18 Tips to Stay on Track Towards Your Fitness Goals While Traveling
I am so excited to finally write about this topic because it has been SO requested for such a long time! I think the biggest thing about traveling and maintaining a fitness routine is setting an intention for yourself from the get go. While you are on the go it is easy to get busy and just put off your workout or grab whatever food is convenient (even if it IS a bag of chips or a candy bar at the airport). But traveling does not have to prevent you from living a healthy lifestyle. In fact, it can be EASIER to maintain a fitness routine while traveling if you really set your mind to it!
I just got back from Colorado for a family vacation last week and it was one of my favorite vacations yet - because it was one of the most active trips I have ever taken.
We drove all the way from Kansas City, Missouri to Colorado Springs, Colorado and it was about an 8 hour drive. I usually have trouble sitting still for that long because it really drives me crazy to go for extended periods of time without MOVING! Even while I am working on my blog, editing photos and video, or studying, I absolutely have to get up and move around every 30 minutes. I usually like to do a quick workout or go for a jog on longer breaks just to keep my body moving.
9 HOURS in the car: now that was a struggle. But, it ended up being well worth it! When we arrived to Colorado Springs, I knew I just had to go hiking. I had heard about all of the beautiful hiking trails through the mountains and I wanted to explore the area and see all that the nature of the location had to offer.
My absolute favorite part of the trip: hiking the Manitou Incline. This climb was KILLER. It actually may have been one of the more physically challenging things I have ever done in my life! Missouri is located at a lower elevation, so the difference definitely took some getting used to. We climbed 2,744 steps at a 64% incline and made it to the very top to look out and see the city of Manitou Springs below us. It was definitely worth the hike up!
My goal whenever I go somewhere new is to be as ACTIVE as possible. I think it is one of the best ways to make the most out of any trip! A lot of times, travel might seem like an inconvenience or a distraction to your fitness routine, but these 18 tips have helped me keep up my workout schedule and eat as clean as possible over the past few years as I have traveled.
1. Plan an active trip from the get go.
I was SO excited about our trip to Colorado because I knew there would be plenty of opportunities to get outside, get moving, and soak in the beauty of nature while being active. When you plan a trip to a location where you know you will be active every day, your workout becomes part of your vacation.
2. ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS, pack a snack bag!
I consider myself the snack bag QUEEN. Like, no joke. I am not even afraid to admit it. I will not leave the house without my snack bag! I get pretty hangry pretty quickly if I don't eat every 3-4 hours, so when I am traveling with other people I always want to make sure I have a snack with me so I don't have to stop and buy one while we are on the go. Not only is it better FOR you to pack your own snacks, it's also more affordable.
3. Carry a reusable water bottle.
And make sure you drink up! Staying hydrated is CRITICAL to keeping yourself healthy while you travel. Especially if you will be doing a lot of outdoor activities and it is hot outside, making sure you are properly hydrated will keep you energized and ready to take on whatever activities you have planned for your vacation. A lot of times I find that I am more likely to just sip on water throughout the day without even realizing it if I am just carrying one around.
4. Do your research when you go to eat at a new restaurant.
THIS. This may be one of the most important tips on the list! When you are traveling, you are somewhere new and you may find yourself eating at a restaurant you are unfamiliar with. This is when it is so important to know before you go. Whenever we decide on a restaurant, I always google the menu and check out the healthy options they offer. A lot of restaurants will have their nutrition facts posted online, but if not, you can ask your waiter to point you to the lighter meals on the menu.
5. Walk EVERYWHERE when you have the chance.
This is a simple way to sneak exercise in to your day without even realizing it. If you keep track of your steps you will notice you move way more than you realize when you are out and about in a new city. Make a conscious effort to walk to your destination - you may even discover a fun new place on your way to where you are going!
6. Eat breakfast!
Most hotels will have a complimentary breakfast, but if not, stop by a grocery store when you arrive to your destination and pick up some healthy breakfast foods. Most of the time I will pack healthy breakfast options in my snack bag (like oatmeal, granola, protein bars, peanut butter, etc.) and then grab some fresh fruit at the local market and keep it in my room.
7. Pack activewear and running shoes.
Sometimes all it takes to motivate you to get to the gym is a cute set of activewear! I like to travel in activewear because it is so comfortable. Chances are when you get to your destination you have been sitting for a long period of time, so lace up your running shoes and get your body moving again with a stretching session, outdoor jog, or a quick HIIT bodyweight session.
8. Eat frequently.
This kind of goes back to the "hangry" concept. When you wait until you are ABSOLUTELY STARVING to eat a full meal, you are more likely to indulge and overeat. By snacking frequently (I aim for every 3-4 hours) you will curb your appetite so you never reach the point of feeling so drained you accidentally eat an entire entree and say yes to ordering dessert.
9. Use your own bodyweight or pack resistance bands.
Even though most hotels have a full gym with cardio machines and SOME weights (whether it may be machines or dumbbells), it can be easier to just get a quick, intense workout in the convenience of your hotel room. Pack a yoga mat and maybe even some resistance bands and crank out an intense sweat sesh right when you wake up in the morning - it's guaranteed to start your day off on the right foot!
10. Get out and see the city.
The main thing I LOVED about Colorado was that all of the activities we did were outside, physically demanding, and allowed us to see the beauty of the mountains. When you schedule things like hiking, bike riding through the city, or even walking around downtown, you can be active and get your sight seeing in at the same time.
11. Sleep, sleep, SLEEP!
Don't let the excitement of a new city keep you out too late! Chances are your schedule is PACKED for the time you are visiting and you want to make sure you have enough energy to tackle the next full day without being exhausted. Early to bed, early to rise!
12. Use fitness apps.
Some of my favorites are Lose It! and Map My Run. Lose It! allows me to get the nutrition facts for almost any food or meal at a restaurant you could think of and keep track of my macros in a daily food diary. I use this app daily but I really like it while I am traveling or eating at a new restaurant where I may want to look up the nutrition information for a meal. Map My Run is another one of my faves, because it keeps track of the distance you have gone on a physical map and allows you to actually see just how far you have gone. When you are in an unfamiliar place, it's nice to have an exact measurement!
13. Take it outside.
Try not to stay cooped up in your hotel room! Even though some resorts are SUPER nice and you may want to just lounge in the hot tub all day long, try to make a conscious effort to get out and get some fresh air every day. This photo below was taken on our hike at Seven Falls in Colorado Springs. It was even more beautiful in person!
14. Never go more than a few days without exercising.
My limit is TWO. I know while I am traveling it may be unreasonable to expect a workout every day. But generally, I try to never go more than two days in a row without intentional exercise. But your workout doesn't ALWAYS have to take place in a gym. When we went to Colorado, I definitely counted hiking the Manitou Incline as my workout for the day (it was SO intense).
15. Try a new workout class unique to your location.
A lot of resorts will offer fitness classes on site. So, you've never tried a pilates class? Now's your chance! Wake up early and head to the AM class before your schedule gets too hectic. You will get to try something new and may even meet other travelers or locals with similar interests.
16. Rent a bike and tour the city.
When I was younger my family took a trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan. It was the cutest little town and bike riding was common around the island. We rented a few and made a day of riding around and seeing the different sites in the town. Bike riding is faster than walking and still provides a great workout while giving you a chance to see the location.
17. Go in to your vacation with an ADVENTURE mindset.
When you plan for an adventure, you're bound to find one! Make an effort to see or do something new every day and always keep an adventurer's mindset. Being active and making the most of your trip will always be worth it!
18. Don't be too hard on yourself!
After all, you ARE traveling. It's not about being perfect, it's about being balanced and doing the best that you can with the resources that you have while you are on the go. Give yourself a day off from a scheduled workout, have a cheat day, and don't be too hard on yourself. In the end, it's the memories that will last after your trip is over!
What are some of your top travel fitness hacks? What places are on your travel bucket list? Leave a comment below. I want to hear from you!