Spanish Steps, Rome

Keep fit while you travel

Spanish Steps_1
Climbing the Spanish Steps in Rome

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, and my friends I spoke to that make sure we workout while we travel.

Before you get to your destination

Know what’s available

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

Sunia 5
Yoga in San Diego, California

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, yoga 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

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

Walking around Rome

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

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. Great post! I’m so into fitness but whilst I travel it always gets pushed aside. That said your post has inspired me 🙂 next time I will pack my work out wear x

    1. Author

      Thanks a lot! I am like that too, I have to work at it when I travel so I really try when I get up so I can get it out of the way hahaha! I’m glad it inspired you! Have a great day!

  2. I have really struggled with this the past 6 months travelling. Great read 🙂

  3. This post has such great ideas! I tend to walk a lot when I’m exploring new places and all those extra steps help with workouts on the road!

  4. great tips. since when i was wanting to learn yoga and learnt this month hope, i do what I learnt in recent workshop and apply the above mentioned tips – which seem to be very much possible practically. will try to.

  5. You have no idea how much I appreciate this. I generally rent a bike and walk to every destination I can when I travel, but I enjoy the tip about the towel. It is simple, and yet makes a huge difference. I wish you well on your travels!

  6. I travel with two resistance bands and if all else fails push ups are possible in practically any hotel room (no matter how small) 😉

  7. I like it. Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you can’t stay fit. Thanks for sharing!

  8. These are great tips. We always choose to walk when possible and I always have my travel yoga mat with me Incase our accommodations don’t have a gym. Resistance bands are a great suggestions since they take up very little room and can be used for multiple workouts.

  9. I love how you mentioned listening to your body. As a former exercise addict this is solid information and a piece of advice I would have been wise to listen to earlier on 🙂

  10. Thanks for the tips. I will be heading off on a 10 week road trip end May and will not have access to a gym. Last time we went away I looked for local children’s playgrounds and used what I could adapt to doing my chin-ups.

    1. Park workouts are some of my favorite! They provide such great body weight resistance. And if you have kiddos, its a great way to get the whole family moving. Have fun on your trip!

  11. I tend to get a little lazy when I travel! These are great ways to keep active

    1. Even just walking around and exploring is such a great way to kill two birds with one stone. But if you’re usually on the go when at home, resting and relaxing might be more of what your body needs when on vacay 🙂 No right or wrong, just what’s best for you!

  12. Good thoughts! I did a blog similar last week. It can be hard for sure to stay focused on the road, but it is still possible.

Tell us what you think!