Whether you’re lucky enough to get to take a family vacation, a road trip with friends, or a romantic getaway with your partner, or you find yourself needing to travel for work, any time you’re away from home, it can be difficult to keep up with your workout routine.
Between jet lag and time changes, a completely different routine, unfamiliar surroundings, tiny hotel rooms, and cramped hotel gyms with old equipment, it’s not easy—let alone feasible—to go for your usual run outdoors or get in the solid workout you usually do at the gym when you’re at home.
The good news is that you can do a total-body hotel workout right in your room when you’re on the road, helping you stick to a workout routine—albeit modified, perhaps—while traveling.
In this guide, we will provide some hotel room workout ideas and other workouts you can do while traveling when you have limited space, time, and equipment.
We will look at:
- Should You Work Out When You Travel?
- 5 Hotel Workout Ideas
Let’s get started!
Should You Work Out When You Travel?
The first question that many people ask is, “Do I need to work out when I travel?”
Ultimately, the answer is always no, you don’t need to work out when you’re on vacation or traveling, but just as exercise is extremely beneficial for your physical and mental health when you’re at home living your usual daily life, so too is working out beneficial when you travel or are away from home.
Moreover, if you aren’t active at all during an extended vacation of a couple of weeks or more, you’ll start to lose fitness, which will make returning to your workout routine difficult when you get back home,
With that said, there are some instances where exercising on vacation is not necessarily advisable, such as during the first day if you have crossed time zones, if you contract an illness or food poisoning, or if the conditions are unsafe.
Common sense and trusting your instinct should guide your decisions in these cases.
5 Hotel Room Workout Ideas
Many times when you travel, the best option, or only option, is to do a hotel workout in your room. Some hotels have gyms with poor hours or subpar equipment if there’s a gym at all, and motels, inns, bed & breakfasts, and AirBnbs very rarely have the luxury of any sort of fitness facilities.
In such cases, a hotel workout in your room is a safer choice. Here are a few hotel room workouts for exercising when you travel:
#1: Total-Body Hotel Workout
Complete 2-3 rounds of the following 10 bodyweight exercises. Try to rest as little as possible. Each round takes 10 minutes.
- 60 seconds of jumping jacks
- 60 seconds of bodyweight squats
- 60 seconds of push-ups
- 60 seconds of alternating forward lunges
- 60 seconds of chair/bed triceps dips
- 60 seconds burpees
- 60 seconds calf raises
- 60 seconds single-leg bridges (30 seconds per leg)
- 60 seconds jump squats
- 60 seconds plank
#2: Tabata Hotel Workout
When you’re pressed for time as well as space, a Tabata hotel workout is the way to go. Tabata is a specific style of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout that involves extremely high-intensity efforts and very short rest periods in a specific 2:1 ratio of work to rest.
Developed by Dr. Izumi Tabata in 1996, the traditional Tabata format is eight rounds of 20 seconds of nearly maximal-intensity work followed by just 10 seconds of rest, making the entire Tabata workout just 4 minutes long.
Dr. Tabata initially developed the Tabata protocol for cycling, but people now use the Tabata format for any form of exercise.
Pick one exercise for all eight rounds. If you have more time, do a second Tabata with a new exercise.
#3: Resistance Band Hotel Workout
If you plan ahead, you can pack a few resistance bands in your suitcase to increase the intensity of your hotel room workouts.
Look for sets of resistance bands that include small loop bands (“booty bands”) as well as long tube bands with handles. Usually, sets of resistance bands have different strengths or thicknesses, to provide the resistance equivalent to different weights.
If you travel a lot and want to stay consistent with your strength training workouts, you can also buy a travel gym set like Gorilla Bow, a complete resistance training system with up to 350 pounds of resistance.
Here’s a hotel room resistance band workout for total-body strengthening. Complete 2-3 rounds:
- 60 seconds of jumping jacks
- 20 squats and overhead presses, stepping on the band with both feet shoulder-width apart
- 20 push-ups
- 15-20 resistance band curls
- 15-20 burpees
- 60-second plank with leg extension (see instructions below)
- 20 clamshells per side, using a booty band just above the knees
- 20 resistance band split squat and row per side (see instructions below)
- 20 resistance band triceps extensions standing on the band and pulling it back overhead straight up into the air
- Shoulder clocks 10 per time (see instructions below)
- 20 single-leg bridges per side
- 20 resistance band anti-rotation pulses, attaching the band at the door knob level (see instructions below)
- Attach a resistance band with a handle to the door. You can perform the exercise kneeling or standing, but the band should be chest height and you should be far enough away from the anchor point that there’s a good amount of tension on the band.
- Position yourself so that your body is angled 90 degrees from the band. In other words, the anchor point is to your right or left side. Hold the handle of the band with your arms fully extended out in front of you. There should be significant tension on the band.
- Brace your core and contract your glutes, while pulsing the band side to side. For example, if the band is anchored to your left, pulse the band with extended arms to the right about 4 inches per pulse.
- Pulse 50 times and then switch sides.
Plank With Leg Extension
- Get in a forearm plank position with a loop resistance band around your ankles.
- While bracing your core and maintaining proper form, lift your right leg straight up as high as you can without bending your knee.
- Return to the starting position with control.
- Complete 15 slow reps, and then switch sides.
Split Squat and Row
- Secure a strong resistance band in a door or on a stationary object at chest height. It’s best to use a resistance band with a handle and double it so that you’re holding both ends and the middle is secured.
- Hold the resistance band handle or handles (if doubled) in your right hand. There should be a fair amount of tension on the band.
- Step your left leg forward and drop into a split squat, bending both knees to 90 degrees, while simultaneously pulling back on the resistance band to complete an upright row (pull your extended arm back towards your body by bending your elbow, retracting your scapula, and pulling backward). Keep your core tight, chest up, and back straight.
- Keep your feet staggered in the split squat position, but press through your feet to stand upright again while extending your arm forward to the starting position.
- Continue dropping into your split squat with every row.
- Complete 15 reps, and then switch sides.
- Get into a push-up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and a loop resistance band around your wrists. There should be a fair amount of tension on the band in this starting position.
- While keeping your body in a straight line from your head to your heels (keep your hips down and in line with your body), step your right hand as far out to the side (3:00 position on a clock) as possible and then back in again.
- Complete 10 reps to 3:00, as well as 10 to 1:00, 2:00, 4:00, and 5:00.
- Switch and step your left hand out to 9:00 for reps.
- Follow up with 11:00, 10:00, 8:00, and 7:00.
#4: Cardio Hotel Workout
This 20-minute cardio workout is just a simple circuit of bodyweight calisthenics in a hotel room when you’re looking for a good sweat but can’t get out for a run.
Then complete three sets of the following cardio exercises:
- 60 seconds of high knees sprinting in place
- 60 seconds of jumping jacks
- 60 seconds of side to side hops over a line
- 60 seconds of mountain climbers
- 60 seconds of burpees
- 60 seconds of fast feet (squatting down, legs wide, alternating weight-bearing legs as fast as you can)
#5: Core Hotel Workout
Complete this 10-minute core routine in your hotel room, no equipment necessary. You can do 2-3 sets if you’re feeling ambitious.
- 60 seconds high plank with shoulder taps
- 60 seconds forearm plank
- 60 seconds dead bug
- 60 seconds bird dog
- 60 seconds right side plank
- 60 seconds left side plank
- 60 seconds Russian twist
- 60 seconds bicycle crunches
- 60 seconds V-ups
- 60 seconds up-down plank
Pick one of these hotel workouts the next time you travel and let us know how it goes!
If you do, in fact, have access to a gym, here are some strength training exercises you can try out.