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20 Clever Ways to Stay Fit While Travelling You Should Try

by Michele
20 Tips for Staying Fit While Travelling and Best Travel Fitness Equipment
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Motivation to exercise whilst travelling is tough. The trick is not to overthink it. There are plenty of ways to stay fit without going to the gym. We’ll look at the best travel exercise equipment and loads of clever fitness hacks perfect for travelling.

It’s the night before your trip. You’re sitting on the floor packing your bag and face that usual dilemma. Do you or don’t you pack your trainers and gym clothes?

Motivation to exercise whilst travelling is tough. Sure, the initial motivation might be there, but it’s hard to maintain. Then the questions come, will there be a gym close by? Will I have time? What will I do?

The trick is not to overthink it. There are plenty of things you can whilst travelling to stay fit without going to the gym.

Going on a holiday means taking be a break, but don’t let that be an excuse to turn into a sack of potatoes!

Take a break from your work and other commitments, but take the time to focus on yourself and having a good time. Not exercising will only make it harder to get back into a healthy routine once you return. Mixing up your workout is the key to keeping it interesting and enjoyable.

With that in mind, I’ve collated a list of 20 simple, yet effective tips on how you can stay fit and healthy on the road.

Pack for fitness with the best travel exercise equipment

Before your trip, make a point to research the hotel or nearby fitness facilities and pack accordingly. Your travel workout essentials might include purchasing some of the best travel exercise equipment:

20 Ways to Stay Fit Travelling

1. Keep Active Along the Way

Whether you’re travelling by car, train or plane, travelling can force you to sit for long periods, which isn’t good for your health. Make doing physical activity easy by always on your travel days by wearing your walking or running shoes.

If you’re travelling by plane and time permits or you encounter a delay, stroll through the airport terminal rather than sitting at the gate. When travelling by train walk through the cars occasionally. If you’re driving, take breaks to get out and stretch.

If you know you’re going to have a long layover at an airport, check to see if the airport has a gym and pack your carry-on bag accordingly. Walk up the escalators, don’t stand. Take the stairs instead of the lift.

Make it a goal to reach the recommended 10,000 steps each day. Consider getting a Fitbit, it did wonders for my motivation.

2. Walk Everywhere

Tips for Staying Fit While Travelling - Walk everywhereSkip the bus, train, or taxi and go by foot! To travel is to explore. You can’t do much of that if you’re trapped in a moving vehicle. Get out there and you’ll discover so much more on foot. A quirky lane might catch your eye, and before you know you it, you’ve found a super cute boutique or an amazing restaurant. You won’t get that in any travel guide!

3. Sightseeing run

Forget the segway or the hop on/hop off bus, get up and go for a morning run, you’ll see all the sights with fewer tourists around and you’ll be able to appreciate the view more.

4. Do Yoga

The benefits of practising Yoga are endless, but when it comes to travelling, it will leave you feeling energised. Not to mention that after all the walking you’ll be doing you’ll need a good stretch!

Do a routine either in the morning to help revitalise your body, or at night to ensure a good night rest

5. Take the Stairs

Tips for Staying Fit While Travelling - Take the stairsClimbing stairs is great for the heart and building strength, you can either do this inside or outside.

Maybe you have stairs in your hotel or there’s a famous monument with loads of stairs. Set a time limit (20-30 min is recommended) and run up and down those bad boys as fast as you can!

For extra burn, do them in a “suicide” style. Head up the first flight, then back down, then back up to the second floor, and back down…working your way all the way to the top. Hello tight buns!

6. Take a Hike

Tips for Staying Fit While Travelling - Go hikingI don’t mean figuratively, I mean a literally!

One the best experiences you can have abroad is experiencing the great outdoors and seeing what nature has to offer, and what better way than going on a hike!

You chose the degree of difficulty, both in distance and terrain covered. Maybe push yourself like I did when I hiked Trolltunga and in Yosemite National Park, my most memorable travel experience. Hiking is so much fun, that you’ll forget you’re even exercising, or at the very least, it’ll distract you.

7. Check Out Local Parks and Trails

Ask the hotel staff about safe nearby routes for walking or running. Go and experience the great outdoors through the eyes of a local.

8. Bike it

Tips for Staying Fit While Travelling - Go cyclingSome cities are made for cycling, *cough* Amsterdam *cough* Copenhagen *cough*, so hire a bike and go explore. Even places like the Costa Brava you can go cycling between each historical town. You’ll be able to see so much more of the area you’re visiting this way. When your plans involve visiting something a few kilometers away, opt to make it a bike trip rather than by going by motor vehicle.

Be sure to take a map or use your phone GPS, wear a helmet. Safety first!

9. Do a Hotel Room HIIT Workout

Hotel doesn’t have a gym? No worries, sweat it out in the comfort of your hotel room with a HIIT routine. HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a training technique where you give one hundred per cent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time. 

Whether at home or on the road, I use Beachbody on Demand to immediately access to a whole range professionally-led exercises routines. Beachbody on Demand is a streaming platform and app which gives you access to a free Coach for support and accountability. My awesome coach is  Basil About Fitness. I love Beach Body because I can choose the duration, type, and intensity of the workout, and even download videos to access them offline. Sign up to Beachbody and let Basil be your coach too!

In the meantime, here is a quick yet effective hotel room HIIT workout routine that will keep you energised for the rest of your day and trip.

Circuit #1

30 Seconds Mountain Climbers
30 Second Rest
1 Minute High Knees
30 Second Rest
30 Seconds Crunches
30 Seconds Scissor Leg Lifts (alternate leg on top after 15 seconds)
30 Second Rest
1 Minute Up-Down Elbow Plank (alternate leading elbows)
30 Second Rest
1 Minute Burpees
30 Second Rest

Circuit #2

30 Seconds Mountain Climbers
30 Second Rest
1 Minute Side Plank (alternate sides after 30 seconds)
30 Second Rest
1 Minute High Knees
30 Second Rest
1 Minute Plank knee-to-nose (alternate knees)
30 Second Rest
30 Seconds Frogs Legs to Plank
30 Seconds Dolphin plank
30 Second Rest

Circuit #3

30 Seconds Mountain Climbers
30 Second Rest
30 Seconds Jump Squats
30 Second Rest
1 Minute High Knees
30 Second Rest
30 Side Lunge Squat
1 Minute Burpees
30 Second Rest
30 Seconds Standing Side Crunch (alternate sides after 15 seconds)
30 Seconds Tricep dips
30 Second Rest

Circuit #4

30 Seconds Mountain Climbers
30 Second Rest
30 Seconds Wide Sumo Squats
1 Minute High Knees
30 Second Rest
30 Seconds Jump Squats
30 Second Rest
1 Minute Burpees
30 Second Rest
30 Seconds Leg lifts (alternate leg after 15 seconds)
30 Seconds Leg Extends (alternate leg after 15 seconds)
30 Second Rest

This hotel room HIIT workout is intense, but it’s only for 28 minutes, which means you’ll be out the door, back to exploring before you know it!

10. Join in Local Activities

Fancy salsa dancing in Spain? Or tango in Latin America? Be daring and try something different abroad, from Chinese martial arts to line dancing, try something that will enrich your cultural experience.

If all else fails, join the locals playing a friendly game of soccer in the park.

11. Go on a Walking tour

Tips for Staying Fit While Travelling - Go on a walking tourTake a free walking tour or do a self-guided tour, ranging from 1-5+ hours. This is a great way to build up your steps without thinking about it. I’ve done a bunch self-guided tours here in London, and San Francisco and found all sorts of amazing places.

Download a walking app, get a Fitbit, I use the FitBit Charge 2 for counting calories and tracking my heart rate or get a free pedometer app to track your progress.

12. Go to the Beach or Do Watersports

Tips for Staying Fit While Travelling - Do water sportsFor low impact exercise swimming laps is always an awesome full-body workout. Running on the beach in the sand is a great cardio workout which you can make even harder by running through the water. The sinking sand and water resistance will create more intensity.

Try kayaking, it’s great for the core and upper body!

13. Rock Climbing

Tips for Staying Fit While Travelling - Go rock climbingFun, challenging and a good workout. Just make sure you have a good instructor that gives you the basic technique and teaches you the vocabulary for climbing! I had a wonderful time hiking and rock climbing in the Australian Outback.

14. Use the Airport Gym

Got a long layover? Make the most of your time at the airport and make a beeline for the airport lounges. You don’t need to be flying First-Class or have a Gold tier membership. Just get a Priority Pass. This will give you access to more than 1,000 lounges across the world, regardless of your airline or cabin class.

When you think about how much food, alcohol, and Wi-Fi cost at airports, you’re paying a very similar price but getting luxurious amenities and comfortable spaces on top of it. Some lounges even have gyms and showers. Get 10% off your membership here. You won’t look at airports the same way again!

15. Exercise Even if You’re in a Queue!

No one is expecting you to get on all fours and do a push-up, but there are a few exercises that you can do that can really help your strength and stability, and others will be none the wiser.

Try standing with legs shoulder width apart, and simply tense your buttocks while gently pushing your feet outwards, while they stay firmly rooted to the floor. Combine this by tensing the lower abs too for a subtle core workout. Remember to breathe!! Hold for a count of 5 and relax and repeat. If you spend an hour in a queue you’ll have had a great workout!

16. Take your Workout to the Next Level

If you’re a bit more serious about your fitness and want to build up or maintain muscle, then you can’t go past getting this lightweight portable resistance band kit. It comes with a door anchor, exercise chart, carrying bag, ankle strap and starter guide. Woohoo!

17. Be Prepared to Eat Healthy

Tips for Staying Fit While Travelling - Eat healthyWe all get hungry, so plan your meals ahead. If you don’t, once your tummy starts grumbling and you’re feeling ravenous, there will be very small chance that you’ll be able to resist the urge to eat something fatty. Your willpower will be thrown out the window.

Instead, carry multiple healthy snacks with you so you always have a healthy option on hand throughout the day. This will hold you over until your blood sugar levels return as well as your willpower!

18. Eat healthy meals in transit

After landing in a new city, it’s very easy to fall into the “you only live once” mindset and just go with the flow.

Fact, airports are full of horribly unhealthy and overpriced food, yet they have no problem attracting multitudes of sleepy, willpower-deprived travellers.

The fact is, when we’re rushing to catch a flight, it’s very easy to rationalise that any food is just good sustenance to get to the next location.

Don’t let this be you. Pack a couple of sandwiches, nuts, protein bars, and eat a big healthy meal before you leave for the airport.

19. Drink Plenty of Water

Public water fountain in RomeSeventy-five per cent of the time when you feel hungry you are actually just thirsty!

Make an effort to drink at least 1-2 glass of water every hour. This is especially important whilst in transit. This will keep you hydrated and energised and also stop you from eating when you don’t need more food.

Water can be expensive, so bring your favourite thermal water bottle and fill it up. This will keep the water nice and cool and refreshing. Alternatively, I also recommend getting a collapsible water bottle. This will fit in the smallest of handbags.

For more inspiration, don’t miss my guide to the best travel accessories and travel gadgets here.

20. Stock up on freebies

If you’re staying in a hotel, snap up some extra fresh fruit or muesli/granola bars from the continental breakfast. You never know when they’ll come in handy throughout the day.

Listen to your body

Last, but not least. Listen to your body. If jet lag or schedule changes leave you exhausted, make your workout shorter or lighter than usual. Here are some simple tips for arriving fresh at your destination after a long-haul flight. 

It’s OK to take it easy once in a while. Travel can be very disruptive to how we sleep and what we eat, which doesn’t make it the best time to try to increase our fitness level.

Remember, however, that regular exercise can help reduce stress and feelings of low energy, which might be just what you need to motivate you into action.

Remember, that travelling does wonders for your mental health, you just need to balance this with your physical health, which is why a balanced diet and plenty of exercise is key.

Planning a trip and need travel insurance? Get a free quote from World Nomads here.

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20 Tips for Staying Fit While Travelling and Best Travel Fitness Equipment

Over to you!

Which of these tips did you find the most helpful? What else would you add?
Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.

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Basil Pereira June 22, 2018 - 15:19

Hey Michele. Thanks for the great post. Will try your 28 HIIT on my next trip ?️‍♂️. Keep up the great work.

Michele June 23, 2018 - 20:00

My pleasure Basil :) Good luck!


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