How to Workout on Vacation {without it feeling like a workout}

Similar to my vacation food mindset, I always had an all or nothing approach to working out on vacation. I would either pack all my workout gear and plan to run every single day of vacation, or I would leave it all behind so I could forget about working out completely.

Neither one worked.

If I didn’t get all my workouts in, I felt guilty, which led me to feel bad about myself, which led to the bag of chips. And if I didn’t workout at all, I felt weighed down and not as energetic as I hoped to be on vacation.

These days, I’ve found a better way. Here is my personal approach on how to workout on vacation that I hope can inspire your vacation workouts!


I pack my gear without plans.

I pack my tennis shoes and my activewear with no plans or intention whether I will use it for working out or not (yoga pants are an essential travel item for me anyways!). But it is important to me to pack these items so that I can always have the option. I also try to bring my travel yoga mat (the eKO superlite) if I have enough room in my bag. That’s about all I bring, but whatever gear you need, bring it. 

I download music and/or classes.

I always have a few playlists downloaded on Spotify so I can pop in my headphones and take a nice walk without needing wifi/cell service. I also subscribe to MyYogaWorks which is great to watch videos wherever I am. Lastly, I have a screenshot of the NYT 7-minute workout on my phone so I can do that if I feel up for it.

On vacation:

I listen to my body.

In the morning, I check in with myself and see what I’m feeling like doing that day. Some days, I know I just need to lay around and read my book to recharge and that is A-OK. Some days, I want to do a bit of yoga in the morning, especially if I have some beautiful outdoor scenery to enjoy. Some days, I want to jump around and get some energy out. I just take the time to check in with myself in the morning, and occasionally again in the afternoon.

I walk. A lot.

If I’m on a city vacation, I tend to just walk to every destination, even if it takes over an hour, because it’s all about exploring! I get to see the sites and move my body. And save some money! Win, win, win. Some days, we end up walking over 10 miles and don’t even realize it. If that’s not considered a workout, I don’t know what is.

If I’m on a relaxing vacation, I often take a walk on the beach/around the lake, just to get my body moving and enjoy the scenery.

I continue my personal practice.

I love yoga, as you probably know, and I enjoy doing yoga everywhere I go. So if I’m in a new location, with beautiful scenery, I sure as heck want to do yoga while surrounded by it. Some of my best vacation memories are of my morning yoga, followed by breakfast with my dad on our balcony in Sicily. Or yoga on the dock of the lake while the sun was still rising. Or going to a yoga class at the studio across the street from my airbnb, taught in a different language.

Whatever sport you practice, take it with you if you can. My brother loves to run and he runs in every new place as a way to explore. My cousin loves Jiu Jitsu and finds new studios to practice in when he is on vacation. Crossfit friends find the nearest crossfit gym to workout in. If you like what you practice, it’s really fun to continue your practice on vacation and change things up a bit.

I try new activities specific to the area I’m in, or the people I’m with.

It’s really fun to try different activities, depending where I am or who I’m with. I now have my Scuba certificate, so I can scuba dive in different places. I love to waterski when we are with friends and family at the lake. I love to hike in the mountains. I enjoy swimming in different bodies of water. I loved learning Tango in Argentina, or dancing while checking out the nightlife of a new city. No need for a formal workout when you can find fun ways to move your body!


I ease my way back into my routine.

It’s not always the easiest to get back from vacation and pick up right where I left off. So I slowly start to do what I normally do, and it slowly increases back to where it was at before vacation. I used to hit the gym hard after vacation and that just made coming home from vacation a dread. And I’d rather keep that vacation high as long as possible.

I don’t believe working out should feel like a chore at any time, but I especially don’t want it to feel that way on vacation. So I let every vacation run its course, and I see where it takes me. And I never regret it when I do move my body (but sometimes I regret my shoe choice).

I have a little treat for you fellow yoga lovers! I was inspired after my last vacation without a yoga mat to show that no equipment is necessary to enjoy movement on vacation. So, I made a 15-Minute No Mat Yoga Sequence for you! It’s for beginners, but I recommend you’ve done yoga at least 10 times since it is an audio class and you need general knowledge of the poses.


It's common to have an all-or-nothing approach to working out on vacation. But, you CAN workout on vacation without it feeling like a workout! 

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