“During the summertime, maintaining hydration should be a priority,” Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT, reminds us. “This is all the more essential if you are traveling somewhere warm, participating in physical activity, or will be at a higher altitude than what you are used to.”
Ahead, see how she and other dietitians recommend you stay calm, cool, collected, and quenched this summer—no matter where your travels take you.
7 RD-approved tips to stay hydrated while traveling this summer
1. Pack a reusable water bottle
“Carry a water bottle with you at all times and refill it whenever possible to always have water on hand,” Manaker says. While this tip is a no-brainer, it especially comes in handy when you’re flying since you can refill your bottle after clearing security lines—not to mention it’ll save you money at the airport and your destination, reduce plastic waste, and make you less dependent on keeping H2O available once you’re officially in vacation mode.
2. Infuse your water with fruit
Not a huge fan of plain H2O? Please your taste buds with creative, fruit-forward flair. “Carrying a reusable water bottle infused with fruits of your choice—or ice cubes with fruits frozen into them—can add flavor and encourage water consumption,” says Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN, author of Eating from Our Roots: 80+ Healthy Home-Cooked Favorites from Cultures Around the World.
Feller’s ice cube suggestion may be easiest for day trips, or even road trips if you’re packing a cooler. However, you can also stock your travel fridge with fruit, infusing it in water overnight so you wake up to a chilled, refreshing, delectably hydrating bev.
3. Munch on hydrating fruits and veggies
ICYMI, water isn’t the be all, end all source of hydration you can rely on. Countless beverages (including my personal fave, iced coffee) can count towards your daily hydration needs, as can a variety of hydrating foods. “Fruits and vegetables can add hydration to your day,” Feller says. “At our practice, we talk to patients about including culturally relevant, affordable, and accessible fruits that they enjoy.”
“Fruits and vegetables can add hydration to your day,” Feller says. “At our practice, we talk to patients about including culturally relevant, affordable, and accessible fruits that they enjoy.”
Feller cites watermelon, cucumbers, and lettuce as some of the top produce items with a high water content. Kiwis and berries, two delicious seasonal fruits, “are around 80 percent water and also good sources of hydration,” she continues. She also recommends reaching for pineapples, mangos, grapes, apples, and citrus fruits. (P.S. Many of these are wonderful options not only for snacks and post-meal desserts, but also for H2O infusions.)
4. Keep electrolyte packets on hand
“Water and electrolytes are both necessary during the heat of summer and travel—especially when it comes to sweating, but also for simple basic human function,” explains Brooke Alpert, MS, RD, CDN. “Water alone often isn’t enough to replenish your body; without proper electrolytes, the water isn’t absorbed as effectively and often you just end up in the bathroom more.”
As such, Alpert recommends stocking up on travel-friendly electrolyte packets to include your summer hydration routine. Her top pick goes to Hydrating Electrolyte Mixes from Cure, which are all natural and contain no added sugar. “When you’re dehydrated, you haven’t just lost water in your cells. You are low on essential minerals like sodium and potassium that your body needs,” she continues. Cure’s flavorful electrolyte packets “replenish these minerals via pink Himalayan salt and coconut water, which will ensure that the water you’re consuming is better absorbed by your body and help retain the hydration.”
5. Limit alcohol when possible
I’m not about to tell you to skip booze if you’d like to enjoy it on your well-earned vacation. That said, it’s best to be mindful of your overall intake particularly where hydration is concerned. “Since alcohol can have dehydrating effects, opt for a mocktail instead of a cocktail in the evening,” Manaker suggests. Or, at the very least, try to pre-hydrate before imbibing or rotate your adult bevs with H2O or sparkling water. Hydration support aside, both can help reduce the chances of waking up with a nasty hangover.
6. Consult your urine to gauge hydration status
Sometimes, you may not even realize you’re dehydrated until adverse symptoms kick in—but routinely checking the color of your urine can help you stay ahead of the game. “In general, your urine output is an excellent indicator of your hydration status,” Feller notes. “Urine that is pale yellow indicates that you are well-hydrated, while urine that is dark or rust-colored—outside of medication use—can be an indicator that you would benefit from more hydration.”
“In general, your urine output is an excellent indicator of your hydration status. Urine that is pale yellow indicates that you are well-hydrated, while urine that is dark or rust-colored—outside of medication use—can be an indicator that you would benefit from more hydration.”
7. Keep track of your water intake
Feller suggests aiming for a minimum of two liters of water a day during the summer months. Adjust as needed based on factors including your urine color, level of activity, and how much you sweat.
“When you sweat, you can lose up to two to three liters of fluid an hour, which is all the more reason you need more fluids and electrolytes,” Alpert adds. Keeping your trusted reusable water bottle in tow can help you track your H2O intake with ease. Simply take care to refill it a certain number of times per day to reach the two-liter threshold.
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