Our Favorite Travel Health-Hacks
As enjoyable and relaxing as traveling can be, exploring different parts of the world can come with its own unique set of challenges. Probably one of the most overlooked of these aspects, is maintaining a healthy lifestyle without the food and routines we’ve become accustomed to at home. Lucky for you, we’ve put together a brief, but effective, list of ways you can maintain your healthy habits while indulging in epi-curious travel tendencies.
Location, Location, Location
Our first step actually involves doing a little research before you start your trip. If you book accommodations with/near fitness studios, you’ll likely be more motivated to workout each day that you pass by them. Many AirBNBs and vacation rentals are in communities that share pools and workout facilities. If you’re traveling with a group, splitting these can be just as affordable as individually booking nights in hostels. Obviously, we can’t all splurge on a hotel with a gym and spa every night that we travel, but if you have a stopover in a random country or city for a night, it can be worth spending a few extra dollars on the budget hotel that has a few barbells and a cable machine. Additionally, if you’re a member of a large chain gym back home, you can check to see if they’ve got a location wherever you’re headed. Gyms like Lifetime Fitness and Orange Theory have locations all around the world.
Try to Blend In
Somewhat related to the first tip, finding out where the locals exercise is another great way to maintain your fitness while you travel. If you know where the local yoga studio, CrossFit gym, pickup field, dingy weight room, Zumba class, etc. is each day, there’s a strong chance you’ll stop in to try at least one of these while you’re away. I personally jumped in a pickup soccer game earlier this week and have since enjoyed it as my cardio for the past three days.
Jumpstart Your Mornings
While it may be difficult at first, choosing to workout each (most) morning(s) while you travel is probably the single most effective way to boost your health kick while traveling. If you’re like me, then your days tend to be packed with various activities, tours and indulgences when you travel. When this happens, working out always seems to take the last priority on the to do list (also true of a packed schedule when you’re at home). Instead of putting off the workouts until the end of the day, try exercising in the mornings, even if it’s just for 25 minutes. A quick morning routine can jumpstart your travel itinerary while ensuring that you do something each day to maintain your fitness. By waking up earlier, you also have more time to enjoy the days ahead and an excuse to indulge in all the amazing food being thrown at you. If you’re short on time, HIIT workouts are an efficient option that usually take between 5 and 30 minutes. My favorite morning exercise is a pushup burnout series that only lasts 2.5 – 3 minutes. When in doubt, a quick jog around a new town is always a great way to start the day (even if you hate running as much as I do).
The Buddy System
Another trick is to find a workout partner or two. This can be pretty straightforward if you’re traveling with someone else. If you’re not, you may be able to rely on the morning routine to attract willing participants. People tend to notice when you exercise in the common areas of hostels or other group accommodations. If you can get others interested and involved in your workouts, then you have someone else holding you accountable and it becomes harder to let yourself skip a day (this holds true at home as well). In fact, the only reason I worked out Thursday morning was because one of the volunteers we’re staying with who decided to join in on my previous workout asked me what time we were working out in the morning the night before.
Bring Resistance Bands
Even if you’re packing light, we highly recommend making a little extra room for resistance bands. They take up minimal space in your luggage and weigh almost nothing, but they’re incredibly versatile and allow you to turn any location into a gym. Coupling these with bodyweight exercises is a great way to physically push yourself without needing access to state of the art equipment. We don’t have a specific brand we’d recommend, but something along the lines of these should do the trick.
Probably the least exciting method on our list, limiting the booze can go a long way towards preserving your health while traveling (your wallet will probably thank you too). Don’t get me wrong, we’re all for enhancing the experience with a few spirits, but overindulging can often lead to overconsumption and unnecessary setbacks the next day. Opt for a shot of tequila, a glass of wine (if that’s your thing) or trying the local cocktail as a cultural experience instead of throwing back multiple beers at the end of the night. In the case of Peru, a Pisco Sour gives you a little extra protein since it’s made with raw eggs!
Become an Adventure Tourist
We hope the next one goes without saying, but choosing active tourist attractions while you’re traveling is another way to boost your health. Hike mountains with incredible views, go swimming and cliff jumping for an afternoon, kayak or paddle board in remote lakes, rock climb or mountain bike in the Andes, learn how to surf on amazing beaches, etc. Whichever options you prefer is less important than deciding to actually get outside and be active. In our experience, these are the best ways to experience new countries and connect with new people, locals and tourists alike.
Last but not least, you have to get creative! If you’re committed to working out while you travel, playgrounds will become your best friend. Monkey bar pull-ups and bench box jumps might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised what else you can pull off at the local parks. For starters, try handstands and handstand pushups against the playground structures and using seesaws with a partner for bicep curls and bent over rows. Hostel bunkbeds are also surprisingly versatile workout structures if you’re willing to experiment and the chairs in rooms can be used for step ups and dips. It may seem ridiculous the first time you try it, but you can also use your luggage/backpacks or the massive jugs of water you buy when you can’t drink from the tap for weighted exercises.
While all of these tips will help you maintain a healthier lifestyle while traveling, it ultimately comes down to your attitude. If you’re committed to trying each day and are willing to roll with the punches, you’ll always find a way to make it work.