Vacations are so much fun and chances are if you are like me you don’t get to travel as much as you would like.

I love seeing new things, experiencing new adventures, and watching my toddler learn new things that you can’t teach at home.

Experiences and learning are so valuable for young and old minds, alike.

The Inevitable Road Trip Traffic Jam

Being on vacation also means you are out of your routine, you are doing what you need to do to make the vacation go more smoothly and that includes eating what ever is available. 

Chances are you won’t be eating as clean and healthy as you do at home. Eating out is easy but also comes at a high calorie cost. Most restaurants use more oils and butters to cook all the food they offer then you use at home to cook those same foods. Oils and butters are fats that are more calorie dense then carbs or proteins, so even a little more may throw you off your calorie count.

You will also be out of your exercise routine. You need to make the conscious decision to move when ever you can. And not just a slow leisurely walk, get your heart rate up and work those muscles. Combine the two with some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) to get a good sweat in a short amount of time.

80/20 Rule: Moderation

I am a big fan of the 80/20 rule. Eat clean 80 percent of the time while the other 20 percent you can use to get a little crazy. Fun is definitely important. So Everything in MODERATION. Here are a few tips that I used on our road trip that worked for me. This tips are for the times you want to stay in the 80 percent. And there is a fun surprise in store at the end. Maybe you will be surprised with it personally too if you follow these tips.


We drove from Pennsylvania to Florida once and I knew I wanted to make sure I was able to have fun and enjoy myself, while also making sure I wasn’t going to come back home after 10 days to just as many pounds gained.

Jump Rope At Rest Stops
Jump Rope At Rest Stops.

I packed my jump rope. I knew traveling with a toddler we would be stopping a lot along the way at rest stops. While it is nice that most interstate rest stops have bathrooms, vending machines, an picnic tables, I knew that I would want something more to get the blood flowing, get my heart rate up, and burn some calories really quick before we get back in the car to continue sitting.  At each longer stop we made I would use the facilities and then grab my jump rope to use for 5 to 10 minutes. I would pick a spot on the side walk that was out of the way of other travelers. Sometimes I would just jump, single unders, for how ever long we had at the time. Sometimes I would add extra movements to make it an AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible), for the amount of time that we had. 

One example would be:
50 Single Unders
10 Push ups
Alternating for as long as you give yourself.

And don’t be afraid to modify and use your environment. I just did normal push ups, this time, but you could do incline/decline push ups using a bench of a picnic table. You could also sub any other body weight movement, including air squats, lunges, burpees, etc. 

(Double points for getting your kid to wear himself out too!)

Take advantage of your hotel gym equipment. Sometimes its only a few dumbbells and maybe some sort of cardio machine. Use what you have. Use the cardio machine for a pre specified number of minutes and then use the dumbbells. Compound movements like thrusters, squat cleans, deadlift and rows, etc. will give you the most bang for your buck. You won’t need heavy weight and you will work multiple body parts at one time, while raising your heart rate.

No gym equipment at the hotel? Do a simple yet effective body weight workout. In my hotel room while my son was napping, I did a Mountain climber and burpee workout right in between the beds.

You can do body weight movements anywhere. Even between hotel beds.

Staying with a family member? Take advantage of a quick run through the neighborhood. And again add some body weight movements before or after your run.

Another thing to think about is timing. You do not need an hour long workout. 15 – 20 minutes at High Intensity will get your blood pumping and your body burning calories. Make it quick and intense! And of course your day is going to be filed with fun adventures, thats why you are on vacation! So get up 30 minutes early, get your workout in and your done for the day. Then you can enjoy your day with confidence.


When it comes to eating, you need to! Don’t skip meals just because you are afraid of the calories. Instead make smart decisions and grab a quick snack or meal before you get to the point you think you are starving. Once you get there chances are you will eat way too much of something that you normally wouldn’t have eaten.

Watch your portions. Don’t over eat because it is in front of you. Split a meal with your kid or traveling companion.

Watch Your Portions
Watch Your Portions.

When it comes to choosing something off a menu, keep it clean and lean.

Foods described with the words Fried, Glazed, Breaded, Smothered, carmelized are all words that suggest those foods have been devoured in cooking oils and sugars. All added calories that you don’t need. Look for meats that have been grilled or boiled.

If you order a salad, ask for a light vinegar based dressing on the side, so you can control the amount.

Most foods that restaurants offer come with a high sodium content. Which is also something to be aware of because excess sodium could cause you to bloat.

I ate a lot of plain grilled chicken or salmon. With lots of green veggies or grilled veggies.

Drink lots of water!

Being dehydrated will make you feel hungry. It is very common to mistake being thirsty for hunger. And with all the fun you are having on vacation you may forget to drink as much water as you do at home. (Or maybe you are dehydrated from all the extra liquid fun you have been drinking.)

Drinking lots of water will help to keep you feeling satisfied and will help control bloating from all the eating out and traveling. Drinking water instead of other types of beverages will keep you from drinking extra calories too. Its amazing how many calories you can drink without knowing it.

I would drink a lot of water at night. That way I wouldn’t need to stop every hour while on the road. We would get to the hotel at night and I would drink between 32 and 64 ounces of water. I would have water throughout the day and thats it. I never drink sodas anyway.

Quick Recap

Move: Quick and Intense workouts is all you need.
Eat: Watch your portions. Make sure its clean and lean.
Drink Water as often as possible.

But Most Importantly..  Have fun!!

After all you are on vacation. And it doesn’t come around often enough and you should enjoy every second you can.  Go a little crazy and enjoy yourself.

SURPRISE! After 10 days on the road and following this plan I have laid out here. I came home to a 2 pound weight LOSS! I’d say that vacation was a complete success!