What does a Gymaround CEO pack in his luggage? There is nothing more exciting than boarding a plane, bound for new and interesting destinations. But we all know that staying fit and vigorous is part of a healthy travel routine. And for this, we need to pack some extra items. As I pack my backpack for my new trip this spring, it occurs to me that after several years of traveling, there is very little in my backpack that isn’t a travel essential…

Here’s my checklist of the 10 things that every traveler should take for a fit trip. Some items, such as passports are absolutely essential (I did not add that to the list), while other items simply make staying fit that much more enjoyable and relaxing.

1. Skype on Your Phone

A healthy mind is all about keeping in touch with your friends and family. Travelers always take a risk of being ‘Lost in Translation’ and feeling lonely and depressed… Before you leave home, download Skype on your mobile and add your family and friends to your contact list. This can save you a fortune. In addition, I also personally have a Skype number. Skype number gives me one phone number where everyone can reach me, wherever I happen to be. When people call this number, the call is forwarded to a phone or device of my choice. This is great for keeping things simple when I’m traveling. When you’re traveling abroad for a long time, you can even get a Skype Number with a local US area code, which will allow your friends and family back home to call you without having to pay international rates.

Skype on your mobile
© Microsoft

2. Quality earplugs

Earplugs are a must for those whose sleep is less than sound, and handy for blocking aircraft noise as well. If you’re a light sleeper, earplugs can be your best friend to neutralize the sounds of a nearby boar. Block out the sound of people who are talking on mobile phones, watching a movie on their laptop or have a child that they can’t seem to settle. Use them in hostels, planes, bus rides, etc to drown out the unpleasant sounds of travel. My favorites are the soft, tapering Howard Leight MAX1 Earplugs. I’ve tried them in many a hotel or airplane. But, frankly, any brand that can take the edge off the late night noise is going to be sleep saving.

Quality Earplugs

3. Re-usable water bottle

Worldwide, 2.7 million tons of plastic are used each year to make disposable drinking bottles. This means that plastic bottles clog landfills, where they can sit for up to a thousand years. Leaving behind a collection of plastic bottles that may wash up on the shore of places like Venice, Goa or Cape Town is no way to show your appreciation for the visit. It’s especially nasty in poorer countries where garbage is often burned in open fires. If you’re worried about water quality bring a good purifier, instead of leaving a souvenir that may be around longer than the thousand year old marvels you’ve come to see. Personally I am a fan of the Clean Bottle. A new water bottle that opens from both ends for easy cleaning. These bottles are also available with water filter.

Clean Bottle as travel essential for fit traveling
© Clean Bottle

4. Healthy Attitude

Remember, the key function of locals is not to make sure you have a pleasant stay. I realize that it is sometimes hard to believe but most of them are engaged in normal jobs, working hard and not being overly concerned with you catching the last train to Bangkok. When the hostel is full, the flight is cancelled, and you can’t understand anyone’s explanation of why the banks are all closed on this holiday with a name you cannot even pronounce: sit down, eat a meal, drink a beer (or two). You, and the locals will have a better time.

5. A padlock

A good lock will come in handy in many situations when traveling. Some of the cheaper hostels and guesthouses may require you to use your own padlock on your door. In some places you may feel safer by adding your padlock to the door. One of the other common uses is for when you need to leave your luggage in a luggage storeroom at a train station or bus station. Purchase thin travel locks that can be used for various closures – a big lock may be too thick to fit the closures on all hostel lockers. My personal favorite is a simple padlock by Lewis N. Clark.
On the same theme, I also pack a small, ultra-lightweight cable lock that is handy when a locker isn’t available. I use the cable to secure my bag to my bunk or other hard to move object and padlock it closed. Of course, this system isn’t failsafe either – if someone wants to get into my bag it’s nothing a good knife can’t solve.

Cable Lock as travel essential for fit traveling
Cable Lock as travel essential for fit traveling

6. Melatonin

The jet-lag treatment that actually works. Melatonin is naturally produced in your brain. It tells your body that it’s nighttime and it’s time to go to bed. Melatonin is a powerful hormone. Be aware, New evidence shows that adult males only need 150 micrograms, and the average female needs only 100 micrograms (a microgram is 1/100 th of a milligram). The average melatonin supplement is 20 – 50 times more than we need! If you are using regular melatonin tablets, you can cut the pill into fourths, otherwise, try to find the smallest pill size available. At the wrong dosage, melatonin may actually destroy your sleep cycle. Too much melatonin at one time may also cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or irritability.
One last word on the usage. Many may mistake its power for that of a sleeping pill and feel compelled to take more for better sleep. What Melatonin won’t do is conk you out for the entire night and leave you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning.

7. Running Shoes

The one thing a fit travel brings along is her running shoes. You can fill them up with socks and underwear and try to hide them in you suitcase but they are and always will be quiet bulky gear to bring along. But hey, staying fit needs some sacrifice… My personal favorite? The Salomon S-LAB XT 6! The most comfortable shoes I’ve ever run on. They are designed for trail running, they are lightweight and waterproof but also look good anywhere.

Salomon as travel essential for fit traveling
© Salomon

8. Universal adapter plug

Purchase an international adapter that works around the world. Take care of your electronics by choosing a travel adapter that also acts as a converter and has a surge protector to avoid blowing a fuse in your valuable tech toys. Did you know that you can buy them with built in USB plugs? Now you can charge your USB gadgets at the same time as straightening your hair or charging your electric razor. This cuts out a lot of time wasting of having to take turns with charging your different electronics. I use the Kensington International Travel Plug Adapter with Dual USB Ports. Not too bulky and quite sturdy.

9. Noise cancelling headphones

If you want to watch a movie at 35,000ft and hear the dialogue without destroying your eardrums, you need a pair of these. Instead of turning up the volume to block out external noise—which is never good for your hearing—noise-canceling headphones work to isolate and “remove” those unwanted sounds while preserving the original audio signal. Noise-cancelling headphones are a great way to enjoy your music on the move while also eliminating outside ambient noise, and ideal for use on trains, planes, offices, or in any other noisy environment. To be honest, I sometimes put them on, turn on the power, and don’t listen to anything through them— I just enjoy the silence…

10 Small ruck sag for your gym clothes

Unless you’re barking mad, you don’t want to haul your main bag around with you all the time. Also, you do not want to carry around your gym gear in the hotel dry cleaning bag… If you head for the gym in the evening, you’ll want a small ruck sag — something to carry your shoes, gym gear and towel in. Fortunately, a number of companies make small backpacks from super-light material that fold down to a 4’’ or so pocket; open it up, pack it full, carry it around, and leave that plastic bag in your room. In my bag I carry with me the Navy Gym School Ruck Sack Boot Bag Back Pack. It’s a long product name but I am really happy how small I can fold it and how fantastic and local I look, entering that premium health center…

Nike bag as travel essential for fit traveling
© Nike

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