4 Ways to Stay in Shape While Travelling on a Budget

So this is something I have wanted to write for quite some time. In 2014 I graduated and left the UK with my partner to live and work in Australia on a 417 visa. After this we travelled through South East Asia and on to South America. You have to make a lot of compromises when travelling but a major one for me was not being able to go to the gym.

In Australia, our jobs were in isolated locations in WA and NT. For example I spent six months in an indigenous community in NT. No gyms but we had plenty of space and time on our hands. I resorted to filling 20 litre/4.4 gallon containers with sand and water and using them as rudimentary weights. This was not ideal but I was desperate.

Anyway, I was in Madrid recently (future post) and a friend who is travelling asked me for an example bodyweight workout. I had come up with my own routine while travelling so why not share? So here it is. I’m going to introduce 4 tips and link an example routine at the end.

1. Be flexible

  • Hotel Gym
  • Swimming
  • Public Fitness Equipment

If you’re staying at a hotel, chances are they’ll have a modest gym set-up. Be prepared to modify your routine. You’re likely to need to drop the weight and increase the volume, i.e. more repetitions, less rest and more sets. But you can still get in a great workout.

However, I rarely stayed in a hotel when I travelled so a gym was usually out of the question.

Cairn’s Esplanade Lagoon

Alternatively, pack some swimming gear and goggles and start sea/lake swimming. You might be lucky enough to have a public pool nearby. I got in some dawn swims in a free public pool when I stayed in Cairns, Australia.

Another great tool is public exercise equipment. We’ve all seen them, and we’ve all mocked them, but these were great for me when abroad: use them!

2. Walk and Cycle everywhere

You’d be surprised how far you can walk when abroad. As you can see in the screenshot from my phone, I racked-up over 12 miles one day in Madrid last week. Admittedly, this included some drunk walking but it’s exercise all-the-same.


If you can walk instead of taking public transport then do it! You’ll see more, put in some much needed exercise and save money at the same time. When we were in Siem Reap  we rented a bike for a few dollars and explored the mesmerising Angkor Wat temple complex (where they filmed Tomb Raider). We cycled just over 18 miles, saved on hiring a Tuk Tuk and got to see the area from a different perspective.

3. Be adventurous

If you’re somewhere for a few days or more, why not look online to see what’s on?

When I was in Santiago for a few days I found out about a local free run. It was good exercise but also it allowed me socialise with locals and other travellers .

Other, more expensive ideas, may include –

  • Snorkelling/scuba,
  • Sailing
  • Kayaking
  • Beach running – like normal running but much, much harder. Reward yourself with a dip afterwards!


4. Pack a couple resistance bands

Lightweight, extremely cheap and versatile.

Resistance bands were a mainstay of my workout routines whilst travelling. Can be used for bicep curls, tricep extensions; but also squats, deadlifts and more. Here’s a link to 33 resistance band exercises.


Be flexible, be open and don’t stress too much if you fall behind on exercising. It will come.

OK so the routine, click here.

If you enjoyed the post, please leave a like and comment below.



3 thoughts on “4 Ways to Stay in Shape While Travelling on a Budget

Add yours

  1. I think walking and body weight exercises are my go-to work outs when we’re traveling. You’re right, it really is surprising how far you can walk when traveling. At one point during our Southeast Asia trip, we were averaging 8 miles a day. It was great and we stayed in great shape.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah and the thing is that because you’re travelling everything is an adventure so you don’t even notice putting in the miles (unless it’s a hot and humid day!).
      An 8 mile/day average in SE Asia is pretty damn impressive! Your calves must have been sinewy stumps by the end.


      1. Haha, we were definitly tired by the end of the day. We lost tons of weight because the food there is so unprocessed (unless you get addicted to the infamous toasties) and we were constantly walking everywhere. Plus there was always so much to look at, we didn’t mind it at all.


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