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How to stay fit while travelling

We all know vacation is the time to enjoy life and treating yourself. Most people weigh more when they return from a trip, than when they left. Although more and more people are getting aware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle, including working out and eating good and healthy food, it seems difficult to hold on to the lifestyle when the go on vacation.
However, I personally think time out of your routine is a great opportunity to work on your health. In that way you will go home feeling refreshed, satisfied and revitalised. I’m going to share some tips on how to look after your health while you are on vacation, whether that is a city trip to Paris for 4 days or a backpacking experience of 6 months.

Travel workout

When you are travelling you obviously don’t want to spend hours exercising to stay fit and healthy. Therefore it is important to achieve maximum results with minimal effort, so have enough time left in the day to explore the beautiful world we live in. You can choose to go to the gym when you’re on the same place for a long time. Some gyms offer a day or a week pass, so that you can go to the gym to use extra equipment and get some extra motivation from other people who also like to work out.

No equipment vacation workout

Another great and simpel option is to do your workouts at your hotel room, apartment or outside your tent, camper of caravan when your camping. On the internet are tons of free travel workouts that you can follow with just your bodyweight. I will insert my favourite no equipment HIIT full body workout training here.

It only takes you 30 minutes and will burn around 300 calories. But the most important is that you effectively train your whole body with it, so you can do this travel workout several times in a week. If you have the opportunity, you can pack some portable exercise equipment, you can see my favourites in the next paragraph. If you don’t have this equipment with you, you can make simple weights with some creativity. What do you think of your backpack full of stuff, or some bottles full of water? This is perfect for workouts and adds some extra challenge to your full body workout when you don’t have the opportunity to go the gym or take portable exercise equipment while travelling.
By doing a short, challenging holiday workout in the morning, you will immediately feel energetic and ready for the day. In this way you have enough time left to enjoy yourself – which is for sure the main reason you are travelling in the first place!

Portable exercise equipment

I will tell you about my favourite supplies to take with me when I travel. It is not necessary to take them with you to do a good workout every day, as you’ve read before in this article, but it helps to alternate your travel workouts and keep them fun.

Portable exercise equipment

1. Elastic bands

You have tons of elastic bands you can use in your travel workout. Elastic bands are cheap, don’t take up much space in your suitcase or backpack but are multifunctional in your vacation workout. You can train your legs by doing squats with the elastic bands around your legs, or train your arms and upper body by stretching the elastic bands between your arms.

2. Jump ropes

Jumping rope is one of the best ways to train your endurance and it’s easy to do some cardio exercises with the jumping ropes. It doesn’t take a lot of space to take them with you while travelling, and they give you the right opportunity to stay fit on vacation.

3. TRX system

This is the best tool if you want to train strength and cardio in one workout and with only one necessity. It can be used indoors or outside, you only need a door, tree or something to attach the TRX system on. The system is under 2 lbs, so it’s perfect to take with you while travelling.

Exploring surroundings while exercising

Besides full body workouts there are a lot of other ways to stay fit and get some movement during your holiday. How nice does it sound to explore the scenery while getting some extra movement and burning calories? That is in fact super easy! By exploring the surrounding by bike or on foot you combine staying fit and exploring. Walk in the city, cycle through the forest or run through the parc that is nearby your overnight stay.  So if your idea of a holiday doesn’t involve working out, there are still plenty of other ways to stay fit by just focussing on being active. This sounds very easy and in fact it is! Think about other simple things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator to go to your floor in the hostel or hike up a hill to have a better sight. Instead of going to the beach and sunbathe on a towel, organize a volleyball tournament or go swimming or surfing. When you are active in the sun, you will tan faster than when you are laying on a towel and napping/reading a book. That makes being active in the sun a real win win situation.

Travel diet

Vacation dietFood plays a very important role in staying healthy and fit. When people go travelling, they often forget their diet and want to enjoy nice local meals. Travellers want to taste every well-known or even unknown local treats, and they often don’t want to miss out anything in their time abroad.
Yet, nutrition is a very important part of staying healthy while travelling. So a frequently asked question by travellers is: How to eat healthy on vacation? At first it is a good start to make your own personal vacation diet.
In that way you can determine your own goals, like losing body fat, weight or just staying healthy. Then you can check what you can and what you can’t eat to reach this goal.

Of course, you don’t want to say no to every local cuisine, street food, delicious breakfast at the hotel and the tasty drinks on a cocktail party. It is important to find a way to balance both the treat yourself lifestyle and the healthy lifestyle. A good start is a healthy breakfast and healthy snacks. You can always take a package of oatmeal in your backpack or suitcase, so you can mix it with hot water or milk and have an easy, cheap, healthy and delicious start of your day. For snacks you can think of fruit, protein bars, crackers etcetera. If most of the things you eat are healthy and nutritious, you can treat yourself every now and then with a dine out, a local dish or a tasty (unhealthy) snack. 

Travel diet

Water is your best friend

When you are on vacation and trying to stay fit and healthy, it is very important to stay hydrated and drink enough water. Consuming 3-4 litres of water every day is recommended, and this is even more important when you are travelling in hot climate. Drinking water not only helps you to stay hydrate, it also reduces excessive water retention and bloating. A simple tip that I always do is to carry a water bottle with you everywhere and fill it whenever that is possible. In that way it is a lot easier to drink enough water and you know exactly how much you drunk throughout the day. 

Don’t forget to have fun!

Do you like drinking with friends, throw a party or going out on vacation? Then, be aware of liquid calories, especially alcohol. Beers, ciders and wines are calorie dense and full of sugars and that’s not what you want when you’re trying to stay fit and healthy. Try to replace this drinks with lighter options such as mix drinks with soda water or diet coke. Even better is, of course, to skip the alcohol and drink water or other low calorie and sugar free drinks, but I know this can be hard sometimes. Also in this regard it is very important to find balance between enjoying your time travelling and staying fit and healthy on your vacation. Don’t forget to have fun! That takes me to the final tip: Avoid stress on your vacation. Take enough chill time for yourself and take moments to realize how beautiful the travelling lifestyle is and how nice it is to be on vacation and exploring the world around you.


It doesn’t matter if you skip your morning workout once a week, or eat a whole pizza by yourself with three scoops of ice after laying on the beach sunbathing the whole day. The most important of travelling is to enjoy your time abroad, and if you do your morning workouts or follow up the other examples to get more movement in your day and you also focus on your vacation diet most of the time, you will be a fit and happy traveller!

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Inspired by:
20 Tips For Staying Fit While Traveling, From A Full-Time Traveler, Alyssa Ramos
How to Stay Fit on Vacation, Bob Cooper

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