25 Tips For Keeping Healthy Whilst On The Road

by Meri Gasem

Staying healthy while traversing every inch of our homeland might be more work than you imagined. And I’m not talking about physical health only. The mental health struggles are equally important. Keeping your body and mind safe and strong needs to be your top priority. Here’s what you can do.

Read Next: Big Lap Essentials: 24 Things You Need To Crush Australian Van Life

1. Do Your Check-Ups Before Going

Make sure to do all your regular check-ups before leaving for your Big Lap. Let your doctor know you’ll be gone for a longer time. If you have a chronic illness, you might need to get your therapy prescribed for a more extended period. Once you get clearance, you’re good to hit the road!




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2. Invest In Comfortable And Safe Hiking Shoes

You don’t want to spend precious time on the road sticking bandages over the blisters on your feet caused by uncomfortable shoes. Picking the right fit of durable shoes will save you pain and discomfort in the long run.

Read Next: 18 Of The Best Walks In Australia That Even Non-Hikers Will Enjoy




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3. Pack Summer And Winter Clothes

Don’t underestimate Australian winters! Some parts of the country can get below zero, and you must pack warmer clothes along with flowing shirts and swimsuits. Getting a cold on your Big Lap is something you wouldn’t want to experience.




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4. Stock Up On Supplements

The van lifestyle can compromise your immunity. And getting off the grid in some parts of the country can limit your access to fresh fruit and veggies. Ask your doctor about the best daily vitamins and minerals for you, and make sure to take them.




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5. Insect Repellent Is A Must

Camping along the creeks and in the forest will lead to many encounters with mozzies. Their sound is not the only annoying thing; their bites can leave you sleepless for nights. Not to mention they can transfer diseases. An adequate repellent and frequent application will keep you safe.




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6. Ensure A Basic Kitchen Set-Up

After choosing your home on four wheels, make sure to instal a basic kitchen setup. It will allow you to eat better food in general, make breakfasts or get your morning cuppa without exiting your vehicle.




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7. Stock Up On Local Produce

Local markets are a fun trip on their own and the perfect place to get delicious produce. Dive in the locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey, cheese, olives, artisanal bread and craft beers. Eating seasonally and locally is good for both your health and budget!




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8. Cook Any Chance You Get

Cooking after a long day is hard at home and even more on the road. Make sure to plan your “cooking windows” around your less active days. Cooking is the perfect way to ensure you’re getting enough nutrient-rich foods.




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9. Don’t Skip Meals

Never get back on the road hungry. You don’t know when your next stop will be; plans change, and no one wants to deal with hunger and emergency at the same time. Breakfast is the most important meal and fuel for your body and brain. Always set aside 30 minutes in the morning for preparing a nutritious and filling breakfast.




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10. Avoid Fast Food

Fast food is comforting, easy to get and very addictive. Combined with the lack of cooking equipment, tiredness and travelling with kids, it can be hard to avoid. We don’t need to explain how this is bad. Prepackaged and fast food is your biggest health enemy. Don’t ban it, but make fast food a once in a while treat.

Read Next: How To Budget For Your Big Lap Around Australia




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11. Follow Your Fibre Intake

Fibre is essential for regular bathroom breaks, but it can be hard to consume enough of it on the road. Whole fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds are your best bet. Oatmeal, chia seeds and flax can also help keep you regular and prevent serious outcomes.




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12. SPF Is Your Best Friend

Skin is your largest organ, and you need to keep it safe and protected. The Big Lap means you’ll be spending a lot of time outside in the open, so a good SPF is a must. Frequent reapplication is necessary for both your face and body. Even a single sunburn raises your risk of skin cancer. And sunburns are uncomfortable and hard to deal with!




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13. Stay Hydrated

Most people struggle with water intake, and if you’re one of them, you need to change that. When spending time outside, being active, your water intake needs to increase to help your body work properly. When you get thirsty, your body is already deprived. To avoid serious consequences, make sure to drink water regularly.




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14. Limit Caffeine And Energy Drinks

Your daily cuppa doesn’t have to go but don’t get addicted to coffee and energy drinks for that extra boost of energy on the road. Both beverages have high caffeine content that dehydrates your body, increases blood pressure, stresses hormones, and puts you at risk for heart damage.




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15. Don’t Make Alcohol Your First Choice

Let’s be honest- your alcohol intake will increase on your Big Lap. Most Big Lappers don’t have a strict work schedule even if they work remotely, and it’s easy to go overboard with a glass or two. The local wineries along the road are also to blame. And not to forget the socialising element, often you’ll meet other Big Lappers and socialise over drinks. Make sure to drink enough water and take it easy. Set up a few alcohol-free days a week.




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16. Avoid Service Station Snacks

Fuel stops are a must, and service stations are very tempting. To avoid them, make sure to get your tank filled up after lunch and practice self-control. Packaged snacks are expensive, unhealthy and unnecessary. Get better, fresh and nutritious food for your money.




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17. Do A Detox

And I’m not talking about a physical, food detox only. Digital detox is essential too. It’s hard not to post about your adventures along the road, but it can get overwhelming. You can even spend hours trying to edit and post photos and blog posts after a long day exploring. Streaming addiction can happen too when you’re in the middle of nowhere and wanting to stay up to date on everything. Get off the grid even when you don’t have to – it’s good for your mind.




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18. Follow A Routine

Setting up a routine can help you transition from “normal” into nomad life easier. Humans are creatures of habit, and a good routine can help you keep your food, thoughts, and goals in place. If you have trouble getting used to “always on vacation” mood, a routine will make you feel productive.

19. Move Every Chance You Get

Of course, you’ll move a lot from place to place, but there will be periods when you won’t get enough daily movement. Leave your vehicle further and get your steps in, swim or hike. Long rides are devastating for your back and neck, so make sure to stretch any time you can.





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20. Set Up A Sleep Pattern

When you’re not tied to a schedule, waking up and bedtime can change every day. A good night’s sleep is essential for your body; your organs need their rest time as well as your mind. A sleep-deprived person is at greater risk of sickness; their body heals slower, leading to heart disease. Make a sleep pattern you can follow most nights, and make sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. If you start dealing with insomnia, don’t go for the pills straight away. First, try to avoid screens, heavy meals, alcohol, and nicotine before sleep.








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21. Keep Up The Hygiene

Campers are smaller, which means fewer surfaces for cleaning, but they require regular cleaning. And if you have a fur friend along, cleaning becomes an everyday activity. Make sure to keep your living space tidy, clean and aired out. You’re in nature all the time, so bugs can easily inhabit your bedroom. And when it comes to you, get used to cold showers; they’re great for your body!

22. Set Realistic Goals

I know you want to explore every inch of our homeland, but you have to make peace with missing a spot here and there. Don’t sacrifice your well-being to see just one more place. There will be another time, and your health always comes first. Burnout can happen on road trips too!

23. Exercise Your Body And Mind

Join an online exercise program while on the road or play some free Youtube videos and get moving. Invite your travelling companions and make a fun activity out of it. But make sure to pack something to keep your mind going. Whether it’s books, puzzles or Sudoku, it’s necessary to exercise your mind, especially if you’re not working during your Big Lap.





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24. Meditate

There’s an unpopular opinion that you have to be experienced with yoga to practice meditation. The fact is anyone can do it as a coping mechanism with the stress and overwhelming feeling. You can choose between hundreds of free apps that will teach you the process, so get some ‘me’ time and relax. Staying calm is vital for your wellness.


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25. Stay Connected

You’ll miss home, and some days it will make you feel miserable. Some family events will happen, and you’ll only be there in spirit. Take your time and share your feelings. Staying connected with your friends and family can help you deal with the sense of guilt, anxiety, and depressive episodes. Remember to seek help if you feel your mental health declining.


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