One of the best things about travel is that it frees you from your routine. But that’s also one of the worst things about travel: You go away for work, your bachelorette, or your honeymoon and it’s like none of your wellness rituals make it past security. Even so, there are definitely ways to maintain them on the fly.
It starts before you leave for the airport—when you should pack some snacks. “Plane food makes me want to die,” jokes Sian Gordon, a founder of Love Yoga in Venice Beach, California, who is constantly continent-hopping to lead retreats. “I try to eat clean when I travel because I don’t like coming home feeling like trash.” She likes to bring along fruits, nuts, and “something fun.”
"I finish all the healthy stuff in my bag because it’s heavy and I don’t want to carry it around,” she says with a laugh. “Then I have a Compartés dark chocolate raspberry bar so I’m not jealous of the person sitting next to me eating a Snickers.”
Lindsay Ellingson, founder of the travel-inspired cosmetics line Wander Beauty and former Victoria’s Secret Angel, also packs a mile-high picnic. She sips a green juice (she likes Juice Press’s MILF) before takeoff, then has a quinoa and veggie salad or her childhood fave—an almond butter and strawberry jelly sandwich—in flight.
The fight against jet lag also begins on the plane. Ellingson swears by Wander Beauty’s Baggage Claim eye masks, and she naps as much as possible behind a lavender-scented eye shade. “It cuts out light but also gives you a little aroma-therapy to help you unwind,” she says. (Gordon takes melatonin and valerian-root supplements to help maintain her sleep cycle across time zones.)
And once you’ve arrived at your destination, you can still work out in an easy, approachable way. “It sounds so cheesy, but I just do jumping jacks in my room,” Ellingson says. “As a dancer growing up, we’d warm up with 10 minutes of jumping jacks and stretching, so I still do that.” She also travels with a Pilates ball: “I’m a yoga and Pilates girl, and they’re super easy to do anywhere—in a hotel room or on a beach,” she says. “I can get a full-body workout with this ball that, when deflated, easily fits in my carry-on bag.”
When Gordon isn’t teaching yoga, she looks to her surroundings for exercise inspiration. “When my fiancé and I went to Argentina, I googled Buenos Aires yoga studios,” she recalls. “The time I visited Patagonia, I was immediately like, ‘Where can I hike and horseback ride?’ It’s good to know your options.” (Check out apps such as ClassPass Flex to find local gyms and classes all over the world.)
In fact, that kind of present, enjoying-the-scenery mindfulness is key for on-the-road wellness. To that end, Gordon takes somewhat radical measures: She stays off her phone and away from WiFi as much as possible. “I’ll check my emails in the morning and night, but I make a conscious effort to not carry my phone with me.” She aims to immerse herself in the local culture—both figuratively and literally. “As soon as I get off the plane, I go straight to the beach and jump in the ocean,” she says. “It’s so rehabilitating to wash the flight off me first thing.”
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Except for the occasional time when it’s not: “When I went to India, I decided to join the locals for a swim in the Ganges River,” she remembers. “I was very ill for two weeks after that. It was definitely not worth how fun it seemed. That’s probably my best travel wellness advice, actually—no swimming in the Ganges!”
Consider a Girls’-trip Wellness Weekend at One of These Spots
Red Mountain Resort, Irvins, Utah
This canyon retreat is bachelorette party–ready with its Girlfriends Villa Getaway package, featuring a three-night stay for less than $400 a person per night.
1 Hotel South Beach, Miami
If Nancy Meyers designed a wellness spa, this would be it. From the lobby farm stand to the spacious oceanfront suites, everything is minimalist chic and maximalist clean living.
Spa Ojai in the Ojai Valley Inn, California
Try out the new-agey sound energy therapy, which uses vibration and auditory stimulation.
Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, Rancho Santa Fe, California
Start your day with one of the fitness programs, then spend the afternoon sipping smoothies in a cabana by the pool.
Grace Mayflower Inn & Spa, Washington, Connecticut
This New England spa feels more like a residence than a resort—one where you can practice your vinyasa in a private outdoor garden.