It can be easy to let fitness go by the wayside when you travel. After all, isn't that what vacation is for -- taking a break from your normal routine? But staying fit on the road doesn't have to be difficult. In fact, it can be more fun than exercising at home thanks to all the hotel wellness programs and fitness-focused vacation packages available. Whether it's running, biking, stand-up paddleboarding or simply taking a walk through nature, here are five ways to incorporate exercise into your travels.
1. Take a guided run, walk or bike ride in a new city
Sure, you could hop on a sightseeing bus and drive around with a dozen other tourists. Or, you could see a city by bike, on foot or even as part of a running tour while a guide points out monuments and shares stories and fun facts along the way.
City Running Tours offers 3- to 6.5-mile group runs in major cities across the U.S., allowing travelers (and even locals) to sightsee in completely new ways. Each of the 16 cities currently hosting runs offer a variety of routes, often beginning or concluding at major attractions, such as Fenway Park in Boston or Pike Place Market in Seattle. In select cities, some runs end at local breweries, allowing you to quench your post-workout thirst with a free pint. Runs cost between $25 to $45 per person, depending on the length of the run.
For bicycle tours, look to Bike and Roll, which offers two- to four-hour bike tours in major cities like San Francisco, Miami and Chicago. Tours range from $20 to $50 per person, depending on the city and the length of the ride. For a less expensive option, look to see if the city you're visiting offers a bikeshare program. You can rent a bike and tour at your own pace, then drop the rental off at any bikeshare rack in town. Meanwhile, Free Tours by Foot is a great choice for those looking to explore at a slower pace. There are no upfront costs, but you are encouraged to tip the licensed guide.
2. Seek out an active vacation
Get out of the city and book an activity-focused outdoor adventure. Spend a week at Colorado's Keystone Resort, where in the winter you can downhill ski, snow tube, take free figure skating clinics or learn to snowshoe or cross-country ski. Or, try a Colorado River rafting adventure or a week riding horses at a dude ranch in Montana, if that's more your style.
For those who really want to work up a sweat, consider a Reebok Fitness Vacation By Austin Adventures. Offered in regions like Utah and Costa Rica, these organized trips take guests on mountain bike rides through forests and trail runs through canyons, making stops along the way for burpees, push-ups and even yoga. Wellness-focused resorts like The BodyHoliday, LeSport in St. Lucia are another option. Here, guests have the option to try out archery, windsurfing, fencing and golf. Traveling clans can sign up for WellFit Families for beach boot camps, healthy cooking classes and even parent vs. child sport competitions.
3. Book a stay at an all-inclusive resort
When you know that all your expenses are included in your prepaid lodging rate, you're quicker to try out the various activities offered, such as kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and snorkeling. Leave your wallet in your room, grab some snorkeling gear and swim out to the reef for a look at the tropical fish.
At the all-inclusive Beaches Turks & Caicos, guests have access to a number of water sports like windsurfing, wakeboarding, snorkeling, paddleboarding and even hydro-bikes as part of their vacation packages. Even better, instructors are available to get you set up at no extra charge. Many all-inclusives in the Caribbean offer snorkeling and scuba excursions, too. If you'd rather stay on land, ask about guided trail runs and nature walks around the resorts.
4. Plan a getaway around a race
If you like to run, whether it's 5Ks or half-marathons, find a race in a beautiful place and plan a minivacation. If you can, plan to spend at least four or five days away so you have time to explore your destination both before and after the race. Check out Destination Races, which hosts half-marathons in wine country regions across the U.S., including Santa Barbara, California, and Loudoun County, Virginia.
For Disney fans, consider runDisney. The program, which hosts events at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, offers everything from Disney-themed kids races and family fun runs to multi-event competitions, such as the Dopey Challenge. During this four-day, 48.6-mile run, participants compete in four different events, earning a total of six medals for their efforts. You can also look for novelty races like The Color Run and the Electric Run, which are less competitive and are featured in a variety of cities across the U.S.
5. Look for fitness programs and lessons
It's easier to get in a workout when someone else is leading the way. Malliouhana Hotel & Spa in Anguilla offers a bevy of outdoor fitness programs, ranging from paddleboard and sunrise yoga to beach boot camp workouts. Meanwhile, Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys offers a selection of water sports, as well as tennis and kiteboarding lessons and even diving and snorkeling programs that allow guests to swim with dolphins.
For West Coasters, a variety of resorts in Hawaii offer spa and fitness programs, including Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. Along with the on-site Laniwai Spa, daily staff-led programs range from morning walks and yoga on the beach to cycling classes and aquatic workouts (not included in your overall room rate). Guests can also pay extra to set up one-on-one sessions with personal trainers.
See: Beat Holiday Travel Fatigue with These 6 Tips
About the author: Erin Gifford is a Washington, D.C.-based travel writer and founder of Kidventurous, an award-winning family travel resource. You can follow her on Twitter at @Kidventurous, connect with her on Facebook or get the latest tips and tricks for traveling families at http://www.kidventurous.com.