How to Stay Hydrated While Traveling: 9 Experts' Tips

06/08/2015 04:34 pm ET | Updated Jun 08, 2016


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Coconut water is ideal for hydration because it contains natural electrolytes and potassium.

Lots of walking, hours spent outside in the sun... traveling can be exhausting. Being 36,000 miles in the sky for seemingly endless stretches of time doesn't improve dehydration too much either, but there are still ways to stay healthy during long airplane rides. While carrying a water bottle around with you is highly recommended, we understand that it can be heavy and burdensome. But don't worry; there are other methods for beating the heat. Here are nine ways to stay hydrated while traveling.

We asked doctors, dieticians, and nutritionists to weigh in on ways to avoid the thirst and exhaustion that can sometimes accompany even the best journeys. The most obvious tip on how to stay hydrated? Drink water! Reusable water bottles, especially ones that have filtration systems in them, are great companions, though they can be heavy and unfashionable. Dr. Seema Marwaha, an internal medicine specialist, recommends drinking one or two cups of water when you wake up and before you go to sleep in your hotel or hostel, where you are certain the water is safe.

While water is the best solution to dehydration, certain foods will not only hydrate you, but help sustain the fluids in your body so you stay satisfied for longer. Potassium-rich foods and drinks like bananas and coconut water can help you walk long stretches without reaching for your water bottle every few minutes.

We were reluctant to tell you to avoid particular foods or drinks, because exploring local cuisine is, to us at least, the best part of traveling, but do be careful of caffeine, as it is a diuretic and makes you lose a lot of water. So drink that special local style of coffee, but make sure you balance it out with some water or other hydrating foods on this list.

You probably won't have easy access to these delicious summer snacks that will cool you down, so these tips will definitely come in handy.

Add Chia Seeds to Water or Food

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Chia seeds help you stay hydrated longer.

Chia seeds, which made our list of energy-boosting foods, have hydrophilic properties -- in other words, they are attracted to water. "Chia seeds absorb nine to 12 times their weight in water," dietician Tanya Zuckerbrot told us over email, which means that eating them can help you stay hydrated longer. Pack a bag in your suitcase and add it to water for a long day of sightseeing in the sun.

Avoid Sugary Drinks

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Caffeine and sugar actually cause you to lose more water than you gain.

While sugary drinks may quench your thirst initially, the sugars and artificial sugars siphon out your body's water storage by making your organs work harder to process them. "Be especially careful of sugary drinks that are also caffeinated," says Dr. Seema Marwaha, an internal medicine specialist in Toronto. "They actually cause you to lose more water than you gain."

Drink Coconut Water

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According to Tanya Zuckerbrot, who spoke to The Daily Meal over email, coconut water is ideal for hydration because it contains natural electrolytes and potassium levels comparable to a banana. "Especially on airplanes," she says, "where it is easy to become dehydrated." Though you can't bring fluids through security, coconut water brands like ZICO are widely available in airport terminals.

Eat Fruits with High Water Content

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Nutritionist Tori Holthaus of YES! Nutrition recommends water-rich foods like berries, pineapple, cucumbers, and watermelon for easy hydration, especially along with water-rich breakfasts like oatmeal. However, thin-skinned fruits like berries and cucumbers might make you sick when you travel. Fear not; fruits like pineapples, bananas, and avocados are safer to eat in countries without filtered tap water, and they pack in a lot of potassium, which enables better, longer-lasting hydration.

Eat Rice

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What do you think plumps up those hard grains of uncooked rice? According to Men's Health, "super-absorbent rice acts as a vehicle for the majority of the water it was cooked in to help you replenish fluids, and the carbs help your body mop them up." While you should be a little careful of rice dishes that are too salty, remember that sodium does help your body retain water.

Nikkitha Bakshani,The Daily Meal