How to Stay Fit While You Travel: 13 Travel Fitness Tips
More than half of all Americans say that it's either very important or somewhat important for them to stay fit and keep exercising while traveling. Travel fitness and working out while traveling can often be an overlooked aspect of a great vacation or business trip — it reduces your stress, boosts your immunity against those pesky germs in airports and airplanes, and can even motivate you to find new adventures and experiences on your travels (e.g., hiking a new trail, trying a new activity like kayaking or surfing, and more).
Whether you're vacationing abroad or jet setting for a business meeting, these smart and savvy travel fitness tips will help you incorporate workouts while traveling.
13 Tips for Working Out While Traveling
We've broken these 13 tips into specific categories, from packing properly to working out in your hotel gym, so you have a go-to plan before your plane leaves the tarmac.
Pack and Plan Ahead of Time
As you plot out your itinerary and organize your suitcase, preparation is the name of the game.
1. Get In the Right Mindset
Whether your trip is for business or pleasure, now's not the time to pressure yourself to maintain your workout schedule or return home with a new body. Unrealistic expectations and mindsets can sabotage our motivation and make us less likely to work out while traveling (to say nothing of ruining our vacation). Instead, make it a goal to simply stay active each day — whatever that looks like for you!
2. Know What Options You Have Ahead of Time
Hotel gyms can be a bit unreliable. Sometimes, they're fully stocked with everything you need. Other times, they're tucked away in a dingy corner and lack the right equipment and weights for your current workout regimen. As you plot your itinerary:
- Check your hotel's website beforehand to see what its gym is like.
- Investigate what day passes cost for nearby fitness facilities, boot camps, and gyms.
- Look for local attractions and activities that help you see the sights and sounds of your destination while staying active (e.g., surfing in Hawaii, hiking in Colorado, walking across New York's boroughs, etc.).
3. Schedule It In
As you plan your daily activities, either block off 30-60 minutes for a workout at your hotel or add one activity to each day's plans that includes some sort of physical movement. Having a plan ensures you stick with your workout goals while traveling.
3. Pack Lightweight Gear
Besides your workout clothes and shoes, bringing a few lightweight workout tools can help you stay active without overloading your luggage:
- Resistance bands, a skipping rope, and similar accessories
- Yoga mats
- Pre-downloaded apps on your phone for bodyweight exercise, fitness tracking, etc.
Move and Stretch at the Airport
Stretching and boosting your heart rate while you're waiting for your flight can help prevent concerning health risks associated with sitting for long periods on a plane,and has even been shown to help proactively combat the effects of jet lag.
1. Don't Take the Easy Route
It may be tempting to take the escalator or employ the assistance of a luggage concierge, but consider this your first workout on your trip! Whether it's carrying your own luggage or choosing the stairs, you'll get your blood flowing and warm up your body before squeezing into your airplane seat.
2. Go For a Walk
Some of the busiest airports in America are also the largest, whether it's Denver (33,531 acres), Dallas-Forth Worth (18,076 acres), or New York City's JFK airport (5,200 acres). That's a lot of square mileage for a nice walk while you wait for your plane.
3. Stretch in the Terminal and on the Plane
Keep your circulation going with chair yoga, seated chair exercises, and chair stretches. Although they're done in a seated position, the American Council on Exercise reports that these chair movements are incredibly effective for warming up your body and boosting your wellness.
Stay Active at Your Destination
If your hotel or resort has a well-furnished gym or a fitness facility nearby, you can keep doing regular workouts while traveling. But often, hotel gyms leave a lot to be desired. If that's the case, you can still sneak some fitness into your travels.
1. Do Bodyweight Workouts in Your Hotel Room
Remember that lightweight gear you packed at the start of this fitness guide? That's where they come in. And if you choose not to bring fitness bands or skipping ropes, bodyweight movements are challenging and effective. Try this example workout to get started:
- 10 air squats
20 Russian twists or crunches
10 lunges on each side
10 seated dips
Repeat for 20-30 minutes
Want more travel workouts? These 10 tips for keeping up with your workouts on the road can help!
2. Make Use of Parks and Greenspaces
Get fresh air and shake off the jet lag by moving your bodyweight workout to a nearby park or going for a walk, run, or jog. It's a powerful way to jumpstart your circadian rhythm to your new time zone and get immersed in your new surroundings.
3. Find Excuses to Use Your Legs
Who needs Uber or Lyft when you have legs? Walk any chance you get — it's the perfect way to get your blood pumping and see your destination up close and personal. You may even uncover quaint neighborhoods, nearby attractions, and other interesting sights and sounds you would otherwise miss out on if you took a car.
4. Try Something New
Every locale has its unique outdoor activities. Whether rock climbing, hiring a guide for a walking tour, or getting into the water, traveling is the perfect time to get out of your comfort zone and try a new sport or activity. It's also one of the best ways to connect with the local culture or community and explore what makes your destination special.
Maintain Your Diet and Health While Traveling
Don't take a vacation from your regular diet, whether it's that buttery croissant in Paris or the tempting convenience of fast food when on a whirlwind business overnighter. After all, your food and snack choices are 90% of the battle when it comes to optimal health and wellness.
1. Stay Hydrated
Ensure you're drinking a lot of water, especially if you're traveling to a climate you're not accustomed to. Speaking of beverages, watch out for liquid calories. You can enjoy a margarita or tropical beverage when vacationing — it's not about forgoing all the allures of traveling — but try not to overdo it.
2. Shop For Groceries
Once you arrive at your location, head to a local grocery store or supermarket and stock up on basics, including fruits, veggies, and nuts. It's a great way to satisfy your snack cravings, save you money, and reduce the temptation to splurge on snacks or junk food you wouldn't otherwise want. Shopping locally is also a fantastic way to see what new and exciting health foods are out there that you don't have at home.
3. Focus On Local Cuisine If Traveling Abroad
Unlike many foods in Western-style fast food joints and restaurants, many international cultures are known for their healthy, flavorful local dishes. Look for meals that emphasize lean proteins, whole grains, and vegetables. The more local and fresh the dish, the healthier it will likely be.
Bonus Travel Fitness Tip: Bring Easy-to-Pack Supplements and Snacks
Even if you're traveling, you'll still want to fuel your body with the best nutrition and workout supplements. At Tiger Fitness, you'll find everything you need to turn your suitcase into a mobile health store.