I love traveling. So much so that even flight delays, long TSA lines or seats that don’t recline (thanks, Frontier!) seldom dampen my enthusiasm. But a recent trip to Florida reminded me how easily travel can sabotage even our best fitness intentions. I ended up unequipped for the workout I’d planned—and too tired to do it even if I’d been equipped. Avoid my fate by following these hard-earned tips for staying in shape next time you’re on the road.
Be prepared. I may or may not have been packing my bag just before I left for the airport, and in my frenzy, I forgot to bring any clothes to work out in. I was tempted to use my pajamas, but then I would have had to sleep in some funky-smelling duds for the duration of my trip. And naked yoga may be a thing in some bohemian circles, but I wasn’t ready to take the plunge. Moral of the story: Up your chances of getting a workout in by packing the necessary clothes (including an extra set of skivvies), shoes and maybe even equipment, such as exercise bands or a jump rope.
Indulge wisely. In my travel philosophy, trips are a time to let loose a bit. To order the dessert. To stay up late listening to the live band on the dock. But too much indulgence (for me, it was too many late nights) can zap your chances of squeezing some exercise in.
Scope out—and use—your resources. The one bit of exercise I did manage was a lovely walk on the beach (followed by some embarrassing running and arm flailing as I attempted to chase seagulls away from the enormous bag of pistachios we’d accidentally left sitting out on our beach blanket). One of the best ways to incorporate exercise into your trip is to use what’s already in your environment. Rent a bike at the beach. Swim laps in the pool. Walk the airport terminal (or if you’re in Baltimore Washington International Airport, check out the in-airport gym, reportedly the first of its kind).
Be realistic. When you’re traveling, the goal is rarely to make fitness gains, but rather to keep from falling apart. Instead of aiming for some big workout, just slip in a few squats and push-ups when you first get up. Download do-anywhere fitness apps, like Power 20 or the Johnson & Johnson 7-Minute Workout. Or try this quick and easy, full-body strength routine. Just find a way to move, so you’re not miserable trying to get back into your exercise routine when your glorious vacay comes to an end.
Kellee Katagi is one of those strange souls who actually enjoys working out for the sake of working out. She’s spent most of her 20-plus-year writing and editing career covering fitness, nutrition and travel, as well as outdoor sports ranging from skiing to spelunking to street luge (yes, that’s a thing).