Run and Walk on Vacation for Tons of Fun and Benefits

Key Points

  • There are many benefits when you run and walk on vacation.

  • While on vacation, take running tours, walk instead of drive (or taxi), and check the weather.

  • Run and walk on vacation in intervals for a great way to experience more in less time while burning extra calories.

A vacation is a time to rest and relax. Everyone relaxes differently. Some like to run up a tab at the poolside bar, while others want to run up a scenic hill. Feel free to do both — probably not the latter right after the former, though. It's beneficial to run and walk on vacation.

Everyone looks forward to vacation. It's exciting to think about leaving all your stress and responsibilities behind. However, if you're an avid exerciser, it's common to worry about upkeeping your fitness routine while away from home. Run and walk on vacation to merge your fitness goals with your travel plans.

Benefits of Activity on Vacation

Traveling is amazing. You see the world, make new friends, and experience a different culture from your own. You also mess up your sleep schedule and eat worse than usual. The weather is different and you experience jet lag.

Increasing activity during your vacation loosens you up. It also allows you to recover from all the changes.

Better Mood

Getting annoyed is one of the easiest things to do when traveling. Living out of a suitcase, listening to kids argue, and getting lost throws you into a pit of nervousness and overstimulation.

Adding a run or walk to your vacation boosts endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals in the brain that decrease pain sensations and increase pleasure. This "runner's high" lasts for hours. A walk in the morning might give you more patience that evening.

Improve Sleep

Traveling across different timelines causes jet lag, a temporary condition that messes up your sleep pattern. Headaches, sugar cravings, nausea, irritability, and fatigue result from poor sleep.

Don't let a restless night interfere with your vacation. Walking and running boosts neurochemicals, like the sleep-aiding melatonin.

Walk a mile on the beach and sleep better that night.

Decrease Stress

While vacation is usually a time to escape stress, it comes with its own stressors. Walking and running decrease the stress hormone called cortisol. Too much cortisol increases blood sugar and may lead to more belly fat.

Going for a run lowers stress, which makes your time more enjoyable. Being late, not finding the outfit you wanted, and bickering with in-laws are less bothersome after an invigorating walk.

Reduce Pain

Traveling puts pressure on the body that's not a regular part of your routine. Carrying 50-pound luggage around and sitting for 10 hours during a road trip isn't a part of your typical day. Muscles become tight and painful when under abnormal pressure.

Walking and running improve blood flow. This increases oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. Muscles thrive when given appropriate minerals and assistance from the blood. Improving muscle well-being reduces pain.

Raise Energy

Vacations are sometimes exhausting. You jam-pack your days full of adventures and experiences. You might even skip some fun activities because you're just too tired.

Being active improves sleep, decreases stress, lowers pain, and gives you more energy. Use this extra energy to finish your planned events — and maybe add another.

Run and Walk on Vacation

Maintaining your fitness levels on vacation ensures you enjoy your trip and stay on track for when you return. It's easy to run and walk on vacation when you plan.


Scheduling every minute of your trip makes it more stressful. You feel like you have to stick to the plan to prevent the whole trip from falling apart.

Leave room for unexpected events so you don't have to push aside your workout time.

Plan for running and walking to avoid feeling stressed about making time to exercise. Pack your workout outfits and shoes to ensure you have what you need to exercise.

Mark Spitz said it best: "If you fail to prepare, you're prepared to fail."

Take a Tour on Foot

Find exciting places at your destination and run or walk through them. Hike up a hill or run across valleys in new places.

Some destinations offer running tours that guide you through miles of paradise. You run between locations and slow your speed when passing by cool areas.

Group on a walking tour

Walk, Don't Ride

Instead of taking an Uber to the restaurant, walk a few blocks and enjoy seeing the sights along the way. Skip the tour bus and tread the city streets. Say "No" to elevators and escalators and choose the stairs.

Sitting for too long causes lower back pain. Riding the subway is easier, but walking a mile provides benefits for the rest of your trip — and it's fun. You might even get the kids involved or stumble across some cool sights.

Check the Weather

Choosing to walk instead of ride a tour bus is great, but only if the weather cooperates. If you're in an area with a different climate or altitude than your hometown, it may be harder to run and walk.

Air quality, temperature, and humidity vary from place to place. Check the weather before going out to see if you need a small rain jacket or sunscreen for your outing.

Make the Choice

At some point, you may have to choose between family time, nap time, and daily run time. Be ready for that decision by setting your priorities before you go.

Family togetherness, personal relaxation, and maintaining your health regimen are all worthwhile. Only you know which one can take a backseat.

Do you want more sleep? More me time? It's tough having to make a quick decision on the spot. Prepare beforehand so you don't waste precious time.

Consider a Race-cation

Race-cations are a new way to travel and exercise. Destination running is traveling to an area for a race. Think of going to Disney for a 5k walk or New York City for a 10k run.

Stay a night or two and explore the area to celebrate finishing the race.

Girl going for a run

Popular Race-cations

Race-cations provide unique experiences for people to gather and have fun while exercising. Some popular race-cation ideas to consider for your next visit include:

  1. Paris International Marathon

  2. Rock and Roll Marathon Series

  3. Grand Canyon Half Marathon

  4. Derby Festival Marathon

  5. RunSedonia Half Marathon

  6. Honolulu Marathon

  7. Yosemite Half Marathon

  8. Trailfest

  9. Yellowstone Half and 5k

  10. Great Smokey Mountains Half and 5k

Even if you're not on a race-cation, running on vacation is still a great way to express yourself.

Do You or Don't You Run on Vacation?

It's up to you! Vacation is your time to shine.

Ask yourself these questions to decide if you run on vacation or not:

  • Is this vacation an opportunity to catch up on lost time with loved ones?

  • Does the weather forecast show unsafe weather conditions?

  • Is the run going to negatively impact the people with me?

  • Am I feeling unwell or unsafe?

If you answered "yes" to most of these questions, saving that walk for another day is best. Numerous "no" answers mean it's time to break out the running shoes.

Determine if you have the time, access, and resources to run before knocking out those miles. There must be enough time to move without ditching plans with others.

Tourists walking in a town

Walking or running requires outdoor areas or treadmills. Ensure you have a place to get your legs going.

Finally, double-check that you packed workout clothes, shoes, water bottles, and other resources for an excellent workout.

Run/Walk Intervals on Vacation

To cover more ground in less time, try run/walk intervals.

When you walk after running, you are in active recovery. Active recovery is beneficial because activity supports blood flow, transporting more oxygen and minerals to the muscles. Extra oxygen and minerals make recovery easier and more effective.

Active recovery allows you to run faster and longer. Passive recovery, recovering while at rest, builds strength.

One of the best ways to integrate run/walk intervals is on tour through different areas. There are journeys where you walk through cities and run between each destination. Pick a 5 to 10 mile span and run between destinations. You see more and get in a great workout.

Run/Walk Interval Workouts

Vacation is also a time to try new things. Have you tried the run/walk method? The run/walk method is the process of alternating running and walking over a certain distance.

The run/walk method offers many benefits. Using run/walk intervals prevents injury, increases speed, saves energy, boosts recovery, and improves cardiovascular health.

Alternating running and walking is suitable for people of all fitness levels, especially those just starting a fitness program.

For an effective run/walk workout:

  1. Walk for five minutes, then run for one minute.

  2. Walk for four minutes, then run for two minutes.

  3. Walk for three minutes, then run for three minutes.

  4. Walk for two minutes, then run for four minutes.

  5. Walk for one minute, then run for five minutes.

Switching between running and walking burns more calories than walking alone. It also forces the body to change energy forms, promoting fat burning.

Walking while exploring the city

How Many Calories Do You Burn Alternating Walking and Running?

It is normal to worry about how you look on vacation. You may check the mirror 100 times after buying a new swimsuit.

Trying to squeeze three months of missed gym visits into one week probably isn't the best way to get into shape. If you want to lose weight and burn calories, do it right.

The number of calories you burn depends on these factors: age, body composition, weight, temperature, intensity, and type of exercise.

The more you weigh and the faster you walk, the more calories burned. A person weighing 160 lbs. walking at 2 mph can expect to burn 150-200 calories per hour.

Counting Calories

The easiest way to calculate calories is to use an activity tracker. This may not be an option for some. Calculate the number of calories you burn by using this equation:

Length of Exercise in Minutes x (MET x 3.5 x your weight in kilograms) / 200 = Total Calories Burned

MET (metabolic equivalent of task) is the measurement of the energy required for a task. Sedentary behavior, like reclining and sitting, uses one MET. Light intensity, including standing or walking, uses between 1.6-3 METs. Moderate intensity, such as washing your car or jogging, requires 3-6 MET. Vigorous intensity, such as running and swimming, requires 6+ MET.

Light-intensity walking for one hour for a person weighing 200 pounds burns 189 calories.

60 x (2 x 3.5 x 90) / 200 = 189

Burning extra calories on vacation is easy when you're active. Ensure you're hydrating and replenishing your body with enough calories to maintain essential functions.

Running in the forest

Where to Next?

When was the last time you went on vacation? Did you feel like you lost progress toward your fitness goals? Do you wish you ran more? Did you bring what you needed?

Planning to run and walk on vacation is critical to keeping your fitness levels afloat and your stress levels in check.

Whether you run, walk, or run/walk on your vacation, you reap benefits like better moods, improved sleep, decreased stress, lower pain, and more energy. You burn calories and fat while seeing the world.

Always stay safe on your walks and runs. It's effortless to get lost or scared in new environments. Honor the buddy system, let others know your location, and stay vigilant.

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