For many of us, travelling is a way of life. For others, it is less common. But the reality is that at some point in time you’re going to have to be away from home, stay in a hotel, and possibly fly on a plane.
When you do travel, you have to make the decision of whether or not you’re going to stay on plan. If it is for a vacation you might choose to deviate from your plan to some extent while being mindful of the quantities you consume and simply not binging because you can.
However, if you do choose to stay on plan (i.e., it isn’t a vacation or you travel often for work), below are some tips to help you achieve just that.
– Look up hotels in the area before you book to see which have kitchens. If you can, get one of these.
– If it is unclear on their website, call to ask of a hotel has a microwave and/or fridge in the room.
– If a hotel does not usually have a fridge in the room, it can sometimes be added for an additional fee (usually around $10 per day).
– Alternatively, if a hotel does not have a fridge you can purchase an inexpensive styrofoam cooler locally on arrival and keep it cold using ice from the hotel ice machine.
– If a hotel does not have a microwave in the room you can usually ask the kitchen to use theirs.
– Also look online prior to arrival to determine whether a hotel has a gym that meets your needs. If you’re unsure, call or email them for clarification.
– Ideally you’d want to find the hotel that meets the most of your needs at the most reasonable rate (and closest to your conference/meeting sites if on business).
– Before you book, also look online to determine the locations of the closest grocery stores (and a gym if this is needed outside of your hotel).
– As an alternative to hotels, some hostels also have decent kitchens for food prep.
– If driving, pack foods in a cooler and bring with you. You can load them into the hotel fridge upon arrival.
– If flying, precook meats in advance and freeze them. Or freeze whole meals (meat and carbs) in Ziplock backs and pack. Some report items staying frozen for up to 15 hours. Doing this negates the need for ice packs.
– Ice packs, if thawed so they contain liquid, will often need to be thrown out by security.
– Pack a cooler with you to take as carry-on so you can eat on the plane.
– Frozen protein shakes will usually make it past security.
– Bring Tupperware with you and be prepared to wash in hotel sink after use.
– Purchase Ziplock steam bags. Good for cooking salmon and vegetables in the microwave.
– Don’t forget your food scale. Many travel versions now exist too.
– Other items that are easy to pack: canned chicken/tuna/salmon, tuna pouches, cut veggies, packaged oatmeal, nuts, protein powder, peanut/almond butter, and some fruits (i.e., apples, pears, etc). Purchase yogurt and cottage cheese on arrival and keep in fridge.
– Have protein bars (such as Quest bars) available for emergencies. Note that if you can’t control yourself and you’ll end up eating a whole box, don’t bring a whole box.
– If you don’t want to bring a lot of food, you can ship it ahead of you to meet you at the hotel.
– If you have a kitchen, get grocery store/butcher to cut meat into proper portions.
– Most hotels have oatmeal and fruit as standard items at breakfast. Add eggs or a protein shake and you’re good to go. (Obviously depending on what you actually have on your plan)
– When you arrive in town (or even before) call Applebees, Chili’s, Outback or similar. They will cook chicken breast and/or other meats and sell as a party platter. Often you can add some broccoli and orders of baked potatoes. Typically packaged in foil containers that can be stored in hotel fridge. (Must be microwaved outside of tinfoil – hence the suggestion to bring Tupperware above).
This often costs about $12 per meal but if travelling for work hopefully your per diem will pay for it.
– If going to restaurant for a business meal, eat beforehand and have a salad at the restaurant.
– If planning to eat at the restaurant, view the menu online in advance. Decide what you’re going to order and stick to the plan. Be specific about what you want and how you want it prepared.
– If you have no control over what you eat, you can still control HOW MUCH. Be mindful of portions and choose the best alternatives available.
All in all, the thing about travelling is that it doesn’t inherently have to totally derail you. You can choose to be on plan or off plan, but ultimately is it a CHOICE.