Do you struggle with exercise when you travel?

This article will get you running regularly and as a bonus, you’ll save time and money.

running in turkey

Running home in Turkey a couple weeks back

I’ve struggled forever. That was until I was training for the Mersin Marathon when I figured out the best way keep up your fitness around the world.

The ‘training’ was fun all of a sudden. Running didn’t feel like a choir.

This isn’t the perfect hack as there are some downsides (mentioned further on). But you can stop reading after the next line if you’re short on time. Here it is:

TLDR; Run back to your accommodation after visiting a tourist attraction.

Yes, it’s that simple.

Yoga, running, tai chi, slacklining, skipping, bodyweight exercises, Pilates, the lot. I’ve tried to find something sustainable to get the heart rate up a few times a week but never succeeded.

I know I’m not alone.

Let’s focus on running. Running is such an easy idea in theory. You’re allowed to run pretty much everywhere and you don’t need lots of extra equipment. And of course, it’s free-ish. Yet, I’ve never had a running routine last.

I thought Barcelona would be the perfect place to make running a habit this year. Nope. Turns out running around the park a few times wasn’t for me. The evenings were hot, and knowing I could head home after any lap was an easy get out of jail free clause.

There have been lots of places where I’ve based myself for a month or more, but always found an excuse to avoid creating an exercise habit.

In Antalya this November, something clicked. Granted, I had no choice but to go running having signed up for a marathon in early December so I was running regularly.


how to exercise while travelling

At the waterfall about to start the run which sparked this idea.

While I could say ‘sign up for a marathon’ that isn’t going to be the sustainable motivation for 99% of us.

When travelling you need habits that can be flexible. That’s why when I was stunned when I realised that clicking moment was something I’ve never read or heard about. I simply caught the tram there, enjoyed the waterfall and the view and got some fitness in on the way back.

work towards a greater good

This did help me train for a marathon

The more I thought about this idea the more opportunities opened up in terms of seeing an attraction and getting some fitness in at the same time. So I implemented this a bunch of times over the next couple of weeks leading up to the Mersin Marathon on December 3rd. You 10/10 should try exercising this way when you travel.

Who Is This Tip Not Good For?

sweet antalya views

I hiked up this hill and ran down the road. If you bring walking poles (or other large things) when you hike, this won’t work for you.

  • Those who need to wear Instagram dresses wherever they go
  • Those who carry insane amounts of camera gear everywhere (looking at you Jackson)
  • Those who can’t leave their accommodation without bringing things “just in case”

Solution: If you’re travelling with someone who isn’t keen on keeping fit, you can offload any extra stuff to them while you run back. They’ll understand ⛄

How To Implement This Tip Successfully

kursunlu waterfall

Ran back from here, Kursunlu Waterfall. That was a long run.

  1. Download for your phone. The offline maps function is the best.
  2. Choose your attraction of choice, making sure it’s within a realistic running distance back to your accommodation
  3. Look into how much public transport to the attraction costs
  4. Look into how much any entrance fees are. Bring enough to cover public transport and entrance fees.
  5. Get some fruit for your pre-run snack
  6. Bring a medium-sized bottle of water
  7. Go to tourist attraction
  8. Enjoy the attraction while snacking on fruit
  9. Run back whenever you’re ready

Benefits Of This Fitness Hack

not always glamourous

Sometimes you get to see some construction sites….so cool…

You Save Money: We all like to eat right? Restaurants in and around tourist attractions often implement tourist prices. This was definitely the case at Kursunlu Waterfall. Fruit is the perfect snack to have pre-run as it’s portable, cheap, and readily available. If you want, you could even try out new locals fruits (cultural as bro). Personally, I stick to the basics, apples, oranges and bananas.

You also save money by not spending money on transport on the way back. Sure depending on where you are this could be like 50 cents, but hey, sometimes that can be $5+. Do this half a dozen times a month, and you’ll find yourself able to travel longer.


You Save Time: Time is the major reason many fail to get/stay fit on the road. I’m guilty of using this excuse. When I plan to take a 45-minute run, I can pretty much cancel out the next 2/3 hours. I procrastinate for a while, get distracted, you know the usual things. Running back from the tourist attraction avoids the procrastination of getting started.

Another big time suck is getting back tourist attractions. While you probably won’t run back as fast as public transport, you won’t be much slower. Seriously. And unless your accommodation is right by the bus/tram stop, there’s always that extra walking time to the transport stop that’s a time suck.

You Can Take Your Time: When public transport (taxis are the worst) doesn’t run regularly to and from the tourist attraction, it sucks having to wait around for 30 minutes for the next bus after you’ve seen everything or on the other hand, leaving early to catch the next bus sucks too.

You Get To See Daily Life In Action: When you jump on public transport, you probably spend most of the time on your phone rather than looking out the window. Guilty. When you’re running in a new place, you are likely to observe lots of random things (cool street art for sure) as you see people do their daily thing. You might even stumble across a cool attraction you hadn’t considered.

While I was running home a couple weeks back, I had such a memorable minute I mentioned on Facebook which I’ll pop below.

This wasn’t the only other interaction I had, there was always kids wanting to give a high 5 and as you’re going slow (tortoise life) you do get a chance to observe what’s happening at a much slower pace. And a chance to take photos of course.

Downsides Of This Tip

  • There is a little bit of planning involved
  • Sweaty paper money is disguting (learned that from the spare 5 Turkish Lira note I put in my pocket for emergency money)
  • You might get stuck in the middle of nowhere with no funds (hence I took 5 liras just in case)
  • If it’s cold, it’s not ideal going out and about in shorts before exercising (discovered this here in Izmir)

Your Turn

So what do you think? Is this a simple tip you can incorporate to stay fit when travelling?

If you put this tip in action, let me know in the comments or send me a message on Facebook.

how to stay fit when travelling