Vacations are a time to get away from it all. The challenge can be that your diet and fitness also “take a vacation.” Just because you are away from home does not mean you should throw your health and fitness efforts out the window. Before you travel, create a plan that will minimize the impact of long flights, one-the-go meals and unfamiliar accommodations. Having a plan will help you “think” healthy throughout your trip.
Pack for Fitness Success
If you don’t have easy access to the right gear, you are less likely to workout. Here are a few items I never travel without.
- Resistance bands – super light weight and simple to use anywhere! Relatively cheap to buy if you don’t already own a set. A set with interchangeable handles on 2-3 different band strengths is ideal.
- Jump rope – another light-weight item that takes up practically no space in your suitcase. See if you can jump more times in a row than your kids. My daughter kicks my butt!
- Activity trackers – Our entire family wears activity trackers when we travel. Even if I can’t get in a formal workout, I can track my steps. You’d be surprised how many steps you can rack up at an amusement park. We did over 20,000 at Six Flags last year.
- Fitness Apps – There are hundreds of amazing fitness apps out there for smart phones and tablets. There’s no excuse not to find one that is right for you. One of my favorites is SworkIt. This app allows you to customize and play personalize workouts varying in length from 5-60 minutes. Choose from strength, cardio, yoga or stretching.
Create a workout schedule
Don’t count on impromptu fitness opportunities. Creating a formal schedule will help keep you on track. Miss one workout? OK, but make it a goal never to miss two in a row.
- Add workouts to your e-calendar – Put them in your calendar and set reminders on your phone. Consider a fun alarm sound. I use “Bad to the Bone.”
- Check out classes in the area – see if you can find some exercise classes in the area that you might like to try. Check if the gym or studio has childcare or make sure your partner can cover the kids. This way, you’ll have the class already on your schedule.
- Hire your kids – give your kids the responsibility of being your personal trainers. Ask them to remind you to workout. Give them a reward for keeping you on track.
Plan where you will exercise
Do some research about your destination to find out what exercise options are available. Here are some of my go-to ideas.
- Do a hotel room workout – Not sure you’ll have time to exercise while out and about? Workout right in your hotel room. I’ve already mentioned using fitness apps, but you can get your kids involved too. Ask them to suggest exercises. Jumping on the bed is a favorite. Adults can do squats instead; the uneven surface is great to work your balance too!
- Book a hotel near a park – When traveling to a city, finding outdoor workout space can be a challenge. Find a hotel near a park or recreational area. My brother recently showed me the D.U.M.B.O (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) area of New York. We are planning to book in this area next year. There are walking and bike trails and places to stop and throw rocks along the river. Great views too!
- Try a gas station quickie! – Long road trips can feel like FOREVER if you don’t give your body a chance to move. Try this easy gas station workout with the entire family. Sure, you may get a few funny looks, but I bet you’ll inspire a few folks too!
- Jumping jacks – one minute
- Walking lunges – one minute
Body weight squats – one minute
- Push-ups (find a bench or bring a towel) – one minute
- Rest – one minute
- Repeat this circuit 2-4 times
This Traveling Mom even has these fun tips for exercising in your car.
Plan your meals and snacks in advance
Nothing defeats a healthy diet more than running into a fast food restaurant because you need a last minute meal. Having healthy options on hand make you much less likely to turn to unhealthy dives and donut shops.
- Pack a healthy snack – If you know you will be spending a lot of time at the airport, pack your favorite healthy snacks. Apples and oranges are super easy to toss in your bag and won’t spoil. I never leave home without a few snack bars in my bag too!
- Research local restaurants – Before you travel, look up the restaurants in the area and at the airport. Make a few reservations in advance using apps like Open Table. I found this amazing dairy-free veggie pizza at a restaurant in Florida last year.
- Choose your food wisely – Try to eat a protein source at every meal. Protein will keep you feeling full longer. Limit the calories you drink. Stick to water as much as possible and limit alcohol consumption. Eat lots of veggies. They are low in calories, but full of great nutrients to keep your energy levels up. A splurge from time to time is fine, but aim to get back on track at your next meal.
Some people throw caution to the wind and completely indulge on vacation. Taking a week off from healthy eating and exercise will make getting back on track infinitely more challenging.
With some planning and a positive attitude, keeping fit while you travel is possible. Stay mindful of your goals and follow my tips for success.