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How do you stay fit and healthy on the road?

My girlfriend and I are getting ready to start a RTW trip for a year and hopefully continue it longer. We have traveled to plenty of places before, but never for an extended period, like we are doing this time. We both like to eat very healthy and stay fit. I was hoping to get some tips about exercising and staying fit while on the road. Thanks so much!

27 Answers

top answer by
Taylor from New Orleans

Hey Kellett,

I'm a personal trainer/ travel nut so staying fit while on the road is a MUST as a part of my job! My 2 favorite pieces of equipment take on the road are:

1) TRX because you can hang it from your doorframe or from a tree or anywhere really & it is a hardcore functional workout!

2) Gliding discs... check out this video to get an idea...

An app which I really love to use is the 7 minute workout app which challenges all your main muscles groups in an effective circuit training format, check it out here:

Additionally, I always seek out active opportunities everywhere I go and I write about it on my blog dedicated to active travel Every day I at least walk, often I cycle, run, hike, swim, snorkel, scuba, or try out new gyms or workout studios. One of the best ways for me to learn Spanish was by taking group exercise classes in Spain! And many gyms often offer "free previews" or "guest passes" which y'all could take advantage of on the road.

Hope this helps! Good luck with your trip!


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answered first by
Gina from Minneapolis

Maybe it's just me, but I'm healthiest when I'm on the road, just by default. I've only gained weight on a trip once (thanks for everything, San Francisco/Napa/Sonoma), otherwise I always come home stronger and a few pounds lighter.

But it might be something to do with how we travel:

1. We walk as much as possible, both for pleasure and as a mode to get from point A to point B. Of course this depends on where you are and how pedestrian-friendly it is. 

2. We're very independent travelers, so we're always hauling our own crap around, generally wearing it on our backs. 

3. We don't really lounge around and we prefer to be active.

4. Especially in countries where the tap water's not safe to drink, we're always carrying water with us, and thus our consumption skyrockets. It's a positive side-effect.

5. We gravitate toward healthier foods, just out of preference. I'll grant you, though, we also like ice cream. I don't want to seem totally insufferable. :) It's all about balance.

I'm not a runner, but I've seen people running practically everywhere we've gone, so if that's something that suits you, why not give it a go? If I feel the need, I'll do some yoga or just sit-ups/lunges/squats in the hotel room. 

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answered by
Iain from Seattle

As many others have stated, the lifestyle you'll likely have while traveling is healthier without doing anything 'special'.

You'll be doing a lot more walking and carrying, eating a lot less processed food.  Getting around by foot or by bicycle is natural.  Even riding a scooter is more of a workout than driving in a car. And there will be lots of very compelling opportunities to swim or climb or otherwise get your movement without it being 'exercise'. 

However, if you want a 'real' workout, it might be a good idea to learn about bodyweight exercise. "You are your own Gym" ( is good book on that.  You'll also get a lot out of sprinting since it's free and takes little time. 

The most commonly available group exercise I found in SE Asia was Yoga.  Most towns had a yoga studio or two, or an expat teaching out of some hostel or other.  A yoga practice is a good, portable, way to stay in shape.

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answered by
Cleon from Thessaloníki

Here are some quick exercises:

  1. Calisthenics, such as air squats: Quick exercises that can be done virtually anywhere with no equipment.
  2. Commuter Crunch: Breath out. Tuck in your stomach so that you try to touch your belly button to your spine. Hold position and breath for 10 seconds, rest and repeat. Can be done on the plane, in the car, on the bus, etc.
  3. Resistance tubes: Occupy very little space in your luggage and can be used for a variety of exercises.
  4. In highways and/or airports on the way toward your destination, avoid fast food chains. I know: Easier said than done.
  5. Go for a run, if the location allows. Alternatively, you can do quick 20-100 yard sprints.

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answered by

Walkng instead of taking taxis and busses in the cities is one of the most obvious things to do.

And explore places by foot and bicycle whenever possible.

I personally find that I am staying a lot more fit when i am on the road, compared to when I am working, but I mostly travel around the world by bicycle and that helps a lot fo course.

3 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Sos from Brisbane

One easy way to stay fit while you travel is to register for Park Run. There are so many spots around the world who put on great 5km runs. It gives you motivation to squeeze in one or two runs during the week as well so you stay fit. I also take therabands with me. They are very easy to pack and they allow you to do resistance training and stretching while you travel. Head to YouTube for theraband training exercises and also good yoga and floor Pilates sessions!

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answered by

Buy a chest expander

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answered by
Em from Durango

Hey there!

One way is to take some mini cycling trips. I just wrote up an article about it now as I've been planning on adding a few days of cycle touring into my Bali trip this fall.

Also, I've switched to purchasing quite a lot of road foods in grocery stores instead of relying on eating out or eating from gas stations while traveling. It's a lot cheaper, you have more control over your health, and it's often more satisfying. Same goes for camping food--a lot of which I make at home via dehydrator, including a lot of organic veggies I dry and can then add to less nutritious food on the go. 

When on the road for long periods of time in a car or buses, etc. I try and find as many side hikes as possible. Even if it's getting out for just an hour or so, it makes a huge difference in feeling fit and healthy and keeping my mental space positive. Plus, you get to see so many cool things as part of your journey and not just relying on the destination! 

Have a wonderful time on your travels! Best Wishes -em

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answered by
Krista from San Francisco

This can be seriously tough, but I try to adhere to the following quick tips:

  • Healthy food choices. Whenever possible, I eat the local fare & as many fruits & vegetables as possible. No drive-thrus for me!

  • Streaming Bar Method classes. A total body workout that's easy to do anywhere with a wifi connection. :)

  • Lots and lots of walking. If possible, hikes and other local outdoor activities.

  • If you travel to different US cities (+ Toronto or London) and like fitness classes, you might consider Classpass, a subscription that allows you to visit a variety of participating studios and gyms. No long term commitment required!

  • An ample amount of sleep - this makes *all the difference* in terms of how I travel. 

Great tips in this thread!

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answered by
Terry from Sarasota

Like others have mentioned here, walking is much more common in Europe and my wife and I tend to walk quite a bit more there than here. Now keep in mind, that I usually walk 3 miles per day with my Australian Shepherd, which ought to give you an idea of how much more walking gets done in Europe!

Stretching every morning, combined with sit-ups and push-ups, will allow you to start the day refreshed, muscles ready, and since we always do this step prior to breakfast, we generate some appetite!

And, as others have described, we do not take vacation trips to "sit around", we enjoy adventure, exploration of new places, and tend to stay busy all day long.

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answered by
Amanda from Canmore

Hey Kellet,

This is such a great question, and as a someone who has traveled extensively before, I can definitely empathize with this concern. As someone who eats healthy and exercises regularly, this has been something that has been on my mind every time I travel.  A few of my top tricks for staying fit and healthy on the road are:

1. Walk everywhere you can!

2. Do some grocery shopping so that you aren't eating out all the time. I love to always have snacks on me so that I can eat a little something whenever I get hungry, instead of waiting for my next big meal and gorging myself.

3. Try and get in the routine of doing a bit of exercise everyday. When I was in South America, I made the effort to do 90 seconds of squats every time I took a shower, and even though it doesn't sound like much, it's better than nothing! If you have a hotel room or a private room in the hostel, try and do just a few minutes of exercise everyday that you are there.

4. Split food when you can, especially the unhealthy stuff. It's so awesome to try great food in another culture, but so often we overdue it and end up feeling sick and guilty. If you're traveling with someone, splitting food is an awesome option to prevent overeating.

5. Try new activities that will get you moving, and do as much swimming and hiking as you can!

My boyfriend and I have a travel podcast, and we actually did an episode on staying healthy and fit while traveling, so if you want more info on this topic, you should check it out. The link is or you can visit to find more information.

Hope this helps :)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. South America (attraction)
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answered by
Charles from London, United Kingdom

I use the 7 Minute Workout app (available for Android/iOS). If you don't feel like you're getting enough exercise, do it twice :)

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answered by
hj from Monterrey

I personally love you can take it to go and maintain a healthy routine.

I promise it will maintain you fit without adding extra weight to your luggage. 

Best of all, once you add it to your daily routine you can continue using it when your journey has come to an end.

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answered by
Michelle from Oregon

I agree with many of the other answers here about using the opportunity to explore as motivation to stay active - walk, hike, run, bike, etc. to see as much of each new place as possible. 

For the times when weather, safety, or other conditions don't permit you to be outdoors, we have benefited from different work out video programs. We did many different ones while volunteering in Peace Corps and have reviewed the programs that can be done just about anywhere (minimal/no equipment required). Those reviews are here:

Also, rent apartments instead of hotels so you can make some of your own meals. Eating out is a wonderful part of travel but it's also the best way to start getting overweight. Try to stay balanced and limit your restaurant meals.

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answered by
Scott from San Francisco

Do your research ahead of time.  Choose hotels with higher quality fitness options including hours of operation that fit into your schedule.  Then plan your workouts.  You can also determine if there are any fitness options close to your hotel, including pay per class studios for spinning, yoga, pilates et al, and gyms the offer day passes and short term passes.  Using Google Maps "search nearby" works great for this combined with Yelp to determine if things are worth it.  Then plan your meals.  Determine where you'll be at specific meal times, and make sure there are healthy dining options available - again, use the internet, check menus, and decide ahead of time.  Lack of planning leads to unhealthy meal choices which of course leads to a less fit state of being.  I even go so far as to research dining options in various airports to determine whether I can dine during a layover or whether I need to bring my own lunch/dinner with me.  

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answered by
Suzanne from Pasadena

An obvious answer is to walk whenever you can and always take the stairs! Also just eat two meals a day. Eat a piece of fruit in the morning then have a late morning meal with protein, and eat a sensible dinner not too late in the evening. Don't pass up all of the incredible food around the world! Share whenever possible! Often times you just want a bite to taste something - therefore by sharing it, you eat much less. Enjoy!!

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answered by
Michele from Brunswick Heads

Therabands-they take up almost no space in your luggage and compliment any cardio exercise you do(swimming, running, walking, hiking) with good resistance training. You can use them even in the smallest spaces. Tons of thereaband exercises on the internet and youtube. I did a round the world trip twenty years ago and took my theraband and used it all the time but even if you never use it it isn't a problem because they are so small. 

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answered by
Janelle from Charleston

1. Walk, walk, walk.  You burn a ton of calories, it's great cardio, and it's the best way to get your bearings and learn how to get around wherever  you happen to be.  Renting a bike for the day is another good option.

2. Download an app/movie which gives you a decent workout that doesn't require any gym equipment.  That way, you won't need to pay more for a hotel with a fitness centre.

3. Try to eat local food/cuisine as much as possible.  Unless you're travelling to Eastern Europe, Russia, Scandinavia or the Arctic, the local cuisine (at all price ranges) will almost certainly be healthier than typical American food.  And portions are typically smaller too.

4. Limit alcohol consumption.  Booze is empty calories, you tend to eat more and lose track of how much you've eaten when you drink, and you'll be more motivated to get outdoors and exercise when you're not hung over.

5.  Exercise as the locals do.  If you're in China, join the locals in the park for morning tai chi.  If you're in India, take up yoga.  If you're in Italy, do a passagiata (evening stroll) as the locals often do.

6. Do physical activity as much as possible.  Hiking, swimming, rowing, biking, kayaking, surfing, running, skiing, whatever floats your boat. 

answered by
Sunny from Santa Monica

Great question, Kellett. This is a something I always consider when traveling. In fact, I used to only choose accommodations that had fitness centers because I wanted to ensure I had a safe place to workout! Over the years, I have found ways around this requirement:

  1. Take the stairs. Sounds simple but makes a big difference. Every chance I get, I try to take the stairs, whether that's in an airport, hotel, or otherwise. It's easy to get a little lazy if you're vacation. Taking the stairs ensures that even if you don't make it to the gym, you at least get your heart rate up and burn a few calories throughout the day.
  2. Workout dvd's, Youtube videos, and apps. If at least one of you will be bringing a mobile phone, tablet, or laptop, there are so many options for workouts you can take with you. I have the Insanity workouts on a flash drive, Piyo workouts on DVD, and screenshots of quick workouts you can do without weights (such as squats and circuits). 
  3. Eat the local fruits. Eating the local fruit will give you a taste of the local flavors AND a much needed vitamins to boost your immune system. A word of warning: In some places, you'll need to be sure they are peeled to avoid ingesting foreign bacteria. 
  4. Carry a reusable water bottle. One of the biggest causes of illness on the road is dehydration. Of course, in some countries you will need to fill the water only from larger jogs of filtered, safe drinking water. But this will also save you some money (and save the planet), as the cost and waste of smaller plastic bottles of water adds up.
  5. Ask around. Each community you visit will likely have local workouts, healthy traditional/practices, parks, or trails that are popular. For example, in many places in Asia, people do group cardio type workouts in the parks. In Hawaii, you might join a yoga class on the beach. In many places I've traveled, local people don't always go to the gym because the physical labor or walking they do is exercise enough. Every place is different! Asking some locals what they do to stay fit gives you the chance to stay fit AND get to know the local people and way of life. 
  6. Carry snacks. When you're traveling, things don't always go on schedule or work out the way you plan. You can avoid stomach pains, headaches, and hangry attitudes by always keeping some high protein snacks with you. 

I have a few other tips more specific to feeling good while flying (as it sounds you are going to be doing a lot of that if you are headed for a Round the World trip) on my blog:

HAVE A BLAST and let us know if you pick up any tips of your own along the way!

answered by
Mark from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Hi Kellet, My name is Mark Busse and I am also a personal trainer and own a company called Travelfit - you can check us out on Facebook - or go to our website 

When traveling you don't necessarily need any equipment at all. Generally speaking your legs are going to do most of the work and if your'e 'back packing' you're adding 20-25 kilos to your own body weight. Lots of lunges and squats will hold you in good stead before and during your trip.

You say you're going on an ATW trip - how often are you going to be on the move?

If you're on the move all the time you won't need to maintain your fitness levels, it's just when you stay put in one place for couple of weeks you may loose some fitness, that's when you need to think of doing some exercise. 

We recently went to Copenhagen and did a 10 kilometre run with a guide called Trohls. It was quite different, didn't cost a lot of money, he took us to all of the best places and we saw things we normally wouldn't. On top of that we maintained our fitness levels.  

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Copenhagen (city)

answered by
Paige from Alexandria (Virginia)

Great question! I agree with many commenters that walking is the first and best option, and you usually do a lot more of it than you would at home without even realizing it.

If you're not a runner, there are many routines you can do on your own, or with resistance bands, in any hotel room. 

I just wrote a post about the best apps for staying fit on the road, with suggestions from travel bloggers.

What works best for one person might not work for the next, so you may have to experiment a bit to find the routine that works for you.

answered by
Sylvain from Montreal

1. include plank + side plank in your morning routine. (it will take max 10minutes).
2. run 3 or 4 time a week : stay fit, visit, connect with local (join running meetup/club...).
3. walk instead of bus/taxi...
4. use shared bikes.

answered by
Heidi from Colorado

Walk, walk, walk! Take the stairs whenever possible.

I also try to throw in a yoga class now and again when I travel. This helps re-focuses me on my health and my well-being.  

Good luck!  

answered by

If you are a healthy eater just continue to eat healthy. I always take my running shoes and my running watch (GPS ) so I can continue training properly. And my best friend on the road is Shaun T and his insanity work outs. You don't need any equipment just a few square meters and your own body and the work outs are awesome! Have fun !

answered by
Fontella from Cardiff

I found the easiest and cheapest way to stay healthy was to seek out the local markets and cook your own food. Walk to as many places as possible to see the sights or hire a bike or horse, depending on where you are!

answered by
Jahn from Barcelona

I love my daily yoga session to keep staying healthy. I always use the same that I keep on my telephone (Primary Series - Express 28 min.). But the crew from Yoga Today is my favorite source of inspiration for new workouts...

answered by
Kaitlyn from Fryeburg, Maine

I always look up local races in the area. I am much more likely to get some runs in at a hotel if I'm training for a fun event while on the road!

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