World's Healthiest Vacation Spots

Sydney, Australia, is one of Men's Health magazine's top picks for healthy vacationing.
Relaxing on vacation doesn't mean you have to throw in the towel on fitness.

Matt Bean, senior editor of Men's Health magazine, offered Early Show viewers on Thursday his top three healthy vacation destinations, witrh some tips for picking the right one for you.

Bean recommended an unlikely destination -- Madison, Wis. -- because it is the self-proclaimed "Bike Capital of the Midwest," with nearly 100 miles of biking and hiking trails.

Madison, he told Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez, makes the most of its outdoor spaces with lots of active options like canoeing, kayaking, swimming and hiking in the area's lakes and parklands.

Madison also has few fast-food options, he said, so you can cut down on the junk food temptation while on vacation.

And when it comes to paying for the trip, Bean said Madison, with its affordable cost of living, fits into any budget.

San Francisco, Calif., was Bean's second pick because of its use of natural resources.

"You can't walk a single city block without somebody running on the Embarcadero or climbing the Telegraph Hill stairs," he said. "It's really a place where people like to stay fit, and I think that's inspirational for folks."

Bean told Rodriguez that the area also has great air and water quality and local, organic food.

Sydney, Australia, is another of Bean's healthy destinations.

The city's many beaches, Bean said, are places to not just bake in the sun, but sources of activity. Sydney's Bondi Beach is his particular favorite, and ideal, Bean said, for swimming, surfing, scuba diving, kayaking, and beach volleyball.

He added that you can also take a walk around Sydney Harbor, climb the 429-feet Sydney Harbor Bridge, or hike or go mountain biking in Sydney's Royal National Park.

Bean said Australia is also a great destination because it is the world's healthiest country, and its people are among the least stressed in the world, according to Men's Health rankings.

When looking for a healthy vacation, Beane recommended that visitors consider the following things:

Healthy Hotels:

  • In most major cities you will find hotels with fitness centers, but before booking your room check with the hotel for the hours of the fitness center. If you typically work out in the morning, it's important they have early morning hours. If you're a night owl, make sure it is open late.

Good Food Choices:

  • Plan your meals before you leave home.
  • Resist the temptation to stop into the first place you see when you get hungry. Instead, go online before you leave home and make reservations or plan your day to include where you'll stop for breakfast lunch and dinner.
  • Check out for the best/worst picks at chain restaurants nationwide.

Physical Activities:

  • Look for ways to get active on vacation. All the cities on our list offer great access to parks, lakes or beaches.

Financially Healthy:

  • Book your departure for a weekday evening when people are less likely to travel and avoid holiday weekends when flight prices are usually higher.
  • Buy travel-sized containers for all liquids such as sunscreen, shampoo, face wash, etc. to avoid spending money on these products when you arrive.
  • When traveling abroad, research banks that will charge you the least amount of fees to withdraw money. Some banks even have a foreign branch that won't charge you anything, and wherever possible use your credit card to get the best exchange rates.

Emergency Care:

  • Research the closest hospitals in your travel destination before you leave home, in case you have too many Bahama Mamas and take a spill.
  • Don't leave home without your doctor's number.
  • If you have any health questions or need advice while traveling, call your doctor.