• 10 Tips for NOT Gaining Weight While Journeying

10 Tips for NOT Gaining Weight While Journeying

When you’re traveling, it’s almost inevitable that things will go wrong. Delayed flights, lost luggage, missed reservations, the list can go on and on.  And unfortunately, a lot of it is completely out of your control.  However, as the saying goes “there is one thing that is in your control and that is how you feel.” I want to share tips for not gaining weight while traveling as I know it’s something many people worry about.

Flying and traveling can take a heavy toll on your body and eating more while you travel can be a way to explore but through many trials and error, we have formulated this list of easy peasy ways to stay healthy and energized when on the road:

10 Tips for Not Gaining Weight While Journeying

1). Bring your OWN food for the flight: Plane food is the worst.  High in sugar, salt and laden with preservatives. You will be bloated, uncomfortable and sluggish.  Some of our favorite snacks to prepare for flights are:

  • home-made trail mixes with almonds
  • dried cranberries and cacao nibs
  • bananas & apples
  • travel size Justin’s nut butters
  • air popped popcorn (with no added salt!)
  • Kind bars (fave!)
  • herbal tea bags.

healthy cocktails, not gaining weight abroad, travel fitnessChampagne, sparkling mineral water, Elderberry flower syrup, mint leaves, lime juice

2). Book a kitchen equipped accommodation: We love staying at hostels for many reasons. Aside from the cheap prices and social aspect, we love that the majority of hostels around the world have fully equipped kitchens that allow you to prepare at least ONE healthy, home-made meal while you’re on the road.

Preparing your own meals ensures you know what exactly you’re putting into your body and therefore, forgoing the added salt, oil and sugar. Bleh! Plus, it helps makes friends because most likely, other travelers are making their own food as well. It’s a huge penny + calorie saver!

travel fitness, not gaining weight abroadHiking in Switzerland

3). Move it! Walk…everywhere.  If not for those extra calories you’ll burn, walk because you’ll see more. Much more. You’ll see the faces of locals and understand them more.  You travel to explore, so explore on foot.

travel fitness, not gaining weight abroadbeach yoga in California

4).  Hydration: It’s obvious but has to be said.  When you’re traveling, you’re walking…a lot. Climate, time and environmental changes, not to mention flying, is extremely dehydrating.  Chug that water like you’ve never before!  Bring along you’re own BPA Free Water Bottle and fill up at every filtered water station you see!

5). In addition to #2: Scope out supplies in the hostel kitchen. Typically, travelers leave behind supplies they can’t travel with like cooking oils, salt/pepper, tea, coffee grounds, etc.  Make due with what you find to save money and use it as incentive to forego another restaurant meal.

travel fitness, not gaining weight abroad

6). Farmers markets are your new best friend: They’re actually everywhere. Not only will it benefit your bod because you’re buying and eating locally grown produce, you’re supporting the locals and their businesses.  So to do the math, you’re 1. aware of what you’re putting into your body, 2. saving money and 3. supporting local families that work hard. Win, win and WIN!

7). Zip lock bags: Hard to believe, but they’re actually kind of hard to find abroad (Editor’s note: OMG I totally agree!).  And if you do find them, they’re super expensive.  So bring your own! They take up zero space and you’ll have used them all before you know it.  It makes a huge difference when trying to plan out your days meals.  When you’re on long bus rides cross-country, it’s typical that buses make pit stops at farmers markets for bathroom/food breaks.  This is your chance to stalk up on snacks and this is when you’re zip lock bags come in HUGE handy.

travel fitness, not gaining weight abroad

travel fitness, not gaining weight abroad

8). Be prepared!: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.  We’ve all heard it (and often roll our eyes in response) but it is sooo true.  Journeying brings out the spontaneity in all of us and we want to get crazy and be fun and yadda-yadda-yadda (we’re guilty of this too) but there’s one area we like to prepare in advance and that’s our meals.  Plan out your day and have a few snacks on hand when desperate times call.  If you’re truly spontaneous on your trip, you sometimes may end up lost, having missed the last bus back to your hostel and without proper food near by (this may have happened to us before so we’ve learned our lesson!).  No one likes a hangry traveler ;)

9). Research surrounding hikes in the area: Journey the road least expected. There isn’t much else to say about this.  Let yourself be surprised when you explore off the beaten path. You never know what you may come across.

travel fitness, not gaining weight abroadHiking in Slovenia

10). SLEEP (when you can!): We know, “So much to do, so little time,” “You can sleep when you’re home,” “No rest for the wicked.”  All sayings that contradict what I’m about to tell you.  But I can’t stress enough how good it feels when you’re up at dawn with the entire day is ahead of you. Now, after a full nights rest, you can finally say, “So much to do, with so much time.” ;)

Spicy Fried Quinoa Recipe

As we said in #2, booking a hostel that is kitchen equipped is crucial. We love cooking at least one home-made meal a day wherever we are.  We save money and we know what we are putting into our bodies.  When arriving to a new city, we typically head to the local farmers market or store and stock up on supplies.  Here is a look at our usual grocery list and our go-to meal that is perfect for lunch or dinner. Introducing what we like to call: Spicy veggie “fried” quinoa.

travel fitness, not gaining weight abroad


  • Black quinoa
  • Zucchini
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Lentils
  • Cage-free eggs
  • Sriracha – Sriracha will give you the spice without the bloat :)


Lightly sauté the chopped veggies with olive oil (we have found olive oil in every hostel we’ve stayed at – leftover from previous travelers).  Add the lentils and quinoa (already cooked) and mix on medium/low heat. Crack two eggs and mix all the ingredients until cooked.  Serve and top with sriracha!

This 10 minute recipe is packed with protein to keep you full and energized for whatever adventures come your way.  It’s easy, healthy and possible to make for a big batch to share with fellow backpackers.

Read more tips for girls traveling here:

tips for not gaining weight abroadWellness + Wanderlust is a blog based venture written by two travel + health enthusiasts (and best friends), Elle & Vee.  Keeping light on their gypsy toes while balancing full time jobs, school, busy imaginations and undying lusts to wander. You can follow their adventures and quests for wellness at their blog: www.wellness-wanderlust.com, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Pin 10 tips for not gaining weight while traveling for later:

10 Tips for NOT Gaining Weight While Journeying


About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Prasad Np April 22, 2015 at 6:59 am - Reply

    All good tips for travelers. Let me add one from my side.. ” Go Slow on desserts and drinks” as it is so easy to succumb to the mouthwatering sweets around you ( specially in India) as well as go for another round of drinks at the bar.

  2. Samantha April 22, 2015 at 7:42 am - Reply

    Totally agree! Except I bring a tupperware instead of ziplock bags–easier to re-use!

    I love staying places where you can cook for exactly this reason. It’s nice to go out to try the local foods, but when you’re out for every meal it can be hard to order the way you’d normally eat.

    Thanks for the tips!

  3. Megan | Journeying Nine to Fiver April 22, 2015 at 8:43 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing. I don’t know why but I hadn’t really thought about farmers markets when I travel. I go to them all the time at home (we have 50 a week in my area). I will have to keep an eye out on my next trip. I also agree with the plastic bags, I am so thankful I brought a handful to Puerto Rico last fall and they were priceless.

  4. Katy April 22, 2015 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    Great tips! Walking is definitely key for me. If it weren’t for walking it’d be disastrous. Too much delicious food and zero will power are not a good combo. Gonna have to remember to take plane food next time, that’s a great idea!

  5. Kate April 22, 2015 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Walking is the most important one for me! I love to walk everywhere I go when travelling, so it means I can afford to treat myself to a meal out in the evening or grab a waffle from a food cart on the street. I think you have to apply the same balance you do to your every day life when travelling.

  6. Elizabeth Hampton April 22, 2015 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    Some great tips! It is very difficult to eat healthy while traveling in Brazil because the food is amazing everywhere we go! We have been pretty terrible at watching the calories while traveling but we are finally starting to get into the swing of things and we are figuring it out.
    We make great use of the zip lock bags– and since you are correct– they are difficult to find overseas, we wash and reuse them. We also use tuppaware. When traveling by car we always pack a cooler with healthy snacks, drinks, and something with caffeine for the long drive. Airbnb also has a great list of places you can stay in Brazil with kitchens and some even have huge BBQ areas. It’s really nice to sit outside at the end of a long travel day and enjoy something we grilled as the sun sets!
    Thanks again for all of the great tips. I also loved the recipe and will have to try it sometime soon.

  7. Elen Turner April 22, 2015 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    Finding a local yoga or exercise class can also be really fun, as well as good for you. In places as diverse as Istanbul and Costa Rica I’ve gone to the local yoga studios. In Costa Rica I was treated to an outside studio from where I could hear the birds and look into the jungle! Also, other outdoor activities like swimming, kayaking etc when the environment permits are great ways to have fun and stay healthy.

    • Aly May 20, 2015 at 11:14 am - Reply

      YES to the yoga, especially in Costa Rica!! I did it everyday, and it’s so great for helping with stress and digestion issues (in addition to being a wonderful, relaxing workout)

  8. Zascha April 23, 2015 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    This is just what I needed. It is so tempting to just eat eat eat when you go travelling. And I’ve got zero self control! :D

  9. Dave | Jones Around The World April 25, 2015 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    Great tips! I actually find that I naturally lose weight when I go traveling long-term. I think just because I drink loads of water, and am always walking around and exploring. I definitely do need to start hiking more often though!

  10. Tim UrbanDuniya April 25, 2015 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Hmmm that Quinoa recipe looks really yummy! And I can’t agree enough about the walking everywhere – I remember how much weight I put on while I was travelling in Indonesia, and when I look back, I can’t believe how lazy I was on that trip. Walking a couple of blocks instead of taking a rickshaw would have made a difference, I believe.

  11. Shelly @ Norway To Nowhere April 27, 2015 at 4:06 am - Reply

    Great post. We love finding out what the locals do to be active and stay in shape and follow their lead. Hiking is another favorite to keeping healthy!!

  12. Marjorie April 27, 2015 at 8:21 am - Reply

    Nice tips! Walking has always been the one I rely on. Sometimes it’s not the easiest thing to go out of your way to find healthy eating spots. But to walk, we can all do it anytime.

  13. Willie M. Meyerson April 27, 2015 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    This blog is wow. Thanks for posting this.

    Nature is really breathtaking. And relaxing.

  14. rebecca April 28, 2015 at 1:41 am - Reply

    Walking is the number one for me. I’m a sucker when it comes to eating and traveling, I just love trying everything. Although when you stay in a place long enough, the cooking and preparing does come very important… and helps save money as well.

  15. Aly May 20, 2015 at 11:16 am - Reply

    Does anyone else lose a ton of weight when they travel no matter how they eat? In easy case, I love this article! I don’t care about my weight so much as staying healthy and fit, and it’s easy to feel gross after getting caught up in the crazy drinking that’s often a part of backpacking

    • Rachel Jones May 28, 2015 at 11:49 am - Reply

      i wish i was that lucky! i used to lose weight when i backpacked hopping around a lot, but now that i travel slow on more of a budget i eat more haha

  16. Gladis August 11, 2015 at 11:23 am - Reply

    Good tips Rachel. Healthy too! I have to confess that I tend to forget about food when I put it in the freezer. LOL!

  17. Cynthia Mosca November 14, 2018 at 1:04 am - Reply

    I am a very old hippie who still loves traveling and just found your blog yesterday. It has helped us by connecting me to nextvacay.com and in the resource section, travel insurance. It is difficult to get insurance when you are over 70 and don’t need everything. Your tip about World Nomads led me to Trip Assure so thank you so much.

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