Aside from health and fitness, one of my biggest passions in life is traveling. I spent two years after college living in Amsterdam (and traveling whenever possible), and still travel whenever I can for both work and play.
And while I used to never know how to work out or eat healthy while traveling, over the years I’ve slowly learned from mistakes and adopted habits that allow me to keep fit and healthy even when I’m out of my regular routine.
Aside from working out every single day (aside from a rest day, of course) and walking almost everywhere, I’ve also figured out several travel-friendly things I can bring with me when I’m away from home so that I never get stuck eating unhealthy food all day long or making excuses that I can’t work out.
Here are 7 health and fitness items I never travel without:
A jump rope
The one piece of workout equipment I never, ever travel without is a basic jump rope. Although I often do equipment-free workouts and have no doubt that you can get in an awesome workout using nothing but your own bodyweight, a jump rope allows me to mix up my workouts just a bit to keep from being bored, especially helpful if I’m gone for a couple of weeks or more.
Plus, jump roping is just fun! Check out these 7 workouts you can do with nothing but a jump rope for jump rope inspiration.
Since I aim for about one gram protein per pound bodyweight, it can be pretty hard to reach that with food sources alone when I’m not cooking constant meals for myself. And while that wouldn’t be that big of a deal on a short trip, long-term it could result in muscle loss and a slight fat gain.
That’s why I make sure to bring protein powder with me wherever I go. I tend to measure out at least one serving a day to have after my workout, which ensures that I get at least 25 grams of good whey protein on top of whatever else I can find when I travel.
And sure, I could certainly skip packing it and just try and buy protein powder wherever I go, but not only is it often a pain to try and find a place that stocks it, most protein powders are sold in only large containers so I would end up throwing most of it away at the end of my trip.
So much easier just to pack it!
All that jumping, pull ups, and push ups I do tend to leave me feeling pretty sore at times, and since a foam roller is much too hard to pack (especially if you avoid checking bags like I do), a lacrosse ball is the next best thing.
Lacrosse balls are awesome for targeting sore spots in your calves, back, arms, and even chest and neck muscles. And since they barely take up any space at all, I make sure to bring one with me wherever I go.
Although some people like silence when they work out because they say it helps them focus, I’m one of those people who can’t stand not having any sound on during my workouts.
I used to use the standard Apple headphones when I worked out, but they were basically useless when jumping around (and I’m pretty much always jumping around) since they would always fall out of my ears. Enter the most amazing headphones I’ve ever used: Beats wireless in-ear headphones.
I’ve never had a ton of success with bluetooth before, but these things are seriously awesome. They actually stay in my ears, even when doing burpees and jump roping, which has been a life changer when traveling. They’re not cheap (they run about $200 per pair), but they seem like they’ll last a long time and I’d say they’re worth it if you hate normal headphones falling out as much as I do.
One of the hardest things about eating while traveling is finding snacks that are both healthy and don’t take forever to get or find. Since I need to eat every couple hours or I get increasingly “hangry” and no one wants to be around me, figuring out how to sneak in some food between meals is crucial for me.
That’s why I pack several Quest bars (approximately one per day of travel) whenever I go somewhere away from home. If I can find other food that fits the healthy and quick bill, great, but having one of these with me at all times ensures that I’ll never have to resort to a piece of greasy pizza or a sugary cinnamon roll when I’m traveling (unless, of course, that’s what I want—the 80/20 rule is a great one for traveling).
I tend to like Quest bars since they pack 20 grams of protein per bar, but of course you can bring any type of protein or energy bar you like best—just make sure to avoid the ones that are basically candy bars.
Sometimes, when I travel, I’m constantly impressed at the availability of delicious salads and veggie-packed meals available, and don’t feel like I’m lacking on fruits and veggies at all. Other times, depending on where I am, I have a hard enough time getting an iceberg lettuce salad, let alone all the broccoli my heart desires.
That’s why I always make sure to pack greens powder like Greens Superfood or Athletic Greens with me wherever I go. Although I still try to get in some good salads and veggies whenever possible, this ensures I still get a good amount of nutrients in and as a bonus gives me extra energy to get through my day.
Workout shoes + clothes
This may seem like a given, but I’m always surprised when I travel with other people how when I go to work out, they say something like “I would totally work out, but I didn’t bring any workout clothes or shoes!”
Seriously you guys, one of the very best ways to make sure you remain active and keep working out even when you’re traveling is to bring your workout attire with you.