Remember the days when you just had to throw a few things in a suitcase and off you were to some exotic destination with all the time in the world to do whatever you pleased?
And then you had kids.
Now travel means that you pack for a bunch of people, you take along everything but the kitchen sink (especially when you have a baby), you schedule your flight to accommodate your kid’s nap time, you’re likely to have some delay at the airport, you tell your 5 year old to stop kicking the (mean) man’s seat in front of him, and your “do whatever you want time” is significantly more limited. Traveling with kids can indeed be stressful, and for many moms that stress is one of the reasons that exercise falls by the wayside when they travel with their families.
I am hear to say nay! I am here to say that you CAN — and should — fit fitness in when you travel. In fact, here’s a list of tips, in no particular order, to make doing so easier, more manageable, more do-a-ble. Read on, my friends.
1. Do Your Research and Be Prepared. When planning your trip, or at the very least before you arrive at your destination, find out what exercise options will be available to you, and then plan accordingly. As an example, I am 4 weeks post calf muscle injury, which leaves me unable to run or play tennis when I travel in a few days with family for Passover. I was also very bummed to just learn that the outdoor pool will be closed because it will be too cold in the mountains of Georgia. (There goes my plan A, which was to swim in a wetsuit to avoid freezing my ass off). And so, I am now at Plan B, which is to bring my TRX, maybe my pilates ring and do a bunch of yoga, and whatever strengthening exercises I can with my still-healing calf. Bottom line here, find out what your options will be and pack what you need to make exercise happen.
2. Find Resorts That Have Kids Camps or Clubs. As soon as your kids are old enough, travel with your spouse to a place that has some kind of kid-friendly activities or day camp. I get that this could be a family vacation and therefore you might be saying “why would I not spend time with my kids”? I am by no means suggesting that you put your kids in camp all day everyday (though that might be nice…). When my husband and I travel to places that offer childcare, we at the very least
dump them put them in childcare for a few hours in the morning so mommy and daddy can exercise and then have a nice leisurely child-free breakfast. My kids have loved many of these kids camps over the years.
3. Bring or Get Help When Possible. If a kids camp is not an option, travel with grandparents (if they are the awesome kind, like mine), or if that is not an option, at least trade off with your better half, or get a babysitter so that you can get some momma time.
4. Your Health & Fitness Should Not Go on Vacation When You Do. Ok so this is less of a tip and more of a declaration, but nonetheless…if your fitness is a priority in your life, then you make it happen wherever you are. Just because you are on vacation does not mean that your health goes on vacation too. Yes, it is tempting to sleep in and have dessert every night when you’re away, but remember the big picture. Have a spoonful of ice cream instead of a bowl. Enjoy yourself but don’t lose yourself.
5. Try New Things. You are in a new setting, possibly a different climate. Maybe you do not have access to a gym, but do have access to hiking trails, a tennis court, a swimming pool or ocean. Being away is an ideal opportunity to change up your exercise routine and try something new. You may even discover a new form of fitness that you love and then take that new routine home with you.
6. Pack Healthy Snacks. These days when airport delays are common, food on airplanes scarce and airport food very expensive, it is especially important to pack healthful snacks for you and your family for airplane travel. Fresh fruit, nuts, healthy bars like larabars or kindbars are some options. Will you be in the air during lunchtime? Take along a healthy sandwich and some sliced veggies. My husband often makes some snide comment about how many snacks I pack, but then without fail, 30 minutes into the flight turns and says “what snacks you got?” (Love you, T).
Whenever your next trip with your kids may be, I hope you take the time for you and fit fitness in. As the stewardess will tell you during the safety briefing as you buckle your seat belt, should an emergency happen, first put on your mask, then your kid’s. Same principle applies outside of the airplane – mommy needs to take care of mommy first! Don’t forget that!
Happy and safe travels to all!