Do you struggle to stay on top of health and fitness when you’re travelling? You’re not the only one. It’s near impossible to stick to your regular routine when you’re backpacking and on top of that, the temptations of new food and alcohol are at an all time high. After years of travel, I still struggle sometimes! With that being said, I’m usually able to strike a balance with exercise and eating healthy, so I’m here to share 7 easy ways to help you stay fit when travelling.
1. Make your own meals
Knowing exactly what you’re putting into your body and choosing nutritious whole foods will help you stay on top of your health while travelling!
It’s easy to get all your food from restaurants or fast food places when you’re on the go but if you want to stay fit when travelling, you need to be conscious of what you’re eating.
If you’re travelling long term or staying in certain hostels for more than 2-3 nights, try making your meals in the hostel kitchen. You’ll find that some continents like Asia don’t really work this way, as eating out is so cheap that no one really cooks and hostels don’t usually have a kitchen for people to use.
Here are some of my go-to hostel friendly meals:
- Stir fry – Buy any mix of veggies you can get your hands on, throw in some tofu and soy sauce on top of rice noodles and you’re good to go!
- Taco salad – This meal can be so versatile and perfect for lunch or dinner on the go. I usually stick to the essentials – lettuce, black beans, corn, avocado and salsa.
- Pasta – Pasta is so easy to make in a hostel but isn’t the most healthy unless you include some protein and veggies! Sometimes I’ll do pasta with peas and a pesto sauce or pasta with lentils and a red sauce with broccoli on the side. Not the most glamorous meal but it does the trick!
I made these meals all the time when I was backpacking through NZ to help fuel long days of hiking and other activities!
PRO TIP: Bring reusable ziplock bags with you when you travel or buy tupperware when you get to a destination. That way you can pack up leftovers if you’re cooking! I always make big batches if I can so I don’t have to cook as often.
2. Walk/bike instead of taking transit
Another great way to stay fit while backpacking is by using your own two feet! Avoid ubers, cabs and public transit when you can walk or bike instead!
Whenever I get to a new city, I like to walk around to explore and get to know what it’s like. You get so caught up in the views that you forget how many steps have accumulated!
I found Asia to have free bike use or really cheap bike rentals for the day. Biking can be a great alternative to walking and a much faster option to get around.
3. Bring healthy snacks with you
Always find a local grocery store or convenience store where you can grab fresh fruits and veggies and other healthy snacks like nuts etc to tie you over during the day!
I’d highly suggest bringing reusable ziplock bags with you (mine are from Stasher) so you can always have snacks on hand. If you’re prepared with healthy and nutritious snacks, you’re less likely to eat unhealthy options while you’re out!
4. Pack your fave workout bands
Besides walking and biking, it can be tough to dedicate time to workout when you’re travelling. This is especially difficult if you’re on an island or remote area where there aren’t any gyms nearby.
I always bring resistance bands with me. I got mine off Amazon and use them whenever I want to incorporate a booty workout in the hostel room or at a park. If you have enough room to do a lunge, you can smash a quick workout and you’ll feel so much better afterwards!
5. Avoid drinking every day
Now I’m not saying to avoid drinking altogether but if you want to stay fit throughout your travels, alcohol will be a huge setback. It really all boils down to two things:
The people you’re with:
If you’re going with friends who like to drink a lot, this will make things incredibly difficult for you. It’s easy to drink every day if you’re surrounded by friends who are doing so.
On the other hand, if you’re travelling solo, you have the advantage of choosing who you spend time with. While going to the ‘free drinks’ at the hostel may be a great way to meet people, there are SO many other ways to make friends while travelling. You don’t need to drink if you don’t want to and you’ll find people who have the same mindset!
If you want to avoid drinking, be selective with the hostels you book. Maybe choose a party hostel one every week or two but select more chill hostels for the other nights! Once again, you’re more likely to drink if you’re near people drinking.
This tip has probably been the most effective when it comes to staying fit when travelling, so if you can ditch the booze, you should!
6. Choose activities that force you to be active
Jump at any opportunity to hike in a new place and you’re sure to stay fit when travelling! Hiking is my favourite activity because the views are amazing and I always feel so great after being active for the entire day. The Stairway to heaven in Hawaii was challenging but one of the best days I’ve had travelling!
If you’re not big into hiking there are so many other activities that can keep you active. If you’re a beach bum, try out some water sports or tossing a frisbee with new friends! Find something that YOU enjoy so that it doesn’t feel like a chore.
To get more ideas, ask what activities are going on at the hostel you’re staying in. Some will have free yoga classes, walking tours and more!
7. Start building good habits NOW
It’s never too early to start creating good habits. All of these tips will fly out the window if you aren’t already in the mindset of making your health and fitness a priority! Start small, build momentum and before you know it, you won’t have to think twice about the choices you make.
What do you do to stay fit when travelling? Let me know in the comments below or feel free to DM me on Insta to chat!