How to Stay Healthy While Traveling: 5 Essential Tips for Digital Nomads

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In this post, Thalia Maria from Notes by Thalia will be sharing her top essential tips to stay healthy while traveling. This is something I’ve definitely struggled with throughout my journey as a digital nomad, so I hope her tips help you along your journey as well!

By Thalia-Maria Tourikis

We’ve all heard it…

“You’re on holiday. You’re allowed to sleep in, eat all the carbs and drink those cocktails without feeling guilty.”

But what if you travel full-time and can’t treat every day like you’re on holiday?

I must admit, this is one of the biggest cons about the laptop lifestyle and was the hardest thing for me to get right.

But after 3 years as a digital nomad, I can finally say I’m at my healthiest both mentally and physically.

I’ve finally found a system that works. And I’m about to reveal all.

Here’s everything I’ve learnt about how to stay healthy while travelling full-time as a digital nomad.

Why staying healthy while traveling is essential

Cultivating a healthy lifestyle involves being mentally and physically healthy.

It means being emotionally capable of dealing with life’s daily challenges and having the ability to show up as your best self every day.

When you stay healthy while traveling full-time, you are also opening yourself up to many other shifts in mindset, mood and energy.

You’re more likely to be able to tackle obstacles with ease and resilience as well as maintain good mental health.

Not to mention, when you follow healthy habits while traveling, you allow yourself to get the most out of your time abroad.

Other essential benefits include:

  • Reduced stress and overwhelm
  • Improved physical health
  • Feeling better mentally and emotionally
  • Healthier appearance — skin, nails, hair, weight, etc.
  • More energy and focus
  • Better sleep
  • Greater life satisfaction

5 essential wellness tips for digital nomads

Prioritize sleep

You can try all the productivity tools and hacks in the world but these are completely pointless if you’re not getting enough sleep.

And this is even more true when you’re a digital nomad.

How can you expect to travel, explore and work at full capacity if you’re not taking the time to rest?

So tip number one (and the MOST important) is prioritising sleep.

On a normal day, it is recommended that adults need between 7-9 hours of good quality sleep a night. (Sleep Foundation, 2023)

But if you’re like me and balance work, life and travel all in a 24-hr period then you will most likely need more.

Prioritising good quality sleep is the best thing you can do for your health when travelling.

It gives your mind and body the time they need to repair so they can function at their best.

So do not skip this step!!

The key to preparing your mind and body for sleep is creating a relaxing environment and dedicating time to an evening routine.

Get started with these simple rituals:

  • Go screen-free at least 1 hour before bed
  • Stretch
  • Listen to calming music
  • Dim the artificial lights and use candles
  • Sleep in a dark room by using a blackout eye mask

Keep a consistent daily routine

Take it from someone who has been living on the road for 3(ish) years — keeping some form of routine while being abroad is essential.

Routines provide structure to your day and help to reduce stress, especially in the morning.

They can also be incredibly comforting.

I mean, hands up if you’ve ever looked forward to coming home from a holiday and jumping back into your routine.

It’s that sense of familiarity that grounds us.

So the next most important thing you can do while travelling is to maintain a consistent daily routine. It will keep you on track, help you take intentional action and allow you to perform at your best every single day.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Plan your day the night before
  • Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day
  • Build your routine to work around you and your lifestyle
  • Stay in the same tropical place for at least one month
  • Make use of co-working spaces

Dedicate time to self-care

Travel is my self-care.

It sparks my creativity, helps me feel inspired and gives me the space to grow.

In short, travel makes me feel alive.

But about 2 years into my digital nomad journey, I realised that travel was actually bloody exhausting and it wasn’t allowing me to fully rest and relax.

I needed something more.

So I started dedicating time to simple hobbies that brought me joy.

This now looks like going for a walk every morning in nature, doing a jigsaw puzzle on the iPad or simply watching a TV show on Netflix.

Just because you travel full-time doesn’t mean you can’t engage in the familiar things that bring you comfort.

Dedicate time to self-care every day — even if it’s just for 10 minutes or so.

Go for a swim, get a massage or simply sit in a coffee shop and do nothing. The choice is yours — just make sure you’re doing something for you.

Pinpoint what you and your body need in terms of nourishment and go straight to addressing those needs.

The more you rest and take care of yourself, the more nourished you will feel so you can continue to show up as your best digital nomad self.

Here’s what to do next:

  • Write a feel-good activities list
  • Focus on your needs when writing this list
  • Schedule 1-3 activities each day
  • Commit to just 10 minutes 
  • Use self-care reminders

Eat a well-balanced diet (or cook for yourself)

As I mentioned earlier, vacations are usually a time to over-indulge. 

We find ourselves eating more than we usually do and saying yes to the foods we’d usually say no to.

I mean how can you go to Italy and not eat pizza or pasta and gelato every single day? It’s impossible.

Unfortunately, this isn’t really the reality if you live abroad or travel full-time.

Eating out regularly and over-indulging can lead to weight gain or leave you feeling bloated and sluggish.

There’s even research linking a poor diet to low energy levels affecting productivity.

In short, you are what you eat.

Because I don’t advocate for strict diets, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you should only be eating salad.

I mean even that’s not realistic.

Instead, I encourage you to be mindful of your eating habits and prioritise home-cooked food. 

Take some time to write a list of well-balanced meals that you enjoy and that will make you feel nourished.

Focus on:

  • Starting your day with a savoury breakfast to keep blood sugar levels steady
  • Eating whole foods (veggies, fruit, beans, high-quality meat)
  • Buying seasonal produce from the local food market
  • Avoiding ultra-processed and sugary foods
  • Reading food labels for any hidden nasty ingredients

I promise that doing this one thing will make you feel loads better and prepare you every day both mentally and physically.

Hot tip → Switch your hotel booking for an Airbnb or serviced apartment with a kitchen. You’ll feel a lot healthier, in the long run, knowing you can cook for yourself.

Set clear work-life boundaries

The digital nomad life isn’t as simple as eat, beach, work, sleep, repeat.

Despite what people back at home think, there’s so much more to it than that.

Not only do you have to deal with the day’s usual workload and challenges but you also have the added pressure of planning travel around an 8-hour workday.

For that reason, having clear work-life boundaries is essential as they will help you avoid travel burnout.

Boundaries are the limits and rules you put in place to separate your personal life, emotions and responsibilities from others.

They also help to protect your energy and stop people from taking advantage of you.

Setting boundaries is necessary for everyone but they are even more necessary when you travel full-time as a digital nomad.

So again, do not skip this step.

Here are a few mindful tips to help you get started:

  • Start your day with self-care
  • Designate specific work hours and stick to this schedule
  • Clearly communicate expectations and response times to clients or colleagues
  • Limit screen time outside of work
  • Create a shutdown ritual

Final thoughts on Staying Healthy While Traveling

Staying healthy while travelling full-time is not one-size-fits-all.

It’s about doing what works for you every single day so you can avoid travel burnout and feel healthier, and happier.

That being said, the tips above are for inspiration only.

I encourage you to test them out first before fully committing to them because what works for me might not necessarily work for you.

Feel free to take them as they are or adjust them to better suit you and your needs.

And if these tips seem slightly overwhelming then start small.

Choose just one idea to implement into your life rather than the full set. Introduce the one that seems the easiest to adopt or the one that will have the most positive impact on you and your health.

Until next time,

Thalia xx

About the Author

Hey, it’s Thalia — Certified Health Coach, Mentor, Blogger and Nomad.

I’m a big believer in freedom, setting your own rules and breaking free of societal expectations.

In 2017, I quit my toxic job to build a happier, healthier life and have been traveling the world ever since. I’ve designed a life that aligns with my core values, meaning I get to wake up to my wildest dreams every single day. I’m now on a mission to help you do the same.

For daily(ish) self-care tips you can find me on Instagram and Pinterest And for a deeper dive into creating a life you love, head over to my blog