Staying Fit on Holidays – Our Tips & Advice

beaches of salento puglia

Staying fit and healthy when on the road for an extended period of time is a challenge for many. We travelled for 6 months in 2022 and had to encounter this first hand. We are both very health conscious, and didn’t want to just ‘give up’ on staying fit over this period of time. Read on to hear some of the challenges we encountered, and some of the strategies we recommend to combat this!

Challenges of staying fit when travelling

It is hard! There’s lots of things going against you! First and foremost, you’re on holidays! You often don’t want to spend you’re precious holiday time on exercising. Take a look below at some of the key challenges we encountered.

  • Access to gyms: When arriving or looking into a new city, we would check out if there was a gym in close proximity. While many of the bigger cities had great fitness facilities, some of the smaller beachside destinations (e.g. Albanian Riviera, Vis Island) had no gym options available.
  • Cost of accessing gyms: We entered this trip expecting to spend some of our budget on casual gym passes, however we were completely blown away at how much some of these gyms attempted to charge us. A gym in Florence tried to charge us 25 for a single session (about 40 AUD) and a gym in Rome offered us a 50 casual session. Safe to say we didn’t go to these gyms.
  • Lack of time: Visiting new towns, cities and locations is always exciting, and there’s often lots of things you want to do and see. Additionally, some locations you may only stay for a short period of time (e.g. Budapest and Prague when we visited for 48hrs). Prioritising gym over seeing the sights and sounds when only in a city for a short period of time is definitely hard.
  • Lack of space: We looked to combat some of the lack of gym options by doing ‘home workouts’. However, a lot of our accommodation was hotels or smaller rooms without a large amount of extra space.
  • Minimal healthy food options: This was something that we definitely found challenging in Europe. Don’t get us wrong, we love a good pizza, pasta, schnitzel or local beer as much as anyone. However, when travelling for 6 months, we definitely didn’t want to eat this food the entire trip. We found some destinations either extremely expensive to get ‘heathier options’ or some places not even having good health-conscious options.
  • No kitchen in our accommodation: We would often cook some meals at our accommodation to save money and allow us to cook heathier options. However, many hotel rooms don’t offer kitchens, making this challenging.
  • City not appropriate for running: We are both keen runners, and love to have a run in a new city, around a big city park, or along the beachfront promenades. However, some of the cities we visited either felt unsafe for running (e.g. Bucharest), too chaotic (e.g. Istanbul), too many crowds (e.g. Santorini), or not well designed for running.

Strategies to stay fit when travelling:

After travelling for 6 months, we have picked up a few excellent strategies for staying fit whilst on the road. Have a look below, and let us know in the comments any of your favourite ways to keep in shape!

  • Running is free and requires no gym! One of our go-to options of staying fit whilst travelling was going for a run. Many beachside destinations had great options for running, whilst cities would often have excellent parks (e.g. Luxembourg Gardens in Paris).
  • Research the gyms before you arrive. We got into a habit of looking up if future travel destinations had gyms close-by.
  • Stay in hotels with a gym! We definitely found this as a great way to squeeze a few workouts in. We stayed at hotels and hostels in Bucharest, Sofia and Copenhagen with gym access and made full use of this!
  • Use outdoor exercise facilities: Many cities have outdoor training areas (e.g. Venice, Vis Island, Venice Beach LA, St Kilda Melbourne etc) that allow you to do a hybrid workout. A quick search will often give you the info you need!
  • Hike! Depending where you travel, a hike is an excellent way to keep in shape. We definitely used some hikes as our ‘exercise’ for the day in some destinations (e.g. Lake Bled, Switzerland etc).
  • Cook some meals at home! As mentioned above, we would look to cook some meals at home to save money, and eat healthier. We tried to prioritise accommodation with a kitchen in locations we were staying for longer periods of time.
  • Walk around everywhere! In some of the big cities, we would regularly top 25-30k steps per day (we had some days over 40k steps). This was partly due to our excitement trying to see everything, and also due to us choosing to walk over catching a bus/taxi/train for shorter distances. Walking around cities is a great way of seeing the sights and keeping in shape.
  • Home workouts at your accommodation is a great way of doing something. We would often complete a little session in locations where gym access or time was limited.
  • Pack some exercise bands! We make a habit of throwing in some resistance bands into our luggage. We took a powerband and some glute bands on our trip. We used the First In Motion glute bands regularly!

Share with us any of the strategies you have used to keep in shape when travelling! Overall, don’t be too hard on yourself, you are on holidays after all! We accepted early on that we weren’t going to be able to maintain all of our fitness and strength from before we left, however we were very impressed with how we kept in shape over our travels.

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