Golden sunsets in Zanzibar, island hopping around Sri Lanka and yoga retreats in Nicaragua: holidays in 2017 have got a whole lot more exotic than a couple of weeks in Spain.
A report released this year found that, despite the falling pound, we’re all about trips to far-flung destinations such as Rio de Janeiro, Singapore, Mumbai and Cambodia, with good value flights making them more tempting than ever.
And while many of us still try to step up the workouts before we head off to sun ourselves, we reckon that feeling well, rested and happy while you head on your jungle trek, practice your headstand or chill on toasted sands is important, too. Here’s how to keep your health on point, even when you’ve flown half way around the world.
1. Don’t forget the fibre and protein
Holidays can often feel like excellent excuses to pig out, but totally changing your diet overnight can leave your body reeling. We’re all for having a great time, but don’t forget the fibre and protein, to keep you feeling full and, ahem, regular. You may not be able to find the same protein-rich yoghurt you get at home, but beans, seeds, pulses and brown rice or pasta are excellent choices. Also try dried fruit and nuts, which keep in your bag unrefrigerated for ages. Win.
2. Keep it fresh
Eating enough fresh fruit and veg will help digestion, and keep you feeling and looking bright. Be sure to peel everything yourself, or wash in bottled water before eating. If you’re careful, there’s no reason why your holiday should be a total stodge-fest. You could even seek out local and unfamiliar fruits for an extra flavour of the exotic. Smelly durian, anyone?
3. Jettison jetlag
Jetlag may feel unavoidable, but getting as much shut-eye as you can will help. We know, all those in-flight movies await, but make it easier to nod off by packing an eye mask, earplugs, shawl or cosy socks in your hand luggage, and if you can stretch to them, noise-cancelling headphones. Natural magnesium supplements can also help you to relax and feel calm. Bliss.
4. Stay awake snacks
It’s not just about napping: packing some stay-awake snacks can also help when you land – and we don’t mean ten triple espressos. Try squares of dark chocolate, oat bars (watch for excess sugar) or a handful of walnuts. The caffeine in the chocolate is kinder than coffee, while the slow-release energy in the oats and the Omega-3 fatty acids in the walnuts will keep you going until you’ve reset your inner clock.
5. Get sun savvy
Don’t get caught out: sun in exotic climes is often much stronger than in the UK. But remember, pack more cream than you think you’ll need, at a higher factor, and reapply regularly. Choose easy-to-apply spray versions, or choose one with a gorgeous scent so you’ll love putting it on (and take travel wipes if you hate sticky hands).
6. Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise
There’s nothing worse than looking back on your holiday photos and realising that your face is craggier than the mountains in the background. Hydration starts from the plane: pack a hand-luggage-sized moisturiser and lather it on your face and body throughout (nothing dries skin like flying at 40,000 feet). You could even try after-sun or aloe vera-enriched creams for deep relief. Keep it lighter on your T-zone, and creamier on your body. Smooth.
7. Be a hydration station
Get on the H20 – when you’re sweating it out in tropical climes, you need to stay topped up. Drink bottled water, spray some cooling mist, and have a soft drink for every alcoholic one. Doing this will keep your digestion going – something that flying can mess with, as well as preventing headaches or lack-of-liquids-induced dizziness.
8. Stay active
If walking from your bed to the sunlounger was the most activity you had planned for your hols, we wouldn’t blame you. But being away doesn’t mean dropping your workout. Of course, we don’t mean you should pack your dumbbells (hello, weight luggage restrictions), but why not try some beachside bodyweight exercises or quick-fire cardio? Think squats, push-ups, running on the spot, and jump-rope for 30 seconds on, 20 seconds rest, 15 times. No bulky equipment taking up room in your suitcase, and no more space needed than your towel. Easy.
9. Meditate on that
It’s easy to think that being on holiday will be a shortcut to chill, but think again – if anything, being away from home and out of your comfort zone will challenge even the most zen mind. Add in the unknown, dodgy bellies and potential passport dramas, and finding 10 minutes to ‘just breathe’ has never seemed more important. Try installing some free meditation apps on your phone, or saving some 10-minute yoga videos on YouTube, and take them with you wherever you go. And, breathe.