tips for a healthy business trip.

Posted on Feb 8, 2011 in Travel

I’m very fortunate to work for an organization that puts great value in professional development. It is amazing to get out of the office for a few days, bounce ideas off my peers and learn the latest and greatest. Plus, it is just plain fun to jet-set to a new city and experience all it has to offer.

Today, I’m flying out to Boulder, Colorado for a really fantastic conference for interaction designers. I attended this one last year and came back refreshed, energized and really, really excited about what I do!

But it is always a struggle to keep up a healthy lifestyle on business trips. Usually you are with your colleagues who might not quite see eye-to-eye with your healthy choices. The schedule can be jam-packed. The food choices can leave something to be desired. And you can easily get swept up in the “what happens in Vegas” mentality and chuck your entire healthy plan out the window (something I am WAY guilty of).

So here are my tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle while on a business trip.

1. Pack healthy snacks.

You may feel really silly cramming your luggage with food (I used to), but this is the single most important item on this list! Healthy snacks can help so much. They can keep you from grabbing a donut from the food table. They can sub in for a quick breakfast in lieu of the hotel buffet. They can hold you over until you find a healthy restaurant.

I like to bring granola bars, dried fruit, trail mix, some sort of chippy thing and a sturdy fruit. I’ve even been known to pack instant oatmeal for a quick breakfast. I pack all of these in freezer bags and wedge them in between my clothes.

Also, don’t forget to pack snack baggies to transport small amounts of your snacks. I made these cuties. Reusable, cute and not plastic!

Each morning of the conference, I’ll pack up some snacks and throw them in my bag. They have more than once saved me from extreme tummy-grumbling embarrassment! Most of these conferences work on a food schedule that doesn’t match mine, so it’s nice to have some tummy-tamers.

2. Stay Hydrated

Traveling can be incredibly dehydrating. Flying is a particularly bad culprit. Take your water bottle, dump it out right before airport security and fill it up as soon as you lace your shoes back up. Keep it close at all times.

Business trips can be so haphazard that it is easy to forget the simple things in life. Just by keeping your normal hydration levels you’ll have more energy, sleep better, think better and…stay regular. Being dehydrated is a key culprit to just not feeling like yourself. Drink!

3. Find your crowd.

Obviously, you don’t always get to choose who you travel with for business trips, but if you do (and can at very least choose who spend the majority of your time with), choose the people who will urge you to make the right decisions.

I am very fortunate to be traveling with my friend/colleague, Heather (hi Heather!), who has the same food and fitness philosophy I do. It is much easier to get up and go for walk after dinner when you have someone who wants to go with you. Find your crowd and go in search of the best healthy, fresh restaurant you can find (we found an awesome one last year).

If you find like-minded people, healthy choices will come naturally in the group. In fact, the next tip is from Heather’s genius mind.

4. Request a room near the hotel fitness center.

When I was in Philadelphia, we happened to get a room across from the fitness center and it was perfect! Each time we walked out our door, we were reminded of the gym. No out of sight, out of mind.

This time, we are specifically requesting a room by the fitness center. Guilt yourself into a workout! Hey, whatever works, right?

5. Explore!

You are in a different city. Go explore! Get out and walk. See the sights. Park the rental car (or don’t even get one) and go see your locale on foot. You’ll get some much-needed activity AND get to see the sights.

I like to walk everywhere when I’m out-of-town. Even if you don’t make it to the gym, walking between sessions, to different restaurants and through town can really, really help keep you on track. Plus, like I said, one of the nice parts about business trips is the change of scenery. Get out and enjoy it!

6. Balance out your fun.

There was an incident with pot pie and a sampler of beer at lunch when we were in Philadelphia. Which is fun and fine! But it is important to balance out the fun. Plan on having an extravagant dinner? Go for it! But make sure you have a fresh and light breakfast and lunch.

It is silly to deny yourself some fun food, but you can make sure you don’t come back with an extra 10 pounds on your frame. Make sure you get to sample the local delicacies! Have fun with your food, but don’t throw everything out the window.

See you soon, Rocky Mountains!

What are your tips for a healthy business trip?

52 Comments

  1. Have a nice trip!!

  2. It looks as if you are very much prepared. I would love a “how to” post on your cute little snack baggies. I am not much of a sewer, but I do have a machine and would love to be able to use it for something this useful! Have fun in Colorado. It is very beautiful there!

    • I could probably do that! They are super easy.

  3. trailmix and water is the best combo for any trip. thanks for the great tips and congrats on being freshly pressed

    • Thanks! I love trail mix!

  4. What a great post jam-packed full of useful and sensible information! I battle low blood sugar & cannot manage meals on meeting schedules so I pack like you … nuts, pb crackers, string cheese, fruit, oatmeal packs & protein mixes. These have saved my hide more than once.

    Congrats on being freshly pressed, too – well deserved! MJ

    • I think my carry-on bag has more snacks in it than anything else!

  5. Good advice. I am going to share this with a friend.

    • Thanks for spreading the word!

  6. Great tip and those bags look really cute. What do you use for the lining?

    • Thanks! I use solid color quilter’s cotton covered in a layer of iron-on vinyl.

  7. Great post! I love the little snack baggies….so cute!
    http://www.countoncross.com

  8. Boulder is absolutely gorgeous- I lived in Denver many years ago and spent many a weekend there exploring… love the little cafes and bookshops etc.
    Very good tips re: living healthy on the road- those little “nack bags” you’ve made are adorable!

    • Boulder looks amazing! But so, so cold. We couldn’t explore much because it was dangerously cold. Well definitely get out and explore when it warms up today.

  9. Very helpful! I’m going on a trip tonight so you got me thinking. One thing — wouldn’t it make sense not to have a room near the fitness center? That way, you have to make an effort to get there? Devil’s advocate I know, but it’s kind of like people who circle the parking lot by the gym trying to find the closest spot….

    • Good point! But I’ve found that the benefits of walking further to get to the gym are greatly outweighed by thte benefits of it being convenient. But that might just be me! I could definitely hear myself saying both, “I should workout, but it is SOOOO far away.” and “I don’t wanna workout, but it is so close!”

  10. Cool post! I agree with the water part! Thanks for the great tips :)

    • I’m learning the water thing is especially important when you ar traveling to higher altitudes!

  11. Congrats on FP

  12. I love your little reusable bags!! Those are too cute, makes me wish I could sew!! I would also love to know how you made them, maybe I can talk my grandma into making me some!

    I always pack a ton of food when I travel anywhere just because I have been stuck in several places where I didn’t think food would be a problem and it was. I eat like 6 or 7 small meals a day so pretty much no one is on my schedule.

    One of my favorite traveling foods are those little packets of Justin’s nut butters. Usually even if you have no other options, most hotels have some kind of fruit sitting out at all times, and you can pair it with a little almond butter and have a nice snack! Totally saved me on a recent trip to Utah when we got snowed into the hotel and there was no room service!

    • The bags are stupendously easy. Cut out squares from an outside fabric and inside liner fabric to be the size you want. I used 6 1/2″ squares of cotton. Iron on fusible vinyl (which can be found at the fabric store) onto the liner. Sew strips of velcro onto the vinyl side toward the top. Then sew a liner piece to an outside piece, right sides together at the top, repeat with other two pieces. Line those two pieces up, right sides together. Sew all thhe way around the perimeter leaving an 1″ gap to turn. Turn, iron, sew closed the opening and the stuff the liner inside the bag, Tada!

  13. These are great tips, I’m going on a Business trip in March. I’ve never thought of bring food with me, but it sounds like a great idea. Thank you!

    • Have an awesome trip!!!

  14. hey girlie…congrats on being freshly pressed!! another great blog! and I love the little snack bags…you may have the makings of a home based business there!!

    • Thanks! I used to sell all kinds of things like that through Etsy, but I just lost interest in the selling part. There are tons of people that still sell them on Etsy though, so if you are looking to buy, that is the place!

  15. Your little baggies are so cute! it’s a great idea. I think carrying food to a certain extent is also true for pleasure trips because eating out can become so expensive when you are traveling and like you say, if you are looking for healthy food, in a new place that can be hard to find!I learnt it the hard way in Hawaii where they import everything and thus either all expensive or spam!:P:P

    • I totally carry food for personal trips, too. We always seem to be trying to save money, and having, at the very least, breakfasts in the hotel can save beau coup dollars!

  16. Great tips! I always keep almonds and raisins in the car and try to keep them with me wherever I go.

    I’d add drinking tea (even taking some of your favorite specialty tea bags like chai or Constant Comment) often; a nice change from water and soothing on a miserable winter’s day. And taking along a theraband or other stretching device to stay limber and loose.

    • THAT’S what I forgot! I almost always bring a bunch of teas bags. Awesome tip!

  17. love the tips. i’ll use some when i go to vegas in a month for a convention :)
    i travel for work and always try to bring some healthy breakfast options with me. given that i live in canada and usually travel to the states, i can’t bring fruit. as soon as i get to where i’m going i pick up fruit and water.

    • Oooh! Vegas should be fun!
      Another tip I love is to buy fruit as soon as you hit your terminating airport. You can normally find something with apples, bananas, etc. around your arriving gate.

  18. Great tips! And your snack bags are very pretty. I ‘ll try a few tips on my next business trip. Congrats on being FP. This is your second time, right? :)

    • It sure is! I feel so lucky!

    • It sure is! I feel so lucky!

  19. Excellent tips and photos… brings back memories of my endless business traveling days. :-)

    • Thankfully I don’t have to travel for business that often. I can imagine it’d get annoying very fast.

  20. Great advice and great shots. Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed.

  21. Good tips! Once I get a chance to travel this year, will try to do your points. Thanks for sharing! :)

    • Thanks! Have fun on your trip!

  22. Nice tips and great post with nice pictures.

  23. Excellent tips! I have some business travel coming up, I should definitely remember to pack some healthy snacks to ward off temptation.

  24. Good idea. I’m going to absolutely start packing more food. Those snack baggies are great. My blood sugar is on a constant roller coaster. I’m always telling my self, oh I’ll find something along the way. Big mistake.

  25. I pack snacks too!
    One thing that I’m guilty of while on a trip are 5 cans of Nescafe original coffee. I cannot start my day without coffee, but this is a good thing in a couple of ways. First of all, if I’m running late and don’t have time to grab breakfast, I usually just grab one of these and sip and drink. That prevents me from going out on an empty stomach, which isn’t good.
    The second thing I do when I’m attending a long conference session is I pack Saltines. These are great for munching on and they also manage to fill you up for some time. I usually carry around one box, and then whenever I step out of the hotel room, I slip 5 of these in my bag. There are two in one packet, so that makes 10 snacks for the day.
    I’m a gym person, and I don’t need reminding. Whenever I’m travelling, I usually go with my friends, and the thing is, gym is actually FUN with them around! Which brings me to another tip of yours, exploring the scenery.
    Usually, I go around on the first day, and do a full day of roaming, coming back later for the meeting or whatever it is I have to go to. On that one day, I make note of all the wide open safe areas. Now, I’m a morning person, so I usually get up, find a place to go for a run, and go. :)
    I guess that’s what I do on a really professional trip. There’s tons more I do on a leisure trip, because you’ve got more free time to try things out.
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!
    Ashley, aka TheEverydayMuser
    http://www.theeverydaymuser.wordpress.com

  26. Nice post! This is one of the most colorful posts I have read in months. I can certainly relate to your travel plan – having been in the same situation numerous times for conferences, workshops and speaking engagements – I definitely have my list of “personal” things on a checklist that makes travel so much nicer. You just can’t count on airline food, and what might be available when you get there. The GORP bag (combination of dried fruit, grains, nuts, and sometimes chocolate) is a great way to keep energy up and not fall for a carb snack which can be a killer later in the day! If any of our group are presenting, we always make sure that when we get the question about needing anything that we answer, “a fresh banana”. You probably know how it goes, as a presenter or moderator you work the room the entire time, and if there is a meal break there are a bunch of questions and sometimes you just don’t get to eat much. The banana is packed with nutrients that help keep you on top of your game. So my plan is always to skip the carbs, sweets and caffeine, and start the day with a protein shake, eggs or oatmeal, snack during the trip on GORP, and then make sure I have that banana in case the meal plan just doesn’t work out!

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  27. Very nice post. I must admit, when you mentioned about falling into the “what happens in Vegas” thinking, I’ve been a victim of that on almost every business trip. It definitely takes more effort to prepare all of this for a trip, but I can see how it could pay off in the long run for your health and wallet. I would like to request if I could re-post this article on my blog at http://www.mygo2it.com/go2itblog. It’s a blog about travel and events, so I think my readers would find your article very interesting. I would give you proper credit, of course.

  28. Boulder is absolutely gorgeous- I lived in Denver many years ago and spent many a weekend there exploring… love the little cafes and bookshops etc.
    Very good tips re: living healthy on the road- those little “nack bags” you’ve made are adorable!

  29. Love all these suggestions! It just takes a little bit of planning and anyone can be healthy while away from home :) Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>