Packing for holiday is always a difficult task. Packing for a fit holiday is even more challenging, especially if you are not planning to take three massive bags of luggage with you. However, there are some staples that are always in my bag when travelling and, after poking around into the bags of my fellow fit travellers, in theirs too. So what should you pack for your fit holiday this year? Here’s the magic list!
Any fit travel starts with possession of good shoes (bless my Reebook running shoes!). As tempting as it might be to pack the entire wardrobe (especially for women), the essentials of any fit travel should start with comfortable (and light!) training/running shoes. Most training shoes will do, however always consider the destination and activities planned (running by the sea might require different shoes compared to rock climbing).
The rest of the fit travel essentials should include shorts or leggings, a sports top and a thin wind-proof jacket (it is chilly in the morning even in Mediterranean countries). Sport socks are something extra, but you can never be over-prepared.
There is a joke in my family that I don’t leave the house without a protein bar… Indeed, I order a box of CarbKillas (Grenade’s protein bars) before every trip, despite how long or short it is. This is due to several reasons: first, it is an easy and convenient snack; second, we do tend to go high on carbs on holidays. During trips in Europe or North America it is rather easy to find healthy food options.
However, in some countries (I am thinking about my experiences in Tanzania and India here) it is quite difficult to find a cuisine you like (and sometimes a place to eat in general – bad memories from Sri Lankan trip!). Because of this reason protein bars are a food staple that is always in my bag to keep my protein intake decent (at least 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight).
It is not always easy to squeeze fitness equipment into the luggage, however resistance bands are something you could pack for your fit holiday even when travelling with minimal luggage. I normally take a long resistance band which I use for exercising outdoors, mainly on the bars in the calisthenics area in the parks. Another option is to take small resistance bands which you can use for doing various exercises even in your hotel room.
Although calisthenics (bodyweight exercises with no equipment) is sufficient for keeping you fit on holiday, resistance bands would add some extra tension which is great to contribute to the muscle growth goals. Talking of calisthenics – have a look at my previous blog on this topic if you haven’t done that already… 😊
In addition to the resistance bands mentioned above, a skipping rope (I use Beast Gear skipping rope) is another item that you should pack for your fit holiday. Especially if running is not your thing (…and you slack on cardio training on holiday), starting the day with a quick skipping rope session is a great way to switch on your metabolism and burn some calories.
Sport gloves are another item that is always in my bag, even when I’m travelling on a short business trip. A lot of hotels nowadays have a gym and therefore sports gloves are very useful for quick hotel weight-lifting sessions. In addition, your hands will say ‘thanks’ for the use of gloves if you are planning to workout outdoors – stony ground and exercising on metal bars definitely do not contribute to the ‘soft’ palm look…
Running is one of the easiest forms of exercising when travelling. With the exception of very few locations worldwide, you can run in most places. For ultimate running comfort, you should pack few running essentials: shoes (mentioned at the beginning), phone holder (attached to your arm) or running bag, smart watch (even simple Fitbit wrist bands can track your running speed and location). Even if you’re not a seasoned runner, having a few essentials will make the entire experience much more pleasant. Ready, steady… go!
Instead of carrying a water bottle with me, I use a shaker bottle instead. I normally take the shaker bottle to save some space in the bag as it serves several purposes. Besides using it to blend a protein shake after the workout, I just fill it up with water when I am not using it for mixing up supplements.
In addition, some smart shakers (i.e. SmartShake brand) have several compartments which you can use for putting your supplements in and having everything in one place. If the multivitamin is IN the shaker, there’s no way you can forget taking it!
Talking of multivitamins, supplements are another thing you should pack for your fit holiday. One of the most common supplement to take on holiday is protein powder. Conveniently, some brands (i.e. Optimum Nutrition) produce protein powder in small sachets that are very convenient to transport. Other travel essentials include multivitamins (if you take them on a daily basis) and amino acids (used for recovery, especially if you’re having intensive physical activity). Finally, you might also want to take some packaged greens in a form of powder which is especially useful when you are traveling for an extended period of time in a country where cuisine is fibre-less.
A book? Of course! What is a better way to get inspired for fitness if not from the book or magazine cover that keeps popping out in your bag? You can read about healthy travel, about fitness, about healthy nutrition… whatever you fancy, there will certainly be a book to fill that need.
My latest holiday reads included Ross Edgley’s “The World’s Fittest Book” and Michael Matthew’s “Thinner, Leaner, Stronger”.
Last, but not least, headphones. Wireless headphones are especially useful because you can use it when exercising without the fear of getting tangled in the wires. When running, listening to music can boost your motivation which is another benefit of packing headphones with you. Finally, you can listen to some awesome fitness podcasts (yes, they exist) or stretch to the instructions of some fancy YouTube influencer.
Of course, if I had a lot of free space in my luggage, there are so many more things I would like to take! A yoga mat (although there are some thin travel versions now), foam roller, parallettes… And, very likely, even more protein bars (newest obsession: Trek bars)! Hopefully the list above will help you to take fitness with you anywhere you go and ensure that the things you should pack for your fit holiday are actually in your bag!