I love the summer travel season.  Whether I’m taking a road trip, or flying to a new city to explore, I’m like a little kid anticipating a visit to an amusement park.

Holly Mosier Family Rafting

Holly and her family in their annual trip!

We’re getting ready to do our annual white-water rafting trip with our kids at the Kern River in California.  It’s a two-day jaunt down some pretty big rapids.  Talk about an easy way to stay fit while you travel!  But what about trips and vacations that don’t include physical adventures, or that isn’t your cup of tea?  No worries. I have found that maintaining my fitness is more challenging when traveling, but it’s actually more fun if you keep an open mind.

This week and next, I’m going to share my tried-and-true guidelines with you, so you can enjoy your travels fully and come home feeling refreshed and happy, without that let-down and bloat we frequently feel on return.

Opt Out:

This is my number one rule for travel, and life .  Do what I call “Opt Out” and gracefully decline to cram too many activities into each day.  Build a buffer of space for some downtime, I promise you will not regret it.  This keeps stress levels down and allows you to really enjoy your trip at a more leisurely pace.  You’ll come home feeling rested and refreshed, rather than needing another vacation.

Bring Along Some Easy Fitness Tools:

I am much more likely to do some exercise when I travel if the tools to do so are handy.  I’ll use a hotel gym (If one is available).  But sometimes there isn’t a gym, or I don’t want to take the time to do a gym workout.  That’s why I always pack a pedometer, jump rope and resistance bands (those rubber tubes with handles on each end).  These are all lightweight and easy to pack for traveling, and I can do some quick and effective exercise without feeling like I’ve wasted my vacation time at the gym.  Here’s what I do:

•  Holly Mosier Jumping RopeTo maintain cardio fitness, if I am feeling energetic, I’ll jump rope for 15 to 20 minutes.  I’ll jump at a slow pace for a few minutes, then do a faster pace for 30 seconds, then slow back down for a few minutes, then repeat the pattern.  This altering a fast and slow pace is called “interval cardio” and it is extremely effective to maintain cardio fitness in less time.

•  If I am not feeling as energetic, or I have a lot of sight-seeing to do, I’ll clip on my pedometer and aim to walk a total of 10,000 steps that day. I am always surprised at how effortless this is to do in new surroundings.  There are so many walking tours in cities now, and they are easy to find on the Internet.  Sometimes I’ll take a taxi or subway for part of the way, then get out and walk again. I have been able to cover vast areas of cities doing this, and I always feel like I really learned about a place when I have walked it and experienced the sights and sounds up close.

•  Holly Mosier Yoga PoseTo keep my muscles toned, sometimes I’ll use the resistance bands for 10 or 15 minutes, followed by some abdominal exercises (crunches, planks …).  On days I don’t use the resistance bands, I’ll do one of my 10-minute yoga routines (I give three of these routines in my DVD, 10-Minute Yoga with Holly Mosier).  I particularly like these quick yoga sequences, because they not only tone and stretch my muscles (which feels terrific after a flight), they quickly calm and center me.

Those are my tools to maintain my exercise when I travel.  But I believe that what and how we eat plays a major role in our health, vitality and overall fitness.  Next week, I’ll share my guidelines for eating in restaurants.  Stay tuned!