I just booked my next trip, and this time I am visiting Edinburgh. It is a business trip, so some advance planning is in order and I thought I could share some of my personal tips to keep business trips a bit healthier.
1. Plan ahead
Planning is key, and goes well beyond booking your hotel and your flights. Personally, I prefer booking a hotel where breakfast is not included. Does that sound counterintuitive? Perhaps, but think of the breakfast buffet options you give in to easily when you are staying in a hotel. Things you would perhaps not be eating for breakfast otherwise? Instead of having the temptation, I plan ahead and buy some apples, yogurt, or other healthy foods I can have for breakfast.
Along these same lines, I always carry a small bag of nuts with me. Preferably raw almonds and cashews. They are a great substitute for plane food, and they can save the day when you are in a pinch. If I am unable to take them with me (e.g. travel to the US), then I make sure I buy some as soon as I arrive.
For lunch and dinner I look at menus ahead of time, and actually decide what to eat when I am not already hungry and sitting down after a long day. Planning dinner ahead of time helps me make better choices and stick to those choices instead of giving in to temptation.
Drinking water is key. Jet lag and busy schedules can contribute to drinking more caffeine than you would normally, or should. Proper sleep and hydrating well will help get over jet lag and combat the dehydrating effects of flying.
Avoid alcohol particularly if you are flying. It might be free (on some airlines) but it dehydrates you further and makes jet lag worse. It is also unkind on your waistline. A small bottle of wine has around 150 calories, having a few of these can really add up. Mini bottles of spirits, such as gin, vodka, whisky and rum contain around 100 calories each, and small cans of beer add on around 95 calories each. Juice is not the better option either, and your best bet is to stick to water.
3. In-flight meals
If you always eat the in flight meal whether you are hungry or not (half your travel companions are eating it out of pure boredom!), then avoid eating before your flight takes off. Avoid using the ‘extras’ that come with the meal, such as the bread roll, butter, dressing for salad, and the chocolate/cake/pudding/desert. You can also experiment with taking some snacks on the flight and skipping the in flight meal altogether. I like to take cucumber slices, apples, and nuts. Even if I fly to the USA, because I just have to make sure I eat them before landing.
4. Schedule relaxation
Unless there is absolutely no way around it, try to plan a little bit of ‘me-time’ on your travels. Keep in mind that when home you have a certain work-life balance, and business trips can often condense a tremendous amount of work-time in a short period. Getting an extra hour here and there to unwind and relax keeps you sharp at work, and helps you stay healthy. Use the extra time to visit the hotel gym, take a run around town, or catch up on some fun reading (and I do not mean emails!).
I hope you can incorporate some of these tips and enjoy some healthy travel! I am going to be in Edinburgh towards the second week of June, and I am already very excited to have a few early morning runs in this beautiful city.