5 tips for fitting in exercise on vacation

Spring break is finally here ๐Ÿ™‚

exercise on vacation

If you’re lucky enough to be heading someplace warm and sunny, are you planning to exercise on vacation?

While taking a break from working out can sometimes be beneficial, abandoning exercise entirely while on vacation only leads to a painful week or two of ‘re-entry’ when you head back to the gym…

5 tips for fitting in exercise on vacation

Plan. When searching for a hotel online, I have three criteria that need to be met; (1) a fitness centre,ย (2) ย a kitchenette in the room,ย and (3)ย a room on the highest floor available.

exercise on vacation

The fitness centre need not be state-of-the-art; some free weights and a cardio machine will suffice.

Eating breakfast in the hotel not only saves time and money, it’s also keeps portion size in check and limits the sugary, starchy carbs that are the mainstay of most kid-friendly restaurants’ menus…

Choosing a room on a higher floor gives us the option of taking the stairs at least once each day; a great antidote for time spent parked by the pool or in the car on road trip vacations.

Pack. Make sure to pack at least one set of workout clothes. Don’t forget your running shoes.

exercise on vacation

You can always rinse tank tops and shorts in your bathroom sink; technical gear dries quickly. I also make sure to pack my workout journal; having a workout planned ahead of time makes it much easier to get in and out of the fitness centre quickly!

My go-to hotel fitness centre workout? 15 minutes cardio, 15 minutes of strength training including combination moves like squats/shoulder presses, lunges/bicep curls, deadlifts/rows and pushups, of course! (You might even try the hotel gym workoutย I videotaped over Christmas…)

Pre-empt. Don’t wait until there’s a lull in the activity to fit your workout in. Early morning is the best time to exercise on vacation. Get up and get it done while everyone is waking up, reading the newspaper, checking Facebook ๐Ÿ˜‰ and showering. If you leave it until after your day’s adventures are over, it probably won’t get done. Cocktail hour can be hard to resist…

Play. Plan for at least one activity every day that requires physical exertion. Hike, swim, water ski, snorkel or kayak. All will burn more calories than sitting poolside. In addition to getting in a little extra exercise on vacation, you’ll also be making fabulous memories with your family and friends.

exercise on vacation

Permit. While maintaining your usual exercise routine while on vacation is admirable, give yourself permission to do a little less than you normally would in the gym. Remember that you are on holidays and that rest and recovery are valuable tools in your muscle-building-fat-burning toolbox.

Are you heading anywhere exciting for spring break?

Do you plan on fitting in exercise on vacation?



  1. We have similar “must-haves” for staying away from home. Especially the kitchenette. That is a must. I always pack my own breakfasts–it just makes things easier overall since we aren’t big “eat out for breakfast” people. And then I know I’m starting my day off right. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Michelle @ Eat Move Balance recently posted…Fridayโ€™s FiveMy Profile

    • Especially with kids, right? The whole “there’s nothing on the menu I want”, “when is breakfast going to get here”, “he’s kicking me under the table” makes for a challenging start to the day! We limit ourselves to one restaurant meal per day when on holidays. Best for sanity!

  2. Cute photo on top.

    The kids and I are heading north (which in MN is just simply ridiculous b/c its that much colder/snowier/ and darker) but its also where grandma, grandpa and cousins are so away we go. Three days of ???? We will wait to see what the weather brings options are limited so it might be a lot of quick stuff inside the house. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Kathy recently posted…So much FUN!My Profile

    • Ooh, that sounds cold Kathy! I must admit to being a warm weather lover…
      But making sure that kids spend time with family is so important too! You can get your quick workouts in while the grandparents entertain your kids!

  3. I go back and forth on this. I have vacationed without a minute of exercise, and I have also seen the Inside Passage from the treadmill of a cruise ship.

    For me it always comes down to this: What matters most is how you eat and exercise between vacations, not during them.

    My vacations usually involve some peripheral movement anyway, and very little overeating.
    Contemplative Fitness recently posted…Caught between Emerson, And Georgeโ€ฆMy Profile

    • I agree with you Roy about what you’re doing the rest of the year; way more important. But I really hate how difficult the first week back to the gym is when I’ve taken time off. And I can always tell when my clients have been sedentary and over-indulged on vacation; it takes them weeks to get back to where they were…

  4. I AM!!!!
    (she shouts)
    NYC with the child.
    we shall…lunge up and down the aisles of the broadway show’s we’re seeing ๐Ÿ™‚
    Miz recently posted…In a food fantasy what would YOU eat?My Profile

  5. I am with your first 3 for sure!!! With the rest too but the first 3 – yes! ๐Ÿ™‚ I actually bring more exercise clothes than regular cause I live in then for every day anyway! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    YES to early done & on to fun! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Jody – Fit at 55 recently posted…Gratitude Monday & the Hair among Other Things!My Profile

    • I loved that you shared your Hawaii videos with us and I KNOW that you worked out while there…

  6. Love it! I always mean to seek out a hotel with a gym of sorts but haven’t made that a priority yet – I aim to! And we always get a kitchenette so if we eat out I can split my meal and enjoy heated leftovers and can cook up meals and snacks too! Fabulous tips!

    • Good idea bout the leftovers. We try and bring them back to our room as well for breakfast or lunch the next day. Restaurant meals are always way too much for us to eat!

  7. Great tips. I definitely try to fit fitness into our vacations. For me, packing my gear is the biggest trick. I hate bringing stuff on vacation and then not using it! Plus, my sneakers would just stare at me and make me feel guilty ๐Ÿ™‚ We also try to be active too with our outings, not only for us but to tire out the boys. haha!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…TBDMy Profile

    • I am a chronic over-packed Christine. I usually pack once, then go through everything and take half of it out. I remind myself that nobody cares if I wear the same thing 3 days in a row and that gym clothes can be laundered (or even worn stinky…)

  8. All great tips, but it’s funny, I’m just the opposite with floor choice. I like the lowest floor if possible because I often work out in the room, and I worry my jumping around will annoy those beneath me. But if I can’t get that, then I agree, a high floor is great to take benefit of the stairs. Plus, who wants to wait all that time for an elevator?
    Carrie Rubin recently posted…Yoga Yoda Helps Me Find Ergonomic ZenMy Profile

    • Good point Carrie! I never work out in my hotel room. I prefer to head to the gym and have a bit of ‘respite’ from my kids…
      And I agree; it’s amazing how long people are willing to wait for an elevator to take them up 2 flights of stairs!

  9. I always pack work-out stuff and get up early to get it done. The rest of the family usually goes down for breakfast while I work-out and then I just have my own breakfast snack when I’m done. Works out great and doesn’t take away from vacay!!
    Kim recently posted…March MadnessMy Profile

    • That’s a double bonus strategy! Not only are you getting your workouts in early, you’re also missing all of those less than healthy choices at the breakfast buffet!

  10. Love these tips! I travel for work frequently & find myself using a lot of these! As for exercise on vacation, luckily most of my family & friends are active folks so we always end up doing something fun!
    Katie @ KatieEnPursuit recently posted…Sleet Always Makes for a Nice Welcome HomeMy Profile

  11. I’m going to Arizona! My in-laws planned the trip, so I’m not sure if there’s a gym in our hotel, but I can do something in the hotel room or outside, if not! If I’m going on vacation for a week, I try to work out at least three times!

  12. I am you! IT IS REQUIRED that there be at least a fridge & microwave (if not a kitchen) in the hotel room and the hotel MUST MUST have a gym! Luckily the people that I travel with agree so it’s never really an issue to find a hotel that works for all of us! ๐Ÿ™‚ My favorite types of vacations though are when I can walk all day and not even set foot in the gym! When I walk 30,000 steps exploring the city I am in, I am a happy girl!
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted…The Bachelor: Here Come The Crazies!My Profile

  13. Yes, my husband and I plan workouts on vacation. A fitness center is a must when we pick a hotel and ideally conveniently located close to places we can run.

    Sadly, no plans for spring break traveling ๐Ÿ™ But, I will enjoy the time off with my kids ๐Ÿ™‚
    Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness recently posted…Benefits of Drinking Green TeaMy Profile

  14. Great post Tamara! All of those tips can be applied to daily life too. I especially love the picture of you and your family – I love when fitness bloggers share family pics ๐Ÿ™‚
    Janice – The Fitness Cheerleader recently posted…The Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Womenโ€™s Cancers #WEWCTOMy Profile

    • Thanks Janice! You’re right; fitness is life! And I think my family is too adorable NOT to share!


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