In times like these, when uncertainty is around every corner, it’s important that we take a look at our daily routines.
It’s easy for us to fall into despair about our health and wellbeing when a challenging time strikes, but I believe that choosing to take charge of our lifestyles and make the most out of every day is more important than ever before.
When we’re on the road, or if you’re on the road in the midst of this chaos, you still have choices to make that can make or break your health and sanity. Here are a few of the things we do when traveling to keep our bodies and minds in check when the going gets rough.
How to Stay Healthy When Traveling in Your RV
1. Get Outside
The number one reason we travel is to get outside, but sometimes motivating myself to get outdoors is hard. After a long day of travel or several days behind the wheel, I find that getting outside is always a good remedy for crankiness, the lonely blues, and for my body when it’s stressed from hours spent on the road with crazy drivers.
Our most common practice is to use our two (and four) feet and walk just about anywhere and everywhere. We love hiking and if we have a chance to hit a new trail while on the road, we always jump on it.
We also love riding bikes, kayaking, camping under the stars, and just about anything that allows us to breathe the fresh air of the wilderness. A study published by the International Journal of Environmental Health Research says that just 20 minutes spent outside improves your well-being. So, don’t just take it from us. Get outside!
2. Work Out
Working out is another way to keep your mind and body on course when you’ve been on the road for a while. Most travelers that I know pay for a gym membership to Planet Fitness or LA Fitness that allows them to work out, shower, and use a few other amenities we don’t get to experience when we travel frequently.
But for us, working out can be done just about anywhere. We carry a yoga mat, dumbbells, and our handy laptop to watch workout videos in the trailer for when we need to get our sweat on at a moment’s notice.
A few of our favorite workout YouTubers are:
3. Take a “Me” Day
On the other end of the spectrum, taking a “me” day is just as important as staying healthy and in shape. When we travel, we often find ourselves packed to the brim with activities and must-see places which often leads to burnout and a deflated immune system.
When I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed with our to-do list on the road, I pencil in a day for myself to just sit back and relax. Instead of rushing around trying to hit every trail or forcing myself to do work while my head’s not fully in it, I take time to watch a few episodes of The Office on Netflix or pick up a book that I started but haven’t finished yet.
Even if you feel like you’re living your dream life on the road, taking time for yourself is still necessary. It’s far too easy to get burnt out in this lifestyle when you’re constantly going.
4. Choose Cooking Over Eating Out
It’s easy to grab food from the local McDonald’s when you travel often, but cooking your own meals is far more beneficial to your health and your energy levels.
Just recently, I spent three days on the road and several days before that packing up my things to move back to Arizona. I ate almost nothing but fast food during that entire process and I can tell you, it wasn’t ideal.
The first thing I did when we settled in was hit the grocery store and start cooking. There is something about a home-cooked meal that we take for granted when we travel, but when I took my first bite out of my Mexican casserole, I think I happy cried a little.
Not only was my dinner even better than a 10-piece McNugget meal, but it was also healthier and didn’t make me want to nap as soon as I finished my meal. We may think we can overpower the food we eat when we’re traveling, but what we put in our bodies everyday matters just as much as exercise does. You just can’t deny that reality.
5. Make New Friends
It might seem strange that I’m adding this to the list of things to do to stay healthy, but I know being on the road can be lonely. Being alone versus being lonely are two different things, but the power of friendship can keep your mind healthy and happy for several different reasons.
Friends are motivators. They’re the ones who hold you accountable when you get in a slump. They help you get moving and give you a reason to get dressed on the days you don’t feel like doing much at all.
Friends listen. When you’re on the road a lot, you can easily feel like the only person in the world sometimes. Having a person to talk to when the going gets rough or your tire blows out on an isolated freeway helps you stay sane and feel less alone in times of trouble and stress.
Friends help when trouble is near. Right now, when campsites and access to hookups are few and far between, your friends (and family) are the ones who step up to help you figure out how to keep living your life on the road. Friends take you in and lift you up when you need it most.
6. Clean Your RV
When your life is on wheels, it isn’t easy to keep everything clean. I thought cleaning a house was difficult, but I find myself cleaning the trailer pretty frequently as we drag in mud, dust, crud, and all the rest every time we move from one place to another.
The easiest thing for me to do is take some time out once a week to wipe everything down. I do my best to make sure that all of my counter surfaces stay neat and tidy throughout the week, but areas like the bathroom and my desk tend to get messy quickly.
I also make sure to put any dirty clothes, shoes, and dog harnesses up and out of the way if I can’t wash them immediately. We’re outside a lot, so I do my best to keep everything that’s dirty in one place until we can find time to clean it all.
Right now, keeping your home on wheels clean has never been more important. Sanitize your cooking surfaces, wipe down things that get touched often like doorknobs, light switches and drawer handles, and always wash your hands before getting settled into the trailer after coming back from the grocery store or trailhead.
7. Stay Positive
Life on the road looks like a dream to most outsiders, but all of us know that living from place to place includes overcoming obstacles like RV repairs, finding a last-minute place to sleep when a campground is closed unexpectedly, and missing our “rooted” lifestyles on occasion.
The best advice I can offer about staying healthy, both mentally and physically, while on the road is to have a positive outlook on things that happen. There’s a lot of uncertainty and unpredictability when your home travels with you everywhere, but one thing that you can manage on your own is how you choose to see the world around you.
A few of my favorite quotes I keep handy when things go awry help me do just that.
“The mountain and the valley are adventures alike.” — Morgan Harper Nichols
“At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.” — Frida Kahlo
“If you get tired, learn to rest, not quit.” — Unknown
Erin Maxson is rooted in South Dakota, but wanders every chance she gets to see the beauty that nature holds. From hiking to climbing, there’s not an adventure she’ll turn down.
After renovating her 1976 Airstream Argosy, Erin knows the ins and outs of living life on the road and trailer maintenance.
Whether she’s on the road with her dog and partner or at home curled up with a good book, Erin is always planning her next adventure because life is meant to be lived outdoors.