Weight Loss Travel Resolutions | Staying Active on Vacation

By Mykee Saunders

With Christmas over, we are putting together a list of travel resolutions for 2018.  I don’t know about you, but just thinking about a vacation seems to make me gain weight.  We don’t want our travel resolutions canceling out our healthy resolutions.  Many times I have worked my butt off (literally) to look better for a trip, only to sabotage my effort while on that trip. But what I’ve learned over the years is that vacation weight is mostly a mental game.

Let me give you an example. I have this tendency, whenever I go to an airport, to feel the need to buy food. I’m not sure why. Most of the time I’m not even hungry. But every time, I feel this compulsion to do it. I’ll browse the overpriced market for a snack or grab a combo meal from the nearest fast food joint.

Whether you deal with Pavlovian responses, like this one, or something else—being mentally prepared will give you the strategic advantage to win the battle before you even step foot on the field. Here is a list of five strategies I’ve found to help keep those pounds at bay, while you’re away.

1 | Be Active

My husband and three oldest monkeys in a Surrey.
My husband and three oldest monkeys in a Surrey.

This is probably the easiest suggestion on this list.  It’s simple. Just be engaged in activities that keep you moving.  Don’t snag that prime parking stall that just came open at the front of the store.  Park your car toward the rear of the lot and walk a few extra steps.  Look to see if the area you’re in has a Surrey to rent at a local bike shop. Or find a family friendly trail to mountain bike down.  Grab a kayak or paddle board and putter around a lake.  Take the kids skiing, tubing, or snowshoeing in the winter. Get creative, the sky’s the limit, just avoid too much sedentary activity and keep your heart pumping.

2 | Choose Healthy Options

To combat your inclinations to snack on junk food all day, decide before you leave to choose healthy options.
To combat your inclinations to snack on junk food all day, decide before you leave to choose healthy options.

While being active is a great first step in keeping that unwanted weight off during your vacation, it can’t be the only one.  There is a saying that goes something like this: You can’t out exercise a bad diet. And I am here to tell you how true that is.  It won’t matter how much you’ve walked in a day or how many miles you’ve ridden on the trails—if you’ve eaten poorly, it will show up on the scale.

To combat your inclinations to snack on junk food all day, decide before you leave to choose healthy options.  If you are vacationing in the house you found on Airbnb or staying at a Residence Inn by Marriott with a little kitchenette, stop by the local grocery story and stock up on some healthy snacks such as:

One of our favorite snacks are frozen grapes.  Just throw them in the freezer after washing and you get a healthy cold treat, sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. If you are staying in hotel without a kitchen, check to see if it has a mini refrigerator, most of them do, but if not, just plan accordingly.

Since no one really likes counting calories, especially when you’re on vacation, choosing non- fried lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, or fish can fill you up and help you feel full longer. Choosing to eat one salad a day for a meal will not only keep your calorie intake low (assuming you don’t dowse it in dressing) it will also help keep you regular. And can I be honest for a minute? There is not much worse than needing to use the restroom and then being unable to USE the restroom, especially on vacation.

3 | Pick One Indulgence

Mother and daughter eating ice cream.
Make a commitment to allow yourself one indulgence a day.

Remember when I mentioned Pavlovian responses a few minutes ago? Vacationing can often trigger the response to feel indulgent, even if you’re a frugal traveler.  Spending more money than normal to go on vacation, be it at a Motel 6 or a Hyatt Regency, feels a bit like a luxury. And feeling luxurious often bleeds over into what we put into our bodies.

Trust me, I get it. Relaxing under a blue and white striped umbrella, surrounded by white sand, the rhythmic ocean waves lulling you to sleep, as the sun soaked air hangs heavily around you. All you want is that waiter to hand you the refreshing cold pina colada he’s carrying. Well, I say, have your pina colada.  It’s okay to let yourself feel pampered and decadent, however that manifests for you. The key is just not to overindulge.

Make a commitment to allow yourself one indulgence a day. Whether it’s a pina colada on the beach, an ice cream cone at Disneyland, or a big mug of hot cocoa after a day on the slopes. Allowing yourself that one treat lets you cater to the luxury without giving into the gluttony.

4 | Drink Plenty of Water

If you aren’t replenishing your water intake at a sufficient rate, then chances are you might be over eating.
If you aren’t replenishing your water intake at a sufficient rate, then chances are you might be over eating.

Did you know that mild  dehydration often presents itself as a feeling of hunger? Our bodies lose water every day through perspiring, breathing, and bathroom use. If you aren’t replenishing your water intake at a sufficient rate, then chances are you might be over eating.  This is especially important on vacation where, if you’re taking our advice or traveling with kids, your activity level increase, but often your water consumption decreases.

When traveling, I always like to bring along my own Klean Kantine water bottle. We almost always stay somewhere with a fridge so we buy a gallon or two of water and refill our water bottles as needed. That way it is always at my fingertips when I need a drink. It also cuts down on the waste from disposable plastic water bottles, and it saves money too.  Win-win.

Just remember, whether you are lounging about, or out and about, if you start feeling the munchies, drink a good 8 oz of water first! Chances are your cravings will subside. If they don’t… well, listen to your body and grab one of those healthy snacks you stocked up on.


5 | Schedule Time to Exercise

Healthy vacationing with family
Exercising on vacation takes preparation, devotion, and a little perseverance.

Exercising regularly is already difficult. Trying to do it while on vacation can really be a challenge.  Add a handful of kids to the mix and it can feel like you’re standing at the bottom of Mount Everest looking up. It’s easy in that moment to feel overwhelmed, unprepared, or even a little lackluster. But just like a climber on Everest, it takes preparation, devotion, and a little perseverance.

Whether you are a health enthusiast or just trying to keep the pounds away, exercise is important.  Remember that saying from a few tips ago? You can’t out exercise a bad diet? Well, if you are not exercising at all then you subject yourself to be acted upon by the things you put in your mouth. And let’s be honest, you’re on vacation, you will probably indulge more than once a day, here and there. That’s common, but to combat the fat that accompanies those indulgences, you need to be burning a few extra calories along the way.

Most hotels these days offer a few exercise machines in a small room they refer to as a “gym”. If your kids are older or your spouse doesn’t want to accompany you, this is doable. I like to take an Ipad down with me and watch a show on Netflix to distract myself from the monotony of repetition in a confined space. If you can get at least a good twenty minutes in, you will not only feel more energized, but you’ll feel happier too. It’s the whole exercise and endorphins phenomenon.

If you are traveling with young kids, however, and you know it will be next to impossible to make it down to the tiny hotel gym, find your favorite Pinterest list of exercises and bring it with you. These lists are usually great for a quick workout next to your bed. Your muscles will get a jump on burning calories throughout the day, and you won’t feel so guilty about the extra scoop of ice cream you had the day before.

There you have it. My five best tips to help you stick to both your travel and healthy resolutions by staying active on your next trip. I hope it’s somewhere amazing. Good luck and happy traveling!

Mykee Saunders

Mykee Saunders


As a writer and mom of four who loves to travel, Mykee designed this website to share tips, tricks, and destinations for meaningful family adventures.  She is passionate about service and recently spearheaded the #familyservicechallenge movemimagent.


  1. All of this is so true! Growing up, if we asked for a snack, my mom used to tell us kids to drink a tall glass of water first. If after that we were still hungry, we could have one but most times we wouldn’t want one 🙂 that’s stuck with me even now as a mom, so that made me chuckle when I read that. And I agree about the frozen grapes! I freeze a lot of fruit in the summer and plop them in water to help me drink more, it helps! I agree though, it definitely can be a challenge staying on course while in vacay mode but these are really great suggestions to keep in mind 🙂

    1. Paige, isn’t it crazy how water plays such an intricate role in our appetite! And the frozen grapes are a total game changer! Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading!

  2. This is so good!! I’m always worried about those extra pounds on vacation! You’ve given some great tips here!

    1. Karin, thank you, I’m so glad you think so. They have definitely helped me when I am traveling. Thanks for reading!

    1. Chelsea, yes moderation is key! That can be so hard on vacation so mentally preparing for it is a big step. Thanks for reading!

Post a Comment

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