We’re about to hit high season in Myrtle Beach: summer’s just a heavy sigh away and with it comes a swell of visitors from around the globe. With so many people in Myrtle Beach, people tend to forget that those of us who live here would maybe like to get, um, OUT of Myrtle Beach. But there’s just one problem: when you leave home behind, you also leave your routine, your meal plans, and worst of all, your gym. We think of vacation as a time to relax and let go, but that doesn’t have to mean giving yourself a free pass on maintaining proper health habits.

While it would be fun to get every last page stamped in your Rare Cuisine Passport, it’s important to remember that a vacation is about creating memorable experiences. You don’t want that experience to be a general feeling of bloated malaise. Use these basic tips to keep yourself fit and active on your trip:

  1. Don’t eat everything on your plate! If you’ve gone out to a restaurant–pretty much an unavoidable event when you’re away–there’s no law that says you have to lap up every last trickle of sauce from your plate. Restaurants generally serve oversized portions. If you’re worried about getting your money’s worth, share your meal with a traveling companion, or get it to go. Most hotels these days have a mini-fridge.
  2. Don’t deny the treats, just quantify them. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying exotic offerings. Just keep it realistic. Try one rarefied treat for each day that you’re away and you’ll savor that memory all the more, without adding the weight of regret to your return luggage.
  3. Use sightseeing as exercise. This sounds like a no-brainer, but it really works.  Take in more of the scenery by walking to it. Just remember to keep hydrated.
  4. Only eat when you’re hungry. The body has a rather poor physiological mechanism for recognizing when it’s full. You know that sick feeling you get when you’ve eaten too much? It’s because the feeling of satiation will register with you as much as ten minutes after you are actually full. Stop when you’re comfortable! (And take this habit home with you as well).
  5. If you absolutely have to eat fast food on the road, make the best choice available.  Men’s Health editor David Zinczenko has a great book (appropriate for both sexes) called Eat This, Not That! that acts as a wonderful guide towards helping you pick the best options while still choosing food that satisfies the urge to indulge.  You can cut down on calories simply by skipping a sauce or substituting a piece of fruit for fries.

By doing some very simple things while you’re away, you’ll ensure that you come back from your vacation refreshed rather than overloaded. At the very least, you’ll set an example for those few weary travelers who believe they can walk the streets of Myrtle Beach in a sandal/sock combo, letting their gut hang out over a man-kini. We world ambassadors have a reputation to maintain, after all.