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9 Clever Ways to Make Your Vacation Healthier

Want to hit the road, but afraid that you’ll lose ground on your fitness routine or diet? Don’t let your getaway ruin your hard-earned progress. “The best way to stick to your diet and fitness routine while you’re travelling is to simply plan ahead,” says Cindy Wasilewski, Fitness Manager at The Lodge at Woodloch, a destination spa in Hawley, Pennsylvania. That means having a game plan of times when you can fit in exercise and ways you can still enjoy food without overdoing it. “In some cases, you don’t even need a gym—or to steal away from the fun to make it work,” she says. Here are some quick ways that you can guarantee your vacation won’t flatline your exercise and nutrition efforts. (Planning to go skiing this winter? Read these 10 Ways to Make Your Ski Trip Healthier.)

Pack a Jump Rope and a Resistance Exercise Band
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“They take up hardly any room in your suitcase. You can do 15 minutes of cardio and some strength-training anywhere,” says Wasilewski. Add some planks, sit-ups, lunges and wall-sits, and you’ll have a 30 to 40 minute workout wherever you are—no excuses! She also always makes sure to pack a mini blender or shaker cup (to make easy protein shakes and smoothies) as well as her iPod (good tunes keep you motivated!)

Stay in a Condo or a Place with a Kitchenette
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You can load up on healthy meals and snacks as well as save money (and calories!) on eating out. Wyndham Vacation Rentals offer condos and private homes that are professionally managed by mega-hotel chain Wyndham. They have locations at popular vacation spots throughout the US and Europe (you can even stay in a French chateau!) and still have all the amenities of a traditional hotel—daily maid service, a front desk, and concierge—at many of their properties. The bonus is that you can pre-stock food options (and in some cases, even hire a chef!) to cook lean meals throughout your vacation.

Find a Gym
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Obviously, your best bet of staying on track is staying in accommodations that have a fitness facility onsite. Not happening? Check your home gym’s reciprocity policy. “Many gyms have locations in different cities and will let you work out at their other locations,” says Wasilewski. Nothing nearby your hotel? Wasilewski suggests researching your health insurance plan. “Almost all health insurance plans offer some kind of gym reimbursement or participate in a fitness network,” she explains. Even if you’ve never utilized the benefit before, you could tap into that network while you’re traveling. (Or stay in one of The 8 Best Hotels for Healthy Travel.)

Ask Your Hotel for a Fridge
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“Even if a mini-fridge isn’t in the room, many hotels have them and will let you use them in your room—you just have to ask for one,” says Wasilewski. Stock it with fruit, nuts, string cheese, and water. You’ll have healthy snacks on hand, and that will keep hunger at bay. “We often over-eat when we’re starving,” she says, “and we often are so busy on vacation, that we are over-hungry by the time we get to the restaurant.” She advises to eat a small piece of fruit and have some water before you go out so that you’re not craving and starving when you get to the restaurant.

Check Out a Restaurant’s Menu Online Before You Go
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Pick out what you’re going to order ahead of time so that you don’t get sucked into specials or appetizers when you get there. Plan on splitting or sharing big portions. And don’t deprive yourself! Wasilewski suggests ordering that steak (hey, you’re on vacation!) but bypass heavy sides and get a double vegetable or salad. “Eat your protein first because it will satiate you,” she says. “Fill up on a salad or munchy appetizers and you’ll be hungry—and looking to snack—later.” (Read up on these 12 Ways to Decode a Restaurant Menu to help you order.)

Hydrate
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You get off the beach and reach for a beer. And then another. Nip the booze guzzling in the bud by drinking a glass of water before each alcoholic beverage you sip. This way, you won’t be gulping high calorie beverages just because you’re thirsty. “Sightseeing, hanging on the beach, swimming, air travel—all of this leaves us dehydrated, so make sure you up your water intake,” she says.

Walk Everywhere
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Skip the elevators and take the stairs. Bypass the taxis and stroll to your dinner restaurant. “Make sure your hotel is close to the main attractions so that you can walk to everything,” says Wasilewski.

Create a Vacay Workout Game
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Even up the score of all the excess! For every alcoholic beverage you consume, do 10 sit ups (later, not while drinking!); for every unhealthy meal, do 50 squats. You get the picture. Just make sure you do them!

Relax
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Remember, you’re on vacation and your focus should be about unwinding and enjoying yourself. “If you’re rushing around and stressing out about getting to lots of different places and attractions, that stress pumps up the cortisol, which adds pounds,” says Wasilewski. Book a massage, relax poolside, and just let your mind wander. Hey, we can’t think of a better way to lose weight. (Savor every moment with these 5 Ways to Upgrade Your Vacation.)

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