3 Expert Travel Tips for Athletes for a Competitive Edge

3 Expert Travel Tips for Athletes for a Competitive Edge
You’ve put in countless hours training to get in peak shape and your bags are packed. It’s time to go on adventure! Kudos to you for taking on the challenge of training and now competing on a foreign terrain.  However, if you don’t take care of your body and limit stress or fatigue you may end up arriving at your destination in less than optimal condition to compete.

While taking a trip to a new place can be fun and exciting, it brings new challenges. There can be a lot to think about when traveling to a new place. Maybe you have a vacation planned and racing just happened to fit in the schedule or perhaps you are traveling with your team to the biggest race of the year. Either way, the travel plans are booked and now it’s time to plan for the race.  The longer the trip, the more important it is to make sure you follow these crucial travel tips for athletes as you embark on your journey to make sure you arrive with a body that is ready to perform.

Chug! Chug! Chug!

Chug that water! Hydration is always of key importance for any runner. Always keep in mind your water intake and hydration levels when traveling. It can be especially difficult to do this while flying. The last thing you may be considering is where your next drink of water will appear. As a result, it may be a good idea to grab a few bottles of water at the airport, train station or gas station before taking off.It is important to note that when flying, due to the altitude, you will become dehydrated much faster than with other forms of travel.This makes fluid intake even more of a priority.

A good rule of thumb is to always ask for water when travel attendants stop by with refreshments, even if you are not thirsty. Consider bringing your own empty water bottle  in your carry on to fill up while waiting to board as well as for throughout the flight. Remember, it doesn’t hurt to ask for more even when they aren’t serving refreshments. This is especially critical if you are competing overseas as sometimes the water quality is not what you might expect.

Also, drinking more water means flushing more toxins. Jam-packed airports, buses, airplanes and other public areas mean germs everywhere. Give your body an advantage in fending off sickness by drinking water and using hand sanitizer when it is available. Stay clear of public drinking fountains if possible or look for ones that have a downward spout for filling up bottles. Having a cold or the flu is the last problem you want to be dealing with before competition.

Pack the Snacks

Make sure to bring extra protein bars, granola, fruit, etc. for your journey. There are a few reasons for why packing extra food can be crucial. Traveling for long periods of time means no home cooked meals. The only access to food will be whatever your coaches stocked on your bus, train or plane. Plus, if you are traveling overseas, the food may not be what your body is used to digesting or you may not like the taste of what’s available.  Packing food will help you stick as close to your normal routine as possible. Plus, if there is an emergency or delay you won’t starve on your expedition!

Travel Comfortably

While fueling up with proper nutrition and plenty of fluids is crucial, another key travel tips for athletes is to try and make sure you’re getting adequate relaxation and sleep.   A lot can be said about keeping yourself happy and comfortable from both a physical and more importantly mental standpoint. Keeping yourself calm and relaxed can translate to having your best possible race day.



Bring a sleeping mask and earplugs or earbuds for sleeping and relaxing while traveling. Sleeping on the road can be very difficult if you aren’t accustomed to it. Unfortunately, it may be wise of you to prepare for more “snoozing” and light sleeping. Anticipate crying babies, people kicking the back of your seat, and the worst smelling body odors that have ever graced your presence. Catch some Z’s when you can and try not to get frustrated. Be sure to get extra sleep in the days before your trip, try to catch up on sleep at your final destination and most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask your sports dietitian for a natural food or supplement protocol that can improve sleep quality.

Since you may not be sleeping much it will be a good idea to shake your legs out. Set reminders to stand and stretch every 40-60 minutes when not relaxing and sleeping. It’s good to keep the blood circulating in your legs. Keeping your legs hydrated and stretched along with some relaxing will help keep you physically ready to race.

Then there’s the mental game… Perhaps you’re nervous about the upcoming race or the possibility of something going wrong during your trip. Try not to think about those things after you take off. You can worry about catching your next flight when you’re near arriving. Bring entertainment such as a book, magazine, game or music to keep your mind occupied. Plan some activities for after your race. Engaging in conversation with friends, family or teammates can also be a good idea. If it’s a stranger, there’s a chance they may have some helpful advice or recommendations about your final destination. Remember, it’s okay to accept travel tips from strangers, just not candy!

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  1. Eating on a Budget While Traveling – FWDfuel - […] mentioned in Joe Guerra’s post on expert travel tips to keep your competitive edge, staying hydrated while traveling is…
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