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How To Stay Fit While Travelling

Last updated on Feb 3, 2019

Staying fit while travelling is a common challenge amongst travellers. While on holiday we feel like it’s our time to indulge and treat ourselves, and we often return home weighing considerably more than when we left. Especially if you normally exercise and eat healthy while you’re at home, you won’t want to waste all your hard work while you’re on vacation. As someone who is often on the road and struggles to stay fit and healthy while traveling, I wanted to share with you my top tips on how to stay fit on holiday.

Stand up paddling in Sardinia, Italy

Stand up paddling in Sardinia, Italy

3 fitness tips to staying active while traveling

I’ve divided this guide on how to stay healthy while traveling in two sections; how to stay fit and active, and how to eat healthy and keep up your diet. These are the two pillars of living a healthy life, both at home and on the road. While traveling it’s easy to come up with excuses on why you can’t keep up your workout regime, I’m here to help you see staying fit as something fun you will want to do, not a chore that will take time away from your trip.

The view from the First Peak of Stawamus Chief, along the Sea to Sky Highway in Canada

Hiking in Canada

Do an actual workout

This may seem pretty obvious, but you’ll be surprised to find that not many people do it or even think about it while they’re traveling. I agree that while you’re travelling locking yourself up in a gym for an hour or more isn’t ideal. You’re in a new city you’ve never seen before, or a cool tropical destination, and spending time inside a gym lifting weights isn’t a fun way to spend your holiday time. There are workouts you can do without any equipment and anywhere you want. The video below shows some examples of exercises you can do while you’re travelling. I’m not a personal trainer so I can’t recommend a specific training set, but you can find these online or ask at your local gym for them to write you out a program that you can do in a hotel room, at the beach, in a park playground, on top of a mountain or anywhere it is you want to workout while you’re on the road.

Walk or cycle instead of driving or taking public transport

Moving on from the obvious advice of doing a workout to stay fit, there are other things you can do to stay active. My personal favourite, which will allow you to not only stay fit but also see more of your destination, is to walk or cycle instead of driving or taking public transport. Think about it, if you’re visiting a city like London and you take the underground from one side of the city to the other, you miss all the beautiful city centre. Walking or cycling to your destination would allow you to see so much more of the city, all the while keeping you fit! While visiting Petra I walked 20km in one day, it may not be an actual workout but I definitely felt it by the end of the day! If you need an incentive to help you walk more, you should download SweatCoin. It’s an app that rewards you for walking by earning “SweatCoins” for every distance you walk on foot, these coins can then be used to purchase things, even iPhones! By choosing to walk over driving or public transport you are seeing more of a new place, staying fit and earning SweatCoins, a winning combination if you ask me!

Download the SweatCoin app here

Cycling in Copenhagen, Denmark, shot on Sony Compact Camera

Cycling in Copenhagen, Denmark

Do active activities

If you’re in a beach or mountain destination, there are plenty of active activities that you can do that will help you stay fit. Whether it’s snorkelling, hiking, mountain biking, skiing or more, they’re all great opportunities to stay fit while travelling and meeting new people. Some of my favourite “travel workouts” ever include surfing in Fuerteventura, scuba diving in Thailand, snorkelling with turtles in Gili Trawangan, playing beach volley in Croatia, or skiing in Italy. Hiking is also one of my favourite things to do while travelling. I’ve been on some beautiful hikes all over the world, from hiking up an active volcano in Indonesia to mountains in New Zealand, along the coast of Italy or up famous peaks in Canada, hiking has allowed me to see some beautiful places and contribute to staying fit while on vacation.

Snorkelling in Malindi Marine Park, Kenya, shot on GoPro Hero 4 Silver

Snorkelling in Malindi Marine Park, Kenya

5 tips to staying healthy while traveling

The second part of this staying fit while traveling guide looks at eating healthy while on the road.  I know it’s not easy, I’m guilty of this. Whenever I’m somewhere new I want to try everything the local cuisine has to offer, whether it’s an afternoon tea bus tour in London, a tapas tour in Barcelona or a simple dinner out at a restaurant, I often end up overeating. Below I listed some things I try to do and you can do too to eat healthy while on vacation.

Take advantage of hostel / apartment kitchens

If you’re staying in a hostel or AirBnb (get $25 off your first booking here!) these will often have a kitchen. If you can aim to cook at least breakfast or dinner here (or both) instead of eating out at every meal that would be a great start to staying healthy on the road. A home cooked meal will generally be healthier than eating out. I know that part of the beauty of traveling is eating out and trying the local cuisine, however if you want to eat healthy, especially if you’re going to be on the road for a while, I recommend trying to take advantage of those hostel and apartment kitchens when you can.

The first viewpoint above the Treasury of Petra, Jordan

Enjoying the views in Petra, Jordan, after hiking 20km

Order one dish at a time when you eat out

I’m very guilty of this one. I’ll sit down for dinner after having spent a long day walking around, hiking, surfing, or doing whatever it is I do while travelling ready to devour everything this local restaurant has to offer. Very often I’m that person that will offer splitting starters before mains. Reality check; you usually can’t eat as much as you think you can. If you’re anything like me and hate wasting food you will probably find yourself forcing yourself to finish off everything on the table, even if you are really really full. So do yourself a favour and try ordering one dish at a time. The kitchen and staff aren’t running away, instead of ordering everything in bulk order starters first, then see how you feel and whether to order a main too or not. You will probably end up saving money, not wasting food and being overall healthier while on the road.

Chicken satay, a typical Asian dish

Eating out in Jakarta, Indonesia

Bring healthy snacks with you on the go

If you’re going to be out and about all day there is a good chance you will get hungry. Whether you’re a firm believer in not eating outside meals or in regular small snacks, if you’re hungry you should eat something. I like to carry healthy snacks, such as protein, cereal or nut bars or fresh fruit, with me everywhere I go, especially if I’m going to be hiking or doing active activities. I get “hangry” very easily (hunger induced anger) and if I’m going to be eating outside meals I’d rather know what it is than buying something unhealthy in my confused frenzy when hunger hits.

Surfing in Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands, Spain

Surfing in Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands, Spain

Drink lots of water

Drinking water is good for you all the time, not just while travelling, but it’s especially the case when you’re travelling to countries that are hotter than yours. Dehydration can often be mistaken for hunger, so drinking lots of water will keep you hydrated and avoid you overeating when you don’t actually need to. If you’re in a country where tap water is drinkable take a reusable water bottle with you and refill it regularly. 

Taking a break while hiking Stawamus Chief during our Whistler road trip

Taking a break while hiking in Canada

Party with purpose

While drinking lots of water is good for you, drinking alcohol or sugary drinks isn’t (no surprise there). Going to bars and clubs, meeting new people, getting drunk and partying all night are big parts of travelling for a lot of people. Cutting back on this might feel like you’re not really having the time of your life while on the road like you should be. Coming from someone that used to go out five nights a week during their first year of university, with all the alcohol and late night kebab calories that come with that, for fear of missing out on something (FOMO is a real thing) believe me when I say I know the struggle.

Toasting to our last evening in Miami from the Mandarin Oriental

Nights out in Miami

Today I’m a lot pickier on my nights out. I love a party as much as the next person and still go out and drink, but I do so on the nights I feel will be worth it. I’ll skip getting drunk in the common room with only one other person that I don’t really know that well in favour of a big birthday with all my friends at that cool club I’ve been meaning to visit. If staying fit while travelling is your priority you will have to miss on some nights out. When you do drink, try also to replace beer or sugary cocktails with wine or spirits with low-sugar mixers. If you’ve decided you will be drinking all night long might as well try to minimise the calorie or health impact.

Our lovely lunch at Nikki Beach, Miami

Brunching and drinking in Miami

What about you? How do you stay fit while travelling? Let me know in the comments below! Staying fit while on vacation is hard, it requires more than a minimum of commitment in the way you eat and exercise, but if you want to ensure you don’t return from all your holidays with a few extra pounds it’s something you have to think about. In this guide I’ve tried compiling my key tips for staying fit on holiday, I hope you will find them helpful in staying healthy while on the road.

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Staying fit while being on the road is a common worry, which is why I put together this guide on easy things that you can do stay in shape while travelling!

Staying fit while traveling is hard, nobody likes working out or eating in while on vacation. If you want to know how to stay fit on holiday I compiled a guide with the top 8 tips on how to stay fit while traveling. #traveladvice #howtostayfitwhiletraveling #fitnessadvice #healthyadvice

Staying fit while traveling is hard, nobody likes working out or eating in while on vacation. If you want to know how to stay fit on holiday I compiled a guide with the top 8 tips on how to stay fit while traveling. #traveladvice #howtostayfitwhiletraveling #fitnessadvice #healthyadvice

Staying fit while traveling is hard, nobody likes working out or eating in while on vacation. If you want to know how to stay fit on holiday I compiled a guide with the top 8 tips on how to stay fit while traveling. #traveladvice #howtostayfitwhiletraveling #fitnessadvice #healthyadvice

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