While on the go, it's hard to maintain the same routines you have back at home. Similarly, you're unlikely to find a gym while you travel in some more out of the way places, and you're sick, stuck on a bus, etc etc. You're eating strange foods and drink, and often partying.

Aside from tongue-in-cheek backpacker workouts, how can you keep fit / work-out while doing long-term travel?

I personally find I lose weight when on big trips, because I have a sedentary lifestyle when working, but that's just weight loss, not working out, per se.

  • 2
    Describe what travelling long term means. There's only so much you can do while on a bus, but when you are not sitting there are some things you can do. It just helps to understand what the days look like. Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 13:47
  • When travelling (backpacking) for 3 or more months generally. Away from home, your usual food, gym, etc.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 20:08

2 Answers 2


Ivo Flipse blogged about staying fit while traveling so I'll enumerate some of the points from his post.

Jump ropes are small, portable, and don't require much space. Leg exercises such as lunges and squats will work out the biggest muscles in your body and will more calories than working a different part of your body.

If you have a smartphone or iPad, you can use the Workout of the Day app which sends you a different workout each day. The workouts require no gym and focus on using your own body weight.

Jogging is another activity you can, but it is largely dependent on where you will be and whether you want to carry running clothes and shoes. You run the risk of getting lost or ending up in a less than desirable location unless you plan your route carefully. Outside of running, walking in itself is perfectly fine. If you want to track your walking distance, there are pedometers you can use to do so. If your locale features tall structures, climbing to top also provides a workout in addition to some spectacular views.

Burpees are excellent to perform in small spaces as well. The steps to do them are:

  1. Begin in a standing position.
  2. Drop into a squat position with your hands on the ground.
  3. Kick your feet back while lowering yourself with a pushup.
  4. Return your feet to the squat position while straightening your arms.
  5. Leap up as high as possible from the squat position with your arms overhead (you may clap your hands above your head at the peak of your jump) How to do a burpee - image from LookLikeAnAthlete.com Image from Look Like an Athlete.com

Also see the following questions for more workout ideas, which Ivo referenced in his blog post.


Juggling is great for portable cardio, and can be done inside or out. It burns up to 280 calories an hour. I'd suggest combining learning/practicing juggling with things like push ups, crunches, squats, lunges, etc. You can design your own circuit. An example might be:

  • Practice juggling for 5 minutes.
  • Do 15 squats.
  • Practice juggling for 5 minutes.
  • Do 15 lunges.
  • etc.

It's still important to get vigorous cardio a couple of times a week, but juggling is perfect for rainy days, when the gym is closed, or when you want to change up your routine. And no matter how packed your luggage is, you can usually fit a set of juggling balls in there.

Instructions below but also plenty of how-to juggling videos on YouTube.

How to Juggle with Balls

  1. Start with a ball in your right hand, arms at your side and elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Using a scooping underhand motion, throw the ball from one hand to the other at about forehead level. Repeat until your throws from one hand to the other are smooth and comfortable.
  2. Hold one ball in each hand. Using the underhand motion, throw the ball in your right hand to your left. When that ball reaches its highest point, throw the ball from your left hand under the first ball and over to your right hand. The second throw should be at the same height as your first throw. Repeat, this time starting with your left hand instead of your right. Practice until this is smooth. Pause for a few seconds between every two throws.
  3. Hold two balls in your right hand and one ball in the left. Throw the ball in the front of your right hand over to the left. When that ball reaches its highest point, throw the ball from your left hand under the first ball (just like in Step 2). When that ball peaks, throw the other ball from your right hand under the second ball and over to your left. Keep doing this so that every time a ball peaks, you throw a ball under it and over to your other hand.

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