Fitness Travel

Ways to keep fit while you travel

Surfer running on the beach ar sunset or sunrise
Surfing in Australia

You may travel for business, for fun or other personal reasons. Regardless of the reason, it’s not always easy to keep fit away from home. The last thing you want to do if you’ve put a lot of work into building up your fitness is to lose it when you go away.  If you’ve never been into working out, or have been out of it for awhile, use your trip as a time to get a clean start and get active. You may find things you enjoy that you can incorporate into your life at home.

Here are the things I do to make sure I workout while I travel.

Before you get to your destination

Know what’s available

Hong Kong GeoPark
Hong Kong Geo Park

Find out if the place you’ll be staying in has a gym or pool. If not, check around the area to see if there are any deals on fitness classes or for first timers. You can move around to different gyms or studios that offer great prices.

Research if there are any parks or trails near where you’ll be staying. For the more daring, check out what extreme sports are available to you.

Remember to check how much space you have in your room to plan your workouts.

If you’re traveling by plane and have a long layover, find out if the airport has a gym that you can use during that time.

If you have a personal trainer, ask them to create a routine you can use with the available equipment and space you have researched.

Pack for it

TRX in Park
TRX bands can be used any where, not just indoors. Working out in Long Island, New York

If the place you’re staying in has a gym or pool, all you need is your workout or swimming gear. If not, you’ll need to pack for it. I’m a big proponent for packing light, so my best suggestion is to do workouts that don’t need any equipment but use your body weight.

Exercises like high-intensity interval training (HIIT), pilates, pushups and squats can all work. You can check online for workouts that fit your needs and space.

Instead of a mat, I use a towel from the place I’m staying. I find a mat takes up too much space in my suitcase.

If you feel that you need to use some equipment, I suggest resistance bands, a TRX for suspension training and a jump rope for cardio. Don’t forget your headphones if you need to listen to music while working out.

Wear your running shoes as you depart for your destination if they are the bulkiest shoe you’re bringing. They can also pull double duty as your walking shoes.

At the airport, train or bus station

Channel Tunnel from London to Paris
Train station in the United Kingdom

Walk and take the stairs as much as you can. Your luggage helps provide you with some weight. Remember to switch arms at equal time intervals (e.g. every five minutes) to give both arms the same workout.

If you’re traveling by train, bus or plane and there’s a delay, don’t just sit around waiting. Take a walk around, do some stretches, or walk up and down the stairs. Anything that keeps you active. Every little bit helps.

If you’re traveling by car, take breaks and get out to stretch and walk around.

Stretch after your trip. Whether you travel by car, plane, bus or train, your neck, back and leg muscles tend to tighten up, especially after a long trip. Do some simple stretches, e.g. neck rolls, overhead arm stretches, and bend at the waist and grab your ankles.

Once you’ve hit your destination, you can decompress with a couple of yoga poses. You Tube has plenty of examples of yoga poses and simple neck, back and leg stretches for you to check before you go.

When you arrive at your destination

Dive right in!

Cliff diving in Montenegro
Cliff diving in Montenegro

You can set the right tone for your trip if you work out right away if it’s possible.  If it’s not, make sure you schedule a time to workout. I don’t want to miss a thing when I’m away, so I work out in the morning.

Here are some ways you can keep active while you’re away that don’t require a gym or pool.

Outside of your room

  • Walk around the place you’re staying in as much as possible. If it’s a house or hotel, walk around the hallways or the grounds outside.
  • Take the stairs or get off the elevator a few floors early and take the stairs the rest of the way.
  • Walk around your destination city as much as possible rather than taking transportation.
  • Go for runs or rent a bike and cycle around the area.
  • Use the local parks and trails for hikes, runs or working out.

In your room

  • For cardio, you can use a jump rope and do jumping jacks. I’d only recommend this if your knee joints are good.
  • If you’ve got space, try High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to give yourself a total body workout. You can find programs online.
  • TRX suspension training can help you build strength, flexibility and balance. You need some space to use the suspension set.
  • Use resistance bands. These are stretchy bands that provide weight-like resistance when you pull on them.
  • Do pilates, pushups, planks and squats to take advantage of your body weight.
  • Yoga can help you stretch, unwind and strengthen your core and balance.

Listen to your body

Snowboarding in Mont Tremblant, Quebec
Snowboarding in Mont Tremblant, Quebec

If jet lag or time zone changes leave you tired, it’s OK to make your workout shorter or lighter than usual. Travel can already disturb your sleeping and eating patterns, so it’s probably not the best time to push yourself more than usual. You don’t want to risk injury and losing more workout time when you get home.

These are some of my travel workout tips; what are some of yours?



  1. Wouldn’t it be great to open some gyms in international airports that tend to have longer lay overs. I would TOTALLY be down for a long layover if I could go to the gym in between.
    Great Article!

  2. I love finding ways to exercise when I travel that I can’t always do at home- like horseback riding through a rainforest or paddleboarding in Hawaii. It makes things more fun, at least for me, and can let me see more of the place I’m visiting. Loved this post; thank you for sharing!

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