When you're travelling for work or pleasure, finding the right gym can be a challenge. These are the best strategies and resources to make sure you keep up a fitness routine on the road.
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The Key Rule: Plan In Advance
Whichever one of these strategies you adopt, the most important rule is to plan in advance. Don't wait until you arrive at your destination to find out what the fitness options are. Do your research before you go, and you'll be able to make the most of the opportunities. (A hotel pool isn't much use if you don't remember to pack your swimsuit, for instance.)
A related note if you're on a business trip: make sure you include time in your schedule to exercise. You're not following your normal routine when you're travelling, and it's easy to find yourself without any exercise options if you don't plan carefully. On holidays, you don't need such a strict schedule, but don't slack off completely.
Whichever option you choose, it can also be worth searching online for reviews (the word "review" and the name of the gym will usually suffice). While you shouldn't believe everything in anonymous online reviews, they can give you an idea of what the facilities and classes are like. Swimming pool picture from Shutterstock
See What Your Hotel Has To Offer
Hotel gym picture from Shutterstock If you're staying in a business-grade hotel, chances are it will have some kind of fitness centre. Options vary widely, from a basic room with a couple of treadmills to a fully-fledged gym which offers paying memberships to the general public as well as facilities for hotel guests. A less convenient but increasingly common option is a partnership with a nearby gym (that can mean better facilities, but isn't always as easily accessible.)
Online listings will usually specify the presence of a gym, but often won't include details of equipment or space. In our experience, the best option is to call the hotel itself to ask for a more detailed description, including opening hours. (Don't make your call at a busy time like check-in if you want a speedy answer.)
If you are going to use the hotel gym, it can also be worth asking staff what the busiest times are. If the facilities are relatively small, scheduling your workout for a less-busy period will let you make better use of your time.
Take Advantage Of Chain Membership
If you're a member of a national fitness chain, then you should be able to visit any branch of that chain without having to pay extra fees. Provided the location is convenient, that's certainly going to be the cheapest option. (If you're not a member of a chain, then our sponsor GymBetter is an easy way to access major fitness chains without having to sign up.) Clothing picture from Shutterstock
Use Location Searches
If neither of those options seems viable, then hitting Google Maps, searching for your hotel and then using the "Search Nearby" function to look for gyms will highlight nearby options. Again, having identified potential prospects, you'll want to do some further research: search online for reviews and contact the gym directly to find out what the casual rates are.
How do you choose a gym when you're on the road? Tell us in the comments.
Main gym picture from Shutterstock