Travel Tips: How to Stay Fit While Traveling

Posted on February 8, 2012 by

This is a guest post by Jeremy Albelda.

One of the biggest issues with extended travel is sacrificing yourself for the experience.  No no, I’m not talking about offering your heart (literally) to a forgotten tribe, I’m referring to your fitness and physical wellbeing.  Whether we’re vacationing on the beach for a week or backpacking through Southeast Asia for a month, it’s natural to eat and drink to our heart’s content – but shouldn’t there come a point when we ought to start paying attention to our personal fitness and wellness especially when we’re traveling for an extended period of time?

It’s all too easy to eat street food, booze till the early morning and do nothing more than walk a few blocks each day which can very quickly add up to love handles and a depressed immune system (nothing sucks more than being sick while traveling!).  Here are five tips on how to help take care of yourself while traveling.

1.       Eat more frequent meals throughout the day

The worst thing you can do for your metabolism is stuff your face once a day and then not eat until after going to a bar or club at 3am.  Financial constraints might be a factor for budget travelers, but if you eat 5 to 6 smaller meals throughout the course of the day, you will actually keep your metabolism revved up, providing you with sustained energy with no afternoon crashes.  You will also burn a few extra calories just in the digestive process!

Eating in this manner will also let you try a lot more types of food while in your destination.  Try and stay away from eating too much carbs (bread, rice, and pastries) as these types of foods are fast digesting energy sources, so unless you’re walking all day or exercising, your body will most likely store them as fat because you’re not in need of the extra energy.

Try and eat small balanced meals that have some sort of protein (meat, dairy, soy), some vegetables and good carbs like whole wheat breads and pastas.  Avoid processed carbs like white bread, boxed cookies etc.

 2.       Do some sort of physical activity twice per week

You want your body to be physically strong while traveling for multiple reasons including bolstering your immune system and lugging bags across cities.

I personally like to get a day pass at a local gym wherever I’m traveling to check out the local gym culture which I find comical/interesting.  Even visiting a gym once a week will help you maintain whatever strength you have built up and going 2 or 3 times per week will definitely start to show you strength improvements.  You can even do things like pushups, crunches, squats and arm curls with nothing more than a couple of filled up water bottles, once you build up a little more strength, try lifting your suitcase or bag for added resistance!

If the gym isn’t your thing, there are plenty of ways you can get your body moving like heading to a local park, go hiking in the countryside or playing some pickup basketball, soccer or frisbee, all of which are great ways to meet locals.

 3.       Walk, Walk, Walk!

One of the best ways to burn off excess calories is by walking.  If you can make it to your point of interest on foot without taking up the whole day getting there or killing yourself physically, then just walk.  You’ll get to see all the sights along the way, save money on transportation and get some physical activity in.  If you’re in Somalia, then yes, armored Humvee is a definitely more intelligent decision, but otherwise, walking is the way to go.

 4.       Get your rest

If you’re traveling for months across time zones and borders, chances are you’re going to be worn out getting from place to place.  Do yourself a favor and take a rest when you get to your hotel or hostel and make sure to sleep enough at night.

Of course you’re going to want to see and do as much as possible, but adapting to time differences, eating new foods and of course partying will take a toll on your immune system and not getting enough sleep will put you in the hospital sooner than you know it.  I personally am a huge proponent of naps as they let your body come back down to a basal metabolic state for a bit in the middle of the day, letting you enjoy the rest of the night.  Sleep well, live well.  Trust me on this one.

 5.       Limit how much alcohol you drink

If you don’t drink, more power to you, but if you’re like the rest of us, going out at night while traveling offers a great and relaxed way to meet new people and experience the nightlife.  The problem comes when drinking in excess and then not being able to resist the late night munchies which usually results in some sort of deep-fried delight.

The issue with drinking too much alcohol is it is very high in calories, and believe it or not, alcohol is a preferred energy source for the body like carbohydrates, so if you’re not very active right after drinking, your body will turn it to fat for storage and later use.

The best thing to do is have a drink mixed with water like a vodka and water or a light beer, only have a few, and, you guessed it, dance!  Dancing is a great way to be active while have some drinks to limit how much your body will store as fat later on, so get that drink, put on your dancing shoes and moon walk the night away!

These are just a few tips for keeping your body a temple while exploring the world.  Do you have any other tips on how to stay healthy while traveling?


About the Author

Jeremy is the creator of The World or Bust, a travel blog with funny personal stories from his frequent international trips, tips on how to make travel a reality on any budget and guest posts from like-minded travel heads.  He is based in Miami, FL and runs an internet marketing business.

Comments

comments

61 Responses to “Travel Tips: How to Stay Fit While Traveling”

  1. Jeremy's mother February 7, 2012 1:08 pm
    #

    And….Jeremy has a degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Miami. How do I know? I paid for it!

    • Nellie February 8, 2012 10:43 pm
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      Ha! This is hilarious, thanks for mentioning it Jeremy\’s mum – no wonder he really knows what he\’s talking about when it comes to fitness!

    • kerala trips November 17, 2012 7:02 am
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      Yes you are right…..

  2. Valentina February 9, 2012 1:02 am
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    Thanks for this post! Definitely it is something to care about, even if it is only to make sure you stay fit to see all the things you expect to see in the rest of your trip. What works best for me in order not to get really tired when I am travelling in a way that I am visiting places and walking for most of the day is: eat 5 times a day instead of 3, taking enough rest and sleep, and of course, walking, but that is not a problem since that is what i will be doing!

    • Nellie February 9, 2012 12:02 pm
      #

      Yes we tend to walk alot when we travel, but we also do a lot of outdoor sports like hiking and swimming, so that\’s a good way to keep ourselves fit. But since we\’ve been back in Southeast Asia, we haven\’t been doing much except for eating – so it\’s time to get back on the treadmill and lose some kilos! ;)

  3. Nancy & Shawn Power February 9, 2012 10:02 am
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    Great pics and great tips!

  4. Carrie February 9, 2012 10:14 am
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    Fantastic tips, thank you!!

  5. Grand Royale February 10, 2012 4:05 pm
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    Being fit in travel is a general problem for most of people. But by considering these tips a person can maintain their fitness. Thanks for sharing nice tips!

    • @TheWorldOrBust February 11, 2012 3:52 am
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      No problem, thanks for commenting!

  6. @TheWorldOrBust February 11, 2012 3:52 am
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    Sounds like you got it down!

  7. Magento Developer February 11, 2012 2:46 pm
    #

    I have a fitting body which is very prior to all activities even if I am travelling. It isn't a problem on me cause I know how to manage my time and gives he exact effort which my body needs. Then going to work, I used to inquire Magento Developer cause this is very valuable in my case to stay fit and healthy.

  8. Magento Developer February 11, 2012 2:46 pm
    #

    I have a fitting body which is very prior to all activities even if I am travelling. It isn't a problem on me cause I know how to manage my time and gives he exact effort which my body needs. Then going to work, I used to inquire Magento Developer cause this is very valuable in my case to stay fit and healthy.

  9. epoxy coating July 31, 2012 6:12 pm
    #

    A great article indeed and a very detailed, realistic and superb analysis
    of the current and past scenarios.

  10. techincal writer August 3, 2012 6:53 pm
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    Great tips. because hey, you are traveling, how hard can it be to have a longer walk than usual or how hard is it to find a mountain for climbing.? it's not hard.

  11. Nairobi 1 Day Tour August 7, 2012 11:29 pm
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    I find that part of limiting the alcohol you take to be difficult especially when i meet people that i have previously met before in my travels. Thats a great piece of advice to avoid life threatening ailments especially associated with long haul flights.

    • Jeremy August 16, 2012 6:28 am
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      Haha hey, I didn't say limiting the booze would be easy!

  12. Morgan August 27, 2012 7:54 am
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    I find that eating the right or healthy food while traveling to be very difficult. I put this down to being in an unfamiliar place, and often being too busy exploring the new surrounds to take the time to find a healthy meal. Do you have any suggestions ?

    • Jeremy December 10, 2012 5:07 pm
      #

      Try eating at the local market or buying fresh vegetables there and cooking back at your hostel. It might take more time but you can split the cost by cooking with someone there and you might even make a new friend!

  13. Kristina August 27, 2012 3:56 pm
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    Great post Jeremy! I love to travel and these are perfect tips to follow. I'm going to bookmark it so I can read it before my next trip! When traveling you get so caught in the moment of being on vacation you forget about your fitness and health. Eating out every night or enjoying drinks by the sunset or bar can really catch up! Thanks for sharing!

    • Jeremy December 10, 2012 5:08 pm
      #

      Glad you enjoyed it! Like I mentioned above, if you're trip is a couple weeks long, than screw it, enjoy! But when you're talking about longer, slow travel, you really have to keep your diet and fitness in mind. Safe and fun travels!

  14. Sophie September 3, 2012 11:41 pm
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    Great tips – now if only I could implement them :D

  15. Debbie October 5, 2012 2:57 pm
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    Great tips! What a great reminder of how easy it really is to at least stay in decent shape while traveling! Just takes a little extra effort.

    • Jeremy December 10, 2012 5:09 pm
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      Just takes a bit of mindfulness and it's attainable just like you said, good luck!

  16. agnesstramp October 11, 2012 1:25 pm
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    Great tips! I try to apply them on a regular basis, but it's sometimes difficult not to overeat sweets and some delicious local food. Exercising twice a week should not be a problem for any traveller, there are so many activities out there such as trekking and dancing :-)

    • Jeremy December 10, 2012 5:10 pm
      #

      You got it sista!

  17. Deepu October 15, 2012 12:31 pm
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    If you’re traveling for months across time zones and borders and from place to place. Do yourself a favor and take a rest when you get to your hotel and make sure to sleep enough at night and we also do a lot of outdoor sports and activities

  18. Diana Ashlay October 16, 2012 12:56 am
    #

    It is very helpful tips to the people and we feel this tips like some care about us . Limit how much alcohol you drink
    tip is very essential and important.

  19. Agarwals October 16, 2012 2:06 am
    #

    There are numerous reasons of traveling disrupts still for the most restricted man’s consumption and fitness way of life. By travelling, I strongly believe the timetable is interrupted. You are enclosed with gobs of unhealthful foodstuff. A dorky luggage on wheels restores your weights. Nevertheless, here is a tip: If you are trained to identify these potholes, and keep away, you are able to come back from your trip healthier and improved than when you have left.

  20. wilson October 16, 2012 2:34 am
    #

    Thank you for posting such a great blog. Tips you have mentioned are very useful while travelling..Exercising twice a week is compulsory for making ourself healthy…..

  21. vandanareddy October 16, 2012 3:02 am
    #

    Great tips! What a great reminder of how easy it really is to at least stay in decent shape while traveling! Just takes a little extra effort.

    • Jeremy December 10, 2012 5:11 pm
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      Yea you're not going to turn into Arnold, but maintenance is easily doable.

  22. andrea October 17, 2012 1:38 am
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    Good tips given by friends.. These tips are very usefull for all travellers

  23. saritha October 17, 2012 2:52 am
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    There's a boatload of reasons traveling sabotages even the most disciplined man's eating and fitness habits. Your schedule is disrupted. You're surrounded by gobs of unhealthy food. Your barbells are replaced by a dorky suitcase on wheels. But here's the thing: If you learn to recognize these potholes—and avoid them—you can actually return from your next trip leaner and healthier than when you left. So grab your bags. It's time to learn the new rules of the road.

  24. hemanth October 17, 2012 7:02 am
    #

    Just normally there are some exercises to make Ur body fit. We have to pick some comfortable exercises during the travel. And one thing is if u find any pond during the travel –you can jump into that and do swimming–It is also a very good fitness excercise

  25. Laurie October 30, 2012 10:02 pm
    #

    Ita an amazing to consider about staying fit on a long journey. You just party and forget you body abuse.

  26. @nomadsabbatical November 8, 2012 8:23 pm
    #

    Good tips! BTW i love that the first comment is from Jeremy's mum!! haha I actually have a pretty hardcore travel workout I do when i don't have access to a gym, I wrote a post here: http://nomadicalsabbatical.com/travel-fitness-the… I think the key is just not getting carried away with tooooo much food while you're gone!

    • Jeremy December 10, 2012 5:12 pm
      #

      haha yea, she's out of control…I'll check out your post too!

  27. ElaineSchoch November 26, 2012 11:18 pm
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    Love the comment from Jeremy's mom. :) I have to say that it's hard to eat healthy and limit the alcohol when traveling, at least for me. However, the exercise part is the only way I don't gain 5lbs on every trip. The hotel MUST have a gym and if I'm traveling internationally, it must be open 24hrs. That saved me in Moscow. I get my run in every morning and then I don't feel so bad about enjoying the local cuisine – and my skinny jeans still fit by the end of the trip.

    • Jeremy December 10, 2012 5:13 pm
      #

      It's all about the skinnys ;)

  28. Rig November 30, 2012 10:44 am
    #

    Jeremy ' your article is good enough to keep me healthy during my foreign trips. So I would keep these tips always in front to remind myself of them.

  29. Rig November 30, 2012 10:48 am
    #

    Good idea of Walk Walk ……and Walk that would also help save money.

  30. brittonia1 December 2, 2012 11:26 pm
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    Thanks so much for the great tips! The alcohol comment is so true. I gained about 15 pounds after 2 years of nearly constant business travel and I think that was a big contributing factor. Happy hour means no exercise for the day & almost guarantees eating too much for dinner!

  31. Reena @ Wanderplex December 13, 2012 6:08 pm
    #

    I find that I walk so much when I travel that staying fit has never been an issue. In fact, I'm WAY fitter when I travel than when I'm at home and sitting at a desk all day. But I do see how eating greasy street food, drinking cocktails and over-enjoying breakfast buffets can be bad! Everything in moderation and you should be fine :)

  32. crazysexyfuntraveler December 17, 2012 4:31 am
    #

    I do all of these! Walk every day and also outdoor sports, but no gym. Eat 5 times a day and no alcohol and it works :)

  33. Migration Expert December 20, 2012 11:32 pm
    #

    Great tips! That's the reason why I love travelling is because I do a lot of walking to explore the place. Now, I find mountain trekking really, really fun because I got a chance to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature and of course I’m doing a physical activity that will burn fats without me noticing it.

  34. Leslie Horning February 12, 2013 7:04 pm
    #

    Great tips Jeremy. When I travel now, I pack some healthy snacks in my backpack. Apples, wheat crackers, and things like that. I prevents me from eating too much junk food throughout the day. It also saves me a lot of cash too so that I have more to spend on doing fun things instead of eating a bunch of junkie food.

  35. Zane johnston March 1, 2013 1:26 am
    #

    Great tips for traveling !!

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  37. Vinnie March 11, 2013 12:34 am
    #

    Great tips and very nice blog Jeremy! I especially liked the one about eating several small meals through out the day, it makes so much sense. Though whenever I am on vacation, I become very lazy, heading towards the gym is the hardest for me.

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  40. ProcurementinEast-Afri March 23, 2013 9:22 am
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    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something informative to read?| Procurement in East-Africa http://mj-resources.net

  41. Daniel Williams March 27, 2013 8:23 am
    #

    When I went on a three month trip around indonesia, sri-lanka and parts of India, I found that I needed to keep active, so I started to employ a full body free weight circuit that I would do at anytime in the smalest of spaces. This pared with healthy eating, limiting my alcohol intake and getting plenty of rest seemed to do it for me.

  42. Neetuagarwal April 9, 2013 6:25 am
    #

    Time your food intake so you're getting larger amounts of food with more carbs/calories just after a heavy workout or after several hours of trekking/climbing/other activity. Just after exercise like this, insulin sensitivity is heightened and glucose receptors have been brought to the surface of muscle cells, favouring whatever is next eaten to be used in the muscle rather than stored as fat in fat cells. Growth hormone is also elevated immediately after exercise compared to when sedentary, so conditions are prime for muscle growth and fat loss rather than fat storage when the next big meal comes.

  43. Indiana Jo April 27, 2013 4:56 am
    #

    Love this post. After a couple of years on the road, it's time to accept that I'm no longer on an extended vacation and get back to being fit and healthy – the street food makes it so hard, though. And sampling the local beer brands (essential research). I like the day pass idea at the gym. I'm going to try this during the next few months. Running in humidity is no fun, but an air conditioned gym sounds do-able. Cheers for sharing.

  44. Poppy April 28, 2013 1:52 pm
    #

    “The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”

  45. Jossie May 29, 2013 3:43 pm
    #

    I travel for work and use my weekends to get to other countries in the area. I use a Jawbone UP band to make sure I keep moving! It's super easy on a day I'm out and about seeing stuff (or… dancing late at night) and it's a great way to have my friends keep tabs on me while I'm gone! Great motivation.

  46. Kristy of Visa USA June 24, 2013 1:04 am
    #

    Good thing I always make sure I run for an hour on a thread mil or do brisk walking at the park to burn that excess fats away.

  47. gerrytinsley June 29, 2013 2:44 am
    #

    Everyone want to stay fit and healthy every time and mostly when than they go for traveling, we can face illness confidently at our home but out of station sickness may be difficult for every person, you shared useful tips how to stay fit while traveling, thanks for sharing this informative post..

  48. Travel Clinic W3 July 4, 2013 6:48 am
    #

    Wonderful tips. Planning makes the trip to be very successful. Pack the things carefully with the entire accessories for your safe travel. Eat healthy diet controlled foods.

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