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Recently I sat down with Allie Sullivan from The Path to discuss ways to keep fit during vacation time. I just wanted to take this opportunity to expand on those ideas, focusing on family health during vacations. We’ve got a good chunk of summer vacation left, and finding ways to keep the whole family active and fit during vacation can be a challenge!

It’s hot. Kids want to slump in front of the TV. And if we’re lucky to be able to take the family on vacation, many of our meal choices are quick and cheap. But there are ways to do all of summer and vacations healthy and inexpensive. It just takes a little planning.

Here are 7 tips to stay fit and keep the family healthy during summer vacation and while on vacation:

  1. bikingMake vacation time active time: Who says vacation-time has to be a sedentary experience? Unplug and experience vacation like the good ol’ days. Less TV really does burn more calories. (Yes. Waxing nostalgic here.) Make walking or bike riding the norm if you’re within a couple of miles of any destination. If your kids see you riding or walking to work, they, too, will be more inspired to move. Set aside a weekly time to hit the park or local pool after work. Some pools even have movie night! Recently, family friends took their kids cross country with absolutely no technology. Their daughter, after a couple of weeks, said it was more relaxing to not always be checking Instagram. It gave her the chance to be free of the drama from her school friends. Constant “connection” has a way of disconnecting kids from each other and family.
  2. Be a tourist at home: Have you ever taken your home town’s walking tour or tour bus? Have you ever explored your local museum? Take a look at your hometown as a tourist would and explore. Sometimes the best vacations are stay-at-home vacations, discovering what everyone else sees in your community!
  3. Relax! If you’re on vacation and can’t get to a gym every morning, chances are you’re getting plenty of activity walking, exploring, and enjoying the sites wherever you are. And, as I mentioned in The Path article, giving your body a break has proven to be even healthier and better for you. On the other hand, if you travel for work, you will want to stay in hotels with a gym or swimming pool to stay on track with your fitness plan.
  4. Hit the Grocery Store: Eating out can really put a kink in your budget and diet. High fat, high sugar, and high salt content meals can make us feel bloated and less energetic. Breakfasts are easy. Buy your favorite in-season fruits, yogurt and granola to have a family picnic. Drink water and save calories as well as money. Think whole-grain breads, pita bread, cheese, humus and cut vegetables for lunchtime. By limiting eating out at restaurants to once/day, you can save money and stick with healthier choices.
  5. beignetsEnjoy local cuisine: One of the most exciting things about travel is trying local foods – even if that might mean a high-calorie bomb. But when will you have the chance to try the best Southern Fried Chicken and waffles except for in the south? Or Beignets in New Orleans? Travel with your taste buds. And when you’re feeling a little tired of new foods, try ordering things on the menu that are closest to what you’d eat at home. Keep fried foods to a minimum. Try grilled chicken or fish at night with loads of in-season vegetables. And enjoy that sour-dough bowl of clam chowder in San Francisco.
  6. These shoes were made for walking: Pinched toes, blisters … the best way to not get exercise is packing the wrong shoes. Pack great walking or running shoes. These will inspire you to move and explore. Take care of your feet and legs – massage your calves at night and lather up with creams. You can only see and enjoy what you can comfortably get to.
  7. Remember your prescription medication: Health first … always. So make sure you bring the medications you need. If you have a restricted diet, be sure to order carefully so as to not get sick while traveling.

Vacation time should be a time to explore and enjoy. This definitely is possible to do while maintaining a healthy diet and fitness plan. It just takes a little bit of planning and creativity to keep the whole family moving and fit!