10 of the Most Effective Travel Workout Routines (No Equipment Needed)

One of my life habits is to try and break a sweat once a day. As a teenager, I was a nutzo, hardcore runner that pounded the pavement until my toenails turned black. But that was then, now, keeping fit and healthy is something I try to fit in while being a busy entrepreneur, attentive husband, father of two and a beer-drinking, street-food-loving traveller.

Working Out While Travelling

People always tell me they have a hard time keeping up a daily fitness routine especially when travelling. My view is that it has to become a priority because the health benefits are innumerable and exercising provides a natural high; you’ll have better sex, improved cognitive function and memory, more confidence, better sleep, and stress relief.

How to workout without going to the gym

Admittedly, with all of life’s demands, I too found it hard to get to the gym every day. That’s why, about 12 months ago, I switched 80% of my workouts from the gym to home. And I don’t mean a home gym—I live a tiny apartment. I literally mean besides by the bed in my 10-square-foot bedroom or on the patio.

For variety, twice a week, I either run or swim; a few times a month I train with my friend Kenny at his fitness studio. I almost always take a day off every week as I’ve found that a day off helps with my immune system.

I have a few dumbbells and pull up bar at home, and I travel with stretchy bands for added resistance, but other than that, everything I do can be done with bodyweight movements. What’s the secret? A combination of CrossFit and other simple, effective exercises proves to be the best for me.

At first, I was super skeptical about abandoning the gym, but it was actually an amazing time saver. It fit in well with my busy travel schedule and I didn’t lose nearly as much fitness as I thought I would.

As for the 10 workouts I’m sharing with you in this post, they are suitable for breaking a sweat both at home and on the road.

What are the best types of workouts routes while travelling?

Circuit training, otherwise known in the CrossFit world as WOD. If you’re not a CrossFit junkie: WOD = Workout of the Day. CrossFit studios typically post a different workout routine each day and variations of those workouts to adapt to your level of fitness. The great thing about WODs is—they can get you to break a serious sweat within little square footage (easy to do in a hotel room) and minimal time away from what you actually want to do while travelling: sightsee, eat, and probably drink!

What are the best indoor workout routes?

Over the 10 or so years I’ve been travelling, I’ve stayed in the full gamut of hotel rooms. That include PODs in New York, where my bed was the size entire room; haunted hotel rooms in Florida; hostels in Europe; bungalows in Thailand; and (accidentally) “Love” Hotels in the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City. All had enough space for the following workouts:

WOD 1: 20-Minute At-Home Workout Routine

20-minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible):

  • 10 air squats
  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 sit-ups

WOD 2: 15-Minute At-Home Workout Routine

15-minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible):

  • 5 burpee tuck jumps (add a tuck jump at the end of each burpee)
  • 10 dips
  • 15 air squats
  • 10 hollow rocks

WOD 3: 5-Minute At-Home Workout Routine

For 5 minutes do as many burpees as possible, repeat if you dare!

WOD 4: 25 Minute At-Home Workout Circuit

However long it takes you, complete 4 circuits of:

  • 60 seconds plank-to-push-up
  • 50 high knees
  • 20 lunges
  • 10 hollow rocks

WOD 5: 15 Minute At-Home Workout Circuit

However long it takes you, complete 10 circuits of:

  • 12 burpees
  • 12 pull-ups

WOD 6: 25 Minute At-Home Workout Circuit

Circuit #1

  • 21 lunges (each leg)
  • 21 handstand push-ups

Circuit #2

  • 15 lunges (each leg)
  • 15 handstand push-ups

Circuit #3

  • 9 lunges (each leg)
  • 9 handstand push-ups

WOD 7: 30 Minute At-Home Workout Routine

On the minute, every minute for 30 minutes complete:

  • 5 pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 squats

ProTip: Use your backpack as added weight or find some “in room” furniture to change things up a little.

What are the best outdoor workout routes?

Believe it or not, many countries I’ve visited have little outdoor gyms located in city green spaces. I’ve seen them in Turkey, Argentina, Peru, and Vietnam. These include, but aren’t limited to, pull-up bars, dip bars and some rather odd elliptical machines and other swinging apparatuses! Still, These spots are great for outdoor WODs and at night, local children turn these into a playground…which, let’s face it, adds to the fun.

WOD 8: Intensive Outdoor Workout Routine

However long it takes you, complete the following routine:

  • 800m run
  • 10 split squats, each leg (using a chair or bench)
  • 20 v-ups
  • 30 jumping jacks
  • 20 v-ups
  • 10 split squats
  • 800m run

ProTip: if you can’t or won’t run outside, alternate between mountain climbers, high knees, and tuck jumps for 3 minutes.

WOD 9: Effective Outdoor Workout Routine

However long it takes you, complete the following routine:

  • 1-Mile Run
  • 100 pull-ups
  • 100 push-ups
  • 100 sit-ups
  • 100 squats
  • 1-Mile Run

WOD 10: Quick Outdoor Workout Routine

However long it takes you, complete 4 circuits of:

  • 200m sprint
  • 25 push ups

Pro Tip: None of these WOD’s are much more than 20 minutes of exercise, but even 10-15 minutes of any of these routines will raise your heart rate and bring you to a sweat.

Other ideas for maintaining health and fitness while travelling:

I’ve found that going for a jog is a fantastic way to get acquainted with the area you’re staying in.

If you’re in a hotel and don’t feel like hitting the pavement, I recommend running up and down the stairs. Sure, you’ll either get strange looks or scare the shit out fellow hotel guests, but you’ll certainly break a sweat.

Yoga can be done just about anywhere and, of course, there are plenty of local classes and activities that can give you a hell of a workout—Thai boxing comes to mind. Furthermore, when you take a class you have the added bonus of meeting some of the locals or other travellers!

Also if you ever bored of the same old workout routines, you can always do a quick search on Pinterest of more options and infographics routines, here are some of my favourites:

Bonus In-Flight Travel Hack —Staying Active On The Plane

This is a bit extreme but it’s also great practice on long-haul flights.

I got these specific instructions below from Ben Greenfield, but I was actually already doing it!

Holding a pair of Captains Of Crush hand grip strengtheners, and doing one hand squeeze for each rep, perform:

  • 10 calf raises
  • 10 shoulder shrugs
  • 10 hip external rotations per side
  • 10 knee to chest per side

According to Ben, you should do that once each hour during the flight. I usually do it a few times but sleep takes priority for me!

Final Thoughts on Breaking a Sweat Once a Day

Everything about fitness is personal. We all have different fitness levels, past injuries or goals. Remember to listen to your body – it will tell you where you should or shouldn’t be doing an exercise – or whether or not you should on a given day at all. All in all, it should be fun, rewarding and rejuvenating.

Health & Strength


Thanks for Reading, be well!