It’s finally spring break and you’ve been hitting the campus gym especially hard the past few weeks. Don’t let all that hard work go to waste and ditch your healthy lifestyle just because you’re on vacation! It can be hard to maintain healthy habits when you’re away having fun, so we have some tips to help you stay healthy on spring break.
1. Pack a water bottle
It’s so important to stay hydrated, especially if you’re drinking alcohol. When you’re day drinking on the beach, it’s easy to forget to drink water as well. Susan Holmberg, a certified nutrition specialist, recommends drinking about half of your body weight in ounces per day (one cup is eight ounces). “If there is a lot of alcohol consumption, you will be more dehydrated than usual due to alcohol's effect on the hormones that regulate water balance in your body,” she says.
If you’re drinking alcoholic drinks, a good way to make sure you stay hydrated is to drink a glass or bottle of water in between each alcoholic drink.
Keep a water bottle with you when you’re out and make sure to drink from it throughout the day. Vapur bottles come in fun colors and are perfect for travel because they deflate for easy storage. Throw one in your beach bag or purse. If you’re traveling somewhere where the tap water is not safe to drink, make sure to stock up on water bottles from nearby convenience stores to keep in your room.
2. Drink in moderation
Make sure you’re being smart while drinking. You want to have fun, but don’t overdo it. Drinking definitely stops being fun when you can barely walk or say your name.
Kathleen Baty, author of College Safety 101: Miss Independent’s Guide to Empowerment, Confidence, and Staying Safe, says, “Beware of those cute, little foo-foo drinks that taste like strawberry or coconut. Just because you can’t taste the alcohol doesn’t mean that there is not rum or vodka in it. These drinks are strong and dangerous. Know your limit, and only have one or two over a few hours.”
If you have trouble keeping track of the drinks you’ve had in your head, write it down on your phone or make tick marks with a pen on your wrist. Stay with your friends so you can keep one another in check.
3. Hit the hotel gym or work out on the beach
If you are staying in a hotel, chances are it has a gym. You’re paying money to stay there, so take advantage of the free gym access! “If you and your friends decide to take a break between the beach and a party, head to the gym and run for half an hour,” Kayla Alexander, a junior at the University of South Carolina, suggests. “I've always felt pretty rejuvenated after a quick workout!”
If you’re staying in a condo or somewhere else where there isn’t a gym, take a walk around the area and explore what they city has to offer. If you’re somewhere tropical, take a run on the beach. Incorporating a little exercise into your vacation will keep you feeling better and make it easier to get back into your fitness routine once you get home.
4. Buy your own food
Rather than going out for every meal, buy some healthy food that would be easy to prepare in your room. If you know your friends are going to bring a lot of junk food, buy yourself some fruit and veggies to snack on rather than indulging in the snacks they bring.
Buying your own food will save you money and unnecessary calories. For some ideas on what to buy, check out our health editor’s suggestions for healthy snacks to eat while traveling.
5. Don’t skip meals
When you’re on vacation, it’s easy to get caught up in whatever activity you are doing, but be sure to make the time to eat. If you’re drinking alcohol, skipping meals can be especially harmful; drinking on an empty stomach is never a good idea.
Keep snacks with you so that if you find yourself hungry while you’re out, you’ll have something to hold you over. Healthy snacks such as an apple, nuts or carrots are perfect to keep with you in your purse. Whether it be a restaurant meal or food you bring, make sure you’re eating during the day.
6. Don’t overdo it at the buffet
On the flip side, you don’t want to overeat. When you’re on vacation, it’s easy to give yourself a free pass and indulge by eating everything. This is especially true if you’re on a cruise or staying in an all-inclusive resort where food is everywhere and always available for free. If this is the case, Holmberg says to “treat the buffet like a menu and take one food out of each category. Load up on the veggies first, eat them and then go back for the other things.”
While on vacation, you’re bound to go out for meals several times. Restaurant portions can be huge, causing you to eat more than you really need. If you go out to a restaurant, Holmberg says to “trade portions of starches for veggies [for example, get a side salad instead of fries]… you could also split a main course and get salads.” Of course, it’s always fine to treat yourself to whatever it is you want to eat on occasion, but just try to do so in moderation.
7. Be safe when it comes to sex
Even though it’s a cliché that everyone hooks up with strangers on spring break, doing so can put you at risk. “Sexual assault or a bad sexual experience is all too common on spring break,” Baty warns.
If you do choose to have sex, make sure you’re protected. Pack protection in your suitcase and keep it with you. Decide on your boundaries before you even leave for your trip, and make them very clear to your partner. If you feel uncomfortable in any way, don’t be afraid to just leave a situation.
Also, make sure that someone knows where you are if you decide to leave your friends at any point. “Each day, assign two friends to each other… that way, someone is always responsible for the other,” Baty says. “It makes it easier to know where each other is at all times and avoids confusion of who saw whom last.”
Keep these tips in mind as you set off on your spring break vacation, but remember to have fun, too. College spring break only happens a few times, so enjoy it. Indulge in moderation, drink water and stay safe, collegiettes!