Keto Travel Hacks: Staying Keto on the Go

Travel is often inevitable. However, staying keto while traveling is not the easiest thing to do. Not only are there more temptations, but you are also outside of your normal environment and may not have access to the same tools you usually use to maintain your healthy lifestyle. This is why learning how to stay keto while traveling is so important.

Whether you are flying or driving and whether it’s for work or leisure, here are are my best tips for maintaining not only a keto lifestyle but also a healthy lifestyle. Don’t let travel be an excuse to let your health fall apart!

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated AND replenishing electrolytes on keto is important regardless if you are traveling or not. However, when you are traveling, doing so can be a little tougher. Maybe you are traveling for work where you may need to be mentally sharp. Or maybe you are traveling somewhere where you will be doing a lot of physical activity or somewhere for fun where you would like to be in a good mood, being electrolyte deficient and dehydrated can really throw a wrench in your travel plans.

If you are flying, this can be even more of a problem. Airplanes are very dry and can more rapidly promote dehydration. Every time I fly, I am always dry mouthed and dehydrated, unless I take some steps to combat this. My best strategy for this is trying to be hydrated going into travel, packing water, and eating whole foods rich in electrolytes like avocados, leafy greens, salmon, and salting my foods. Electrolyte supplementation is another great way to ensure proper electrolyte balance and these supplements are easy to pack and bring with you!

Stay Rested

Just like staying hydrated, not getting enough rest when you are traveling can really hinder your trip, whether for work or leisure. The problem is staying rested while traveling is hard. If you are hopping timezones, we all know how hard that is on getting enough rest. If you are out and about in a new city, chances are you may want to enjoy some of the night life or maybe have a few drinks, both of which can throw of your sleep.

The truth is, this aspect of traveling is a little harder to avoid so the best strategies usually involve managing the hand you are dealt. Being sure to be adequately rested going into travel is a good place to start. You don’t want days of bad sleep to stack on top of each other so starting the trip off right can be a huge help. If possible, incorporating the occasional nap here and there s another good way to manage your rest.

Finally, when it comes to staying rested, supplementation can also be of aid. Magnesium, one of the electrolytes that often becomes deficient on keto, can do quite a number on quality and quantity of sleep. Focusing on replenishing it can dramatically help improve your sleep and get your as rested as possible, For this use, my magnesium supplement of choice comes recommended by Dr. Anthony Gustin and is something I have been using for the last few months, especially when traveling!

Fasting

This tip does not mean that .I am recommending fasting for your whole trip, it means that there are a few instances when fasting can be pretty valuable while you are traveling such as:

  • When flying: Fasting when flying can be a great way to manage jet lag and boost your immune system to deal with all those germs when on a plane. This may not be as necessary for 1-2 hour flights but if traveling across timezones, it can be a pretty useful strategy.I like to follow a fat fast during this time and have a fatty coffee when I get to the airport.

  • When eating bad: Travel should not be an excuse to go completely off the wagon and destroy your health with what you eat and fasting should not be used to punish yourself. However, if you are traveling to a city or country where you will be enjoying some of the local non keto cuisine that is part of the cultural experience, then fasting in the morning can be a great way to limit the damage.

Pack a Keto Kit

Snacking on the road can get expensive, especially when it comes to airports.  $15 for an omelet, $10 for a bag of almonds.  This adds up, especially if you are experiencing extended or frequent traveling.   Another problem is the quality of food.  The truth is guys that not many restaurants prepare food with quality in mind, especially fast food and airport restaurants.  Even the snack choices at the gas stations and convenient stores while on the road can be ridden with hidden sugars and vegetable oils.  Do you need to freak out about this?  Probably not, unless these foods are being frequently consumed in high amounts, where they can become a little more problematic. 

The way I like to combat this problem is by packing my own keto kit.  A keto kit is, like a first aid kit, meant to provide you with the tools you need in a pinch, such as when you are traveling. Here are a few of the benefits of packing a keto kit:

  1. No need to stop if in a hurry

  2. You can control food quality

  3. More cost effective

While everyone may have a slightly different keto kit, here is what I pack to serve as a good example for you.

Since I am a little nerdier than most, I also like to bring a Keto Mojo blood glucose and ketone monitor with me so I can conduct self-experiments during my travels.  Even if you are not that big of a nerd, you still may elect to test your ketones and glucose during travel to see how your body is responding to some of the stressors of travel.

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Know Your Resources

While packing a keto kit can be a great way to be prepared while traveling, if you fail to do so or you are traveling for an extend period of time, you may have to rely on the resources that are around you. If you are driving, this is likely gas stations or restaurants that pop up while you are on your drive. If you are flying, that is likely what is available to you while you are at the airport. Let’s go over both.

Keto Gas Stations Hacks

We have all experienced a road trip.  Long hours in the car, trying to get where ever you are going in a hurry.  Part of the plan for road trips is usually efficiency which can mean grabbing a lot of food to go.  This typically means that you will be relying on fast food or gas station food since these both tend to be the most convenient.  Here are some of the top snacks to grab at gas stations:

  • Nuts: Aim for dry roasted or raw if possible to avoid inflammatory vegetable oils

  • Beef Jerky: Sugar free or low sugar are the best options

  • Coffee

  • Hard Boiled Eggs

  • Pork Rinds: Not the most healthy food but a can make a nice convenient snack on the go.

  • Low-carb protein bars: the best ones are not typically available at gas stations but some bars like Quest may be tolerated by some people.

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Airport Hacks

When you are flying, sometimes it is inevitable that you will have to eat airport food, which as we know tends to be at the butt of a lot of jokes. However, even when eating at an airport, there are several keto options that you can use to help stay on track.

Coffee Shops

Many airport coffee shops have several pretty decent food options . Besides the coffee, many places like Starbucks also have protein packs with eggs, nuts, and veggies and my favorite, the sous vide eggs

Restaurants

There are keto options at nearly every restaurant. It is important to recognize that the quality of food at these restaurants is usually pretty poor so don’t make it a habit to eat here frequently. My go-to airport restaurant meals are either a nice omelet from a breakfast joint or a cobb salad from a lunch spot.

Convenient Store

The options at airport convenient stores can vary but tend to look pretty similar to what you would see at a gas station. My favorite choices are:

  • Raw nuts

  • Beef jerky

  • Low-carb protein bars

Book Store

Some bookstores may have similar snack options as convenient stores but that point of making this pit stop at an airport is to get yourself something good to read. Travel can be stressful, cool off with a good book!

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Hotel Preparation

Choosing the right type of hotel also plays a big role in the success of your healthy travels. This definitely comes into play the longer your travel is. Here are a couple things to consider when trying to choose the right hotel.

Kitchen: If you are staying at a hotel for a long time, choosing a hotel that has a kitchen can be a great way to make sure you can get at least one healthy meal in per day. Even if you are dining out frequently on your travels, preparing one meal per day at your hotel can allow you to save some money and limit some of your diet damage.

Gym: Exercise does not combat a bad diet, but exercise is good for us and a great way to stay healthy. Taking a couple days off from the gym while traveling may be a good thing for some people; however, for those who are traveling for an extended period of time, having a gym to help get a little movement in each day can be a big help!

Breakfast: Fasting when traveling isn’t for everyone. If your hotel does not have a kitchen, choosing a hotel with a good complimentary breakfast can be another great method for staying on track. Many hotel breakfasts have eggs and some choice of meat allowing you to at least start your day with a keto meal.

Dining Out Restaurants

Whether you are on a road trip or just flying and staying somewhere, you will be dining out at some point. If you are eating at a nice sit down restaurant, there are plenty of food choices for you. My favorites are:

  • Steak and vegetables or side salad

  • Cobb Salad

  • Bunless burger

  • Fish and vegetables

If you are on the road, dining out will likely mean convenience. This likely means fast food. The biggest thing to point out with fast food restaurants is that the food quality is poor.  Don’t call me the quality control here, come on guys, there’s no way that the meat served at a McDonalds is anywhere close the quality of food we would want to be consuming on a regular basis. 

Regardless, in a pinch, fast food restaurants become an option because of cheap convenience.  If you are going to be hitting up a fast food joint, it is important to know what options to look for.  Every fast food restaurant has salads and burgers or other sandwiches that can easily have their bun removed. Here are some of my top choices:

-       Jimmy Johns Unwich

-       Chipotle Bowl with no rice or beans

-       Omelets from diners or places like IHOP or Denny’s

Exercise

I mentioned this in the hotel preparation but I want to reiterate that you do not need to kill yourself with exercise while you are traveling, especially if you are on a vacation. However, if you are traveling for a long period of time, getting some exercise in a couple times a week may be a great way to help maintain health. If your hotel has a gym, this is pretty easy. If not, look for a local gym close by your hotel for a good morning workout, plan a short morning jog, or bring some resistance bands with and make up your own little travel exercise routine!

Conclusion

While these are all great strategies for staying keto when traveling, the most important thing is that you enjoy yourself.  Travel doesn’t have to be stressful and you do not have to be perfect.  The point of this resource is to emphasize that travel does not have to be an excuse to fall of the keto wagon.  Use these tips to manage your travel but do not allow yourself to not enjoy yourself during travel.  If you are vacationing or visiting a new city, you may want to go out and have a drink, enjoying local non keto cuisine, or just let loose.  That’s okay, I do that sometimes too.  The point is to not go crazy and try to limit the damage!

To learn more travel tips, check out this video with Dr. Anthony Gustin!

Christopher Irvin