I don’t know about you, but I am dreaming of a tropical vacation right about…now. And surprisingly, we actually get one this summer! (We don’t often justify trips like that, but this is a unique situation.) As I’m reflecting on our recent trip to San Diego, I know I need to begin mentally preparing myself for our special adventure in July. Yes. Already. Because I really, really, really don’t want to deal with another epic fail like last time! (<– My bad, body. My bad.) In line with the other Traveling Healthy post, here are some of the techniques that I usually employ, and always work for me when I actually make use of them… Ah, life. Always learning from you.
Prepare and bring what you can.
The first things I pack when we head out on a trip are: nuts, dried fruit, whole grain crackers, and hummus, along with crudités (<– classy way of saying, “finger-food vegetables”) for dipping and munching, like carrot sticks, celery sticks, sliced bell peppers (organic please), and grape or cherry tomatoes (aka nature’s candy). We also bring airport-friendly options like prepackaged, small servings of nut butters, whole apples, pears, bananas, Larabars, sandwiches, simple and healthy trail mix, and sunflower seeds.
One of the hardest things about travel for me is not getting the amount of greens I need/want/am used to. If you are worried you might not be able to access vegetables as easily, bring a dry packet like Amazing Grass. Same goes for protein – if you think you might not be able to get enough, bring a baggie of powder. These keep well and can be adapted easily to whatever you have access to, even if it’s just adding straight-up H20.
I hope you see potential here.
Take advantage of “opportunities”…
I’m just going to be honest with you guys: I am a terrible, terrible, notorious mooch. If I stay at a hotel and they have fruit in the lobby – guess what? At least a serving of it is going to be gone in about 5 minutes (or as long as it takes me to stuff some in my purse/hands). I am shameless. Sorry. I blame my grandmother. She would go to buffets and fill her purse with muffins, napkins…even salt and pepper shakers. When we tried to encourage some deceny, she would wave us off and in her thick Spanish accent pronounce, “Ey, we paid for it!” True that, Grandma. True that.
Random related story:
When my dad helped me move during college, we stayed at a nearby hotel until the dorms opened. I should note, my dad and I have wayyy too much fun together. We love coffee. We love treats. We love laughing. We love laughing, drinking coffee, and eating treats together. And when they had such a nice lobby, and endless free coffee…and then set out a plate of fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies… Well, what did they expect us to do?! We were there for about 3 hours. Literally. Coffee. Refill. Laughing. Cookie. Refill. Laughing. Laughing. Cookie refill. Laughing. Scowl from front desk employee. (His name was Luke. We remember these things.)
My dad went back and stayed a few times when he came to visit me.
They don’t put cookies out anymore…
Find a grocery store or market nearby
Does the city you are staying in have a farmer’s market? An easy google search should tell you. You might be surprised at what foods you can find, and what a treat this local experience can be. Bonus: you get exercise at farmers’ markets! This is a fantastic option if you can’t find a grocery store nearby.
As you already know, this was (supposed to be) the highlight of our trip to San Diego: TRADER JOE’S! Once you find one, go and stock up on healthy snacks, and less perishable items. Or, even perishable ones — I have never had a problem with keeping vegetables and fruits cool in a hotel room. Which leads me to…
Let me tell you about my system. I can’t make any promises about its safety… but I can promise that it is ghetto and works. And by works I mean…”saves me a ton of money.”
You know that ice bucket that’s so fun to fill? (Just me? Always my favorite part of traveling as a child.) Go fill the plastic bags inside of it. Tie the ends. Place leftover food from dining out on top. Bam. Instant refrigerator! Or, if you go out, and buy almost more food than you can carry (despite being super strong, obviously), and need to live off it without a fridge for several days… Think big. And improvise:
The Shamelessly Cheap Hobo Hotel Fridge:
1) Use plastic bags (you can recycle them later) to carry some of your groceries.
2) Sneakily creep out of your room, and nonchalantly fill bags using the ice maker.
3) Act like nothing weird is happening.
4) Keep filling bags…
5) Say, “Oh, yes, thank you!” to the kind woman doing the hotel’s housekeeping, when she offers you a GIANT plastic trash bag.
6) Transfer all ice to said bag.
7) Strategically cover food with ice in bag.
8 ) Loosely tie ends and place in bathtub (which, lets be honest, you hardly use anyway…).
9) Relish your genius. And (now refrigerated) hummus.
10) Replace ice as needed.
Just take it out when you need to shower, and make sure things stay cold. We changed the ice during the morning and evening. And you know what? We ate like
kings queens royalty of some variety.
Any tips you have to share? Are you awkward and moochy too?