Fitness for Travel: 12 Tips on How to Be in Shape For Your Next Vacation

Are you someone who loves to travel but also wants to maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle? If so, you’re in the right place to find all you need to know about fitness for travel! As a professional bodybuilding athlete and avid traveler, I know how important it is to have great energy levels while on the road.

That’s why I always set a personal fitness goal for each of my trips, whether it’s training for a long hike, incorporating multi-day trekking, or preparing for a physical challenge such as going on the hardest hikes in the world. All my travel plans have some source of fitness associated with them!

In this Fitness for Travel Guide, I’ll be sharing 12 tips on how to be in shape for your next vacation. These tips will not only help you reach your fitness goals, but they will also keep you motivated and excited to explore new dream destinations. So, whether you’re planning a relaxing beach vacation or an adventurous hiking trip, read on to discover how you can prepare yourself for the ultimate fitness journey.

Travel and be healthy” is my philosophy for a happy life balance, and for this purpose, I have decided to start a journey to inspire and empower others to find a life balance by following a healthy lifestyle.

Paula Martinelli

Why you should use your next vacation as Your Fitness Motivation

  • You may want to look good in that bikini during your vacation at the beach or on a cruise
  • What about being active and keeping up with your kids during all the exciting activities
  • Maybe you have a personal goal to go on a trek during your vacation
  • Or maybe your goal is to hike a mountain in the Himalayas at the high altitudes
  • It can also be to feel good during your vacation, while you are planning to climb the stairs in those places that you dreamed about – the Eiffel Tower, the Duomo, the Vatican, the Inca stairs on the Montana Machu Picchu, or that time in the top of the mountain somewhere in Southeast Asia…
fitness for travel

Why Fitness for Travel is very Important?

Traveling can be hard for our bodies and health in general. And I believe that having a healthy lifestyle is essential for all of us travelers – Business travelers and/or adventurer travelers.

Here are a few reasons:

WE SPENT LONG HOURS ON THE PLANE | It is important to have good muscle strength to not feel sore during a long flight. You can try to do some mobility and stability workouts before and after your flight. 
HEALTHY IN GENERAL | It is important to be healthy in order to travel (go figure 2020 Pandemic!) – So keeping up with a fitness routine and healthy eating habits your chances of getting sick will decrease.
JETLAG AND LACK OF SLEEP | Sleep is one of the most important aspects of enjoying a trip overseas; you need to be well-rested if you’re going to enjoy a full day of adventure, but there’s no denying that travel often disrupts your sleep routine.
ENERGY LEVEL | We need energy levels to keep up with our travel routine. One way to improve it is to add as few as 10-min aerobic exercises early in the day, such as walking, cycling, or even doing a workout in your hotel room.
TRAVELING DEMANDS US TO BE MORE ACTIVE DURING THE DAY | It means, you will be walking and moving around. When we are sedentary, we will be limited on how much we can do. Keep moving before, during, and after your travel routine.

And this list can continue…see now how fitness for travel is so connected?

fitness for travel

FITNESS FOR TRAVEL: 12 Tips to be in Shape for Your Next Vacation

1. You must enjoy your fitness journey

This is my number one piece of advice. You must enjoy the journey, and I cannot emphasize this enough. If you get started on something that doesn’t make you happy, it won’t be worth it. Enjoying it is the key to keeping pushing yourself. You must find a way to enjoy exercise.

If you hate the idea of hitting the weights at the gym, you should find something different that you feel excited about doing, and that makes you look forward to that time of your day.

What about outdoor activities such as a nice power walk, running, or a bike ride? Maybe a yoga or dance class. You can join a workout group and exercise in parks or at the beach. Swimming lessons, scuba diving, mountain climbing…. There are so many choices, and you can find something you’ll enjoy.

Expert Tip:

For workout routine ideas, follow my YouTube Channel. You will find a variety of routines from yoga, to home workouts, gym sessions, and more for your fitness-to-travel journey.

2. Plan to go on an Active Trip

The best thing you can plan to follow a fitness-for-travel journey is to go on an ACTIVE TRIP! If you set a goal for your next vacation as an active trip, you have great motivation to prepare for your fitness travel journey. By getting ready for a long hike or trek, for example, you can start to follow a training program to hike like a pro! or even follow the training to hike in high altitudes.

Other ideas of active travel that I have done, and maybe can inspire you:

3. Have a Workout Plan for your fitness for travel

Be realistic with your plan. Jumping into an intense routine can lead to disappointment, or even worse, injury when you cannot keep up with it. After you decide what exercise fits better your needs and you feel comfortable with, it is time to plan ahead. How many times per week, what time of the day works better for you and try to mix some different activities so you don’t feel burned out.

It doesn’t matter if you have the chance to hit the gym for your workout routine, or if you are working out on the go, from your home, or at the park….the most important thing is to Have a Plan. Here you can find more resources:

Expert Tip:

A Fitness for Travel journey has 3 main pillars that are equally important: Exercise, Diet, and Mind Set. Choose an exercise that you enjoy, opt for healthy eating habits, and set your mind by envisioning your goal!


4. Having a Diet Plan is one of the most important things for Fitness for Travel!

Keep in mind that exercise and balanced meals complement each other. When you combine both, you won’t just start to look better, but most importantly, feel better. You will start to have higher energy levels, improve your well-being, have better concentration and the list of positive things can just go on…

  • Make sure you Balance your meals between clean carbs, lean protein, and good fat
  • Stick to 3 main meals per day,
  • Have healthy snacks between your meals,
  • Drink plenty of water,
  • Don’t consume high-sugar and processed food.

These healthy habits should be a great start not only for you to achieve your fitness goal for your next vacation, but also are habits that over some time will allow you to be in shape without putting in a lot of effort.

How to train for a hike

Expert Tip:

The most important thing about your diet is that YOU MUST ENJOY IT! Find something that fits your lifestyle: Vegan, vegetarian, high protein, maco diet, keto…Doesn’t matter what is your diet, the most important thing is to find something that allows you to follow and be consistent. Find my whole article about the Keto Diet guide here. 

5. Find Life Balance

It is so easy for us to be caught up in the busy lifestyle between work, family, social engagements, and other priorities and while all these things get in the way of your health and fitness plan, you need to prioritize your days. This means that you may wake up 1 hour earlier in your day to make that time to take care of your health.

It is not an easy habit, but once you start it and build up the habit, it will become harder not to exercise, just because you become so used to prioritizing in your life. Reserve some time during the weekend to prepare your meals, therefore you will have planned and followed your healthy meal plan for the week.

Expert Tip:

One of the most important things in life is to find a Life Balance. It is not easy, but it is possible. All you need to have is discipline and a plan to work on priorities. Check my full article on how to find Life Balance in 5 Easy Steps

fitness for travel

6. Have a Mind Set!

Find a real meaning for your next fitness goal and ask yourself: Why I am doing this?

Whether you are an athlete or someone who is looking for an adventure, facing any challenge is a mental exercise. Do not neglect your mind (conscious and subconscious) as something to exercise. When you envision a goal, it becomes your new reality.

Picture yourself multiple times per day achieving your goal. Before you start a physical exercise, picture yourself doing it successfully (crossing the finish line, lifting a weight, hitting a yoga pose, finishing a swim, etc.). Picture it in your mind in full color! Feel the accomplishment!

While you are doing exercise, imagine you are climbing a mountain, strolling on the beach, or walking around that romantic city seeing ALL the sights. Use your mind and your body and dreams will come true. Unlock the power to create your own reality through your conscious and subconscious mind!

7. You need to be consistent with your plan

The most important thing you can do is plan, execute, and be consistent with your fitness goals. Don’t let that busy day be an excuse to skip your training or workout day. If anything gets in your way, make your fitness goal a high priority. A busy day ahead of you? What about getting up earlier to make up that extra hour in your day? The important thing is to keep moving…

Expert Tip:

We all live a very busy lifestyle. In order to keep you with your fitness for the travel journey, a great idea is to have a workout area set up at your home, get up earlier, and have your workout done first thing in the day. Check out this best workout portable equipment and also a compact home gym to never miss a workout again!

fitness for travel

8. Track your progress

This is key, and one of the most motivational things you can do to achieve your goal.

If your target is to lose weight and feel better about yourself, take pictures once a month and compare your progress. If you trying to get faster and stronger, track your timing and strength progress. The scale shouldn’t be the only way (or the primary way) to track your progress.

Expert Tip:

You can track your progress for your fitness for your travel journey using a fitness journal and a consistent way to measure it. I write down: my weight, and measurements of my chest, waist, hips, legs, and arms and compare them month by month with the progress. Plus the progress on your exercise routine, and notes of my diet. You can also use phone apps such as My Fitness Pal or any of the 10 Best Fitness apps to track your food intake, exercise progress, and improvements towards your fitness goal.

9. You must be your biggest motivation

Don’t base your goals on anyone else. Do it for yourself! It can be frustrating when we try to do things based on others. You are doing this primarily for yourself and your personal achievement.

As an example, when I was getting ready to hike the Annapurna Base Camp in the Himalayas, some people said to me that there is no way to train for high-altitude trekking, as I may be affected by the altitude and not be able to hike it. I didn’t let this demotivate me.

There are plenty of ways to prepare physically and mentally for my goal, and I kept pushing my limits to achieve my personal goal. Quit the negative self-talk, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Acknowledge that while you may have gone off course today, you will do better tomorrow.

10. Find a partner

If you find it boring or you need some extra motivation, finding a partner is one of the best alternatives. I always train with my husband and we prepare for the adventures of our trip together, and I find us pushing and motivating each other. Like-minded people have the benefit of making exercise infinitely more fun.

Traveling as a couple to Nepal
Nepal – We trained for 2 months together to hike the Himalayas during our vacation

11. Respect your limits for your Fitness for your Travel Journey

It’s important that we push AND respect our limits. To have a fitness goal during vacation doesn’t mean going from no training and suddenly targeting to climb Everest. You’ll always find something that fits your personal goal and for you to push your limits to progress. Take step by step and work on a bigger and better target for the upcoming trips.

Give yourself some time to adapt to the new routine. Don’t expect to see results in a few days and start to work out a week before you leave on vacation. Depending on your fitness goal for that vacation, make sure you plan accordingly. Be stronger, faster, and better than yesterday!

12. FITNESS FOR TRAVEL JOURNEY: Be Proud of Yourself!

Yes and yes! Be proud of yourself. Pat yourself on the back at the end of each training session, or give yourself credit for taking that step towards your goal. The feeling of achieving your goals is something that no one will ever take away from you.

Imagine yourself completing your fitness goal and putting your mind toward it! When you are back from your vacation, you will have an amazing story to tell your friends and family and you’ll motivate everyone around you to also follow a fitness-for-travel journey to look and most importantly, feel your best!

fitness for travel
Glacier hiking Iceland

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Fitness for Travel Conclusion

Make healthy habits part of your lifestyle. Have a plan and be consistent. Don’t follow every diet that comes along. What works for me, may not work for you. You are the only one who can tell what healthy habits and workout plan works best for you.

The key to getting into shape and remaining in shape is to be consistent with your plan and listen to your body.

What makes you feel good? What keeps you feeling full and energized throughout the day? What helps you kick ass and feel motivated during your workouts? What keeps you feeling good and looking fit?

My mantra is “Make time, not excuses!”- Without time to keep you with your fitness goal? Wake up 1-hour earlier or skip that 1-hour TV time in the evening and add your workout. Try to follow these options:

If you learned to answer these questions for yourself, you will soon be on the road to embracing healthy habits as your lifestyle.


  • Walk: whenever it is possible, get those steps
  • Take the stairs: Always
  • Get up and move: Whenever you can.
  • Choose active vacation: Incorporate hiking, kayaking, swimming, and biking…there are so many choices to be active!

Last but not least, get back on track when you return from your vacation. Don’t forget that your next vacation is a great motivation to get started to be in your best shape, but you can, and should continue to work on your fitness goal after you return from your vacation.

This is your new lifestyle…you can do it!

fitness for travel

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8 thoughts on “Fitness for Travel: 12 Tips on How to Be in Shape For Your Next Vacation”

  1. Look at those guns Paula! Well done. You gotta enjoy the fitness and travel journey to keep with it. I have been fit since I was 5 years old; first basketball, then bodybuilding, now jogging, walking and yoga. At 43 years old I can jog 12 miles or longer with ease. Loving the fitness journey is the way to go.

  2. Thanks Ryan – way to go buddy! Traveling is good for the soul and fitness is good for the body – when following a journey together, they are the food for a healthy mind!

  3. This is such an inspiring post. I agree with all of your tips, especially the one about making a plan and sticking to it. Too often we hold an “I’ll work out later” mindset and think we’re too tired and lazy during a vacation to move our body even just a bit. It’s therefore very important to have a clear plan with goals and be consistent.

  4. I love this!! I’m a fellow gymaholic. Even though I do actually love the act of working out, one of my favorite benefits is the ability to do cool things on my travels and not be limited by my fitness. My family loves to hike and do adventurous things, so that’s motivation for me to continue to be in good physical condition.

  5. Seeing you is a great example: I am sure if I travel with you I would want to work out every day! I like to workout at home but I usually do not workout when I travel (except for hikes) because I simply do not have the time. This is motivating though!

  6. Thanks Ophelie – I am with you, when I travel I normally do not workout but I am very active during my travels an rarely make up time for sleeping a few hours 🙂

  7. HI Maggie – you are so right, making change on how active we can be when we travel is the best part. Hiking, trekking, walking or any other activity while we explore a new place is so exciting and so good for our body and mind. Keep up the great work girl!

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