10 Tips for a Fun and Healthy Vacation

June 22, 2014

Summer vacations are one of the best parts of the year.  Vacations are a time when we can get away from day-to-day responsibilities, have fun with family and friends, or travel to new places.  The most important to-do item on a vacation is to have fun.

You are going on vacation, but your weight loss goals are not.  The healthy habits you follow at home aren’t going on vacation.  Do you take your healthy habits with you while you’re away or do you leave them at home?  For many of us, we want to have fun and that means leaving our healthy food choices and exercise behind.

Think ahead and prepare so you don’t completely abandon your healthy habits while on vacation.

Vacation tips for food

  1. Eat a High Protein, Low-Fat Breakfast:  Protein food choices such as eggs, lean ham or turkey bacon are best.  Protein food choices will stay with you longer so you don’t get hungry quicker.  Avoid the high-carb continental breakfasts that many hotels offer.  A high protein breakfast sets you up for healthier eating for the whole day.
  1. Pack Snacks:  Bring healthy snacks with you so you are not tempted by fast foods or junk food snacks.  Healthy snacks that are mobile are beef or turkey jerky, protein bars and fruit.  Eating snacks you are used to will remind you of your normal healthy food choices.
  1. Ditch Dinner Disasters:  Eating in restaurants can be the biggest challenge to avoid vacation weight gain.  Many times, our inhibitions get checked at the door when it comes to restaurant fare.  When we are at home, we control what goes into the dishes we prepare.  In restaurants, we don’t know what they put into our food or how much.  Don’t be shy, ask questions about ingredients and preparation, and make requests to accommodate what you want to eat.  There is more to being on vacation than food so make your food choices reflect the healthy eating you do at home.
  1. Room with a Kitchen:  Consider booking a hotel room with a kitchen or a mini-refrigerator so you can buy healthy foods.  This will save you money from eating out so much but and allow you to be in control of what you’re eating.  You can eat some of your meals in your room and some meals in a restaurant.  A compromise for calorie savings and money savings would be to eat breakfasts and lunches in and eat dinner out.


Vacation tips for fitness

  1. Early Exercise:  If you exercise first thing in the morning, you’re more likely to eat healthy and less likely to become lethargic for the day.  When you exercise in the morning, you’re more apt to stick to the regular exercise routine you have at home.  Exercising also gives you more energy to enjoy the rest of your vacation day.
  2. Fit in Fitness:  Vacations are the opportunity to refresh, re-energize and relax from the responsibilities of life.  Vacations are not an excuse to take a vacation from your health.  Make sure to fit in fitness by booking a room at a hotel with a gym, select a vacation destination that allows you to stay active in things you enjoy (swimming, hiking, biking, tennis, golf, water sports).
  1. Pack Resistance Bands:  Don’t be caught without a way to exercise.  Resistance bands are lightweight and easy to take with you.  Resistance bands will allow you to strengthen your body no matter where you are on vacation.
  1. Actively Sight-see:  Ask hotel staff for a walking or cycling map of sightseeing, rent a bike, hike, play beach volleyball, canoeing, or find local nature walks and tracks.  Research tour operators that offer walking and biking tours.


Vacation tips for tracking

  1. Record your diet and activity:  Continue to journal your food and activity.  The ObesityHelp Health Tracker allows you to do that all in one place through your laptop or mobile device.
  2.  Create a Goal:  For extra motivation to keep your healthy habits while on vacation, create your own goal or join the goal “Continue my healthy habits and activity while on vacation” on the ObesityHelp Goal System.


Remember what your vacation is about for you.  Having fun, enjoying time with your family or friends, seeing new sights or revisiting your favorite places should be your priorities.  Food is not the focus of a vacation.  Return home with memories rather than extra pounds.

Eating healthy foods and staying active when on vacation can be a challenge. However, your health is worth it. When you make healthy choices, you will also fight illnesses that you might encounter when vacationing. Be more attentive, so that you can enjoy your trip. Eat well, stay active, relax and have a great time!

cathy wilson


Cathy Wilson, PCC, BCC, had RNY surgery in 2001 and lost 147 pounds. Cathy is a regular contributor to the OH Blog and authored the "Mind Matters" column in ObesityHelp Magazine. Cathy is a licensed pilot and loves flying. She is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC).

Read more articles by Cathy!