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How to stay healthy while travelling

Travelling can ruin your best-laid nutrition plans – James Collins is here to tell you how to stay healthy while heading on holiday.

To date, we’ve very much focused on getting the most from your nutrition day-to-day in an urban environment, but now that it’s summer time, people have only one thing on their mind – heading abroad. As we travel more and more – for work and pleasure – it’s often quite tempting to abandon all structure and enter ‘holiday mode’ as soon as we reach the airport.

With our elite athletes, attention to detail really matters here. As we travel so often, it’s important to have a go-to plan to manage long-haul travel, as we need our talent to arrive fresh and ready to perform at their best. 

For you, the reader, managing your nutrition shouldn’t mean killing the thrill of travel; instead, break your travel down and manage your nutrition effectively using these four stages:


A bit of homework in advance can make a lot of difference, especially if you are travelling somewhere new. 

This should start with understanding the hygiene standards at your destination: whether the water is safe to drink. Research the food hygiene where you are travelling – once you know this, you’ll know whether eating out may require some extra focus. 

Understanding the customs regulations at your destination is another way to avoid coming unstuck. Some countries have very strict laws on taking food in with you. If you’re taking any supplements, ensure that these are well labelled (and ideally in a new container) as the last thing you want is unnecessary searches. 


No one likes a mad dash to the airport in a cold sweat, so being aware of your flight itinerary is crucial. I always advise our clients in business and sport to plan time for a meal at the airport. Taking your time over a good-quality meal before boarding means you’ll find it easier to avoid the temptation of snack food or fast food restaurants in departures. 

Long-haul flights themselves are notorious for boredom or ‘mindless’ eating. If this sounds like you, buy or bring your own snacks on board with you: mixed nuts and seeds, fruits and protein-based bars are good options here. 


By setting your watch to your destination time on board the plane, you can then work backwards by planning your sleep and meals accordingly. It may sound basic, but getting this right can reduce your jet lag symptoms. 

Be aware of dehydration, too. It’s easy to forget the cabin pressure is constantly causing fluid losses from both the skin and lungs – if you don’t drink enough, you could arrive dehydrated, with a headache or some mild constipation.

We advise athletes to take their own water bottle. You should be aiming to drink approximately one cup of fluid an hour to stay hydrated. Adding some flavour or an electrolyte tablet to your drink can help you to drink more. 

I always find the clients that manage long-haul travel the best aren’t afraid to get up and down on the plane. Some movement and stretching will help you feel fresher on arrival. Also, it may sound stupid, but don’t be embarrassed to get up and use the loo – it’s as a sign that you’re drinking enough fluid!


It can be tempting to use day one to catch up on sleep, but getting some sunlight or doing some light exercise can help to set your body clock for the trip. It’s great to take a stroll and get your bearings – you might find that hidden gem that makes your holiday special.


Photo Alamy Stock Photo


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