Planning a Heart-Healthy Vacation

Are you planning your last hurrah of summer? Maybe it's your annual family road trip or reunion, a flight to the coast, or just a quiet get-away. Whatever your destination, with a little planning and preparation, you can create a vacation that's heart-healthy as well as relaxing and fun. These simple tips can help.

Getting Active


On the Road

  • When you're on the road, hit the parks for your pit stops instead of the drive-through fast food restaurants. It's a great opportunity for you and your family to stretch your legs and enjoy a healthy picnic or snack rather than a fast food meal. Toss a Frisbee or take a brisk walk before getting back in the car. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, fresh air and the ability to move around can even keep car sickness at bay!
  • It's easy to stay busy or distracted with electronics when you're stuck at an airport. Instead use this time to walk the corridors or find an empty gate and let the kids jump rope, play Hacky Sack or do jumping jacks.

At Your Destination

  • Relax and unwind, but balance it with physical activity. Take a hike at a nearby state park; search for shells on the beach; or bring (or rent) bicycles. A day spent canoeing or kayaking offers great exercise and relaxation. If you are at a hotel, swim laps at the pool and walk to dinner instead of hopping in a cab or driving. Local gyms and yoga studios often offer guest passes too.
  • If you're hitting the urban jungle instead of the woods you can still stay active. Many big cities have walking tours or bike rentals, and if you need help planning a route, an app like or can help you plot a good route. You'll be so busy enjoying the sites you won't realize how many miles you've logged. Bring your pedometer if you want to keep track!
  • Reuniting with the whole family? Take a break from family card game and get outside. Good old-fashioned yard games like tag, hide-and-seek and kickball can keep the whole family active and involved.

Eating Healthy

  • Having healthy snacks on the road is key to a heart-healthy vacation. Gas stations should provide fuel for your car, but not your body! Some ideas of what to pack include:
    • Fill your cooler with lean meats, cheeses and hard boiled eggs for nutritious and filling snacks
    • Pack nuts and whole grain crackers
    • Take advantage of single serving packs of hummus and nut butters to compliment crackers, sliced vegetables and fruit
    • Trail mix with your favorite nuts, seeds and dried fruits is a great stand-by
    • Pack water and unsweetened tea and forgo sugary sodas and energy drinks

Packing Right

  • If you want to stay active on your vacation, make it easy by bringing the right equipment. Jump ropes, Frisbees, resistance bands, comfortable shoes and socks as well as sunscreen and swim goggles are all easy to pack and carry. Check out our strength building handout for handy tips (pdf)

It's possible to make just about any trip good for your heart, your family and your spirit. Stick to a regular sleep schedule as well and come back rested, renewed and healthier!