David Whitley takes a gruesome look in the mirror and realises that a different approach to health whilst travelling is needed 




When it comes to putting on weight, let’s just say that no-one’s going to be offering to give me a piggy back any time soon. Part of this is because I really like the sort of food that is generally accepted to be bad for me – pizzas, cakes and curries are, quite frankly, excellent inventions. But travelling regularly has to have something to do with it.

One of the challenges of travelling is staying healthy. There are many aspects to it that really don’t do the body any favours. Long journeys on buses, trains and planes aren’t exactly conducive to a healthy lifestyle, and natural rhythms take a kicking from changing time zones on a regular basis.


There’s also the small factor of what you eat. Through sheer practicality, most travellers tend to eat out more whilst away than they would at home. Regularly cooking for yourself while on the road requires a high level of self-discipline and staying in accommodation with proper kitchen facilities. Staying in the same place for a while helps too – no-one really wants to lug ingredients from town to town with them.


And when you eat out a lot, you don’t always have what’s good for you. If you’re anything like me, ordering a salad in a café or restaurant seems incredibly wasteful. Especially when there’s other, tastier stuff on the menu for roughly the same price. I also hate wasting food – Yorkshire blood, I’m afraid – so if I’ve ordered it, I’ll tend to eat it, even if I’m shovelling the last few scraps when I’m already full. Do that twice a day for weeks, and your waistline soon gets to know about it.


The more you move around, the more likely you are to use food as fuel than something to savour. When rushing for flights and trains, it often becomes a case of grabbing something on the way, with convenience being more of a motivating factor than nutrition.  Sandwiches, burgers, street food stalls and the like come into play perhaps more than is ideal.


Exercise regimes that are easy to make routine at home become much trickier whilst travelling too. Gym membership is futile, and it’s only extremely devoted joggers that can bring themselves to A) use up valuable bag space for extra trainers and running kit or B) go for a run every morning.


So what strategies can you put in place to make sure you don’t turn into a big fat biffer? I’ve a few...




1. Cook for yourself whenever possible – and go vegetarian when you do.


2. Ditch the puddings and those mid-afternoon ice creams. Snacking on anything just because temptation is there can mount up.


3. Keep the booze intake relatively manageable.


4. Swim whenever you get the chance. Jump in the sea daily if you’re by the coast, and use hotel or hostel pools for a few laps when possible.


5. Walk everywhere you can – even when putting an extra kilometre or two on to the journey. It’s often the best way of seeing things anyway. If it’s a few stops by public transport, it won’t take all that much longer.


6. Try and grab fresh fruit and veg from stalls instead of chocolate bars.


7. Drink water and fruit juice rather than cans of fizzy pop.


8. Don’t be scared to leave something on your plate every now and then.


9. Eat BEFORE you’re really hungry. Some of the worst eating decisions come when you suddenly realise you’re ravenous and go charging off to eat the first thing you find.



Do you have any tips for avoiding weight gain whilst travelling? Share them by leaving a comment below.