How to Stay Fit on Vacation

Vacations are the best. It’s time to relax, sleep in, be lazy, eat and drink…but when you’re trying to lose weight or stay fit a vacation can be a challenge.

My vacations are typically pretty active. Michael and I enjoy hiking so wherever we are vacationing I pre-plan some hikes we can do. It’s a great way to see the area, enjoy some time together and do something active.

Let’s tackle some of the dilemmas.

Dilemma: Flying somewhere poses different challenges: food temptations in the airport and those snacks on the plane that are not only pricey but not good for the waistline.

Tip: Pack your own snacks. Bring an apple, banana, trail mix and skip the treats on the plane. Every airport I’ve been in has had a Subway. There are healthy options there too.

Dilemma: No gym/pool etc.

Tip: Do something else! Go for a walk and see new sites. Go for a hike. Rent bikes and see the city that way. There are great ways to sneak in exercise while on vacation. Pack a jump rope in your suitcase. Doing the jump rope for 20 minutes when you first wake up will kick your butt!

I am a self-proclaimed gym rat. When I went to Vegas with my friend Robyn we used the gym in the casino we were staying at. Since we booked massages in their spa we got a free pass to the use the gym! We worked out, then got massages and had a great time.

The last time I was in Vegas with Michael we stayed at The Palms. I wasn’t too enthused with the idea of paying $35 a day to use their gym. Solution: I went for a run outside! I ran around the neighborhood near The Palms. I got in a fantastic run, saw parts of Vegas I’d never see, and it was by far one of the best memorable runs.


Dilemma: You don’t want to do your traditional workouts.

Tip: Often doing a new activity altogether is a great way to break up a fitness rut. If you’re vacationing at the beach try swimming, snorkeling, beach running, etc. Take a frisbee to the beach. In the mountains or on a lake? Rent a canoe or kayak. Vacationing in a new city? Check out the local drop-in yoga studio, or take a guided walking tour. Walking for several hours will wear you out! Great workout.


Dilemma: You don’t have time on vacation to workout.

Tip: When you first wake up, do a bunch of push-ups, sit-ups, tricep dips with a chair. If you travel with a laptop, do a yoga video in your hotel room.

In terms of food, the biggest pitfall of vacations is the temptation to indulge. I definitely fall victim to splurging on foods that I wouldn’t normally eat at home. I also drink things I wouldn’t normally drink. My typical adult beverage is wine or a vodka tonic (lower in calories than mixed drinks) but on vacation in Arizona I indulged in a Ghost Orchid–a high calorie “girly” drink. But I just had one and it was recommended by my friend.

The one good thing I did on my recent vacation: eating at home as much as possible. We ate lunch at the house every day (healthy, normal breakfast) and we usually ate lunch at home. Eating out only a few times saved money and calories.

If you’re staying in a condo/hotel/house that has a kitchen take advantage of that. Buy some healthy groceries, cook a few meals at home and try to maintain your normal eating habits (with a few indulgences).

My blog is more about “living in moderation” than anything else. Yes I maintain my fitness on vacation and yes I try to count my calories on vacation–but I still enjoy myself. Splitting that huge piece of birthday cake with 3 other people was much better than making myself sick by eating it on my own.

QUESTION: Do you exercise on vacation? How do you stay fit when on vacation?



Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and

10 thoughts on “How to Stay Fit on Vacation”

  1. I’ll be honest-I used to think working out on a vacation was lame.
    But since we started running I love going on runs when I’m somewhere different-it’s fun to switch up the route, and it makes you see more of the city!
    Plus, then you’ve got more calories to use trying every brewery you can find 🙂

    1. I’m with ya on the brewery!

      When I started running I really enjoyed running in a new places. Running in Vegas was one of my favorites. It was so cool to see parts of the city I’d never normally see while getting in a good run!

  2. I don’t work out intentionally on vacation. I figure my body needs a break every now and then and a rest week won’t hurt anything. Sometimes I take rest weeks at home, too, because I feel like they need them.

    Oh, and Kansas City airport does NOT have a Subway. I wish! The food options there in the terminal I use are awful: Burger King, Sbarro, Starbucks, and a Mexican place where everything is dripping in cheese. It’s the pits, but I’ve learned to pack a meal!

    1. No Subway?!?! Crazy! I’ve seen them in every airport I’ve been to. But you travel a lot more than me, maybe you don’t see them as often?

      I don’t always exercise on vacation, per se…a lot of times it’s just hiking. While that’s physical activity (that balances out the food I indulge in) it’s not quite the same as going nuts with working out.

  3. I’m a lot like you with vacationing. I “sneak” in a lot of physical activity during vacation. it’s actually hard not to get in a lot of physical activity on vacation! When you go to somewhere like Las Vegas you end up walking A LOT. Vacations are exercise in disguise I think.

    1. SOOO true! Vegas itself is exercise. It’s so deceptive, too. You don’t think you’re walking much but by the end of the day you’ve walked 10 miles and you’re so exhausted you can barely stand!

  4. Hey Lisa! Just found your blog today!

    Thanks for the tips! I’m going on a much needed vacation at the end of the week and have been thinking a lot about what I can do to stay active during that time. We’ll be doing lots of walking and renting bikes, but I’ve had a little anxiety over whether or not that would really be enough, so I’m also mapping out a couple 1-mile jogging loops near the B&B we’re staying at so I can get a quick burn in here and there. OH! And here’s one more thing, we’re bringing LOTS of chewing gum. They have so many delicious flavors out now so I bought a bunch yesterday to fight off inbetween-meal-snack-cravings.

    Thanks for all the inspiration!

    1. Hi Catherine! Thanks for reading and commenting. And chewing gum is one of my secret weapons. I chew a lot of it to curb sugar cravings in between meals (especially at work).

      I’m glad you are thinking ahead about your vacation fitness. It sounds like you have a good plan in place. Enjoy it!

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