Extended Stay America – the largest owner operated hotel chain in the US – recently released a survey polling frequent travelers regarding on-the-road

eating habits, research revealed heavy bags aren't the only extra pounds travelers are carrying. A shocking 86 percent of travelers reported gaining an average of up to three pounds when away from home for two weeks or more, a term dubbed "pound packing." With data collected from nearly 2,000 respondents, Extended Stay America found frequent business and leisure travel causes ballooning belt sizes with "limited access to healthy options" and "fast food" reported as the top two contributors to away from home weight gain. With business travel predicted to increase 7.1 percent this year and leisure vacationers booking final summer getaways, pound packing is top of mind for today's traveler.

As a result of the study, 90 percent of travelers noted having a kitchen in their hotel room would help to maintain a healthier diet and lifestyle and 92 percent of people believed self-prepared meals are healthier than those they eat out. Additional survey questions uncovered the following statistics:

  • Given the opportunity, 89 percent of travelers would cook in a hotel room kitchen as opposed to dining out.
  • More than 70 percent of travelers chose an in-room kitchen over an on-property fitness center or spa as the hotel amenity that would best help in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • An astonishing 87 percent of travelers said they eat out most or almost every meal and snack while traveling.
  • 89 percent of people dined out more than normal when traveling for business or leisure.
  • 75 percent of travelers reported eating healthier than normal when returning from trips to try and make up for poor nutritional choices while on the road.
  • More than half of travelers said the mini-fridge provided in most standard hotel rooms is too small to store food.

In an effort to help travelers feel healthier while away from home, Extended Stay America with Food Network host Sunny Anderson created the "Away From Home Cooking" cookbook, featuring 24 wallet and waist-friendly recipes that can be made in Extended Stay America's fully equipped in-room kitchens. Every guest room kitchen features a full-size refrigerator, stovetop, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, cooking utensils, dishes and silverware perfect for whipping-up home cooked meals while on the road. To view full recipes, printable step-by-step instructions, grocery lists and money saving supermarket shortcuts, travelers can visit

In an addition to the cookbook, Extended Stay America compiled the following tips for staying active and skipping empty calories during extended trips.

  1. To prepare healthy meals on-the-go look for hotel rooms with fully equipped in-room kitchens. To avoid buying large quantities of food on short trips shop the supermarket salad bar for perfectly portioned vegetables or ask the butcher to repackage meat in single servings.
  2. Utilize free Wifi to find hotel-friendly workouts. With popular fitness magazines like Men's Health and Shape publishing hotel room workouts, Extended Stay America provides the perfect rooms for daily exercise with spacious suites featuring flat screen TVs and free Wifi.
  3. Save money and calories by choosing hotels with free "better for you breakfasts." A grab-and-go breakfast featuring fresh fruit, granola bars and oatmeal is a great way to start the day.
  4. Stay active while on the road. If you're going to be away from home for an extended period of time, consider renting a bike or bringing running shoes for cruising through local neighborhoods after work. Exploring while exercising is a great way to learn a new city while burning calories.
  5. Wash workout clothes to avoid over packing. With outrageous airline baggage fees, travelers can't afford to bring a week's worth of workout clothes. To save money, look for hotels with on-site laundry facilities to maximize a small workout wardrobe.

SOURCE Extended Stay America

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