Hey, rolling stone. Planning your next jet-setting adventure? Check my guide before you go for tips on staying fit and healthy on the go, my health packing list and a checklist of essentials to tick off before you travel.
Before you go
Check if you need, and book appointments for, travel vaccinations. fitfortravel.nhs.uk list country-specific requirements. Do this well in advance, as you may need a series of jabs.
Sort out travel insurance. Going on a single big trip? Shop around for country-specific deals. This is a good guide to travel insurance for Spain. Travelling a lot? Multi-trip insurance is the best choice, and I pay more to add extras such as winter sports and climbing up-front, so that I’m covered for the year’s adventures.
This is the one I always forget and end up doing in a last minute panic – check if you need a visa or an ESTA (permission to enter the United States), and you may need an ESTA if you’re in transit through the US.
Check your passport is up to date – some countries require at least six months of validity left.
Check UK government travel advice for the country you’re headed for to check you’ve got the vaccinations they recommend, and if travel to any specific areas is not advised.
Check your phone’s roaming charges, and buy a travel package if you need one.
Working out on the go
Keeping fit when you’re far from your local gym or favourite running route isn’t as hard as it might seem – it’s all about packing right and being prepared to improvise. It doesn’t matter where I’m going in the world, I’ll always pack trainers, leggings and a sports bra. It means I can always fit in a run with a bit of planning on Google Maps (and consideration for safety, obviously). I love running in a new place, as it’s the perfect way to explore and get to know a landscape or neighbourhood. I also pack my swimsuit – if you’re staying somewhere with a pool or near a lake, you can get up and do morning laps. And I always check to see if there are yoga classes on offer near me – they are easy to dip into and also help me de-stress and sleep well after life on the road. On my Christmas list this year is a foldable yoga mat.
I’m the first to admit that healthy eating habits tend to go out the (plane) window when I’m travelling, not least because I’m one of those people who LOVES plane food (and free plane wine). But once in-country I do try my best to eat well, not least so that I’ve got the energy to explore and in the hope of staving off any illnesses. I try to avoid snacking on junk food and I pack a supply of healthy snacks – even just having nuts and cereal bars in your rucksack to get you through busy days of hiking or backpacking can keep you going. You might be going out a lot to eat, but there are always good options that’ll fill you up without being too naughty – especially in Asia, where noodle soups and fresh stir fries are easy to come by. Street food is a tricky one – I always think life is too short not to try local delicacies in an exotic destination (Bolivian lamb heart kebabs, anyone?), but try to eat street food as a treat, not daily sustenance, and pick popular, clean-looking stalls.
What to pack for happy travels
Enough prescription medication for your trip.
Ear plugs for noisy hostels.
Tampons or a mooncup (not always available in other countries).
Painkillers and medication.
Antibacterial hand gel.
Filtering water bottle.