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How To Stay Active While Traveling During the Holidays

With the holidays right around the corner, many of us will be traveling a lot in the coming months. Staying active is key for me when traveling so I don’t arrive home feeling like a total hot mess, especially when indulgent holiday meals are thrown into the mix. Here are some tips for enjoying your holiday travels without letting fitness fall by the wayside.

1) If you’re spending the holidays on a vacation away from home, try active sightseeing and fitness-related excursions.

Rent a bike to explore a new city, go scuba diving or surfing, go snowshoeing or skiing, or simply walk! Matt and I will be ringing in the new year on a cruise with Carnival; we plan on picking some fun and active excursions (and checking out their gym and fitness class offerings, too)! I also love running around new towns, as you all know – such a great way to tour a new place quickly. Remember my awesome Paris Running Tour this summer?


2) Sign up for a holiday race or walk! 

I love a good holiday race, and sign up for Turkey Trots and Jingle Runs in whatever town we’ll be in for the holidays. Not only are holiday races a lot of fun, but they are a great way to stay motivated to train during the busy holiday season. Most cities and towns have gotten on board the holiday race bandwagon; and are good resources for finding races near you. Not finding any that work? Host your own “race” with your family! Bonus: you’ll work up an appetite for those holiday dinners!


3) Try out a new-to-you fitness studio.

I love using travel as an excuse to try out fun new-to-me workouts or studios. It can be a great way to mix it up from your normal workout routine and try something different! Even better is that often studios will offer “first class free” drop ins. To find a class near you, a site I love is!

4) If studios aren’t an option, design your own workout! Bring resistance bands, a jump rope, and other portable exercise equipment with you, and utilize whatever other equipment you have on hand. You might have a hotel or home gym full of weights and balls, but if not, get creative – use chairs for step ups and dips, turn soup cans into light weights, etc! If you need some inspiration, pack your favorite workout DVDs or try a fitness app.


A couple free fitness apps I love:

  • Nike Training Club – a huge variety of workouts – you can select intensity and time, and there are workouts available that don’t require any equipment, too.
  • The Scientific 7 Minute Workout – this is the online version but there’s also an app that will guide you through it – just search for it by name! I usually do it a few times in a row – it doesn’t require anything but a chair.
  • Hot5 – 5 minute workouts for those that get bored quickly. From abs to yoga to HIIT workouts and more! Sadly only available for iPhone – can’t wait til they come to androids.
  • Sworkit – a big variety of workouts, including strength training, stretching, cardio, pilates and yoga – and no equipment is required. I also love their tagline: “Get to Swork!”

Pinterest is also a great resource for at-home (or hotel room) workout routines.


5) Incorporate fitness into your family time.

I love taking family walks and hikes during the holidays. And remember that fitness doesn’t just mean organized activity – embrace your inner kid and build a snowman, go sledding or ice skating, or play tag!


All of this said… be realistic, too! You won’t be able to 100% stick to your normal workout routine during the holidays and that’s okay. It’s a time to recuperate and relax a bit, as well! Be kind to yourself – stay active in ways that are fun to you and incorporate built in fitness into your day to day activities (walking, taking the stairs), but don’t stress yourself out if there are days when a workout simply doesn’t happen.

How do you stay active while traveling during the holidays? Has anyone else signed up for holiday races already? I’m doing the Alexandria 5 Mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning with Matt and my brother – pumped! Hoping to find a jingle run to do in December, too, either here in DC earlier in the month or during Christmas week up in Pittsburgh! 🙂

And for those who cruise often — any tips for me and Matt for staying active while cruising? I haven’t been on a cruise since college!

This post was created as part of my collaboration with Carnival. As always, all of the opinions, thoughts, and ideas in this post are my own.