How to make travel and fitness BFFs

I am incredibly unbearable when I don’t exercise. Honestly, I run so much not for myself, but for the general public. I would be a menace to society if I didn’t. Thanks to exercising, I can be a contributing member of society instead.

This is no exception for vacations. I will not hesitate to ruin EVERYONE’S day if I don’t exercise. Whether or not that makes me a terrible person is fortunately not the purpose of this post. If you’re like me and your friends and family take cover when you couldn’t fit in your daily workout session, you may want to check out these tips before your next trip.


Make it a priority

You can literally accomplish anything if you make it a priority. If exercise is something that’s important to you during your upcoming trip, make sure you let those traveling with you know ahead of time that this is non-negotiable for you. That way, it can be kept in mind when making plans and they won’t get super mad at you for disappearing for a while during the day to go for a run.

Keep in mind you may have to miss out on a few things if you choose to make exercise a priority like an afternoon nap, sleeping in, or sit-down breakfasts. Got a completely full day ahead of you? Wake up an hour early and get your run in then. I had many 5AM starts during our trip to Cambodia and Vietnam. Everyone’s tired and wants to nap? Perfect time to get in a workout. I had one of the best treadmill 10 miles ever in Vietnam when my family was napping.


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View from my run while my friends were sleeping in and drinking mimosas. See? Exercise isn’t all bad afterall! 


Be flexible

Now, even if you’re making working out a priority, there has to be some flexibility involved so your schedule doesn’t dictate the entire trip (and so you don’t miss out on cool stuff!). If you literally don’t have any time to exercise one day, just do a longer workout the next day. Maybe sacrifice a day of running if you’ve already walked 10 miles that day. Not in a great running location? Just run up and down the street you’re staying on. Instead of missing an activity, wait until things settle down at night and do a core routine while everyone’s watching a movie or show. Exercise can be nonnegotiable, but a little wiggle room on what kind of exercise will make everyone’s trip better.


Daily exercise = 10-mile hike on the Great Wall


Incorporate it into your trip

If fitness is a big part of your life, make it something to look forward to during your trip! Sign up for a road race, join a running tour (which are much more popular than you might think), take a yoga class in a cool location, etc. These are great opportunities to see a new place from a different perspective. It’s also a chance to meet new people who share the same passion as you.


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Budapest Half Marathon! You could barely tell we were American tourists!


Grab a buddy

Running is an awesome way to explore a new place (the best way, in my humble opinion), but it can be a little intimidating to do by yourself (especially if you’re female and you’ve seen Taken). Drag your travel companion along with you! It doesn’t matter how fast or far you go, you probably won’t even realize how far you’ve gone because there will be so much to see.

It’s also great to travel with someone who takes physical fitness seriously. That way you have someone to keep you accountable and who understands how important it is to you that you have time for a daily workout.


My cute workout buddy for life


Make use of amenities

If you’re staying in a hotel, you will most likely have access to some sort of fitness center. Take advantage of it, even if (especially if) no one else is! Plus, it’s pretty interesting to see fitness centers across cultures. But besides maybe running kilometers instead of miles, a treadmill is a treadmill and it gets the job done. The biggest thing I’ve learned after visiting countless fitness centers: Look like you know exactly what you’re doing (doesn’t matter if you actually do or not).

Above all, remember to have fun with it. Most likely, you aren’t going to be setting any personal bests on your vacation (unless it’s a run-cation, but that’s a whole other story). Sneak exercise in when you can, but make sure it continues to be a stress-reliever and not a source of stress for you and your traveling companions.


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