How to avoid the backpacker belly!

Travelling the world is a fantastic experience rife with adventure, excitement and opportunity. And whilst you might think that slumming it in hostels, exploring countless towns and cities and surviving on a minimal budget wouldn’t necessarily add up to weight gain, sadly for many of us the struggle of the backpacker belly is real.

So if you’re planning a backpacking trip (or are already on the road), here are some top tips to help you avoid that infamous belly bulge!

Drink plenty of water

This is good advice for daily life as well as on the road. But when we’re hopping from hostel to hostel, travelling on buses for hours and carrying our whole lives on our backs, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water. This is of course especially difficult in countries or areas where tap water is not suitable for human consumption.

But drinking enough water is key to your overall health as well as being a great way to keep hunger at bay. In fact, a lot of the time we mistake thirst for hunger so staying hydrated could help you consume less food in general. So whatever you do, keep a water bottle with you at all times and make sure you drink plenty of water, especially when in hot and humid countries.

Buy local groceries

Unfortunately, cheap foods are often stodgy foods. So whilst buying a kilo of pasta may seem like the best way to stick to a weekly budget, it’s probably not so great for your waistline. There are ways of buying healthier foods however without exceeding your budget. Take some time to understand which fruits and vegetables are grown locally and are currently in season. These will of course vary from place to place (and season to season) but they will be a lot cheaper than other produce which are imported. This is also a great way to explore local foods and produce.

Walk whenever possible

Walking is a great way to see the world as well as an easy way to burn calories. So instead of hopping on buses or getting taxis around the place, try to walk wherever possible. Many cities have free or very cheap walking tours available too so you can get some exercise in whilst also getting the low-down on the area.

Running is also a great way to explore a new area. So if you enjoy running, why not get into the habit of going for a run as soon as you arrive at a new place? This will help you stretch your legs after a long bus journey as well as enable you to get your bearings.

Take on a physical challenge

A backpacking trip is the perfect opportunity to tick off some bucket list items and take on some physical challenges. So whether you surf school clinics in Australia for women or multi-day treks in the Andes, taking on a new challenge could make you fitter and stronger whilst also ticking off some spectacular bucket list goals.

Bodyweight exercises

Let’s face it, you’re not going to join any gyms whilst you’re backpacking. But if you are committed to maintaining a certain level of strength and fitness, there are plenty of bodyweight exercises you can do at your hostel or a local park. It’s free and it can be done pretty much any time, anywhere. You could even make it an opportunity to socialise and make new friends by asking your hostel mates if they’d like to join you.


It’s easy to pile on the kilos when you’re travelling but with a few adjustments, it’s easy to resolve. You don’t have to deprive yourself of nights out on the beers or some delicious and calorific local cuisine, but by finding a general balance between staying active, keeping hydrated and eating local produce wherever possible, you can keep the backpacker belly at bay!