Reasons why you’re gaining weight while traveling

When we’re on vacation, we want to enjoy ourselves. And why shouldn’t we? We’ve worked a lot to go on this trip and now we want to make the most out of it. So we order everything we want and we eat more than three times a day, try all the snacks there are in the new and exciting super market, buy more cocktails than we’ve ever done at home and all of a sudden we realize – we’re not the same weight as we used to be.

This is especially true for the ones who are away for a longer time, and perhaps even more so for women (unfair, right!). While I was traveling in Southeast Asia, I thought to myself that it would be impossible for me to gain weight since the food in Asia is so healthy and the portions are so small in comparison to many parts of the world. Boy, was I wrong.

Asia has been catching up a lot and gone are the days when you could only eat rice. This rings true especially in Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and Thailand. These days, you can find Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Argentinian food, you name it! And since there’s so many westerners traveling there, the food is usually catered for them. So if you’ve noticed that you’re gaining a bit of weight, don’t worry – you’re far from alone! But you can take a look at some of these reasons of why you’re gaining weight while traveling and perhaps change a few of the habits if you feel like you’d like to lose a bit.


Traveling the world for a few months sounds like a dream, right? People always assume you’re laying on a paradisiacal beach somewhere on an island for weeks, even months, and doing yoga every hour. Although this might be the reality for some, and for you for a few days, if you’re traveling, you’re more likely to be hopping from one place to the other. And this could be stressful! All the planning, finding your connections, booking accommodation and always having to get used to your new environment can be really stressful. Stress has been linked to weight gain because it may disturb your metabolism. When we stress, we also tend to crave “comfort food” which tends to have lots of refined sugar and are high in fat.

Food habits

It’s easy to fall into the “vacation mode” when we’re traveling. Who cares about what we eat? We’re on vacation, right! But when you’re on vacation for 6 months and you’re always eating out, always choosing the unhealthier versions, you’ll quickly gain weight. It’s also easy to choose the free breakfast because it’s, well, free. But the free meals you get at hostels aren’t always the healthiest since it usually contains cornflakes with tons of sugar and white bread. And let’s not talk about all those night buses when all we want to do is to snack on those crisps and Kit Kats. If you want to maintain a more healthier lifestyle while abroad, why not change those snacks to healthier ones such as nuts and fruits? And if you must eat that hostel breakfast, why not skip the white bread and go for the omelette?

No more working out

If you’re one of the people who actually work out while traveling – good for you! But if you’re like the remaining percentage who doesn’t, then you know how easy it is to gain those extra kilos while traveling. If you have a workout routine at home and all of a sudden you’re just always sitting or laying down all day, your body is going to change. Try to stay at accommodations which has gym or actively seek them out when you come to a new city. It’s usually not so expensive to go for one day and even that one day can make a huge difference for you.

Cocktails and beers

Beer is usually the cheapest option abroad, especially in Southeast Asia (you can find the cheapest beer in Vietnam!), so you usually opt for beer or even the sweet cocktails, just so you can really feel like you’re on vacation. But those cocktails and beers contains lots and lots of sugar, which will eventually end up as extra kilos.

Lack of sleep

There’s nothing more harmful for your body than lack of sleep. Not only is it bad for you mentally but also physically. You’re bound to gain weight if you lose sleep. And let’s face it, everyone who’s stayed in dorms know the struggle. It’s not easy to get those 8 hours of sleep when your neighbour is snoring or decided to go in and go out of the room several times during the night, putting the lights on and talking loudly. Ugh.

It’s inevitable to gain a bit of weight if you’re not super strict to yourself, and who wants to be when you’re traveling? This is the time for you to fully enjoy yourself. But is it really necessary to always have a beer for your meal? Why not make it twice a week, so it really feels like a treat? And take the stairs instead of the elevator! With just a few changes, you’ll notice quickly how you’ll feel better, both mentally and physically.