Staying healthy while traveling

As we enter 2016, we are seeing a renewed focus on staying healthy and fit while on the road or in the air, and a number of travel trends and travel products are making that easier.

The author of the book, “Mile High & Healthy: The Frequent Traveler’s Roadmap to Eating, Energy, Exercise and a Balanced Life,” has identified five trends in both the products and services offered and in the way travelers conduct themselves when on the road.

One of the trends identified by Jayne McAllister is health-oriented hotels with hotel brands that are geared toward the health-conscious traveler.

Westin has long led the way with its WestinWORKOUT rooms, followed by other hospitality groups such as the Trump Hotel Collection’s Trump Wellness signature program. Since 2012, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas has offered dedicated Stay Well rooms, designed by Delos, which include – among other features – an air purification system, aromatherapy, long wave night lighting, and vitamin C-infused showers.

In 2018, gym brand Equinox will be expanding into the lodging space and opening an upmarket hotel property in Manhattan that will boast a 60,000 square foot fitness center.

Embassy Suites by Hilton-Waikiki Beach Walk is offering a new Hawaiian Healing Massage Package, complimentary yoga classes and host of amenities intended to enhance the mind, body and soul.

"Our new Hawaiian Healing package is perfect for guests looking to rejuvenate after a busy holiday season and prepare for an exciting new year," Jamie Choi, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing, told TheTravelPro in an email.

Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk
The Hawaiian Healing Massage Package includes two one-hour massage treatments or a one-hour couple's massage, either poolside or in the privacy of their suite. Each massage is performed "lomilomi" style, an ancient Hawaiian cultural practice viewed as a way of healing a person physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Guests will also receive a "ho'okupu" (gift) of pineapple salt scrub to detoxify and exfoliate.

The property also offers a multitude of other wellness offerings including free yoga classes taught poolside on the Grand Lanai or practiced in their own suite using the resort's 24/7 yoga channel. A fully-equipped fitness center is also open around the clock for guests to stay active on their own schedule.

Working out  is no longer restricted to the hotel; many airports now offer walking paths and yoga rooms.

Later this year, some airports will begin offering gyms alongside book stores, restaurants and bars through a start-up company called AirFit. Facilities will include a state of the art workout room, showers, clothing for purchase or rental, and luggage storage. The first facilities will open at New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), followed by San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).

Meditation is going mainstream with many companies are bringing in meditation specialists to teach their executives how to focus, think more clearly and make better, more profitable decisions. Meditation works especially well for business travelers, who are subject to more stress than their non-traveling colleagues. It can be practiced anywhere, including on airplanes, in hotel rooms and in meditation or prayer rooms located in many airports.

I have long been a proponent of “stopping to smell the roses” and have frequently extended my business trips by a day or more so that I could explore the local area. I was therefore pleased to see figures indicating that nearly half of all business travelers add personal days to their business trips.

For the employee, it is a definite win because the company has already paid for the round-trip ticket, so extending by a day or two entails only meals, lodging and local transportation and attractions. The practice can also benefit the employer as it can result in employees who are less likely to burn out.

In a related development, McAllister says more companies are allowing recovery time after business trips. Certainly, long trips across several time zones can result in jet lag but even shorter trips can leave a person fatigued and far from their best. That may mean a weary traveler showing up at the office the day after returning from a business trip and merely going through the motions.

“The best companies are recognizing that traveling employees need time to recover from travel and allow time off or time working from home to do this,” McAllister says.


 According to the Journal of Environmental Health, travelers may be 100 times more likely to catch a cold on a plane than in their day-to-day lives. To help reduce those odds, a company called Savvy Travelers markets a line of products intended to help keep the effects of exposure to the germs of other travelers to a minimum.

The company offers wipes called KLEAN OFFZ for surfaces like yoga mats, KLEANZ UP for sanitizing hands and other surfaces like electronic devices and airline tray tables, SPEAK EAZY teeth cleaning wipes that require no water, NO SWEAT deodorant sheets and IN THE KLEAR wipes for smart devices, glasses and sunglasses. Savvy Travelers wellness products are available at all Nordstrom locations in the U.S., the company says.

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Photo courtesy Embassy Suites - Waikiki Beach Walk 
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