Habits of Fit People: Work Out When You Travel


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

You want to be a fit person, right? That's why I'm sharing my own habits for keeping fit and staying healthy in the ongoing Habits of Fit People series.

Here's one that works for me: Exercising when I'm traveling. So why does something like this matter?

Like many things in life, it's difficult to create a fitness habit, but far too easy to break it. Missing a single workout can make you fall off the wagon for many days to follow, and when you're ready to get back into it, it becomes a struggle all over again. That's one of many reasons why it's a good idea to bring your fitness routine on the road with you: to be consistent. If you're traveling on business, a good workout can help you relax, maintain your sleep routine (which is often disrupted due to jet lag or travel), and reduce stress. If you're on vacation or holiday, working out each day may remind you to think twice before indulging in every rich food or drink that crosses your path (or at least help undo the extra calories people tend to take in while vacationing).

Personally, I do exercise when I'm away from home. Now I don't go crazy or spend hours at the gym in lieu or enjoying myself (which is usually the point of a vacation anyway). But I try to do something active on most days, whether I'm at home or out of town. I got a taste of this last weekend when I took a road trip to Atlanta for a long weekend. I was only gone for three days and I wanted to pack lightly. So I stocked my gym bag with my running shoes and a fun, portable strength training tool called the VersaStick. I was able to exercise two out of three days on my short trip (and even hiked to the top of Stone Mountain one afternoon). When I returned home, I didn't have to feel guilty for skipping exercise or struggle to get back into my routine. It was the perfect balance.

Here are a few ideas you can use yourself to exercise when you're away from home:

  • Take advantage of the hotel gym. It may be small, but it fulfills the need.
  • Pack your workout shoes. Go for a run or a walk.
  • Use resistance bands. These are lightweight, portable and easy to pack. You can get a full body workout in a hotel room! Jump ropes are also easy to pack and provide a great workout.
  • Buy a gym guest pass. It's a little pricey to do (usually around $10 per day at minimum), but worthwhile if it's the only option. Before you buy, find out if the gym you belong to is part of a national network that allows you to exercise at other locations (for free) when you travel.
  • Bring a DVD. This is a good option if you'll be staying with friends or family. But many hotels have DVD players at the front desk that you can check out and bring to your room.
  • Plan active pursuits. You can relax, explore the region and have an adventurous time with lots of vacation-worthy things like walking tours, canoeing, skiing and more.

Packing workout clothes and planning workouts might not be easy as relaxing on the beach for a week, but fit people don't always take the easy way out. They make exercise a part their lives just as much as flossing or eating breakfast each day.

Do you work out when you're on vacation or traveling? If not, come up with a portable fitness plan! Tell us what workout(s) you can turn to when away from home.

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!
NEXT ENTRY >   Who Won the iPods and iTunes Gift Cards?


    Traveling has always been a problem for me. I can have a great workout routine, be doing it steadily and then I'll have to travel for work and I fall off. Frustrating to say the least. I have a trip coming up next week and a couple of weeks after that. DETERMINED to stick to getting my workout in!! - 5/16/2010   3:53:14 PM
  • 77
    I travel a lot dosmetically but also internationally and if I didn't exercise while I was away, it would be difficult to maintain fitness.

    I always pack workout clothes and shoes even when I only doing an overnighter.

    And the first thing I check about a hotel is whether or not they have an on site gym. If they don't, I don't stay there.

    I also check what equipment they have - if there's a lap pool, I always take my swimming gear, and if there is limited cardio equipment I work out how I can fit an extended walk into my schedule.

    Hotel gyms are a great way to meet people when you're away on business too - I've met lots of really great people travelling alone in hotel gyms. Makes your workout interesting!

    If you start your day off with a workout, chances are you'll eat much more healthy during the day. It definitely helps steer clear of big greasy breakfasts in search of something light and healthy too.

    I have a friend who travels a lot and complains that she's put on so much weight as a result. It doesn't have to be like that...just takes focus... - 9/17/2009   5:56:25 PM
  • 76
    I just went out of town for vacation last week. I go to Curves and I asked for a travel pass (for free!). My husband supported me to go and I ended up going two days while I was gone (I usually go three) and we came home on Saturday and I got up and walked on my treadmill on Sunday (so I got to keep that part of my routine!)! I was really proud of myself for going those two days!! - 8/31/2009   1:11:59 PM
  • 75
    My vacations are always camping or backpacking vacations, so hiking around is always built in, and often so is swimming or canoeing. That's my idea of a good time. - 7/26/2009   7:48:30 PM
  • 74
    When I can, I find hotels in areas where I can run. Or - I'll ask the hotel staff (or just drive around on my own) about a safe neighborhood that I could park my car and run. In a pinch, I'll use the fitness room. I also do yoga in my room. - 6/3/2009   9:00:09 AM
  • 73
    Love the ideas. I am traveling right now. I packed my T-Tapp video and my gym shoes! - 5/18/2009   5:56:54 PM
  • 72
    Luckly, My boyfriend and I take a big black German Shepard to travel with. He has to walk and do his business. And I always travel with my Golf clubs. That equals lots of excercise. - 5/13/2009   8:15:15 AM
  • 71
    I'm going to try my very best. We're going on a cruise, then another week in Florida and I WILL use the gym on board. Bought a couple new yoga outfits, and they are almost packed. - 12/30/2008   10:09:44 PM
  • 70
    When I travel to our home office on business, I stay at a hotel that has FitTV. While the commercials are annoying, I keep the workout going through them and find it is a great, solitary way to work out while away - I'm not really a gym rat as I don't like an audience. My co-workers always take me out for great meals while I am there and this helps some to counteract the extra calories! - 12/27/2008   10:18:43 AM
    I find that all the hotels in which I've stayed over the past few years have had some sort of gym on site, even if it's just a bike and a treadmill. I like to go in during the early hours of the morning when nobody else is there and my husband and son are sleeping in. - 12/27/2008   9:20:30 AM
  • 68
    Working out away from home I think is really exciting. Before we book a hotel, I check into their workout room, and see if they have what I will typically use. If not, I just plan ahead, and take my computer to do my in home workouts with. But I like seeing what kinds of equipment are available. If we are staying in a hotel with a pool, that is even better, as I can get a swim in too. We like one that has a 24 hour pool, that way I don't have to worry about lanes and how long I am in the pool. I just like it because it changes up things a bit and keeps it exciting! - 12/24/2008   10:55:37 AM
    I you have a laptop. http://slimtree.com has has a suite of excellent online exercise routine videos. They range from pilates to jazzercise. - 12/24/2008   10:23:11 AM
  • PT32762
    I will work out in the hotel gym and pool. On a cruise there is no reason not to work out. There is usually an outdoor track or running on a treadmill. That takes a little getting used to since the ship does pitch and it's a weird feeling being on a treadmill. A person could get a little green. :-) - 12/24/2008   9:24:55 AM
    I always plan to work out when on vacation, unless something unplanned comes up (last July, I injured my foot while on vacation, so had to take a break). If I'm staying at a hotel, I'll check and see what the accomodations are. If I am somewhere without a gym, I will pack exercise bands to use and plan to walk or run for cardio. - 12/24/2008   9:08:54 AM
  • KAREN214
    When I go on vacation I always plan for some type of exercise. It depends on the location. I will use the gym, walk or I take video tape and band are easy to take whe traveling. If I don't exercise it is to hard to restart when I return home. - 12/23/2008   6:03:53 AM
  • 63
    The hotel gym and I walk - 12/22/2008   8:39:16 PM
  • 62
    I definitely try to incorporate exercise when I travel. It all depends on where I'm going and what I'm doing. I hit the gym in Mexico / Caribbean destinations, I have brought resistance bands along with me to Vegas. Once I paid the $20 fee to use the Vegas hotel's beautiful gym facilities, but it was too cost-prohibitive to do more than once. Too bad they have to make it too expensive to be healthy... The enormous gym was quite empty.

    Anyway, if I'm doing a lot of walking on a trip (Disney, New York, etc.), I let that be my exercise. Wear a pedometer - you'd be amazed how much more exercise you get in. I registered 23,000-25,000 steps a day in NY and burned a lot of calories! - 12/22/2008   1:49:31 PM
  • 61
    When I go on vacation, I make sure to pack my shoes and a kettlebell, and I'm all set!! - 12/22/2008   12:17:27 PM
    Great article. When we travel for business, the hotels usually have a free gym and a pool which makes it really easy to exercise. I liked the comment "fit people don't always take the easy way out."
    Jani - 12/22/2008   9:59:56 AM
  • 59
    When I travel for work, I scope out places to run, or use mapmyrun.com to find routes wherever I'm at. I usually use the hotel gym when I can, and I tend to work out even MORE when I'm traveling since I usually have less to do in the evenings! :) My back up plan is to bring a DVD or two, since I usually have my laptop with me. Failing THAT, I have Netflix which lets me do fitness videos on demand! - 12/22/2008   8:15:12 AM
  • 58
    I always take advantage of the hotel's gym. If I am staying with friends or family, I use my built in workout tools: my feet. - 12/22/2008   7:57:24 AM
    It may sound funny, but I actually tend to interchange the word "workout" with "vacation"- When I'm home, my workout is like a little vacation for me - "me time" - I love the feeling of accomplishing my daily goal and feeling stronger and healthier afterwards. And when traveling, I can't imagine NOT working out... it seems to be even easier and more "at my fingertips" than home where I have to make time for it everyday. It's amazing how sluggish and run down you feel after a vacation when you haven't been active, compared to how great you feel when you've kept a routine.
    When we travel and stay in hotels, I take every advantage of a free fitness center possible- so much to the point that one of the places we stayed this past year allowed me to come in and work out after "gym hours". We were at a conference and in meetings from morning til night and wouldn't get in until around 11PM or midnight. The first night we were there, I asked the guy at the front desk if I could please use the room for at least 30 min. and he was very nice and let me stay in for as long as I wanted. Every night after that he made sure to open up for me after we got back from our meetings.
    If you are really, really nice and in a tight schedule, a lot of times the hotel staff will be more than happy to work with you! And if you can't get to the fitness center, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or walk each floor, or go to your room, lock the door, turn up the music/tv and get with it!
    If we are staying with family, I ALWAYS make sure to go walking somewhere outside. It helps me BREATHE! =) - 12/21/2008   10:35:32 AM
  • 56
    We vacation at the same places, so I know to bring my running shoes, workout clothes, lifting gloves, and pedometer. Another thing I do is to walk at the airport when waiting to board. My husband stays with our stuff and I go walk a couple miles. The places we go all have nice gyms, swimming areas and hiking trails, so there are plenty of opportunites for fitness! - 12/21/2008   8:17:00 AM
  • 55
    When I travel I always try to find a hotel that has a swimming pool and/or a small gym and try to workout every day I am there. Not always easy to do as you get busy site seeing and visiting and time slips away from you. Getting out and stretching your legs by taking a walk at rest stops also works as you can at least get 10 minutes in that way. - 12/21/2008   3:33:16 AM
  • 54
    I want to go to DISNEY WORLD and I know I will do a lot of walking there. - 12/21/2008   2:32:23 AM
  • 53
    Usually I do some push-ups and sit-ups whenever I stay with family. If we are at a hotel and there is a gym I will use it. - 12/20/2008   9:49:33 PM
  • 52
    I always take a DVD or 2 with me when I travel. - 12/20/2008   9:21:32 PM
  • 51
    When I'm on vacation with my DH, we seem to have MORE time for exercise than at home (what with all the chores, etc.). We ALWAYS explore the area we're in by walking/hiking or renting bikes (usually very inexpensive or depending on where you're staying, free). We're not much for lying on the beach - maybe after our walk/bike ride, we'll take a swim and dry off by lying in the sun - that's about it! - 12/20/2008   1:54:58 PM
  • 50
    I am lucky my gym has a network card that I can use at other gyms in other places, all I have to do is have a employee of my gym sign my health passport card. - 12/20/2008   12:51:07 PM
  • 49
    I live overseas, but I am home for the holidays back in America. I made arrangements before I came home searching for gyms in the area. The local YMCA gave me a special deal for one month membership while Im here! They wanted to work with me understanding that this holiday month can be a scary month. I've also gotten my mom involved working out! - 12/20/2008   12:27:08 PM
  • 48
    I use resistance bands ... love them love love love them! Go anywhere...do anything with them! Can't wait to read your review on the Verastick as I have been tempted to buy the set...but want to hear thoughts from someone ... well... like you Nichol! - 12/20/2008   12:16:46 PM
  • 47
    Lunges, pushups and lots of walking take care of any exercise I need when travelling. - 12/20/2008   11:54:43 AM
  • 46
    When I go I usually try to take a walk each day if possible and still do at least some strength exercises 3 times a week, they are usually ones that use my body weight so I don't have to worry about other equipment. I do know how important it is to keep a routine! - 12/20/2008   11:26:33 AM
  • 45
    Most of our vacations are at the beach, so I get lots of walking in. At other times, I have used a hotel gym or pool. This really helps me feel better when traveling. - 12/20/2008   10:09:44 AM
  • 44
    I personally take my Walking Poles with me on vacation, and my Strength Bands for muscle work outs. I also make a point of taking a PASS from CURVES and come back with at least 3 to 6 visits there. I have been coming home weighing the SAME doing this. Course I also increase my FIBER, and protein injestion and water. All of it helps! - 12/20/2008   9:38:10 AM
  • 43
    I travel a lot with work. Last year, I was in Birmingham, England and there was no gym at the hotel. So every morning I was out walking before the sun came up. Of course with the jet lag that I had I was about to go crazy for lack of sleep so it helped me to walk. - 12/20/2008   8:28:28 AM
    I do take advantage of the hotel gym when I travel. - 12/20/2008   7:58:11 AM
  • 41
    I have spent a lot of nights in motels this year, more than 80 nights. I pack my portable DVD player and workout DVD's. I also do a lot of walking. I walk to do some shopping, I walk to find geocaches. Going to new areas means new geocaches to be found. There are occasional days that I don't get around to doing anything but generally I do get some kind of exercise while I am gone. - 12/20/2008   7:22:25 AM
  • 40
    I always do make it a point to get in at least a brisk walk every day when I'm travelling. Being an early bird really helps - I'm usually up at 5 and off to the gym in the hotel, or outdoors, just soaking up the fresh air. I find it really does help get me energized and ready for a day of meetings or a day of sight-seeing! :)

    If it's a vacation, almost every day is full of walks or hikes anyway, but that extra half hour dedicated to just staying healthy still makes a difference to me.
    - 12/20/2008   5:59:25 AM
    I find it hard to do when I travel on business. The days are taken up with meetings and evenings with dinners and socializing with associates. There's very little personal time which in itself is tough. I have to get better at getting up earlier to fit exercise in before the day starts. I have a week long trip coming up in the second week of January so I'm already thinking about how I'll manage it. - 12/20/2008   4:58:00 AM
  • 38
    I just pack my running shoes and shorts where ever I go. Even I try to slack, after a day or two I HAVE to go run and thank goodness I've got my shoes! - 12/20/2008   4:38:09 AM
    When we travel, we walk everywhere ... no taxis (if need be, public transit!) We probably walk more on vacation probably more than I get daily with the dogs. When visiting family, taking time to exercise is a MUST .. it gets me away from them for a while! - 12/20/2008   1:20:22 AM
  • 36
    I am known on my teams as the person who always loses weight when I go on vacation. This is my time for me and I exercise more on vacation then at home. I love not having any time limits I go hiking, working out in the hotel gym and even mountain climbing when I am near one. I cant get enough of it when I am on vacation. I personally wish I could be on vacation for a year I know I would be so fit and healthy by the end.
    For the person going to the gym in Vegas cost $25 dollars. When I am at the casinos out of town and they want to charge me for the gym I find that when you have 15 to 20 floors in the hotel the stairs are great I run up and down them and even jog up and down all the halls. No one seems to mind and I get quite a workout , who needs a gym when you have 20 flights of stairs at your disposal. - 12/19/2008   10:58:48 PM
  • 35
    Hey Nicole you should have called when you were in town. I always like to hike Stone Mountain. ;D

    I take my laptop and my workout dvds (and sometimes my weights if I'm driving instead of flying) when I travel. I always have my workout clothes and HRM with me so I'm always good to go. I got stuck at my car dealership recently for hours and hours but I *weirdly* had my HRM with me and my walking shoes on so I trucked around a car sales parking lot for 60 minutes and burned 500 calories (I was really workin' it and I was also pushing my 2 year old in a stroller). The staff thought I was nuts but I got my workout done. SP has really opened my eyes about how you really can "just do it"--you just have to be prepared! - 12/19/2008   10:38:46 PM
  • SHERI1969
    I don't travel because I don't have the money, but I'm sure if I did I'd want to walk around and see the sights, and I'd also utilize pools and such. I couldn't stand a holiday of just sitting around. - 12/19/2008   10:31:18 PM
    I continued my power walking and strength training on my recent vacation to New Zealand and Australia for 3 weeks. Not only did I keep fit but I lost 3 pounds which brought me below my goal weight. I was extremely happy with the results.

    I don't stop exercising because of vacation, it is now an every day part of my life. - 12/19/2008   10:14:47 PM
    When I have traveled, I have usually stayed in a hotel that has a fitness center. I would always go and do the treadmill or eliptical.

    This year I did the riverwalk in San Antonio and that was a lot of walking. I went in October and I would suggest doing the riverwalk for a nice walk. - 12/19/2008   8:18:23 PM
  • 31
    My vacations usually center around working out.... When I go back home to Atlanta, I'm always excited to visit my old gyms. When I travel to new areas, I look forward to running and walking in new locations. And during the winter I take a ski vacation and try to sku 24/7. Working out is fun to me and I want to do as much of it as I can on a vacation! :) - 12/19/2008   8:16:40 PM
  • 30
    I usually try and take my bike with me, and I do a lot of research to find the best places to ride. I don't feel right if I go too long without sweating. I also look for a good place to do some long distance swimming if I can, I don't like pools but will ues them if I have to. A year ago I broke both of my heals, so I can't run at all, or walk long distances, that limits me on what I can do. - 12/19/2008   7:18:32 PM
  • 29
    I workout when I go to bowling tournaments at either the hotel gym, a Y, or if its safe and good weather, I run outside. I do the same on vacation (also packing my resistance bands). I went to a wedding in Australia last year and even took my running shoes and ran while there, great way to see another city/state/country. - 12/19/2008   7:07:29 PM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


Close email sign up
Our best articles, delivered Join the millions of people already subscribed Get a weekly summary of our diet and fitness advice We will never sell, rent or redistribute your email address.

Magic Link Sent!

A magic link was sent to Click on that link to login. The link is only good for 24 hours.