How to Take a Healthy Vacation

Don't take home extra baggage from your next getaway. These strategies will help you stay on Plan.
Published March 16, 2017

For months you've been saving up for that much-needed vacation. You've brought bagged lunches to work, passed on that cool pair of boots, and cut back on pricey restaurant meals with friends – all in the name of a little rest and relaxation.

Of course, you've also been so good about staying on plan, and you're that much closer toward your health and weight loss goals. The last thing you want is to return from your blissful, indulgent vacation and discover that you've put the pounds back on.

First, a reality check: Nobody loses weight while on vacation. And yes, you might even put on a pound or two.


5 simple ways to make sure your vacation won't derail your weight-loss efforts


1. Book a smart stay.

Look for hotel rooms with kitchenettes, so you can stash and prepare healthy breakfasts and snacks. And ask about fitness offerings: At Westin hotels, you can get a local 3- or 5-mile running route, and even borrow workout shoes and clothes in case you forgot them. Even hotels offers in-room equipment and fitness videos, in addition to group activities. 


2. Don't rely on airplane snacks.

First some good news: The average calorie count per menu choice is decreasing each year, from 400 in 2015 to 392 in 2016, according to’s Airline Food Survey. However, in 2017, calorie counts increased to an average of 405 calories. That said, by the time the cart rolls back to your seat, your top pick may have sold out. Take control so that you get exactly what you want: Pack your own snacks for the flight, or buy a plain yogurt and fresh fruit before you get to the gate.

RELATED: 8 Road Trip Snacks for How You're Traveling


3. Sail through cruise temptation.

A cruise is a giant, floating buffet. Sure, you can hit the gym or take a fitness class, but indoor cycling is no match for the endless supply of daiquiris and midnight spreads. Pace yourself, stick to your usual meal habits (whether mini meals throughout the day, or three squares), and browse all your options—on the menu or the buffet table—before making a decision.

RELATED: How to Go on a Cruise While Losing Weight


4. Live like a local.

Walk to your dinner destination in another neighborhood. Rent bikes and sightsee rather than drive from one tourist spot to another. You’ll absorb more local culture when you’re “on the ground.”


5. Limit sugary or creamy drinks.

Part of kicking back on vacation is having a few cocktails, but an eight-ounce pina colada can pack quite a SmartPoints punch. As always, choose what’s most important to you (sure, it just might be a pina colada at that swim-up bar) and make room in your daily budget for it ahead of time.

RELATED: Your Healthy Happy-Hour Survival Guide