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Let’s face it staying fit while traveling can be a big struggle!
One of the things I miss from my former non-travel life is having a routine which included regular gym workouts and weekly meal planning. While I do my best, the reality of travel is that it’s not always easy to get your workout in (although it is doable!).
There are days when although I have the time I don’t have the energy. Or I have the energy but I can’t find a place without people staring at me. Having said that, there are still a variety of ways you can choose to exercise while traveling to stay in shape.
Here are some of my favorites, with plenty of options to mix it up if you get bored easily like me!
Subscription Apps & Sites:
The easiest way to make sure I get in my workout is to have an app easily accessible on my phone that will tell me what to do. While I prefer to do weight workouts, it’s not always possible so I find myself doing a lot of home based body weight workouts. And I’m always more likely to workout if the barrier to do so it pretty low.
My favorite subscription based platforms are:
Sweat with Kayla app – I’ve used this app for the last 2 ½ years. Kayla Itsines is an Australian based trainer who went from having a PDF Ebook to creating a strong community and phenomenal app. She’s worked hard to improve it over the last couple of years and every new release comes with greater improvements.
One of the best parts is that you can see the movements you are supposed to be doing to know if you are doing them properly. Kayla and the trainers promote a balance between fitness, safety and taking care of your overall health. Which is why with a subscription you also have access to daily meal plans with recipes.
I really enjoy the workouts and now that there are multiple trainers focusing on different types of workouts, it provides a lot of variety. When I do them consistently, I really notice a difference in my muscle definition and strength. Plus the community of ladies is strong and worldwide so you can find a group no matter where you are!
The cost is $19.99 USD/ month or $120/year. A 7 day free trial is available.
Apptive app – I only completed a free trial with this app, but actually really enjoyed it. If I wasn’t already paying for Sweat I would have totally joined.
This app has multiple trainers in all different disciplines (strength, yoga, running, elliptical, etc) so not matter how you like to workout, you can find a workout for it. Each session has the trainer verbally walking you through the sequence with a selection of music to keep you going.
It’s the closest online experience I’ve had to actually being in a gym with a trainer, although the downside for me was that there were no visual cues. Despite that, if you get bored easily or just like variety in your workouts, this app is a great option.
The cost is $14.99/month or $99/year. A 7 day free trial is available.
My Yoga Works – This is a website vs an app, but one that I subscribed to for quite a while. You have access to over 1,000+ online yoga classes taught by different instructors. What I really liked about it was that they are typically teaching a class in the video so you really get the feel of being there in person.
There is a filter to be able to find specific classes depending on your practice or how you are feeling that day. There are also videos on specific poses that may need more instruction and practice, like learning headstands.
I ended my subscription because I wasn’t practicing yoga enough to justify keeping it, but for the year that I used it I really enjoyed it and was happy with the amount of videos available from my favorite instructors.
The cost is $15/month after a 14 day free trial. They are always running subscription specials so be on the lookout for those!
*all prices are in USD
Free YouTube Videos:
When I want to change it up from the Sweat app, I typically look to YouTube to find workouts. There are so many free videos available in any niche it really shouldn’t be hard to find a channel that you like.
Some good keyword searches include at home workouts, HIIT workout 10 minutes, upper body at home, core workout, etc. It doesn’t always take a lot of time to get in a quick workout so you can enjoy your travels.
Free Trials at a local gym or studio:
When I stay in a single location for extended time I usually check out what gyms or studios are in the area. Most of them will offer you a free trial or new customer discount. It’s definitely a way to stay motivated and get to the gym each day to not waste my trial period!
When traveling through New Zealand and Australia my favorites to find were F45 or Anytime Fitness. I also purchased discounted trial class passes to different Yoga studios in Wellington and Melbourne. And when I stayed in Seoul for a month, I was able to get a discounted one month gym membership.
Note: Some gyms only give free trials once regardless of where you first tried it while others aren’t connected at all and it’s individual to the site. It just depends so this system won’t always work, but many times will. Also, gyms in high tourist areas may only offer free trials to those who can prove they live or work in the city or near the gym.
House Sitting (home weights/gyms + daily dog walks)
House sitting is a big part of the way I travel. It’s usually a really great way to get into a routine for a bit which means daily workouts. Some of my homes have had free weights available or gyms in their home. When this happens it’s a huge bonus!
Additionally, sits with dogs typically require 1-2 good walks a day. So even if I don’t get a preferred workout in, I know at least I’m getting some activity in during my walks with the pups.
See more about House Sitting and how to get started.
Go swimming at the local pool, ocean, bay, etc:
Depending where you are located, swimming could be a really good option. Some gyms and community centers have lap pools available for use. Most will have designated lap swim times versus recreational time so be sure to check the schedule.
If you’re located near a beach or lake why not take a dip? Just be sure the water is compatible to swimming and that there are no restrictions to doing so beforehand.
Make it a cultural experience:
Do what the locals do! Staying fit doesn’t always have to mean lifting weights or spending hours in the gym. My goal is always to make sure I’m being active and finding activities that get my heart rate up.
If you’re in a city or country that specializes in particular activity, find a beginner’s class and make a cultural experience out of it.
In Spain? Try Flamenco dancing.
Egypt? Your in the mecca of belly dancing.
Brazil? Learn a little Brazilian Jui Jitsu.
It’s not about being perfect so find something that sounds fun and sign up!
Bike rentals or tours:
A lot of cities have bikes that you can rent by the hour for sightseeing and exploring. Instead of taking a taxi or public transportation, try your hand at cycling. Everywhere from Denver to London to Melbourne have city cycle schemes so don’t be afraid to jump on a bike from time to time.
I’m also a fan of organized city sightseeing tours by bike. Don’t get me wrong, walking tours are great, but you can cover a greater distance by bike and therefore explore more of the city while getting your exercise in for the day.
Find a local sports group to join /do a pick up game:
Even if you can’t commit to a full season, you can likely still find groups who do park meetups to play a game or two. Try to find activities that don’t require a lot of equipment like ultimate frisbee, volleyball, basketball or soccer.
Some leagues even offer discount rates for individuals to be pick up players instead of committed to a team. This is also a great way to meet locals and make some new quick friends!
Country/City Specific Outdoor Activities:
When traveling New Zealand I did a lot of hiking.
When I lived in Austin kayaking or paddle boarding were easy enough to do.
And when I was in Bali surfing was all the rage.
Find the best outdoor activity for wherever you are and make a plan to do it.
Find a Online Special:
If you’re feeling spontaneous check Groupon/GrabOne/Living Social or whatever for your local area and see what pops up.
I’ve done this a few times in different cities, especially when I’m new there! I’ve tried new sports, like kickboxing, that I probably would have never tried before.
It’s also a good way to test out a gym or class before purchasing a subscription if you will be there long term.
Go for a run in the city local park:
Most cities, even massive ones, have green spaces or trails you can follow. And if you find yourself somewhere more remote, well it will likely be that much more enjoyable.
Sign up for an international race:
Are you a marathoner or triathlete or maybe just looking for a short fun run?
Book a race in a destination you want to go to then travel there for the event! Some cities might even have frequent local events like a Splash n Dash during summer months like in Austin, TX and Wellington, NZ.
Trekking through airports!
I’m being a bit cheeky as this is not a real tactic, but I do find that I get A LOT of steps in on travel days mainly due to walking through the airport checking in, going through security and then getting to my gate.
And if you’re running late to your flight, your heart rate is sure to tick up and you may even break a sweat. 🤷