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10 International Travel Tips for First Timers

If you haven’t been following along, I’ve been traveling in the UK and Greece with Andrew this month to visit his fam/attend some of our closest friends weddings! Whenever I travel, I always have to follow these international travel tips and make sure my routine stays in check. There’s nothing worse than falling sick or feeling not like yourself when on vacay, so I thought I’d share some of my top tips for international travel for first timers (or even the veterans need some advice too). This post is sponsored by Nature’s Way, who are celebrating 50 years of paving a better way to keep your body healthy!

Maria in Greece ready to provide her international travel tips.

When I’m overseas, it’s very important to me to maintain healthy digestion, sleep, and a routine. That way when I get back home, my body isn’t shocked back into reality. Plus, it keeps me feeling good. Some of my first times I ever traveled, I didn’t think about this stuff, and although it didn’t ruin my trips, it definitely would take awhile for my body readjust between traveling and going back to real life. International travel is exciting and fun, you’re eating new foods, staying up later than usual, partying and drinking more than you would at home, and overall over stimulating yourself and your insides. So that’s why I wanted to team up with my friends at Nature’s Way to share my MUST HAVE international travel tips.

Wondering the streets of Mykonos, Greece among white buildings.

1. What to pack for international travel

One of the most important parts about travel is ensuring you have all the things you need with you. Packing can be daunting for people, but when you make a list, and plan in advance, it’ll be less overwhelming. Although each trip can be different in terms of what you need or want to pack, these things, no matter where I’m going, are always in my bag!

  • Water bottle (save the planet people and refill)
  • Vitamin storage to keep all my vitamins in one place and keep me on track for taking them
  • A passport and important documents folder
  • Chargers and electronics in a safe bag that will always be kept with me versus checked in
  • Sunscreen, hat and anything else to protect me from the sun, or bugs!

Nature's Way vitamins and supplements laying on a table.

On top of the above, I also have a series of vitamins I like to take along for my journey. Now instead of packing all the bottles for these, I’ll just count out what I need for the days I’m away and put them in a vitamin storage box. Here’s what I usually always try to take:

These can all help keep my body and health in check. The digestive enzymes, of course, keep my digestion steady despite what I’m eating may be different than my usual routine.* The melatonin can help with sleep, probiotics keep my digestion balanced and my bowel movements consistent, the ashwagandha helps reduce stress, energy powder supports mental alertness when I’m feeling jet lagged or just down right tired from the chaos of travel, and lately, ginger root can help with digestive support.*

Jet lag can be a drag. This post is filled with tips on how to beat it!

Fresh fruit sitting on a counter.

Nature's Way vitamins and supplements sitting on white counter.

2. One of my biggest international travel tips: Melatonin to support my sleep with time differences!

As mentioned above, packing melatonin is critical for me when traveling, especially when I’m hopping over to a different timezone. When I travel, I don’t get the best sleep. It’s a combination from timezones changing, different beds, and places you’re sleeping in, and being out of your regular routine you have at home. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. Taking melatonin won’t knock you out like a traditional sleeping pill but it simply releases more melatonin into your body to help your body know it’s time for sleep. It’s one of my biggest international travel tips because it serious is a godsend when you can’t get to sleep or your body is awake because of a time change.

This post on how to have a good night’s rest can help make sure you don’t miss your ZZZZZ’s while traveling.

Guy sitting at table with food overlooking Mykonos, Greece.

A healthy Greek salad sitting on a table with a glass of water.

3. Don’t overdo fiber, or you’ll regret it! 

Anyone else have serious issues going to the bathroom regularly when traveling? I know I do. That’s why I always pack Nature’s Way Digestive Enzymes or Fortify Probiotics in my bag with me because there’s nothing worse than feeling bloated and constipated while you should be enjoying your trip. International travel can wreak havoc on your insides and having these as your trusty sidekick can help keep everything running smoothly. On top of that, don’t overdo fiber or completely alter your diet while away. Yes, you want to be able to eat and try new foods, but if you wouldn’t eat beans for every meal at home, switch it up and don’t overdo it while abroad or your digestive system will hate you.

Check out my advice on how to have better digestion here.

Maria sitting on a rock by the ocean in Mykonos, Greece. Ready to give you her international travel tips!

The beautiful white market streets of Mykonos, Greece.

4. My international travel tips for surviving a long flight

Long flights can be exciting, but also one of the worst parts about travel. To keep yourself feeling in tip top shape while flying, here are some of my biggest international travel tips for flying:

  • Take Nature’s Way Melatonin Lozenges on the flight to help you sleep, but ensure you take it at an appropriate time for your new timezone so you don’t screw up your sleep schedule before you even land.*
  • Don’t eat while on a long flight. Sounds crazy, but being that high up in the air can mess with your digestion and that’s usually always why you feel so bloated and gross when on a plane.
  • Skip drinking alcohol, juices, or pops while in the air. To avoid feeling bloated, drink a ton of water instead. Ask your flight attendant to fill up that water bottle you packed!
  • Bring lots of entertainment to get you through the flight like books, movies, games, podcasts, music, and the list goes on. I sometimes find I get so much work done on planes because I have no distractions!

Maria of FoodByMaria walking the streets of Mykonos with a backpack on, one of her international travel tips.

5. Bring a backpack

So many people head on a plane or trip without much more than a purse and a suitcase, but a backpack can be incredibly useful for international travel. First off, you can carry all the goodies you need and entertainment onto the plane in one spot. Second, when you get to your destination, you can empty out the contents and use your backpack as your day bag. Bring along your own water to stay hydrated, your camera for capturing memories, healthy snacks, and whatever else you’ll need to have a successful day.

Healthy salad and fruit on a table overlooking Mykonos, Greece.

Healthy fruit on a white marble table.

6. Eat local to maintain a balanced diet

One of the best parts about international travel is eating local. As you know, I love food and I love exploring different cultures through their cuisine. After all, it can be one of the best ways to get to know a new culture. When you eat local you’re soaking in all sorts of benefits. For starters, you’re supporting local businesses and farmers. Second off, you’ll be getting the freshest ingredients alongside traditional foods! No you don’t likely want to eat the foods you eat back home because you want to enjoy the culture, but you can still eat local and traditional cuisine while maintaining a balanced diet. Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you have to eat garbage!

Ducks at waters edge in Mykonos, Greece taken by Maria who is giving her international travel tips.

7. Be prepared for the sun during international travel (or any travel)

Ahhhh don’t get me started on sun damage and the importance of protecting yourself from the sun. You don’t need me to tell you how bad the sun can be for your skin, so make sure you pack sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, and all those goodies to keep yourself protected. Plus, don’t just apply it at the start of the day, have it in your backpack to reapply throughout the day. When traveling as well, you can be outside a lot more than you would be at home. I find this can seriously drain me and take a lot of my energy, so making sure to drink loads of water and staying hydrated through fresh local fruits and veggies is important.

Tip! If you’re drinking alcohol in the sun, make sure to double up on the water to avoid dehydration!

Nature's Way women's probiotics bottle held by Maria who is giving her international travel tips.

8. Improve your digestion

Like I said, my insides really struggle when I travel based on the change of routine, and trying new foods. Ginger is one of my biggest tips and power ingredients for better digestion. Nature’s Way Ginger Root is always in my bag. Ginger root is traditionally used in Western Herbalism to relieve digestive upsets or disturbances.* It’s common for people to go through waves of not feeling their best when traveling, because naturally, international travel is hard on your body. Ginger root is great to have on hand for when your digestion is upset.* Keeping ginger root in your back pocket is one of my biggest international travel tips.

Fresh peaches and fruit on countertop in Greece.

Gorgeous waterfront in Mykonos, Greece taken by Maria who is giving her international travel tips.

9. Exercise 

I don’t like to completely throw my routine out the window when traveling because it makes it SO MUCH HARDER to get back into it when you get back home. The best part about exercise is that you can literally do it anywhere. Naturally when you’re traveling you’ll walk way more than you normally do at home which is awesome, but on top of that, you’ll probably eat more, sleep less, and drink more too. Find a local studio to try out, a run club, or go down to your hotel gym for a quick workout in the morning. Just make sure you stay on the move and healthy so when you return you can hop right back into your regular routine.

Yummy greek salad and fruits on white countertop in Greece.

10. Limit sugars and alcohol 

Yes, you’re going to want to eat what you want and enjoy being on vacation, but eating healthy while away will also make sure you’re feeling good while on vacation, and who doesn’t want that? Limiting your sugars and alcohol consumption while away will keep you in tip top shape. It’s super easy to cut down on these things when traveling too! Opt for fresh local fruit versus that sugary dessert. Share a dessert versus getting it all for yourself. With alcohol being a culprit for dehydration, and overall low energy while traveling, be smart, drink lots of water while you’re drinking, and try alcohols with less sugar in them and use lime or lemon to add the flavour sugar may usually give you. Mint is a great option too for spicing things up naturally!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

What are your biggest international travel tips? Share in the comments!

Pinterest pin for top international travel tips by FoodByMaria.