10 Great Tips to Stay Healthy on the Road…

Being on tour is usually seen by those who haven’t done it before as a glamorous and exciting adventure. I get asked a lot where by tour bus is (it isn’t) and where my entourage are (they aren’t)… 

I’m here to tell you that touring and road tripping can be a LOTS of fun but you don’t want to get burnt out physically and mentally just a day or two into your trip. Here’s a little list of my tips for staying healthy and enjoying your whole journey.
1. Pack Light - Put everything you want to bring together and then eliminate 10 - 20% of what you think you need. You can always get more of something if you run out. I try to bring options that can layer up for various weather and do double duty going from casual to dressy. Packing light allows you to get ready and out the door faster on the road (less decisions!) and gives you space to bring things home that you find along the way.
2. Comfort Items - I personally sleep a million times better in any bed if I have my own pillow. This isn’t really an option when I fly but when I’m driving it’s with me. I keep a bright pillow case on it so I never forget it when leaving the next morning and keep it clean by keeping another pillow case over the bright one when I’m in transit. That and some essential oil at the end of the day (right now I’m into sandalwood - lavender is good too) and it’s instant zzz’s and feeling like I’ve got a little bit of “home” on the road.
I also bring notes and pictures of loved ones and use them as a bookmark or keep them in my makeup case or even tucked in the space in my suitcase where all my dirty clothes go. Anywhere I’ll run into it a lot. It makes me feel loved and puts a smile on my face.
3. Essential Secret Stash - I try to anticipate what might go wrong on the road and be prepared. Keeping a stash of my favorite remedies can make all the difference when handling colds and unforeseen allergic reactions to different climates on the road too. Bring any medications, bandages, and extra vitamins (especially C and Zinc). I like to bring throat coat or Echinacea teas and because the Advil Cold & Sinus and Claritin that work for me have to purchased at a pharmacy over the counter I try to make sure I have plenty of them so I don’t have to run around finding an open pharmacy on the road. It’s good to keep some phone numbers, at least $20 bucks and an emergency granola bar (or 3) in this stash too. Lots of times you’ll find after a show that everything in the town your playing is closed and you’ll be glad for those extra calories and small meals.
4. Sunblock - this gets it’s own little note because it’s so important. The road ages you and one of the things on the road that ages you the most (right up there with little sleep and dehydration) is the sun. Put it on more then you think you should. On your hands and arms when you’re driving too… don’t get the dreaded drivers tan! Stock up when you see a sale and you can keep some in your glove compartment or center console to slather on every two hours or so.
5. Audio Angels - If your traveling over long distances this is a must. I started this after reading Christine Kane’s post for travel tips for happiness and have listened to a ton a of books on tape since. I usually go to my library and take out a big stack - when you return them feel free to make a donation if you’re grateful, libraries can definitely use the funds!
Podcasts are another favorite of mine - you can find a podcast for virtually anything online and learn a new language or some interesting facts. Like Christine says, learning while you travel completely changes how you show up at your destination.
6. Connection - Picking up your phone (or headset!) and calling friends and loved ones is SO important. Find the time to stay connected with your community back at home and maybe even some people you haven’t connected with in a while. If you travel a lot or for long periods of time this will help keep you grounded and keep you from feeling lonely and depressed.
7. Snail Mail - I love writing loved ones when I’m on the road. Often times I’ll talk to the person I’m sending mail to in between when I’ve written it and when I think they’ll get it but knowing a surprise on it’s way makes me happy. I love putting it together and sending it off almost as much as I think folks like getting old-school snail mail. I try to write something timeless so it doesn’t matter if the details of my day are already outdated. If you know where you’ll be traveling to give your friends your address and see if they will send mail out for you too! :)
8. Presence - As you’re connecting to folks back home connect to whatever is around you too! Get some quality time outside the car in nature - I try and take lots of stretch breaks, arrive early so I can walk around to get a feel for the community and see if there seems to be a lake or place nearby where I can picnic. This light movement and awareness goes a long way to helping my body to feel tired from traveling/sitting all day and help me feel more grounded wherever I are.
9. Pack a Cooler - One of the hardest things about being on the road is eating healthy. I bring a cooler with me and try to visit grocery stores or farmers markets to stock up on healthy snacks that travel well (apples, carrots, nuts). I’ll even make salads the night before to bring along. I try to make what I’m bringing decadent and like treats too so I don’t even think about loading up on a sugary, caffeinated drink or a bag of corn nuts because I have cherries or watermelon waiting for me instead. If you have access to a freezer you can also freeze water to keep in the cooler and have later in the day. Which brings me to…
10. Stay Hydrated - It seems you can’t have enough water on the road. This alone will keep you healthy. If you don’t like the taste of water try slicing up a cucumber into a water bottle - it’s the best! It will stay good for about a day too and you can keep adding more water. I also pack tea bags and bring a nice size cold water bottle too. You can fill both hot water and cold water up inside most gas stations for free with the filtered water from their coffee maker and fountain machine.
Which reminds me, I’m not sure where I heard this but this is some of my favorite advice: Don’t fuel your body where you fuel your car. ;)
Take care of yourself - listen to your body if you need to slow down. The road, like a best friend, can be a good mirror of how you’re really doing emotionally and physically.
In this world where we are all so connected and surrounded by content and distractions you may even find some long stretches of highway without cell service and find yourself daydreaming about your next truly grand project or adventure.

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