You did it – you booked that activity-filled trip that’s been on your mind for years. Or maybe you’re still in the planning phase. You can almost smell the air, taste the food and feel the excitement of experiencing the culture at your destination!
As you think about what you want to do, you may be wondering how you’re actually going to have the energy to do it all.
As a personal trainer and health coach who loves to travel, I’m constantly thinking about my next trip and what I need to do to get ready for it.
My husband and I both love exploring cities and nature, experiencing the real local culture beyond the usual tourist spots, and sampling new foods and beverages.
While we’re both pretty active – when you live in the mountains in Colorado, it’s almost mandatory to get out and enjoy the beauty – we still need to physically and mentally prepare for our trips. The fact is, we spend more time sitting in front of computers than we do outside on our feet.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more aware of what a difference it makes when I physically prepare for the activities I’ll be doing. Then I can really focus on the sights and experiences when I get there, wherever “there” is.
Last fall we went to Italy for two weeks – Florence, Tuscany, Sorrento, Amalfi Coast and Rome. I knew our trip would involve being on our feet almost every day exploring cities and sites. Sound familiar?
To get ready, I focused on four activities:
1 // Walking
2 // Climbing stairs
3 // Leg strength
By ramping up my activity level in these areas, I ended each day with energy to spare.
After my husband and I climbed 400+ steps to the top of the Brunelleschi Dome in Florence, I was ready to climb 400+ more steps to the top of Giotto’s Campanile (Belltower) the next day.
When we wandered from our hotel near the Spanish Steps in Rome to the Vatican, I had the stamina to explore several churches along the way.
When the restaurant where we wanted to eat dinner in Montepulciano was packed, I had the endurance to walk to another place.
We were able to really enjoy these experiences because we had prepared for the additional activity that we’d be doing on the trip.
So as you get ready for your next vacation, invest in these four activities before you leave. You’ll have more strength and stamina, so you can do it all and still have energy at the end of the day!
1 // Walk the Walk
Whether you’re exploring city streets or trekking in nature, chances are that you’ll be walking far more on your trip each day than you typically do at home. And you’ll probably be walking a lot more days in a row.
To get ready, look at the difference in how much you walk now and how much you expect to walk during the trip. Then start adding a few more minutes to your typical walks each day, and more days of walking each week.Tip: Go on a walking tour of your city or town. Many cities and towns have locals who offer guided tours – chances are you’ll learn something new too!
2 // Stairway to Heaven
Historic buildings, architectural sites and other attractions often involve climbing least a few stairs – and sometimes hundreds of stairs – to see and experience them in the fullest.
Don’t worry – you don’t have to go to the gym and get on a stairclimbing machine to be ready! Just make it a point to take the stairs more frequently – get off the elevator a few floors early, or skip the elevator all together.Tip: Climb the stairs at a nearby historic building or museum. This will give you a taste of what to expect when you go on your trip. Although most multi-story buildings in the US have elevators, many older ones have interesting staircases.
3 // From quads to calves
Most of the activity on a typical trip includes walking and carrying items like bags or suitcases that are heavier than what you carry at home.
By building leg strength, you’ll feel more stable and comfortable throughout the day. Stronger leg muscles will also help your balance on uneven surfaces, like cobblestone streets in Rome and stone steps of Mayan ruins in Mexico and Belize.
Tip: Walk with weight. If you already have a bag or backpack you plan to use on your trip to carry personal items during the day, get it out and put in what you’ll take on the trip. Go for at least one walk per week with your fully loaded bag or pack. And don’t forget to wear your Waypoint Travel Scarf too!
4 // Streeeetch!
As you do more and different activities, you may notice that the muscles you’re using more are feeling a little, shall we say, different.
By doing a couple of stretches each day, you’ll do your muscles a favor by working out the kinks.Tip: Do a few forward bends using a countertop or desk. Simply stand a few feet away from it. Bend at the waist, keep your back flat, and place your hands on the counter or desk. You should feel a slight stretch in the backs of your legs.
Over the weeks leading up to your trip, aim to do each of these activities for longer periods of time and more frequently. As you do more walking, stair climbing, building leg strength and stretching, you’ll gain stamina and strength.
Then when you are on your trip, you’ll have the energy to see and do what you’ve been excited to experience!
To give you more specific ideas, I’ve put together a downloadable guide “10 Easy Activities to Prep for Your Trip.” It includes fun activities that you can start doing now, so that you can be ready to make the most out of your trip! Plus you’ll find a BONUS “Motivation Fun-sheet” (instead of a work-sheet) at the end so you can create your own plan.I’ll also be hosting a webinar on Wednesday, October 23 at 6 pm Mountain time (8 Eastern, 7 Central, 5 Pacific), “3 Keys to Preparing for Your Dream Trip.” I’ll share more tips to help you get ready, and answer your questions.