Keeping Fit Whilst Traveling: Here's My Advice


Keeping Fit Whilst Traveling For Backpackers

14 Apr , 2016  

Exercising may be the last thing on your mind whilst traveling, but if you’re anything like myself, fitness and exercising plays a very important part in your life.

Not to simply keep that beach bod in check, but more importantly to maintain a happy and positive mood – Those endorphins are addictive! Keeping fit whilst traveling, should be easy and I’m going to show you how.

Diet – “80% Of Fitness Comes From Diet”

In an ideal world we could drink as much beer as we want and not feel the consequences, but unfortunately this isn’t the case.

Its important not to treat traveling the same as a holiday. Drinking alcohol and eating unhealthy food every day isn’t sustainable – both physically and financially. Instead you should treat it like you would with your diet at home – occasionally allowing yourself to have a few beers and a meal out etc.  

Chose healthier food, swap that burger and chips for chicken, veg and rice – keeping fit whilst traveling can taste great if you find the right food! Bottled water instead of a can of coke. Those crisps/sweets for nuts/fruit (in some countries its best to avoid washed fruit such as apples, the water used may upset your ‘rhythm’)

Above all else its important to stay hydrated. No matter where I go, or what I’m doing – I always ensure to have a bottle of water with me. You can even grab one of these awesome bottles that will turn that stomach turning liquid rust into drinkable fluid – which may save you a few quid in the long run!


If you’re backpacking and staying in hostels like we are, you’re very rarely going to have access to a gym or any equipment. Therefore its important to adapt the way you train.

My exercise routine was mainly based around weightlifting/bodybuilding exercises so I’m ditching the dumbbells and swapping them for body weight exercises. There are way too many to list, but here a few of my favorites for keeping fit whilst traveling:

  • Legs: Squats – Squat Jumps – Lunges – Lunge Jumps – Calf raises
  • Chest: Press ups (incline, decline, close/wide stance, claps) – Dips
  • Triceps: Diamond press ups – Dips
  • Back: Pull ups (over/under hand)
  • Core: Sit ups – crunches – back extensions – Supermans
  • Shoulders: Handstand push ups – shoulder “pike” push ups

This is far from a comprehensive list – keep an eye out for more in-depth exercise spotlights in the future. I’ll be sharing the moves that have been the most effective for me!

A great method to get all your exercising needs done in one sitting (and for some great cardio) is to do a selection of the above in a circuit or HIIT (high intensity interval training) session. 15-30 minutes hard work with minimal rest periods and you’re exercising for the whole day can be done. If you’ve every tried ‘Insanity’, you will know how effective this kind of training can be!

One of thing I would recommend for any backpacker to bring is a comfy and good-looking pair of running trainers. Not only can these be used for all your jogging/running and exercising needs, they’re also a great lightweight alternative to your walking boots – which can get very hot. They also make a decent pair of kicks to wear out for a few drinks too.

Take Advantage Of What You Have

With exercising its important to be constantly evolving your training routine to keep it challenging, therefore its a great idea to make the most of the stuff you do have access to.

One thing you will always have access to is a backpack, and probably a very large and heavy backpack, try whacking this on your back when you do some of your regular exercises, this is particularly useful for squats, lunges, press ups and bicep curls – experiment!

If you have access to a swimming pool or staying at the beach, try going for a swim everyday, set yourself a goal to reach a set amount of lengths, or hop in the sea and set yourself a target further down the coast, then when you reach it, either swim or jog back.

Children’s play parks usually contain a good array of bars perfect for dips and pull ups, benches/tables/chairs can also be very useful for decline/incline press ups, tricep dips and pull ups.  It’s all about trying new stuff out and not being shy, chances are you’ll be in the same place for a few days, then you wont ever be back there, so why care that people give you a funny look for using the local park as your own personal gym.

But, by far the best way to exercise is to be active in your everyday activities, hiking, swimming, surfing, whatever it is. Keeping fit whilst traveling doesn’t have to be boring! It’s also good to grab yourself a Frisbee or a ball and head down the park or beach. Have a game of cricket/football/volleyball, anything, as long as it involves moving around getting sweaty! This is a brilliant way of interacting with your fellow travelers, and an easy way to make new friends.

Motivation For Keeping Fit Whilst Traveling

The key to overall fitness and to have the body you desire is consistency. Try to set a work out time that works for you, be that first thing in the morning, or the last thing you do before you hit the hay. The key is that you do something everyday that gets your heart rate up and your muscles working.

It’s also useful to keep track of your progress. Not only does this challenge you to push yourself,  but you can also benchmark how you are progressing.

In Summary, drink lots of water, eat well and often. It also helps to keep some healthy snacks on hand, get an exercise routine sorted that works for you and stay active!

I hope my advice on keeping fit whilst traveling has been useful. If you have any tips and tricks on the topic – please comment below!

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24, Geography Graduate, Colouring-In Enthusiast, Amateur Cartographer, from the south east coast of England, seeking the ultimate adventure and sharing those experiences.

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