11 Easy Ways To Stay Fit While Traveling
I’m not sure about you, but when I think of traveling, it usually involves trying new foods and indulging in things that I normally don’t do on a regular basis. But that doesn’t mean I want to blow my diet and regret going on vacation. Or derail all my hard work prior to the trip. It can be tough to work out on vacation but easy to stay fit while traveling with these tips!
But rest assured, it is possible to enjoy yourself and stay fit when you travel. Life is too short not to enjoy a vacation.
Incorporate a few of these tips and be ready to go once you arrive in a city. They will not only keep you fit but improve your overall trip experience. Get moving and have fun!
How To Stay Fit While Traveling
1. Walk, walk and walk!
My favorite and number one way to work out while traveling and get around a city is to walk! Walking is a great way to see a city especially since it is free and something that can be done at your own pace.
Taking a stroll to explore a new location allows you to stumble upon unique and interesting architecture and sights that you wouldn’t otherwise get to see.
I enjoy going for a walk first thing after arriving in a new city as it helps combat the jet lag. It also helps to become familiar with the layout of the city and even possibly meeting locals at the neighborhood bar or coffee shop.
If you are hesitant about going out for a walk on your own, look into taking a walking tour with Get Your Guide centered around food, wine, architecture or history.
What I like about taking a walking tour is that you don’t even notice you are walking since you are having fun!
To get in those steps and burn a few calories while you are at it, opt to walk over taking a taxi.
But for long distances try using the metro (if available), that way you will at least walk more than jumping in a taxi. And save some money in the process.
So why is walking so beneficial? Well, the positive benefits are that walking helps counter weight gain, reduces stress, and curbs cravings for unhealthy food.
But I personally find that the biggest benefit is that walking a lot on a trip allows me to eat whatever I want (in moderation of course!).
Tip: Before you even get to your destination, try walking from one terminal to another during your airport layover instead of hopping on a tram or moving escalator.
2. Drink Tons of Water
Water is probably one of the most vital things you can do to stay fit while traveling and it is essential for your health.
Aim to drink more water than you are used to especially if you are in a hot and humid or high-altitude area. Your body will be adjusting to the new environment and likely be sweating more than usual.
Preventing dehydration is key to avoid any unnecessary setbacks to your trip. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water, so it makes sense that drinking enough water is needed for us to function at our best!
The biggest organ in your body is your skin. So, if you want to avoid a dry and wrinkly look, H2O is your best friend…
Taking some sips of water when hungry can reduce those nagging cravings and prevent you from gorging yourself at that next meal. Yes, you know what I’m talking about as we have all done it! For most people, you either love or hate water.
But as you can see, incorporating water into your day pays off in multiple ways. If you struggle with it, try adding in some fresh citrus or berries to make it more appealing.
To encourage you to carry and drink more water when traveling, have your own reusable water bottle with you.
As you have probably heard, many cities, states, and countries are banning plastics ranging from straws, bags, and now plastic water bottles.
Tip: Did you know that drinking water can help assist with jetlag? Choose water instead of that cocktail (I know that is tough) but you will be thankful for it later.
3. Reusable Water Bottle
Part of staying fit is making sure to consume enough water and having a reusable water bottle makes it much easier.
As of August 2019, the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in California has announced that it will no longer sell plastic water bottles in any of its terminals. Wow!
It is a great move in helping to reduce plastic consumption but means that more than ever you need to come prepared with your own bottle.
My favorite reusable water bottles I use depending on the activity or my travel destination.
When at home or on a road trip I like using this Glass Water Bottle the most as I prefer drinking from a glass and it is easy to wash. It isn’t good for keeping the temperature but I like adding in ice to keep it cool.
When flying I like to carry this 18 oz Stainless Steel Bottle that is a stainless-steel water bottle. It keeps liquids either ice cold or hot for hours which is nice on a long day ahead. I also like the spill-proof lid and ability to throw in a bag on the go.
And if you are planning to travel to countries that do not have good water sources or heading out into the wilderness, the Ultralight Water Purifier Bottle is superb.
This water bottle can purify pathogens, chemicals, particulates, and heavy metals from your water making it your new best friend. It is more expensive than other water bottles but is worth every penny to avoid drinking bad water, getting sick, and well ruining your trip.
4. Go For A Hike/ Take The Stairs
What better way to get in a workout on vacation than hiking in the outdoors? Heading out for a hike not only gets in a ton of steps but usually involves an incline adding a cardio boost.
There has also been a lot of studies showing that getting outside with nature can lower stress levels which we all seem to need these days!
There are many motivations for going on a hike such as getting to see the beautiful countryside, possibly stumbling upon a waterfall and most likely getting the opportunity to experience breathtaking views.
Who doesn’t like an excuse to see a waterfall and/or take in stunning views? Some essential items that you want to keep handy while on a hike is a hat, sunglasses and a organic reef-safe sunscreen, snacks and plenty of water.
For longer hikes, I like to carry a water reservoir pouch in my daypack instead of a bottle as it makes drinking water much easier and hands-free.
If you happen to be hiking to a waterfall or swimming hole bring a travel towel such as this microfiber towel. I like that it is light to carry, absorbent and drys fast.
If you are staying in a city and can’t get out into nature for a hike, take the stairs! If you are in Europe for example, that really is your main option as there are stairs everywhere. But in other places such as the United States, skip the elevator or escalator and opt for taking the stairs.
Both your legs and waistline will thank you later as it is a simple way to work out while traveling! One thing I love about visiting a tower or castle in Europe is that I feel like I’m doing the Stairmaster all day…
Tip: For more info on hiking tips, see my post 15 Ultimate Solo Hiking Tips For Women!
5. Hit The Water
A fun and easy way to stay fit while traveling and burn some calories is to head to the nearest beach, pool or lake.
There are so many water activities that you can do to stay fit such as lap swim, SUP (stand up paddleboarding), snorkeling, scuba diving, surf, and kayaking.
Consider taking a snorkeling, paddleboarding or kayaking tour at your next destination!
In many locations, you can take a SUP, snorkel or kayak tour where you get to see an area, learn about its history and of course have fun.
If you have access to a pool, a calm ocean or lake, lap swimming is a full-body workout working every muscle. The added benefit is that you can get a tan at the same time!
Curious to see the wonders under the sea? Both snorkeling and scuba diving invite you to see a whole new world. Both provide an excellent workout even though it might not seem like it.
Snorkeling and scuba diving require a lot of swimming and even more so if there is a current. Oh, and don’t forget to bring a few basics such as a good hat, sunglasses, reef-safe sunscreen, and a towel.
6. Bring Lightweight Workout Gear
Unless there is a gym onsite at your hotel, you will likely be without your regular workout gear.
But don’t worry, you can still get an incredible workout with minimal or no gear at all. There are plenty of exercises that can be done just using your own body weight.
Below are some lightweight and easy pieces of gear that I like to bring with me when traveling. I really like that they barely take up any room in my suitcase which is a requirement as I always struggle with packing too much!
Resistance Exercise Bands – I like this set of bands to be used for a variety of strength exercises and it comes with ideas of how to use them.
Stretching Resistance Bands – I usually use the red or black band and pick one to travel with. I use it the most for stretching my hamstrings after a long flight or car ride. But you can also use as resistance to replace weights.
Speed Jump Rope – If you want to get in some quick cardio, using a jump rope is an awesome way to get your heart rate up.
Workout Sliders – This particular brand of sliders are for moving furniture but I prefer them to the workout ones for their shape and size. An excellent way to mix up your standard lunges and bridges. And if you want to work those abs, ab slide outs will do the trick! There is no excuse not to throw them in your suitcase as they are light and flat.
Swim Goggles – I always like to bring a pair of swim goggles and cap in case there is a nice pool or a pretty calm beach to swim laps. Other than running it is my favorite way to get in a cardio workout. And the opposite of running, it is easy on the back and joints.
Bring A Good Pair Of Walking Shoes– I can’t recommend enough to have a good pair of shoes that you can use to walk around a city in. Learn from me and break in a new pair of shoes prior to the first day of your vacation!
7. Eat Smart (Most of the time…)
I don’t know about you, but in the past, I would always swear to be good and not indulge myself too much on a trip. Well, the opposite usually ended up happening. Not sure how that happened… Lol.
Having said that, one of the best things about traveling is trying new foods in a city especially if it is in another country.
Don’t deprive yourself of trying the local cuisine but try to make smart choices most of the time. Here are some tips that really do work well to prevent massive weight gain on a trip.
- Always start with a hearty breakfast: A breakfast that includes a good amount of protein will satisfy and prevent those mid-morning cravings. You might go out for the day site seeing and end up too busy to eat lunch. Having a good breakfast will keep you from getting hangry! Another bonus to eating a good breakfast is that it usually comes included in your hotel or B&B stay. And why not save money on a free meal.
- Try to include a protein and veggies in every meal: If you are getting in a protein and veggies, that will likely mean it will decrease the amount of carbs you are taking in. Or if you happen to be somewhere like Italy and pasta is the main entrée, try adding chicken to the pasta so that it is more filling.
- Try to eat 2 healthy meal choices each day and splurge on one: This way you won’t be blowing your diet all day long. I personally like to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch and then splurge at dinner. But do what works for you. That might mean a few glasses of wine possibly… 🙂
- Drink water consistently through the day: Drinking water will help reduce cravings. And many times when you think you are hungry, you might actually be dehydrated instead. Plus, water is zero calories, so why not?
- Bring snacks: Be prepared to carry some healthy snack options in case you are not able to sit down to a meal due to a busy schedule. It will also prevent you from binging on the next meal. Some healthy snacks that I love to have on hand for road trips, planes or anywhere are hard-boiled eggs, nuts, beef jerky, fruit and protein bars.
My favorite beef jerky is Country Archer that is 100% grass-fed beef and great in flavor. I’m kind of picky when it comes to protein bars but I really enjoy KIND and RXBAR brands as they are both tasty!
8. Try a New Activity
The perfect opportunity to try a new activity is when you are traveling. Why? Well, you are more likely to be open and adventurous away from home and seeking out a new activity tends to be fun. And if it tends to be a local activity, it might be the best chance at experiencing it.
Many activities to try can be included in a local class, a tour or on an excursion. Some great classes you could take to stay active are dance classes, martial art classes, and yoga to name a few.
Or sign up for a ski, SUP (stand up paddleboarding), scuba or surf lesson! Some excellent activities that can be done on a tour could include kayaking, river rafting, horseback riding or cycling.
Above all, find out what activities are unique to your destination. That will make your trip so much more memorable and easier to stay fit while traveling.
For example, an activity I like to do if available is zip lining. There tends to be a lot of steps and platforms to climb in between that get the heart pumping.
Another great way to stay fit is to sign up for a 5k, 1/2 marathon or triathlon in your destination city. Plan it near the beginning of your trip that way you can indulge and not feel guilty after. I know many people who have a bucket list to do a race in every state or country.
Note: Don’t let being active end at dinner. Many bars and restaurants offer dancing and possibly dance lessons. It is a great excuse to dance the night away and cancel out some of those cocktails!
9. Rent A Bike
As with walking, renting a bike is another great way to get around a city and get in a workout. Many cities at least in the United States have docking stations where you can easily rent a bike and go on your way. Renting a bike is a nice option near the beach too as it is cheaper and you don’t have to deal with parking.
If you aren’t comfortable with touring a city by bike on your own, book a bike tour that is guided. That way you get to learn about the history of a location and break a sweat at the same time. A bike tour in a destination might give you a different perspective than say on a bus or car.
10. Get Good Sleep
A huge part of staying fit when traveling is to get enough zzzz’s… With a lack of sleep, you will be too tired to work out and more likely to choose poor food options. And not getting a good amount of sleep leaves one cranky and prone to getting sick.
But many people struggle to get good sleep when traveling due to jet lag, an uncomfortable bed or loud noises. You are not alone!
Everyone’s body is affected differently so try some of these tips and find out what works best for you. These are tools that I use and have found to be very effective in getting a good night’s rest.
- Try to stay up until bedtime the first night without taking naps. This will force you to adapt to the new time zone easier.
- Get in a workout as it will make you feel more relaxed and tired.
- Reduce caffeine late in the day if you happen to be sensitive to it.
- Apply essential oils onto your temples, back of your neck or on your pillow to calm your mind. My favorites are Lavender and Vetiver essential oils. Make sure to use one that are high-quality grade.
- CBD oil: For over a year I have been using CBD oil to help with both sleep and anxiety. For me, it has worked wonders and I like that there are no side effects (like sleeping pills) or a sluggish feeling the next day. For those that are not aware, CBD oil does not get you high like marijuana. Make sure to always check the laws in your country before traveling. In the United States, it is safe and legal to use.
- Bring a small noise machine to cancel out any background noise. This is helpful if you tend to be a light sleeper or staying in a noisy section of a city. Using this portable white noise machine has really helped to make a difference for those noisy nights.
- Headspace: If you struggle to shut your mind off, try meditation. I have found when I do, it does help with stress and the ability to clear my mind when falling asleep. There are many apps out there but I particularly like Headspace because it is easy to use. They offer many types of meditations and it helps me stay fit mentally!
11. HIIT Workouts You Can Do Anywhere
There really is no excuse to skip your workout routine when traveling. Still need ideas on how to stay fit while traveling? As long as you get creative and are open to trying some new things to get in some exercise it will be easy and fun.
So what is HIIT? It is High-Intensity Interval Training. HIIT is as its name mentions are high-intensity quick exercises involving both strength and cardio.
I reached out to my personal trainer, Emily Deibler (San Diego Premier Training) for some quick and easy workouts that can be done in a hotel room, a park or at the beach.
Shoot to do these workouts or something similar 2-3 times per week to stay fit. Here are two workouts that will be effective and make it possible to get in a workout on vacation. And allow you to indulge in that glass of wine or two!
HIIT Workout Option 1
Squat Jumps (or Squats)
Hi Plank Shoulder Taps
Complete 10 of each exercise above, complete 9 of everything, complete 8 of everything… all the way to 1 of each. Then you are done!
HIIT Workout Option 2
10 Jumping Jacks
10 Toe Reach Crunch
10 Tricep Dips
Repeat all of the above 5x’s
Hold a 1-minute plank. Once complete, nice job!
If you are looking for more direction in your workouts and nutrition, check out San Diego Premier Training’s website. My trainer and her husband offer training to those remotely too. So you don’t need to be local to San Diego to benefit and stay fit!
I hope you find these tips for staying fit while traveling fun and easy to include on your next trip!
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Nice compilation of tips! Some are more obvious, like drinking a lot of water, but it’s good to get a reminder, because we often forget it.
My very favourite one is to try a new sporty activity! I’ve been wanting to try SUP for a while… in Colombia there was a beautiful place which would have been perfect, but we didn’t have enough time. Sad face.
Oh I am so glad to hear you enjoyed it! Yes, I think the easiest and most fun way to workout is a new activity. SUP is so much fun and really works your core, too bad you didn’t get to in Colombia. You have an excuse to go back! 🙂
Great tips! I do a lot of exercise when I’m at home so it’s always a bit of a shock to the system when I’m on holiday and I pile the pounds on haha, even though I do more walking. I averaged 30k steps a day on my last 2-week holiday, when I normally only do about 10k a day at home. It’s just all the delicious food… 😀
Thank you! I agree, getting in more steps is so much easier on vacation versus sitting at a desk most of the day! Yes, the food is always too good to pass on. lol 🙂
Great tips! I find that we often lose weight on holiday, as we’ll walk, cycle and explore soooo much more than I can back home when we have to work at a desk all day. I just have to remember to drink tonnes of water!!
Yes, remembering to drink water is hard sometimes when you are about site seeing and having fun. I love how on many vacations its actually easier to stay fit than at home! 🙂
Great tips! I always feel like I am walking SO much more than usual when I’m on trips! I would love to get a real step counter and know exactly how much we are walking!
Thanks so much! It is a lot easier to get in a lot of steps when site seeing because normally we don’t walk all day at home! I use a FitBit and many times I can get up to 30k steps a day when traveling. That rarely happens at home! 🙂
These are great tips! I have quite a strict diet and exercise regime at home and when I travel I struggle to keep it up sometimes. I love the dance lessons idea, and I’m going to check out some of the lightweight workout gear you recommend too.
I’m so glad you found the tips helpful! Yes, it can be tough sometimes when you aren’t in your normal routine. Luckily travel opens up opportunities for new activities and ways to stay fit. 🙂
These are great tips. I feel like I walk sooo much when in vacation my feet might fall off. I also like renting a bike.
Haha, I can relate with the feeling of my feet falling off after walking all day! Yes riding a bike is such a great way to see an area and an awesome workout! 🙂
I love this post! I didn’t really think much about this until I started getting in shape and healthier a few years ago. Now I’m always looking for ways to stay fit even when I’m splurging while we travel. Thanks for the tips!
Thanks Christine! I’m the same way, I really started getting healthier a few years back and do all that I can to keep active when traveling. That is so awesome that you do the same! 🙂
Oh yes, walking is the best! Traveling is usually the time when I walk the most. Especially, sightseeing, walking through the different quarters or from A to B. or from my accommodation to somewhere else etc. I love that. It keeps you fit without noticing that you do some kind of “sports”. Best way for sport procrastinators like me 😀 And I love the fact that San Francisco Airport doesn´t sell any plastic bottles anymore!
I agree walking is such a great way to exercise without noticing it when traveling! I think soon enough more airports will follow in that direction too!
Nice tips! It’s so hard sometimes, especially when you’re in a budget. But I made mental notes to make some changes. Thanks!
Thanks Coni! It really is hard to do a traditional workout sometimes and is why I like getting in walking and other activities that don’t seem like a workout! 🙂
Great tips. I tend to walk more when I am on holiday especially without wearing appropriate shoes so always come back home tired and in pain. I need to prep and walk more before each trip. Also, I need to drink more water.
Thanks Mayi! Yes having a good pair of shoes makes the biggest difference for sure. They can either make or break a trip. 🙂
I love all of your tips! It’s super important to stay hydrated while traveling. I also walk and take the stairs as much as possible. Little things like that make a huge difference. Excellent tips!
Ah thank you! It really is just making small differences here and there as they add up. Great job on walking and taking stairs as much as possible! 🙂
These are great tips to remember while traveling! Thanks for sharing 🙂
You’re welcome, I’m glad these tips are helpful!
Food is always the thing I have the hardest time with on vacation in terms of staying healthy. I find it so hard to find healthy food at restaurants, and of course I don’t want to miss out on anything! I love the idea of incorporating HIIT workouts into your routine on holiday though! I always walks thousands more steps a day than normal when I’m away, but it’s so beneficial to do the more high-intensity workouts too!
I’m so glad you found this post helpful Andrea, thank you! The struggle is real with finding healthy options sometimes. That’s why I like to focus on protein, veggies, and fruits for my first two meals of the day so for dinner, I don’t need to stress about it. 🙂
Great tips! I’m a huge fan of walking everywhere. I work out regularly when I’m home, so staying active while traveling prevents me from turning into a blob:) Walking, even though so simple, is a great way to avoid that. Especially when you visit some of the cities with lots of hills and stairs. I just returned from Porto, and walked pretty much everywhere. Hills in that city are no joke!!
That is so great that you try to walk everywhere and stay fit on a regular basis! Some cities with a lot of hills definitely make it more challenging. lol. I’m hoping to go to Portugal this fall, so good to know I’ll be doing some walking! 🙂
The eating right part is always my downfall when traveling, but these are some great tips. I find I walk a lot more when I’m traveling though – usually due to an “it doesn’t look that far” comment.
Yes, the food is always a temptation especially as it is likely items you don’t regularly eat! Haha, I love that phrase, “it doesn’t look that far”. I have said that too many times! 🙂
Lots of important tips here for overall health while traveling! I’m a dancer (salsa and bachata, mostly) so I have a built in workout basically anywhere I travel, as there is latin dance pretty much everywhere in the world. It’s a very convenient hobby! I love dancing during my travels because it’s a great way to meet people over a shared passion – and of course, there’s the added benefit that it keeps me in shape 🙂 Thanks for sharing these tips!
You’re welcome! Oh, that is so cool that you dance! I have always wanted to take salsa dancing lessons so like you, I could dance in many places. I might need to sign up for a class now! It really is a great workout too. 🙂
Definitely, #1 is key, I walk way more when I am traveling than at home which usually means I come with zero weight gain or even a little loss! I also bring healthy snacks with me and I try to eat my biggest meal at lunch.
Yes, walking is so important and more beneficial than most people think. That’s great that you focus on one larger meal too, I find that really helps instead of 3 large meals!
Great tips! I try to follow most of these. Walking truly does wonders!
Thanks Leah! That is so good that you follow them and I agree, walking is so good and the easiest of them all. 🙂
SUCH a great post. I always have every intention of working out, pack ALL of my work out gear…and then never do it. I think your suggestion of doing a quick HIIT work out in my hotel room would be way more attainable than my swearing I’m going for a 5 mile run after drinking all night LOL. Yes, I’ve found walking totally helps me stay in shape when traveling and I’m definitely going to find a reusable water bottle that I can bring on my trips, great idea!
Haha, I have said something similar about going for “that run”. lol. That’s why I like getting in a quick HIIT workout before I head out the door so I not only get it out of the way but feel less guilty eating what I want! I’m so glad you found the post helpful and yes having a reusable water bottle handy is great. 🙂
Great advice! One can never drink enough water while traveling especially if they are flying or walking a lot! Pinned for future reference!
Wonderful, thank you! Yes getting in plenty of water is key! 🙂