I think of budget travel as a sort of prolonged marathon. There’s the constant walking of course—hours and hours of walking and the occasional sprint brought on by a train delay. And the climbing. If you love medieval hill towns as much as I do you’re in for a lot of uphill climbs. (Pro tip: there are plenty of perfectly decent, well-located hotel rooms in charming European towns to be had cheap if you’re willing to climb up four steep flights of stairs.) And naturally there’s the schlepping; your backpack, your water and your picnic supplies. And then there’s the adventure: let’s say you find yourself in a small Umbrian town and you hear that an 850 year old uncorrupted body of the town’s patron saint is on display in a church on the top of a mountain. What do you do? Scramble up a trail to the top of the mountain and view this miracle yourself.
I’m not the body police: people come in various sizes, ages and abilities and that’s a good thing. All I’m saying is, if you want to travel cheap, stay in the best shape you can. As a middle-aged uncoordinated sports hater, I’m hardly someone to turn to for fitness advice. But despite my klutzy ways, I stay in shape to travel.
Do I pay for a gym membership? No way!
Here’s my “gym”; an exercise mat, a yoga ball, a weighted ball, two ten pound weights, two eighteen pound kettlebells and one resistance band. I have a binder of exercise instructions photocopied from library books divided into different types of workouts. Some of this equipment was given to me as a gift, so I’d estimate I’ve spent about $100 or so total in exercise gear. HOB, who is a rather more reluctant exerciser than me (don’t tell him I said that) also shares the gear, so all of this has been an excellent investment.
Strictly speaking, all you really need is a mat and a good pair of walking shoes for your travel fitness routine. Body weight exercises like pushups, planks and squats combined and daily walking and stair climbing will keep you fit for free.
My passport has so many stamps, I can use it for biceps curls.
How do you stay fit to travel?