I have been traveling more than usual lately, and without planning it can really throw a wrench into my fitness plan (both physically and mentally!). So I’m writing this post on fit travel tips to share what I’ve learned and what works for me.

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Set realistic expectations.

My fitness goals when I travel are always the same, to maintain what I’ve accomplished. I realize that I’m going to eat more than usual, and I accept that. (I also enjoy it!) Depending on the nature of the trip, I might also plan to work out. If I’ll be lying on a beach for several days, I’ll certainly bring my gym clothes and do my best with the hotel gym. If it is a ski trip, a hiking weekend, or other active adventure, I’ll skip my usual workout regime. As long as I’m active, I’m happy!

Plan ahead.

Just as you would plan meals and snacks at home, plan as much as you can for being away. Take with you your favorite healthy snacks, and bring more than you think you’ll need. Protein powder is easy to bring, and having a shake before a meal out is a great way to add protein and keep from overeating the indulgent food.

For my recent trip to Puerto Rico, I brought with me:

2 batches of peanut butter protein cookies
a jar of double chocolate protein fudge (triple the recipe)
6 mini cans of tuna (with easy open lids)
an apple for the plane ride
2 Belgian protein waffles
my blender ball container with protein powder, all ready to go
lots of extra protein powder (and Starbucks Via packets for my mocha frappe protein shake!)

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The tuna and fudge were packed in my checked baggage, as was the extra protein powder. The rest was in my carry-on. This was the first time I traveled with the waffles, and I was impressed at how well they held up. I kept them in the hotel refrigerator, and they were even good two days later!

I have also been bringing my alkalizing water filter with me, since it is a travel filter and packs up nicely. I would otherwise have to spend a ridiculous amount of money on bottled water, and this is a great solution. (It is the same filter I use every day at home.) I keep my blender ball container filled with filtered water in the hotel fridge, so it is always ready to go for a cold shake!

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It sounds like a lot of food, I know. But after the four days, the cookies, fudge, and waffles were gone. I had extra tuna and protein powder, and it was a good thing I did. My flight was canceled, and I was stuck in San Juan for an extra 6 days. (I’m sure this will go down as the JetBlue fiasco of ’14. Delays, delays, checked bags and ready to board, then wait… and canceled.)

Make the best of the unexpected.

I’m not going to pretend like being stuck in San Juan was a horrible thing; it wasn’t. But after a few days of indulgent eating, I need to eat clean. So after getting a good night’s sleep, I took the time to seek out some healthy snacks to bring back to the hotel. There was a Walgreens very close to the hotel, and that was my first stop.

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I don’t normally drink juice, but I was feeling run down and thought the jugo de china would be a good choice. I also don’t usually eat cereal, but I thought the Cheerios would make a nice snack if I wanted something crunchy. (Truth be told, I was trying to avoid eating more plantain chips. For some reason I feel the need to buy them when I see them while traveling, even though they’re in the bodega across the street from where I work in New York City.)

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I did not, however, pick up any of the adorable little Patrón bottles in the basket by the checkout in Walgreens. I thought about it, but I resisted.

Keep trying.

I was disappointed not to have found any natural peanut butter, so I went in search of a supermarket. And although it was a large and fully stocked market, it was a bit of a tease to have to pass by the produce aisle, knowing I couldn’t cook any of the veggies! I did find some good stuff, though, including the peanut butter I wanted, and some canned spinach.  I also found this Nuti Light, a low-sugar chocolate hazelnut spread. It’s made of healthy fats and fiber, and tastes pretty good!

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Again, this isn’t all food I usually eat, but I feel good about the choices I made. I wasn’t overspending on the sugary ‘protein bars’ in the hotel gift shop, I wasn’t eating indulgent food all day long, and I was able to get a decent amount of protein.

After the stress of the canceled flight, having to sort out a ton of details for a project I was missing at work, and making an effort to find healthy food, I came back to this view from my balcony:

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All in all, good choices and a great vacation!

And I have to say, my stay at the San Juan Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino was fantastic. The hotel is beautiful, and the staff were incredibly helpful.

Do you have any fit travel tips to share? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!