A backpackers’ traveling fitness guide

Two women do yoga in front of the sea, at the Sea Shack

Are you up to keeping in shape while seeing the world? Travel is a liberating experience that breaks you out of your daily routines and introduces you to new cultures, new people and new cuisines. But maintaining routines is a big part of keeping to a regular work-out, whatever your chosen activity is. It’s not so easy to keep a balance of proper diet, sleep and exercise while travelling!

So here’s a little survival guide for backpackers who’d like to keep in shape when they travel.

Enjoy eating well

First of all, let’s tackle eating habits, as they’re often the first thing we throw overboard when travelling. This is where youth hostels come in handy. Hotels rarely offer any cooking appliance other than a coffee maker, but youth hostels often offer communal kitchens where you can make your own meals. Rather than perusing restaurant menus three times a day, looking for healthy dishes, make your own at the hostel. Save the eating out as a treat to look forward to after a good dose of sightseeing.

Bonus: By cooking at a youth hostel, you have the opportunity to meet new people from all over the world. Imagine a potluck of cross-cultural cuisines. What would you cook for your new friends?

Getting a taste of the local specialties is one of the great pleasures of the travel experience. If you’re a foodie, there’s no need to go without. The idea is to adopt a balance between eating in and eating out, say 80% cooking for yourself and 20% exploring the local restaurants.

Jeune femme se préparant de la nourriture à l'auberge Saintlo Montréal.
Homme qui grimpe un mur d'escalade

Explore your destination with active adventures

Hitting the local gyms very rarely makes any traveller’s bucket list (although a session at a local yoga or CrossFit studio is a great way to meet new people if you’re a social traveller). Instead, when you’re making your travel plans, seek out physical activities to try out during your adventures.

Climb a volcano, take a surfing lesson, go bouldering or simply tour your destinations on foot. As many hostels are centrally located, they make it easy to replace taxis and public transport with city trekking. You may even want to make your walking into a measurable physical goal, say 10,000 steps a day.

Go at your own pace

Did you know there are free phone apps that can help you create work-out routines wherever you are. Nike Training Club offers HIIT-style workouts, while Strava keeps track of your running or cycling sessions. You can even make your friends jealous when you share your morning run in its exotic new location!

Another advantage of staying in a youth hostel is you can meet fellow travellers who share similar active lifestyle interests. Join a walking tour and chat up some of your tourmates. Your bound to find a partner who’ll join in on an athletic endeavour with you. If you have a favourite sport, go ahead and use an app like Meetup to find local players to join up with.

When you’re backpacking, there’s a limit to the equipment that you can bring to keep in shape. A skipping rope is a light, practical accessory that enables to you work out wherever you are. Resistance bands are also super practical and light to carry. You can do a lot for your physical well-being with these items. If yoga’s your thing, get yourself a travel-sized yoga mat and strap it to your pack.

homme qui tient une corde à sauter dans une main.
Femme qui monte les escaliers

Don’t forget about sleep

Often neglected but essential to keeping in shape during your adventures is maintaining sleep habits. Late nights out may be a natural part of the travel experience, but try to book yourself some calmer nights to chill so you can get in some good, restorative shut-eye. After all, you don’t want to lose too many mornings of your trip recovering from the night before.

Plusieurs personnes qui marchent au Mont Royal

Ready to keep in shape while discovering the world?

Keeping in shape during your adventures is easier than you think if you make it a part of your pre-trip planning process. Research the physical activities and the restaurants you’ll try, and book a hostel so that you can keep to some of your morning or evening eating and fitness routines.

Keeping in shape is as easy as finding a youth hostel and clicking on “Book Now”! Reserve your next youth hostel and set off on a healthy adventure.