how to stay fit on vacation

How to Stay Fit on Vacation Without Making Big Sacrifices

It’s summer, which means blue skies, long sunny days, and fantastic vacations. If you’re like millions of other Americans you may be preparing to embark on a vacation of your own this month. While travel is good for your soul, it can wreak havoc on your fitness routine. But creating a balanced lifestyle includes both work and play! Are you wondering how to stay fit on vacation?

You know the drill: after a week or more of lounging on the beach and indulging in decadent meals you come back home to reality and feel disappointed in yourself for ignoring your health and fitness. You may struggle to regain the motivation and momentum it takes to get back into your routine. You may even give up completely.

Don’t let this happen to you. With a little planning, you can enjoy your summer vacation without sacrificing your fitness goals. It’s easier than it sounds!

Read on for some travel tips to keep your diet and fitness routine in check during your getaway.

How to Stay Fit on Vacation: Plan Ahead

A little planning and preparation can go a long way to ensuring vacation fitness success. If you try to “figure it out when you get there” you’ll be sabotaging your goals before you even leave home. In the days leading up to vacation take a few minutes to answer these questions:

Who is in this With You?

Will you have a workout buddy on vacation? Does your spouse intend to follow a healthy diet or give themselves a week of cheat days? Are there drop-in fitness classes that you can attend? Will your friends and family hold you accountable? You don’t need a partner to stay healthy on vacation, you can do it all on your own, but it does help to know ahead of time what to expect.

What are Your Goals?

Decide now what you want your vacation to look like and how strict you hope to be. Are you aiming for 5 full-length workouts or just hoping to squeeze in a little cardio? Do you plan to allow for some extra calories or stay faithful to your diet? There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. The key is to be realistic. Aim too high and you leave no time for fun, too low and you run the risk of throwing your routine off track.

When do You Plan to Exercise?

Look at your itinerary and carve out some time that you can devote to fitness. Ask yourself what you value most on vacation. If you love the ability to sleep in late, don’t try to lock yourself into a 5am jog. When you look forward to lounging on the beach, schedule an hour for some cardio before everyone else wakes up. Also, plan when you want to spend your calories. If you are looking forward to the authentic local feast, maybe skip the ice cream dessert the day before.

Where Can You Exercise?

When you are in an unfamiliar place it can be difficult to find a place to work out, especially when you are used to a familiar facility or route. Take the time now to hop online and scout out your vacation destination. Does your hotel have a gym? A pool for laps? Do you plan to jog on the beach? Hike in the mountains? Locate a few cafes or restaurants nearby that offer healthy eating options, too. Every vacation will be different. But with a little planning, you can plot out the best places to help you stay on track.

Why are You Trying to Stay Fit on Vacation?

Take a moment to remember why you have fitness goals in the first place. Are you fighting diabetes or heart disease? Trying to shed some unhealthy weight? Strengthening your bones as you head into your golden years?

No matter what it is, remind yourself why you do what you do and maybe even write it down. You may need the motivation when the temptations on vacation become overwhelming.

It’s not reasonable, or fun, to plot out every moment of your vacation. Some of the most memorable moments are unpredictable and those shouldn’t be sacrificed due to a strict schedule. But a little advanced planning can equip you with the knowledge you need to stay on track.

how to stay fit on vacation


You deserve a fun relaxing vacation but to keep your fitness goals on track don’t forget to be SMART. This will help you to be specific with your goals and your plans for achieving them and it will also help you to be flexible and be ready to adapt to any curveballs that come your way during the trip.

  • Specific – What are your goals for the trip? What type of workouts do you want to be doing? What type of diet do you want to be on? What type of sleep schedule do you want to be on?
  • Measurable – How will you track your progress? How will you know if you’re staying fit while on vacation?
  • Attainable – Are your goals realistic given the time you have? Are they attainable given your current fitness level?
  • Relevant – What are the benefits of staying fit while on vacation? What are the drawbacks if you don’t stay fit while on vacation?
  • Time-bound – Do you have a deadline for achieving your goals? When is the best time to work out? What is the end date of your vacation?

Bring Your Own Equipment

Unless you are lucky enough to be vacationing near a fully stocked gym, you may have trouble locating equipment for your workout. While it’s not practical to pack all of the comforts of home, you can bring along a few small items to assist you in your workouts.

Resistance bands, small hand weights, or a thin yoga mat can all fit neatly in your luggage without adding too much weight. Don’t forget to bring workout clothes that you can move in easily and a good pair of supportive gym shoes.

How to Stay Fit on Vacation: Think Outside the Box

Vacation is a great time to mix up your old stale workout routine. Exercise doesn’t always have to come in the form of a carefully scripted workout. Anything that gets your heart beating and your muscles moving can help you burn calories and stay fit.

If you don’t want to waste any vacation time sweating away in a gym, consider these simple ways to stay fit while you have fun:

  • Skip the Uber- Most vacation hot spots have lots of great attractions within walking distance. Rather than packing into a bus or taxi, use this opportunity to squeeze in a little cardio by walking or biking to your destination. Not only is it great exercise, but you may discover some sights you would have otherwise missed. Don’t forget to pack comfortable shoes!
  • Play a game- Organize a sand volleyball game, join the kids in the pool, or race your partner to the top of the hill- games are a great way to burn calories while still having fun.
  • Add effort where you can- Even if you can’t devote hours to your workout, a little more movement spread throughout the day can add up. Look for ways to add steps to your day. Skip the elevator and climb the stairs to your hotel room, walk instead of riding the tram, or carry your luggage instead of using a cart.
  • Immerse yourself- The best vacation workouts are the ones you don’t even realize you are having. Immerse yourself in your new surroundings and exercise is sure to follow. Surf, scuba dive, dance, hike, explore, swim, climb – you’ll have so much fun you won’t even realize that you are burning calories.

Make Healthy Eating a Priority

Eating well can be one of the most difficult aspects of vacation fitness. Indulgent food is common on vacation and you shouldn’t deprive yourself entirely. Moderation is the key. Be mindful of your eating habits and don’t let your treats get out of control. Look for healthy, nutrient-dense meals, and be sure to eat enough protein to fuel your body through all of your exciting adventures.

Plan your splurges. If you know that you are going to a decadent restaurant in the evening, plan for a light healthy breakfast and lunch. Sample the local cuisine but not just the high-calorie treats. Use this opportunity to try new fruits and vegetables that grow in the region.

Most importantly, be sure to drink plenty of water. Hydration is important when you’re spending busy days in the sun and chugging a water bottle can help distract your body from false hunger every time you pass a delicious-smelling food truck.

How to Stay Fit on Vacation: Ask Generation Fit for Help 

Do you have some ideas on how to stay fit on vacation now? With a little planning and some creative thinking, you can have a memorable summer vacation without sacrificing all your fitness goals. Still have questions or need some advice for your upcoming trip? Contact Generation Fit today.