Here’s a familiar scenario. Your vacation is fast approaching, and you can’t wait to unwind. But one thought keeps nagging you...
How will I stay Keto while traveling?
Talk about a source of anxiety! You want to relax on vacay, not worry how you’ll find low-carb foods. Ugh.
Take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay. With a little planning, most locations can easily become Keto-friendly locations. And with your dietary situation handled, you can kick back, relax, and enjoy life.
Let’s learn how to Keto-proof your next trip.
Keto Travel Tip #1: Plan ahead
Don’t wait until landing to scope out your Keto options. You don’t want to be the person furiously Googling with one bar of service while you navigate cliffside roads en route to your hotel. That won’t end well.
Instead, do the preliminary leg work from the comfort of your living room. With a WiFi connection and an open spreadsheet, you can whip up a solid plan in thirty minutes.
Here’s a list of research to-dos:
- Find a full kitchen. If you want to stay Keto on vacation, cooking for yourself is the simplest route. Track down an AirBNB with a full kitchen and good reviews, and lock that baby up.
- Scope out hotels. For resort and hotel stays, there are some key questions you’ll need answered. Does the room have a fridge? Is it near a grocery store with a decent organic section? Does the establishment offer breakfast with eggs, sausage, and bacon? Call ahead if you can’t find these answers online. It only takes 5 minutes.
- Survey local restaurants. Scan the region until you find 2-5 highly reviewed restaurants with Keto-approved fare. Steakhouses and seafood spots are almost always good bets, and burger joints, brunch, or all-day-breakfast spots can serve you well too.
- Locate grocery stores. Save them in your phone so you’re not fiddling with GPS on the way to your inn.
Keto Travel Tip #2: Pack Keto foods
Don’t rely on airline food, vending machines, or the kindness of strangers to sustain you throughout your trip. Bringing low-carb foods on your voyage is like bringing oxygen on a deep-sea dive. It sustains you.
The foods you bring will depend on the nature of your vacation. If you’re traveling by car, you can toss meat, eggs, fish, produce, and several meals in a cooler and hit the road.
The cooler strategy won’t work for air travel. (Unless you like donating food to the airport security staff). You can, however, bring one or two pre-made meals. Just be mindful of flying with liquids, and make sure your container is airtight, or your luggage will smell like salmon for months. On the plus side, you might get a full row to yourself on the airplane.
Along with a meal or two, it’s always a good idea to bring sealed Keto snacks along like:
- Almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts, and other nuts (Pro tip: steer clear of airline nuts, which are often roasted in vegetable oils and may even contain sugary seasonings)
- Nut butter packets
- Low-carb crackers
- Keto cookies
- Jerky or pepperoni sticks
To recap: One or two premade meals and a backpack of Keto treats should be plenty to tide you over until you find Keto-friendly food sources at your final destination.
Keto Travel Tip #3: Go grocery shopping
After your plane lands and you secure transportation, you have two primary objectives:
- Check in to your accommodations
- Stock up on groceries
If the grocery store is on the way, stop there first. Then you can unpack clothes and groceries in one go.
Needless to say, the supermarket is your best friend on Keto vacation. Vegetables, meat, fish, and healthy fats—it’s all there. It’s a low-carb wonderland.
Ideally, you’re staying somewhere with a full kitchen. But even a microwave and mini-fridge will suffice for basic food storage and preparation.
Finally, if the location allows for it, consider having your groceries delivered. The savings of time and hassle are worth the extra fee.
Keto Travel Tip #4: Tell the server you’re Keto
Dining out on vacation can be a highly enjoyable experience. Sampling the local cuisine sure beats doing the dishes.
But as you scrutinize the menu, you might feel anxious thoughts coming on.
Uhh... this isn’t the menu I saw online. Can this place accommodate my Keto diet?
Fortunately, Keto is a big deal these days. Everyone’s heard of it, and many restaurants cater to the Keto crowd specifically.
When your server comes around, casually mention you’re on a Keto diet. They’ll probably be able to steer you towards the right dishes.
Don’t be shy about it. You’re not the first customer who’s asked for Keto accommodations at this joint, and you won’t be the last. The worst that can happen is an eye roll, and that will have less to do with you and more to do with the cheap tippers who preceded you.
Keto Travel Tip #5: Exercise
Eating a Ketogenic diet isn’t the only way to burn fat and make ketones. Exercise does it too.
There’s even a term for it: Post-exercise ketosis. This post-exercise ketosis, as you might expect, is enhanced by low-carb dieting[*].
Unfortunately, exercise routines often crumble on vacation. You’re out of your normal groove, thousands of miles from your home gym. Chilling on the beach all day is the plan. That’s it.
There’s nothing wrong with that. But you’ll probably feel better (in more ways than one) if you squeeze in a morning beach run. And it will help you stay Keto too.
Keto Travel Tip #6: Fast Intermittently
Intermittent fasting works well with the keto diet. If you’ve been Keto for over a month, you’re probably fat-adapted. When you can access body fat for energy, it makes fasting easier.
This comes in handy for travel. Let’s say you have an 8 AM flight that lands at your destination at 11:15 AM. (Same time zone). You expect to arrive at your AirBNB, grocery bags and all, by 12:30 PM.
If you’re comfortable with a bit of fasting, prepping for your trip will be a snap. You can roll out of bed, grab your pre-packed luggage, zip to the airport, hop on the plane, and drive to your destination...all without worrying about feeding yourself. It’s a huge time saver.
Be a Keto Travel Pro
With the right system, staying Keto on vacation isn’t hard. Plan ahead, find a place with a kitchen, stock up on groceries, and keep up your exercise routine. You’ll do fine.
One last travel tip? Keep yourself motivated with the Carb Manager app.
Tip: If you are pressed for time, you can use an air fryer to cook a nice grass-fed steak in under 15 minutes.
Pack Low Carb, High Fat Snacks
Most rest areas, gas stations, and airplane snack options are typically carbohydrate-laden and should be avoided at all costs.
Here are a few great Ketogenic snacks you can bring with you on the go:
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Cooked bacon
- Parmesan cheese crisps
- Nuts (macadamia nuts, walnuts, and almonds)
- Nut butters
- Dark chocolate (85% cacao or higher)
- Beef jerky (check the sugar content first)
- Fat bombs
Utilize Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting will make staying in ketosis a breeze while you’re traveling. Instead of having to spend time finding low carb meals throughout your vacation or business trip, consider just having two big meals.
If you have an early morning flight, eat a protein and fat-filled breakfast like eggs and bacon, then consider fasting until dinner time (or when you arrive at your destination).
Not only will you experience deeper levels of ketosis with fasting, but it also helps you cut out all of the junk food and snacks that are often handed out on flights or at hotels.
Check Out The Restaurant Menu Before Going Out
Most restaurants have their menu online. You can look at the menus of several places to eat in the area and choose the place that offers Ketogenic-friendly meal options.
And with a little creativity, you should be able to eat a healthy low carb, high fat meal no matter where you decide to eat.
Here are a few tips for eating Keto at restaurants:
- Always ask to double up on non-starchy vegetables instead of having bread or a starch
- Most restaurants have steak or salad, which are both great Keto meals
- Use olive oil and vinegar as dressing
- Ask for butter to place onto your vegetables
- Drink water instead of soda
- Skip dessert
- If you want a burger, ask the server to have it lettuce wrapped instead of in a bun
Visit the Local Grocery Store
More likely than not, there will be several grocery stores within a few miles of where you’re staying. Browse the internet for any “health food stores” in the area, as they are most likely to carry Ketogenic-friendly snacks and meals.
It’s also a great idea to stock up on low carb, high-fat snacks to put in the fridge at your hotel. Fresh meat such as rotisserie chicken can help you stay Keto while you’re on vacation.
Here are a few other options you can get at the food store during your trip:
- Egg, chicken, or tuna salad
- Chicken wings
- Salad (don’t mix dressing until ready to eat)
- Full-fat yogurt
Drink Keto Coffee to Prevent Hunger
Bringing MCT oil or coconut oil with you and making Keto Coffee is a great travel hack. If you don't have either of these available, even regular butter will do the trick. By adding healthy fats into your coffee, you’ll stay satiated for longer periods of time, improve your ketone production, and it’ll make it easier for you to hit your daily healthy fat intake.
If you can’t find any low-carb alternatives at the place you’re staying, a quick Keto coffee followed by a healthy protein source can help you stay in ketosis and keep carb cravings at bay.
Use These Tips to Maintain Ketosis Even While You Travel
For many people, traveling often leads to cheating on their Ketogenic diet. With increased exposure to carbohydrates and difficulty finding low-carb, high-fat alternatives, it may seem like too much of a hassle to stick to your Ketogenic efforts.
But by preparing for your vacation or business trip by following the tips laid out above, traveling while eating Keto will be much easier than you think!
Note: The content in this article is not medical advice and is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Always talk to your doctor before changing your diet.