This post was inspired by a trip sponsored by the Westin Hotel
A lot of my clients travel often for work, and I know what it’s like to be on the go myself. As I mentioned in my What I Ate Wednesday post last week, I recently visited Boston and had a great stay at the Westin Hotel Copley Square location. In today’s post I want to highlight more of my trip and share some tricks I’ve learned over the years to stay on track with healthy habits even when I’m on the road.
Being intentional about how you approach this trip can help you get clear on what to prioritize. Whether you’re traveling for work or for pleasure, decide ahead of time what you want to get out of the experience. Are you looking to relax and unwind? Is trying new foods and experiences a priority? Are you looking to expand your professional network or further your career?
Then think about what you need to have that experience. Take advantage of amenities and resources your hotel has to offer, whether that’s a spa, salon, or business center. I’m always that person who wants to print out their boarding pass! The Westin Lounge featured comfortable seating, lots of computers, and even free coffee and a breakfast bar, which definitely came in handy for healthy bites like plain Greek yogurt and fruit. Totally worth the cost if you need to be productive on your trip or need the option of grabbing a quick snack between events or meetings.
Scope out local resources too. For example, on this trip, the grocery store across the street from the hotel was a lifesaver for things like bottled water, kombucha, and veggies and hummus to keep in the fridge.
-Bring Your Must-Haves
To stay as on track with your healthy habits as much as possible, think about what must-haves you need. For example, I always bring probiotics with me to when traveling—important for maintaining regular digestion, promoting immune system function, and clear gut-brain communication—very helpful if you struggle with travel anxiety or need to stay on your game when giving a presentation. I also have a whole list of go-to snacks I pack.I also bring
-Plan Out Exercise
Yes, exercise is great for burning calories, but the endorphins are also helpful for stress management. Think about which days on your trip and where in those days to fit in some kind of physical activity. In my own life, often get up early to check out the gym if I have to spend the day with a group—that me time calms my Sagittarius crazy brain. Even if it’s a walk on the treadmill while I catch up on emails, it helps.
I actually didn’t need to do that on this trip, though, as there was so much walking and activity built into each day. On my trip to Boston we enjoyed a group yoga class the first morning, which was such a nice way to stretch and unwind.
I actually shocked the hell out of myself and kicked up into a handstand. Assisted still counts right? For me it sure felt like a big deal. When I was 24 and struggling with a painful injury in both arms, I actually didn’t know if I would ever practice yoga again in my life, so any time I’m able to do something that involves a lot of arm strength, I get really excited. Photos or it didn’t happen, I know, so here’s one our photographer, Daniel Ebersole, captured.
The next day there was a TRX demo, followed by a group run through the Back Bay and Beacon Hill. The Westin actually has a running concierge to make it more fun and approachable. I have never been a runner, but running is to the wellness world what golf is to other industries, so I laced up my sneakers and put on my best, “Why the hell not” face. I was actually really glad I did. My quads hurt for a full week after, but that runner’s high is legit. We ran through two of the neighborhoods I lived in during college, and it was such a crazy full-circle kind of feeling. If someone had told my 19- or 20-year-old self I would be running through there years later, I would have asked what future me was smoking.
I stayed an extra day (full disclosure: I paid a media rate for that extra night, so it wasn’t a freebie) and took advantage of a free first-timer class at the YogaWorks on Boylston Street Sunday morning. With its exposed brick walls, it was everything my high school self expected a Boston yoga studio would be. It was also a good way to experience a practice I love in a different city and get into a calm mindset before the train ride home.
By the way, if you forget your workout gear or need to travel light (happens to the best of us), many hotels will loan you what you need. The Westin, for example, loans out New Balance sneakers and clothes. A major plus for chronic under-packers like me.
-Explore On Foot
Walking or running through a city can be a great way to see the sights. Nerdy as it sounds I’m a big fan of walking tours, especially if I’m in a place I’ve never been to and don’t feel comfortable wandering alone. It’s a great way to learn the history and get the scoop on local attractions while also burning calories.
A museum is another great choice that won’t make your quads ache for days. On this trip we enjoyed a guided tour if the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, which I hadn’t visited since, like…2004? Definitely put this one on your Boston itinerary.
Let’s not forget shopping, of course. When I sweat through pretty much everything I’d packed by the second afternoon (gotta love that Boston humidity), I went in search of something to wear to dinner. I scooped up this cute dress at Francesca’s and racked up a bunch of extra steps.
-Choose Your Moments To Indulge
Pleasure is important in an overall healthy diet, but you don’t have to say yes to every mimosa. For example, on the second day of our trip, I knew it would be a long day and that I’d want to have drinks with dinner, so I stuck to coffee when we went for brunch at Sonsie. Skipping little extras you won’t miss (for me, that’s bread, pasta, and other carby stuff that doesn’t fill me up) helps make room for the stuff you want to prioritize (in my world, bourbon). It’s all about choosing your moments to indulge so you can truly enjoy yourself without overdoing it.
Local treats don’t have to be super high-calorie, by the way. When we visited Tea Forte on Newbury Street, it was a great reminder that a cup of tea can be a satisfying experience.
Speaking of dinner, if you go to Pier 6 in Boston, you have to get the octopus.
-Establish A Mini Sleep Routine
Sleep disturbance is something I struggle a lot with when I travel, but little things can make a big difference. Lavender oil is part of my at-home sleep routine, so I was so relieved to see lavender balm by the bedside in my hotel room. I often bring my own with me, but I’d forgotten it this time. I hate sleeping with the TV on, but to help me drift off and stay asleep, I am a big fan of the White Noise Lite app and guided meditations.
Let’s not forget bedtime snacks. Nuts are good sources of tryptophan, which helps us settle down for sleep, but bananas are another great pick—the combo of tryptophan plus vitamin B6, potassium, and magnesium plus easily digestible carbs make it a great choice to settle your stomach and help your body stay asleep.
It doesn’t hurt that The Westin has incredibly comfortable beds and pillows.When all else fails, there’s Benadryl. I usually bring a few when I travel just in case I need it.
-Connect With Local Friends
This becomes more of a priority the older I get. Physical health is important, but spending time with old friends can be so restorative. On this trip, I spent Saturday night with some people I used to spend my time with in college. It was so great to catch up. Even though we’re in touch on social media and see each other every few years, it’s always so nice to be in the same room.
-Have A Return-Trip Game Plan
One of the most common mistakes I see is people forgetting to plan ahead for their return trip. I’ll share a look at my own return-trip day in another post this week, but packing a few extra healthy snacks and giving some thought to where you can fit in some activity can help you feel more yourself when you return so it’s easier to get back into the swing of things when you get home.
Making it as convenient as possible to get back into a good groove when you return is key. Here’s how.
What was the last trip you took?
This post was inspired by a trip sponsored by the Westin Hotel. I was provided with a free stay in the hotel and meals but was not otherwise compensated for my time. Opinions are my own.
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