Ten tips for keeping the pounds at bay while traveling

Hi Frugalistas!


When we travel, don’t we just all fall in love with the local cuisine?  Eating the local delicacies is one of the highlights of any overseas trip, and many of those delicacies are really tempting and also really dangerous to the waistline!  I’ve travelled extensively have a terrible sweet tooth and struggle with my weight – yet I NEVER gain weight while traveling.  Here’s how I do it!

1.  My overall strategy is to only eat when I’m hungry.  I eat breakfast, then only eat again when I’m hungry – not when it’s “time”.  Similarly, I do the same for dinner.  This means I don’t snack during the day.

2. I treat everything I eat after breakfast basically as one bundle of food for the day.  That means if I eat a larger meal at lunchtime I eat a small, light dinner.  If I have a beautiful pastry or other treat for afternoon tea, I don’t eat dessert that night.

3. You don’t need to eat every local treat every day.  If you do, it just becomes a blur.  Don’t deprive yourself of the gelato, eclair or deep fried something – just don’t eat all of them every day.

4.  At the breakfast buffet I apply a similar strategy.  I love my croissant, baguette and all the local delicacies at breakfast, but I don’t eat everything off the buffet every day.  Just cos it’s there,doesn’t mean you have to eat it – it will still be there tomorrow (and what gets served in different hotels doesn’t vary that much!).  I also avoid the fruit juice – it’s just liquid sugar, and usually isn’t that great.  I’d rather swap it for extra jam on my croissant!


5.  In a restaurant it’s easy to get stuck into the bread before your meal arrives.  Unless I’m really hungry, I avoid the bread, and if I do succumb stick to one piece.  I do like to have a piece to mop up the delicious left over sauce on my meal so make sure I “allow” for this!

6.  Similarly, the fries/chips that often accompany meals are a trap – just like they are at home!  I make a point of not ordering fries or a meal accompanied by fries every day, and if I do get fries, I never eat them all.  There are some things you just have to eat with fries – English fish n chips, steak frites in France etc – and I love to eat them.  I just make sure I don’t eat the whole lot!

7.  Creamy sauces and desserts are another easy way to eat far more than you realise.  Again, I love a good bearnaise or pepper sauce on my steak, but I don’t eat them every day.  With dessert, I don’t eat the cream or icecream on the side, and often stick with a fruit-based dessert in preference to a rich pastry and cream-laden dessert.


8.  We all eat more when we’re travelling and I’m certainly no exception to that, so I always make a real point of exercising more – unfortunately no matter where you are in the world, it is a case of energy in/energy out!  I don’t jog or go to the gym when I’m traveling – my precious traveling time is far too valuable for that!  Instead I try and walk, walk, walk – I can spend a week in Paris and never catch the Metro!  If I do use the train, I use the stairs rather than the escalator . I also avoid the elevator/lift in the hotel and use the stairs wherever I can.  I do the same in museums, department stores and anywhere I else I can find them.  A long walk along the beach either first thing in the morning or at dusk is a beautiful activity, and a great way of getting some extra exercise.

9.  Watch the alcohol.  I love a drink, particularly wine, but make sure I take all those cocktails and glasses of wine into account.  I also watch those snacks that often accompany drinks at the bar – it’s easy to get stuck into those without even realising how much you’ve eaten.


10.  Keeping toned.  Carrying my bag up and down stairs and lifting it up onto train racks is great for keeping my arms toned. If you really need to keep up your resistance training, invest in a set of resistance bands, for a bit of extra training.

How do you avoid the nasty side effects of weight gain in your travels?


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6 Comments on “Ten tips for keeping the pounds at bay while traveling”

  1. Caitlyn 16/05/2012 at 6:24 pm #

    I agree – I tend to eat like a crazy person in Europe, but I don’t put on weight due to all the moving around, sure beats sitting behind a desk all day!

  2. GlobeTramp 28/05/2012 at 12:04 pm #

    The 25 pound backpack and trekking across cities on foot usually keeps the pounds at bay! Great post, I don’t think I’ve ever come back heavier, no matter how many kebabs I eat along the way!

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 28/05/2012 at 2:38 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Lugging a backpack will do it every time!

  3. Trisha Velarmino 31/10/2013 at 8:01 am #

    Here’s something we don’t tell much to a lot of people — it’s hard to be fit when travelling. And yeah, I agree with Globe Tramp: my backpack is really enough! I think it’s even heavier than I am.

  4. fotoeins 01/11/2013 at 3:22 am #

    In many German hotels, the breakfast is part of the room-rate, although some have begun separating breakfast from discounted rates. The breakfasts typically offer fruit, rolls, bread, butter, jam, yogurt, müsli; the bonus would be hard-boiled eggs, cold cuts, cheese, scrambled eggs, ham. A person could fill themselves very well at breakfast, and skip lunch or have a very light snack mid-day, especially if they’re out and about on foot for kilometres and kilometres.

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 01/11/2013 at 5:07 am #

      Yes, Henry, I love German breakfasts, and that’s exactly what I do!

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