‘What no gym!’ I hear you cry and I hate to break it to you but yes, hostels don’t usually have gyms so unless you’re splashing out and staying in a top notch hotel, there will be no running machine or cross trainer.
But wait for it... the good news is that all you need is a pair of walking or running shoes and you can still be burning the calories abroad. Many people don’t eat the same when they are away: being in a hot country can curb your appetite. For me, I tend to eat everything in sight. So, how can you stay fit whilst travelling?
Here's my top tips on exercise you can do anywhere (well almost anywhere) to guarantee that you won't come back heavier than your baggage allowance!
Can be done absolutely anywhere. Trainers are great but may not give you the grip you need for slippery surfaces. Take walking shoes with you or walking boots if it’s a long or difficult trek. Going downhill? use a branch as a walking stick to keep your balance.
Trainers are a must and avoid the heat of the day. I like to run in the morning (gets it out the way and burns calories for hours after). Running is a great way of exploring. It’s amazing how much you can see in twenty minutes. But if it’s a new route then keep an eye on where you are running to ensure you don’t get lost. Take a card with the name of where you are staying written on it or just find one long road and go up and down several times until you find your bearing. Don't forget to take some decent running shoes with you. Warning – if you’re running along streets in Asia, people will stare at you. Solution – don’t look at them!
Not the most practical if you’re sharing a dorm room where there’s barely enough floor space for a hamster cage let alone your backpack. Find somewhere quiet outside in the garden or roof, preferably before anyone else wakes up – yoga at sunrise is amazing and rejuvenates you for the day. Chilled? Yes please.
Only one setback – you need a horse or a donkey, possibly even a camel (or anything big and hairy with four legs). But horse riding at a certain pace will definitely burn those calories. Make sure you get a demonstration before riding to ensure the ride is a comfortable one. If you’ve got one, a sports bra is recommended and padded cycle shorts otherwise you may find muscles aching in places you never knew you had them.
An easy one for anyone near the sea, unless it is the Dead Sea and you just float instead. This can be done in a pool or any ocean that takes your fancy. Not my recommended way of staying fit as water actually gives me more of an appetite, hmm…
Some cities are jumping on the bandwagon of Amsterdam and allowing city dwellers and tourists to rent static bikes. There are so many benefits to cycling and cycling is a fantastic way of seeing a new place but it doesn't have to be restricted to the cities either. Just remember to pack sunblock, lots of water and take a map (and don't forget your helmet either).
Other less obvious ways to exercise:
Tai Chi – Only recommended if you are in a park with Chinese or Japanese people. Otherwise you may look very odd!
Rollerblading – Fashionable if you’re on a promenade in Miami or Melbourne, possibly not quite right anywhere else and why on earth would you take rollerblades travelling?
Skateboarding – If you can't get hold of any rollerblades then get a skateboard instead. Girls longboarding is now more popular than ever so you won't be the only one skating through a city.
Obviously there are many others such as crazy adventure sports but whichever way you decide to burn those calories, doing it abroad never really seems like exercise.