Vacations are meant for relaxation and happiness, so how do you find the right balance of fun and healthy? Consider these practical ways to stay adaptable and enjoy yourself.


There are plenty of articles out there that will elaborate on “how to keep up with healthy habits while you travel”. However, many focus on tips that aren’t very practical for most everyday people. In fact, they don’t leave much room for fun in the equation. After all, isn’t that the point of vacation?

Here are a few common tips found around the internet, and how to reframe them in a more practical way.

1. Sleep More

Common tip: The most important thing you can do while traveling is sleep. Be sure to nap and also keep up with normal sleep routines.

On most vacations, some of the best memories are made late at night when everyone is playing games and drinking wine, which usually happens past your normal bed time. While yes, sleep is a very important part of a normal routine, it doesn’t hurt to stay up later (and probably sleep in later) than you normally would for a few days. Plus, think of the benefits that you get from bonding with friends and family.

2. Stay active.

Common tip: Make time for your exercise routine.

Prioritizing exercise is great if that’s what makes you feel good, but if you don’t personally crave going to the gym on vacation, don’t go.  Try walking as much as possible, and planning some active adventures such as scenic hikes or kayaking, as well as the more sedentary ones (like eating all that delicious food). This helps you get the best of both worlds. Keep in mind that you won’t totally lose all fitness gains in a weekend or even a week for that matter. However, in the end, do what feels right for you.

3. Drink less.

Common tip: Limit alcohol because it’s “loaded with calories.”

Isn’t this what vacation is for? Just kidding. But seriously, there is a happy medium here. After all, vacation is about indulgence and treating yourself, so it hardly makes sense to limit fun foods and drinks. However, do be mindful of how many drinks you are having so you don’t end up wasting the next day feeling hung over – there is nothing worse! Make it a point to stay hydrated throughout the day, which can be easy to forget when you are bumming around and having fun. Whatever your drink of choice, remember to savor it and check in with yourself after each to gauge if you really want another, or if water will do the trick.

4. Cook for yourself.

Common tip: Make your own meals as much as possible.

The best part about traveling is eating your way around the city and finding all of the best restaurants you could ever imagine. One thing you can do is make it a point to include some produce in each meal. This could be a side of fruit at breakfast, a salad at lunch, or adding some veggies to your pizza at dinner. You could also share heavier items so you still get to taste everything without feeling “Thanksgiving full” at the end. Whatever ends up happening, remember that tomorrow is a new day, and having the all-or-nothing mentality is not necessary.

Here’s to a better healthier and happier way to vacation!

Leanne Ray, MS, RDN is a Denver-based Registered Dietitian empowering women to sustain healthy lifestyles that are practical and realistic. By helping others find happiness and joy through delicious foods that don’t involve guilt or stress, she shares how healthy eating can involve satisfaction instead of boring, low-calorie diets. Visit her site to read more from Leanne.