite obvious but the key is to be willing to try something new. Usually, our most epic experiences come from those we least expect so it’s always a good idea to be a little spontaneous and leave space to be surprised. Such experiences have profound effects on our mental health and get our endorphins going.
Knowing your budget and staying within it can definitely help with not adding stress or mental pressure to your trip. If you have a lower budget consider a road trip close to home or in a country or region where car rental and gas prices are lower. It’s also a good idea to travel during the low season, too.
Top Wellness Tips for Your Next Road Trip
The good news is that you don’t need to go completely out of your way to make your next road trip healthier. All it takes is a little more planning and preparation. So buckle up and look no further than these seven wellness tips I swear by for all my road trips.
1. Pack healthy snacks
Depending on where you’re going and particularly in remote areas you might not be able to find healthy eating options. Before setting off, make sure to pack some of your favorite healthy snacks when options are scarce. Instead of relying on fast food and gas station snacks, pack healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, nuts and granola bars to keep you feeling full and energized.
2. Prioritize sleep
Being exhausted isn’t fun, but it’s also completely unsafe when you have to drive. Prioritizing sleep on a road trip not only keeps energy levels high but also keeps moods up and immune systems strong. Getting enough sleep is crucial for safe and enjoyable driving. Plan your itinerary so you have enough time to rest. And avoid driving while tired.
3. Set guidelines for yourself
Living life on the road can be spontaneous and fun. However, for those of us that thrive on routine, especially when it comes to wellness and self-care practices, you might want to establish a new routine on the road. This can help you to stay committed to your movement, journaling or meditation routine. You might want to set these habits before heading off in order to not lose track of your daily practice.
4. Plan your pit stops
Having planned stops where healthy options are available will make your trip easier. Also, taking regular breaks to stay hydrated and to stretch your neck, back and legs can really help your body. It’s important to take breaks every few hours to prevent stiffness. Use rest stops as an opportunity to take a quick walk or do some light exercise.
5. Have adequate insurance
This might not apply if you’re setting out on a road trip in your own country but when traveling internationally definitely make sure you have adequate cover in case of an emergency. Both car and medical coverage are essential during a road trip away from home.
6. Don’t lose sight of your goals
Just because you’re having fun on a road trip doesn’t mean your health goals need to take a back seat. Make sure to integrate them into your road trip itinerary and schedule some time out of your day.
7. Stay hydrated
It might mean more bathroom stops but dehydration can make us feel sleepy, weak and even lightheaded. Make sure to always travel with a refillable water bottle you can fill up at various points along the way. Drinking plenty of water is important for staying alert and avoiding fatigue while driving.
By following these wellness tips for your next road trip, you can help ensure that it will be a healthy and enjoyable experience.
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