General Travel Tips

Staying Fit While on the Road

If you’re like me and you like to stay fit, you’ll know the importance of a good, healthy routine of wholesome food and regular exercise. When you travel, however, all of that can go right out the window. Between interrupted sleep schedules, long hours spent sitting in airports and crammed on planes or in cars, and the general disruption of your diet and exercise routine, it can be tough to keep up your fitness while traveling. All is not lost, however. There are some things you can do to mitigate the damage and maybe just have a little fun while you’re at it.

On matters of diet…

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EAT. But choose wisely…

When I’m at home, I try to stay within a calorie budget and prepare a lot of my meals at home. When traveling, however, that’s no longer possible. I would like to add that I don’t necessarily want to count calories when I’m traveling. If I’m in Italy, I want to eat pasta. If I’m in the U.S. South, I want to tuck into a big plate of barbecue. Half the fun of traveling is getting to try new foods, fantastic restaurants, and regional specialties. Don’t let yourself regret not trying the awesome foods your destination has to offer over some fear of going over your daily calorie budget.

That being said, you can be smart about your food choices while traveling. Something I like to do that saves me calories and money is to prepare some of my meals at my accommodation. I like to stay in vacation rentals and Airbnb properties that come with a kitchen whenever possible because it makes it easy to pop into the local grocery store and get the ingredients for some meals and snacks. Not only is it fun grocery shopping in a new place, but it’s economical and healthy at the same time. For example, when I visited Palm Cove in Queensland, Australia, my husband and I had a blast looking at all the products in the local grocery store. We prepared about half of our meals ourselves for when we just needed to eat something, and saved our dining out for the places we really wanted to try. We had some fantastically memorable meals in the local restaurants, and we saved money and calories on the rest of our meals by prepping them ourselves.

I’ve found that even in a traditional hotel room without a kitchen, there is often a refrigerator. You can buy fruit, yogurt, sandwich ingredients, trail mix, and other similar items and prepare them in any hotel room.

Do yourself and your wallet a favor: save the heavy, calorie-loaded meals for when it really counts. I’m planning on visiting Seattle this summer, and you can bet I’ll be eating Beecher’s famous Macaroni and Cheese 🙂

Split a meal, or just try a little bit

One more thing I would like to mention is that you can usually split a large meal with your travel companion to save calories and money as well. For instance, I visited Chicago with my parents and while we were there, we of course needed to try their famous deep dish pizza. The mistake we made was each of us ordering our own “personal” sized pizza. Those things were enormous! My mom and I ordered pizzas with similar toppings and neither of us could finish it. We could have split one order, both been satisfied, and saved money to boot.

Another strategy I like to employ when sampling high calorie foods is to just try a little bit. If I’m visiting Voodoo Donuts in Portland, I don’t need to try all the donuts. I can just choose the one that looks the best and have one. The key is being picky and choosing your indulgences wisely.

On staying fit…

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Ah, exercise. Nobody wants to be stuck in a gym, pounding away on a treadmill when they are visiting a fabulous new destination. The good news is, you have options. There are plenty of ways to stay healthy and fit while on the road. Here are a few suggestions:

Take a hike…

Most places have hiking trails nearby. Find them, and enjoy them. What better way to catch sweeping views of a city, or to discover a beautiful waterfall or meadow? If you go online and search hiking trails in your destination, you’ll see some great options. Enjoy!

Regional recreation…

What’s cool in your destination? If you’re visiting California or Hawaii, why not try a surf lesson? If you’re near a river or lake, why not try some kayaking? Mountain destination? Why not a winter ski trip? You see where I’m going with this…take advantage of the unique outdoor activities your destination has to offer. Not only will you make some awesome memories, but you’ll burn some calories at the same time.

Find a workout class…

I’m a crossfitter, and when I’m at home I go to my Crossfit gym 3 times a week. When I’m out of town, I like to look up local Crossfit gyms who accept walk-ins. Not only do I get to have a tough, challenging workout, but I also get to meet locals in the class who can give me a few tips on their favorite spots in town. No matter what you’re into, be it yoga, pilates, spinning, zumba, etc., there is most likely a class in your area. Do a little research before you leave and email the gym or fitness instructor to find out what you need to do to walk in. Sometimes these classes can be a fun experience to add to your travel memories. For instance, there is a yoga class on the beach near where I live in San Diego that meets twice a week during summer. I always see people from out of town joining the class. Not only do they get their workout in, but they also get to enjoy the beach while they’re at it. Score!

Go jogging…

A jog is a great way to get some exercise and take in some views at the same time. Whether you’re visiting a beautiful, natural destination like a national park or beach area, or if you’re in an urban area, pick a cool area you would like to see and go for a run.

Rent a bicycle…

When I was in the Netherlands, I noticed everybody in town used a bicycle to get around, and I wanted to get in on the fun. I found a local place that rented out bicycles and we were off! Not only did I get a lot of exercise that day, but I had a great time exploring the Dutch town of Haarlem and the surrounding countryside on my bicycle. We stopped at windmills and nearby farms as well as rode through the town square next to the big church and I ended up seeing parts of the area I might not have otherwise seen. It was one of the highlights of my trip! Definitely look into renting a bicycle if you’re staying in a bike-friendly area.

Take a walking tour…

A lot of cities offer walking tours, and the information on how to join in on the fun is easily accessible online. I recommend taking a walking tour when you first arrive in a new city. That way, you can get your bearings, see a little of the city, learn about your destination, and get a little exercise in at the same time.

There’s always the hotel gym…

If it comes down to it and you’re just crunched for time, you can always take advantage of the hotel gym. I like to get up a little early and go for a quick run on the treadmill while my husband is still sleeping. That way, I can be back in the room and ready to enjoy the day by the time he wakes up. If your hotel doesn’t have a gym, there’s always time for a few sit-ups, push-ups, and jumping jacks in the hotel room at night or first thing in the morning.

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