I’m traveling this week (coming to you live from a hotel in NH). Travel, regardless of the reason, is always a bit stressful for me due to my special dietary needs and other quirks, like being a creature of habit and routine to a huge extent. I thought it might be interesting or helpful to others if I shared some of the things I do to prepare for trips and while I’m on the road. Some of them are related to running, some to travel in general. Some of what I do varies depending on whether it’s a car trip (like Shamrock was) or a plane trip. This trip’s a solo trip, plane & rental car, to visit my Dad in his new digs in Nashua NH, and see my sister who’s here also. I’m lucky in that I’m able to telework in my hotel room for part of the time.
I book a hotel with fridge & microwave in the room, and a fitness center with at least one treadmill – and I call to make sure it’s working! I happen to find hotels in the Marriott chain (Residence Inn a fave, Courtyard/TownePlace also good) are usually pretty good for this, especially if you are a rewards member of some level. Be aware that most hotel fridges don’t have a decent freezer compartment, so don’t count on it.
If you’re an outside runner go online to look for routes (try mapmyrun), look online for running stores, clubs, or groups and get in touch with them before you arrive. You can also check localleiki (app) or ask for recs on twitter. If all else fails, you can ask the hotel. I’ve done loops in the parking lot when nothing else is available, but it is a bit of a grind. I plan to hit the local running store tomorrow, buy something small – a treat for me and I love to support the small independents.
I program the hotel’s direct phone number into my cell phone under HOTEL. I call them with questions, if I get lost, if I need to know where something is in the area. I can’t always get what I need from them, but they’re where I start.
I make sure GoogleMaps & any other helpful apps on my phone are up to date, like the RoadID app. Google maps has already saved me a couple of times here.
I research local grocery stores (prefer Whole Foods, will go with Trader Joe’s and regular stores depending on location), printing out maps, directions and phone numbers. That way I know where I’m going to get the food I’ll stock in the hotel room.
Some grocery list items (quantity & packaging depend on length of stay, how much I feel I’ll need to eat or conversely control my eating). Being in a hotel room far from home with lots of snack food can be problematic. I try to keep in the room only things I’d be pleased with myself for eating, but sometimes I don’t succeed. It’s helpful to check the hotel room prior to hitting the store to see if there are any supplies like plates, microwaveable containers, can opener, eating utensils (Residence Inns are great for that). If not, you may need to buy some if you haven’t brought any, or add to/alter your purchases. I try to stick with produce that I can cook and proteins/produce that don’t require refrigeration or heating (though I will usually heat my food and will refrigerate things that require it). Before you shop, check the size of the fridge (and whether it has a freezer, this one doesn’t) and make sure it seems to be chilling properly.
- sweet potatoes (orange and Japanese)
- nut butter – packets if possible (sometimes I’ll bring some, but they need to go in toiletries kit) or smallest possible jar (I hate to waste..here I wound up getting MaraNatha sunflower seed butter – a jar for $3.50! I pay twice that – as everything else had added sugar or was too $$)
- cans of beets, artichoke hearts, sardines – to avoid having to buy a can opener, look for the ones with pull tops
- cans/packets of tuna, salmon, chicken
- spinach or kale, shredded carrots, mushrooms, zucchini (the latter are great as filling low calorie snacks if you just have to put something in your mouth)
- hardboiled eggs – sometimes if I’m at a Residence Inn I’ll get a container of egg whites
- protein powder or prepared drinks like Muscle Milk
- bananas (if I can freeze them)
- veggies I can cook like Brussels sprouts, shredded carrots as well as some romaine or kale to use for wraps or salads (or heated)
- mushrooms – can be cooked, also a very handy, filling low calorie snack
I also bought some plastic utensils, paper plates/bowls and items to heat water/food in. I try to buy the least I have to and leave it behind as a donation (or I may be able to leave some of this stuff with my sister). I bring a plastic water bottle (athletic style) and a Klean Kanteen for my tea or other beverages. I bring tea bags, stevia, protein and other type bars and jerky, maybe some nuts/dried fruit (all things that make it through security ok) as well as all my supplements. I’ve also found that I can bring a cooked sweet potato with nut butter in a sandwich container (hard shell) through security no problem, good snack on the plane. I carry packages of Clorox wipes to wipe down the hotel room, car, etc. and Purell wipes for travel (don’t have to be in the toiletry kit, I can pick up sanitizing gel at destination).
This time I hit the Walmart SuperCenter, then a nearby grocery store which was as good as the hotel clerk had said and far better than Walmart for food items….they had Japanese sweet potatoes and kabocha (sad face, no way to cook it).
I knew I was flying on a small plane (tiny overhead) and only here a few days, so I brought less in terms of the stuff to support my running and other activity than I might normally. I’m not sure how I feel about that now that I’m here, might be worth using a small rolling bag and gate checking it.
I brought my trigger point ball, foot rubz ball, a spare stretching rope and a theraband. I wish I had a foam roller, stick or my roll recovery device.
I signed up for a free trial of yogavibes.com with the intent of doing a class or two with my fave Sage Rountree (my laptop doesn’t have a DVD drive or I would have just brought her DVD). Haven’t had time to do that yet. I plan on using a hotel towel as a “mat” along with my gloves/socks from yogatoes.
I made sure my shuffle was loaded with carefully chosen podcasts and made a list of what they were, with times. I have other ones on my phone to listen to while driving around.
It’s Tuesday evening as I’m writing this…I managed two treadmill runs today, one before work (added some strides outside after to cool off) and one at lunch, which I combined with five minutes on the elliptical. Did my chiro exercises after the first run and my Wharton flexibility after the second. I got a lovely 45min walk in with my sister before dinner. Tomorrow, I’ll do core and run in the morning and either run at lunch or do a yoga workout. Wharton will come in somewhere. Thursday, I plan to run before work and at lunch, fit Wharton in somewhere if possible given work, a family care planning meeting, and dinner with my sis and her hubs. Friday will be more challenging as it’s usually a bike/XT day for me – the workout room has a bike, but I’m not sure I like the style. May need to try it out tomorrow. If nothing else, I can walk on the treadmill, maybe with some incline or walk outside before heading to the airport mid-morning. I might have time to bike when I get home on Friday, but I don’t want to rely on that.
Things I wish now I had brought or had room to bring
Something to roll my legs out with – I could buy something and leave it with my sister, but I don’t think I’m going to do that this time – but I’m feeling the lack!
My CorrectToes to help my bunion (wear them in the evening)
My eye mask for sleep (the thing I forgot, I always forget at least one thing)
What are your tips and tricks for traveling, running and otherwise? I’m always looking for ways to improve, and I have more travel lined up, so I’d love to hear from you!