When traveling for work or pleasure, you will not always be able to control your destination’s  workout equipment.  With so many unknowns, you will normally will be stuck playing the classic guessing game:

Will there be a gym?

Will there be dumbbells?

What types of cardio machines will you have access too?

Is there a safe place to get a walk or jog in?

Unfortunately the answers to those questions are out of your control.

But do you know what you can control?

What you pack in your bags!

When traveling it’s always better to be prepared than unprepared. Here are the top 12 portable exercise gear & equipment you should take on your next trip.

#1 Workout Shirts & Shorts

This might seem obvious but the truth is that you will always have an excuse for not working out unless you pack the right clothes. It’s amazing how not bringing the proper shirt and shorts will prevent you from attempting to workout. There’s something magical about seeing your normal workout clothes that will mentally force your mind to want to work out despite being in a unfamiliar location.

#2 Suspension Trainer

TRX suspension trainer parts laid out

One of the best inventions designed for travelers during the 21st century has to be suspension trainers. Suspension training systems allows you to use your body, physics and gravity to work your body out.

MicVinny using a TRX on a door in a hall way

Mike Using TRX

My favorite suspension trainer hands down is the TRX .  The TRX is a mobile versatile tool that will allow you to workout your entire body. This is the best portable gym you can take with you anywhere in the world!

It weights less than ten pounds and fit’s snugly into a carry on suitcase. All you need to do is have the door attachment and you’re good to go inside your hotel room.

For an even better workout, try to find a higher place to hang the suspension trainer from such as a pull up bar, basketball hoop, goal post, monkey bars, tree branch, etc.


#3 Pull Up Bars

If there is one exercise you could do for your upper body while traveling it is the chin up. The only problem is that it can be difficult finding a pull up bar when you’re staying at a hotel because most hotel gyms do not have them.

That’s why you should start carrying your own pull up bar!

Pull up bars can easily be broken down to fit in your luggage and then reassembled once you get to your destination. Just be aware that hotel doors are designed differently than the doors you will find in most homes due to fire & safety codes.

Check to see if the doorway will be bigger than 36 inches. If so you most likely won’t be able to use a portable pull up bar.

Please be aware that some pull up bars require you to screw them into the door frame for support. That’s ideal for your home, but not always great for hotel stays due to the possibility of damaging the room. If you are over 225 lbs, you most likely would need to screw your bar in for support.

Top Travel Pull Up Bars

  • j/fit Deluxe
  • Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout
    • This is the bar I currently have had for the past seven years. It’s great for typical home doors but not so great for most hotels due to it’s dimensions. Also be aware of the rubber foam. It has a tendency to wear out over time. Once that rubber is gone, the metal bar will be exposed rubbing against your door frame You should place some sort of cushion between the bar and door (old clothes, socks,rags,extra foam, etc) just to protect the bar and your door over time.
  • Sunny Health & Fitness Door Way Chin Up
  • More Travel Pull Up Bar Options

#4 Ab Wheeler

This small device looks easy on the eyes but is a killer for the abs! Great mobile workout gear that’s small but does the job! Easy to break down and reassemble if needed.

Recommend: Valeo Ab Wheel


#5 Workout Shoes

Picture display of 15 pairs of different Vibran Five Fingers Shoes courtesy of Builtlean.com

It sucks when you go on trips and you find out you brought too many clothes. That’s one of the reasons most people forget about workout shoes. If you’re serious about getting in shape, you will want to make sure you have the proper shoes at all times!

My favorite traveling pair of shoes is Vibram Five Fingers. I use to think these were the dumbest fad shoes ever. But after buying a pair for myself, I never traveled without them!

They are the perfect cross-training weightlifting shoe because they force you to have a stable foot foundation. These shoes help build your feet’s natural mobility, flexibility and stability that traditional shoes have diminished. Additionally they are small and flexible, so they easily take up very little space in your suitcase.

I highly recommend them!

I personally wouldn’t recommend running long distances in them due to injuries that might happen. But a simple 20-45 minute walk/jog is no problem once your feet are adjusted to being inside the shoes.

Please be aware that there is a grace period of about 3-4 weeks to get adjusted to the shoes. Once you go past that point, you’ll never want to workout in a different shoe!

Search for a local store
Shop for Vibram Five Finger Shoes

#6 Golf ball/Massage Ball

Even if you’re not a golfer you might want to bring with you some sort of golf ball. Even a ping pong or lacrosse ball will due. All you want to use the balls for is for a simple muscle massage.
Nothing complicated, just roll the ball around on your sore areas. Great for everywhere and especially your neglected feet! Get your massage on while you’re watching TV in your hotel room

Here’s a great combo pack to try: Massage Ball Set for Athletes

#7 Jump Rope

Jump rope on the floor

Great simple cardio exercise that takes up almost no space in your suitcase. Master this exercise and you’ll become a lean mean fighting machine!

Recommended Jump Rope

#8 Mini Foam Rollers

This is another massage technique. Foam rollers are great for myofascial release treatment. They help soften the tissue that get’s hard from too much stress. Take care of those stress knots with a nifty mini foam roller.

Recommended Mini Foam Roller 

#9 Perfect Push Ups (or push up bars)

If you find yourself getting wrist pains when doing push ups, the perfect push up device can help. They place your arms in the correct position that allows your wrist so comfort as you go up and down.

Recommended Perfect Push Up & Push UP Bars

#10 Gliding Discs

person using pair of gliding discs under their feet

I’ll admit that these are new to me. I’ve seen several people use them in the gym, and I can see why they would make great travel workout gear. Glides allow you to slide across the floor. So movements like push ups, lateral slides, lateral squats, mountain climbers, etc can be completed with these simple devices.

Recommended Gliding Discs


#11 Resistance Bands

Black man flexing while using Resistance bands with handles

If you can’t afford a suspension system, resistance bands are the next best thing. Use your body or wrap them around objects (door handle, pull up bar, bench,bed frame, etc) and get a good pump in.

Get a variety of colors/resistance types so you can get a good workout in for whatever body part you chose.

You have resistance bands with tubes or the rubber band types. Both are excellent choices.

Recommended Resistance Bands

#12 Travel Yoga Mats

Yoga is a simple overlooked exercise you can always do in the comfort of your room. Bring some mats to be prepared. Even if you don’t do yoga, you can still do some floor exercises using travel yoga mats.

Recommended Travel Yoga Mats

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