How to Stay Fit on Vacation While Still Enjoying Yourself?

A vacation can certainly help in reducing stress but it can also mess up the healthy fitness regimen you’ve been trying to maintain back at home. Even the biggest fitness freaks find it difficult to stick to a routine when being away from home and stay fit while on vacation. I can’t say that this hasn’t happened to me in the past too. A lot of times, I abandoned my workout routine and healthy diet thinking “I’m traveling, I’ll get back to doing this when I go back home”. Especially if you’re a foodie traveler, you know how difficult it is to resist all the new local delicacies while traveling.

But what if I tell you that traveling doesn’t have to interrupt your healthy habits. If you’re trying to stay fit, there are ways to get your heart rate up – yes, even on vacation! We’ve assembled an easy guide full of tips and tricks to help answer the question “How to stay fit on vacation while still enjoying yourself?”.

Take the stairs and sight-see by foot

walking snow

Whether you’re going up to your room in a hotel or sightseeing, do yourself a favor by avoiding elevators and take the stairs! It’s an easy way to work in activity into your day and a great calorie burner. And, as you wander and explore, plan your activities around walkable areas. Visit the parks, discover hiking trails and all other places where you can wrack up walking miles! Skip popular tour buses and take long walks. Not only is this a great way to stay healthy while traveling but it’s also a great way to experience a new destination like a local. This is why you should…

Bring shoes that are comfortable

hiking shoes

Whether you bring casual shoes for women or men, it’s important to make sure that those kicks are comfortable. Otherwise, you’re not going to want to walk anywhere. And that defeats the purpose!

On that same note, bring activewear along with you while you’re traveling. It’s highly unlikely you’ll actually try to be active if you only bring outfits for a night out. So, pack loose yoga pants, workout shorts, and a few t-shirts so you can go for a quick jog or easily work out when the opportunity arises. And when you reach your final destination, unpack some of these clothes. That way you’ll be motivated to…

Start your day with a run


Jogging through a city you’ve never seen before isn’t easy but it’s a great way to cover more ground faster and see some of the most popular tourist attractions in less time. There’s always a risk of getting lost but finding your way back is part of the fun. My first advice to all of you who want to try this approach next time when traveling is…

Try to wake up early in the morning

morning kaunas

Wherever you travel, getting up early can only help you. I know, no one likes to wake up early on their vacation but this is the first step to staying fit while traveling. When traveling to a place that has a big-time difference, the best way to adjust to the new time zone is by doing so abruptly. And let’s be honest, the chances of you working out in the morning before most tourist sights are open are far greater than doing this in the night after a long day of exploring the city. It also helps if you…

Pick a fit hotel

hotel gym

This can be hard if you only stay in Airbnb’s but if you’re staying at a hotel, look specifically for one that includes a fitness center. Each morning before you are getting ready to go and explore, set some time aside to get a workout in. It’s an easy way to quickly get in exercise and might even give you more energy throughout the day. Plus, an early workout means that you might be more motivated to eat more healthfully throughout the day!

But even if you can’t find a hotel that has a gym or that’s not in your budget, you can always…

Check out local gyms and find fitness events

women doing yoga

Are you in an area known for salsa? Is frisbee big in town? Are there any outdoor gyms near your hotel? Is there a large running race you feel up to participating in? Why not join? Not only can joining a town’s athletic traditions give you a taste of local culture, but it’s also a great way to meet other like-minded travelers and cool native friends, too!

Consider an active vacation

active vacation

If you more of an outdoorsy type, why not plan a vacation centered around exercise? If you’re an avid cyclist, consider bike touring, hiking, a fitness vacation, or adrenaline sports. Maybe you want to take on the path of Cheryl Strayed and hike the PCH or backpack across Europe

If you’re wondering how to stay fit on vacation, there are plenty of opportunities to stay active while traveling. Effective workouts aren’t always limited to fitness machines, treadmills, and weight-lifting. There are also…

Basic workouts you can do anywhere in the world

home workout

Riding a bike, jogging, hiking, and taking walks are all great ways to stay fit on vacation but there are also a lot of routine workouts you can do anywhere in the world, from bus stops in Singapore to the middle of nowhere in Iceland. You probably won’t be able to stick to your normal daily workouts and that’s completely fine but try to do at least 50% of your regular exercises. And if this is something you might struggle with, consider…

Wearing a fitness tracker

girl with fitness tracker

If you don’t know that you’re being inactive, it can be hard to stay on track of your fitness goals. Make sure before you take another trip that you invest in a smart tracker so you can keep tabs on your steps. If you notice that you’re not as active as you’d hoped, you can end the day with a nice walk or quick workout in your hotel room using resistance bands.

Try out your travel workout before departing

If you’re thinking of how to stay fit on vacation, setting up a travel workout routine is a great way to do so. But before you choose your new travel routine, make sure to try it at home and be realistic about how much and whether can you stick to it. Set the right goals to make sure you don’t end up feeling frustrated for not being able to keep up to an unrealistic travel workout routine.

With that being said, let me give you a few more food-related tips that will help you stay fit while traveling.

Food is 80% of the battle

pork barbecue asia

Many people don’t like this fact but your diet has a lot to do with how you look. In fact, I’ll go ahead and say that a healthy diet is a lot more important than working out. As much as you work out, you can’t outrun or out-train a bad diet. When you’re home, you have your routines and healthy eating habits, but just like working out, it becomes increasingly difficult to stick to these rules when traveling. Especially with all the delicious treats your new destination has to offer.
And similarly to the travel workout regime, it’s probably a good idea to make a special diet plan for traveling.

Personally, I don’t count calories when traveling but I try to aim for balanced meals that include at least one source of protein, at least one/two vegetables, and I try to minimize the consumption of bread, pasta, and liquid calories (they are the worse).

Snack accordingly and don’t skip meals

healthy snacks how to stay fit on vacation

When traveling and exploring a new city, a lot of travelers tend to eat lunch late because they get caught up sightseeing, sunbathing on the beach, or indulging in other cool activities. That’s why it’s very important to always have some healthy snacks to keep you from starving as you discover new destinations. But make no mistake, this doesn’t mean that you should skip meals. This might seem harmless but starving your body can lead to consuming an unhealthy amount of calories on your next meal. What I always do when traveling is eating every 3-4 hours in smaller quantities. This way, you get to try more things, get familiarized with the local cuisine faster, and eat healthy without consuming too many calories.

Stay hydrated

guy beach drink water

Traveling can oftentimes dehydrate you and when you don’t take enough fluids, it’s easy to confuse dehydration with hunger and end up eating a lot more than you should have when in reality, all your body needs is some water. As you probably know, recommendations for the amount of fluids one needs to consume in a day varies from person to person, but an easy way to check if you’re dehydrated is the color of your urine. If you’re well-hydrated, it should be pale yellow or clear and if it’s dark yellow or amber, that’s oftentimes a sign of dehydration.

Watch what you eat

kebab barbecue

To sum up, here are a few food tips I try to stick to when traveling abroad.

  • Know the nutrition information about what you’re eating. I’m not saying you shouldn’t explore exotic local cuisines, but try to learn a few things about the most popular dishes before you actually try them.
  • Choose local produce as snacks and always have a few of them in your bag. This way, you can try new exotic fruits and vegetables, experience new flavors, and stay healthy at the same time.
  • Make salad your entrée. Replace that juicy burger or pasta entrée with a salad once in a while. If it’s a buffet, fill your plate with salad rather than trying all of the carb-rich side dishes on display.
  • Last but not least, stay hydrated and limit your alcohol. More about this below…

Don’t consume alcohol every night


Drinking is travel’s best friend and you’ll probably have more fun if you let the two of them hang out but choose your nights. Don’t do this every night if you want to stay fit on your vacation. And even when you drink, try to avoid sugary drinks. Liquors mixed with soft drinks are caloric bombs that give the worse kind of hangovers and by consuming these, not only do you consume a lot of unnecessary sugar, but you’re also risking feeling groggy and less likely to work out and be physically active the next day.

If you ask me, wine and hard liquor without any mixers are the best option. Light beers are second-best, and sugar-mixed drinks are your enemy but the choice is yours. Whatever you decide, make sure to drink a glass of water between every drink (you’ll thank me in the morning).

So, no, you don’t have to give up drinking to have a healthy lifestyle. Drinking when done occasionally and in moderation, can be a part of a healthy lifestyle. Just be strategic about the times you choose to drink and make sure that you don’t eat a lot of junk food when drinking.

Choose a fitness retreat or a wellness holiday

You can also do all of the above-mentioned things and join a fitness retreat or plan a wellness holiday. Wellness tourism is booming right now and is becoming one of the most rapidly growing travel trends as more people become conscious about their health.

Final thoughts

When you’re on vacation, it can be hard to even think about maintaining an exercise routine. After all, you’re on vacation. But it’s still incredibly important to continue working toward your goals – even if you’re on a trip. Whether you stay active by filling your days with walking tours or by planning your stays at hotels with gyms, there are plenty of ways you get work up a sweat and raise your heart rate. And, if you’re really feeling adventurous, you can even plan a cross-country hike or bike trip.

Did this article show you how to stay fit on vacation? Do you think we forgot to mention something important? Let us know in the comments!

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18 thoughts on “How to Stay Fit on Vacation While Still Enjoying Yourself?”

  1. Thank you for these excellent tips on staying fit while traveling. It’s so easy to take time “off” from a fitness regiment, but your suggestions to plan an active trip are very helpful. I plan to be more intentional on my next trip, especially when it comes to proper hydration and getting moving early. Having a plan like this in place is half the battle!

  2. It is a great article. Unfortunately, it’s true; it is easy to get extra kilos on vacation. During discovering new flavors, local cuisine, drinks, it is so hard to say stop. But your hints are great. It’s easy to choose healthier dishes from the local menu, or drink less alcohol. And for sure the best option is walking a lot during sightseeing.

  3. I already did some of your 16 tips to stay fit while on vacation. I usually walked everywhere to discover the city/place while on vacation and brought a bottle of mineral water. What difficult is for me: eating salad as an appetizer instead of bruschetta. Also, I love It’s quite difficult not to drink cocktails more than usual while on vacations. You have 16 simple but useful tips to follow.

  4. If you carry heavy bags that’s good for exercise too :). Walking wherever we can is definitely one of our top tips for staying healthy while traveling. In some places, it can be really hard to get healthy food so these tips really help!

  5. I have to agree how a vacation plays havoc with fitness schedules. Climbing steps simply becomes impossible in high rise hotels but it is definitely a good idea. I prefer walking to sights. Good tip on food and remaining hydrated. Yes we sometimes mistake the need for water as hunger. Great reminder, I am off on a travel soon. Will remember these points.

  6. These are simply great tips. Mostly common sense but overlooked when one is on a trip. You are so right about several activities that can be done such as waking up early for a run and taking advantage of the hotel gym. I feel good walking a lot during travels as it allows a good way of seeing hidden gems while being able to see what the locals are up to.

  7. Some great tips here. I always struggle to keep fit and eat healthy when I am away. I generally do a lot of walking but I do struggle to fit in time to exercise. I need to be better in finding places with gyms or gyms nearby and I need to try and eat better. I don’t drink too much but finding healthy snacks can be a bit of a problem for me!! I tend to just buy crisps and biscuits for the long bus journeys!!! I do need to make more of an effort to swap them though. I had no idea though you can do running/jogging tours which is a great idea, I need to look into these more when I am travelling or do a more exercise based trip.

  8. I am totally guilty of this! Whenever we’re on a vacation, I no longer find time to exercise.

    Thank you for sharing these tips. I think it’s a great idea to at least take the stairs or just walk and walk in order to up our physical activities. Will ensure to bring comfortable shoes whenever I go on a trip. 🙂


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