Fit and Light on the Go: Travel Light and Stay Active as a Travel Nurse

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By Candice Hubbard

June 13, 2020



Travel Light: How to Stay Fit and Light on the Go

As a frequent traveler over the past eight years, whether for personal leisure travel or business travel as a travel nurse, I have found three mainstays that keep me feeling fit and light no matter where life takes me.

Pack healthy snacks

The challenge of eating well while traveling is packing light, health, nutrient-rich snacks. If you’re a frequent flyer and dealing with airline meals and unhealthy airport food this can be a challenge. Even once you’re at your destination, the struggle to find healthy restaurant choices in an unfamiliar city is also a daunting task. The key is to pack smart! As a savvy traveler, it is wise to reserve room in your suitcases for snacks and portable meals. Select foods that stay fresh even when you’re waiting for security lineups and flight delays.

Optimum choices in healthy snacks are what I like to call the pantry protein pack. It’s a trail mix of sorts, that I create from an assortment of nuts, seeds, and sometimes throw in a little dried fruits, such as raisins. These items are nutrient-dense in protein, fiber, healthy fats, and complex carbs to keep your hunger satisfied, full of energy for extended travel, and boost your immune system to ward off travel bugs. These same snack packing tips are also great for road trip travelers as well, as it prevents those frequent stops at fast-food restaurants and convenience stores in gas stations for the poor nutrition selections they offer.


Can’t stress this enough, adequate hydration is equally, if not more important than packing the healthy snacks. Adequate hydration with water is the key. Try to avoid, hydrating with juices, teas, and sports drinks. Water helps in the transport and absorption of the nutrients taken in from your pantry protein pack, as well as aid in proper circulation, digestion, the creation of saliva, and regulating body temperature.

Other benefits to drinking water include, caloric intake control, energizes muscles, keeps skin supple, and it helps the kidneys perform their duties in keeping the body free of toxins. In order to stay hydrated on the go, pack a refillable water bottle for air travel, since liquids are not allowed at the checkpoint. You can also purchase water after security, however, it can be costly, as airport terminal prices are priced for the convenience. For road, travel pack a cooler bag of bottled water. Other ways to get your daily dose of water is by having it at every mealtime and through consuming fruits and vegetables.

Stay Active

My final mainstay to travel fitness is staying active. Tight spaces, unknown places, don’t have to hinder your workout routine. The following is a list of ways to stay active no matter what city life takes you to in your travels:


Find a local park or walking trail, city guide websites, Google, and your hotel reception office are good ways to help you locate such places. A 30-minute, walk, jog, or run is a great time-saving way to boost cardiovascular conditioning and energy to power through the rest of your day. Also, some hotels offer fitness amenities, such as a small fitness room equipped with at the minimum a treadmill or elliptical machine.

If walking, jogging, running is not your thing, there are options inside and outside your hotel that can be just as beneficial options. Pack a jump rope, they are lightweight, flexi, and easy to drop in any size suitcase or carry-on. Just 30-minutes of jumping rope burns up to 300 calories. Also, a quick online search for local dance studios or dance classes offers great cardio and socialization options, for travelers.

Build strength:

No need to search for a local gym, or suffer through the struggle of visitation fees, short-term membership contracts. Do simple equipment-free resistance training exercises, such as push-ups, tricep dips, sit-ups, planks, squats, lunges, and more, that can be done in your hotel room or even office. For an added boost, pack a resistance band, their light, flexi, and easy to drop in any size suitcase or carry-on.


Flexibility is an important component of any fitness routine. Practicing simple stretches and poses common to fitness modalities such as yoga is a great way to energize the body for a long workday, or even relax the body after a long stressful workday. It also keeps muscles and joints supple and prevents injury. Pack a sticky mat or even pick one up from a local sporting goods store, their pretty inexpensive and stretch in your hotel room, or even scout around online for a local yoga studio. Studios are great from travelers because there are usually no contractual commitments to take classes, plus it gives you social options outside of your work setting while you are in a new city.

All in all, traveling doesn’t have to be an unhealthy experience. People so commonly blame weight gain on travel, because of the inability to find healthy meal options. Use your resources, pack what you need to stay fueled, ask around about fitness options. Nourish your body and take care of it well. Travel can be fun, you don’t have to opt for the unhealthy conveniences offered to you, you can take charge of your health while on the road, because your health matters. Stay Well! ~ Candice

We hope these tips for staying fit and light while traveling helpful. Have you found ways that have helped you stay fit and light while traveling? Please comment them below.

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