How to get access to a great gym everywhere you travel
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with current information. It was originally published on July 27, 2019.
After sitting for hours in a cramped cabin, it’s no surprise that travelers are placing a growing emphasis on staying fit while traveling. Whether it’s to fight jet lag and weight gain or maintain a general sense of well-being while away from home, travelers are making it a priority to schedule exercise into their itineraries.
Sure, you can always exercise in your hotel room. But for travelers who really thrive in a gym environment, sweating it out in a hotel room isn’t a great option. At the same time, selecting a gym to meet your travel needs can be as complicated as buying an airline ticket.
Just like selecting a seat, there are different tiers of service at varying prices for globetrotters. The good news is, there are plenty of easy options, domestically or abroad, for someone looking to lift weights, run on a treadmill or even take part in a boot camp or yoga class. You can maintain your fitness regimen and find a gym, studio class or personal trainer no matter how far away from your local gym you travel.
Here are a few gyms and classes we love — just remember to call a specific location to confirm pricing ahead of time.
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With more than 1,800 locations across 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Mexico, Planet Fitness will be attractive to some travelers because of its vast network of facilities, some of which are open 24 hours. The clubs are known for cardio machines and weight lifting equipment but do not have swimming pools. Access and fees depend on your membership type, however, a “black card” will only cost you $22 per month, allowing members to visit any club without an additional fee. One-day drop-in passes are available for $20 per day for nonmembers.
With some locations operating around the clock, as the name suggests, 24 Hour Fitness has 440 clubs across the country, including such popular travel destinations as Hawaii, Texas, Florida, Colorado and California. Amenities vary from one facility to the next, and may include a lap pool and basketball courts. Travelers may want to consider a free three-day trial pass, available to download from the website.
With locations in 29 states and Canada, Life Time, Inc. is a family-friendly gym alternative that includes programming for children. In addition to treadmills, bikes and weights, Life Time also offers a variety of classes including yoga. Pricing can range from $35 to $150 per day for a club with an outdoor pool, and club access depends on your membership tier. If you’ve never been to a Life Time gym before, you may be eligible for a free day pass. There are currently 121 locations with pools, including a facility in New York City with a rooftop pool. Select locations also offer spa services such as hair and nails. Single- or five-day access passes are available for nonmembers.
For business travelers on assignment in the Northeast U.S., Sports Clubs are often one of the most convenient places to get a workout. With more than 100 locations in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., the gyms offer standard cardio, weight equipment and classes plus pools in some locations. Accessibility depends on membership, with drop-in passes available for purchase.
With locations in most major U.S. cities and business centers as well as Canada and London, luxury travelers may be attracted to Equinox. In addition to sleek exercise studios, guests have access to amenities such as Kiehl’s hair and skin products, steam rooms and cool Eucalyptus towels. As with other gyms, accessibility to clubs while out of town depends on the level of your membership. The wellness brand also recently opened a fitness-focused Equinox hotel in New York’s Hudson Yards featuring an outdoor pool and a sprawling 60,000-square-foot fitness center. Travelers can also talk to a membership advisor about a one-day complimentary guest pass.
Like 24 Hour Fitness, Anytime Fitness offers facilities that are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. With more than 4,000 locations in 50 countries around the world, a membership here could be a smart choice for frequent travelers. Or, give Anytime Fitness a try during your next trip with a free seven-day pass.
There’s no question the “class craze” remains strong among fitness aficionados, who won’t depart from their routines while on a getaway or a high-stakes business trip. For members of Orange Theory Fitness and Barry’s Bootcamp, known for high-intensity interval training workouts, there are many choices while on the move.
Orange Theory Fitness users can visit other clubs in the United States, although some locations will charge an additional fee. International destinations may not allow such guests. It operates more than 1,110 studios worldwide, in 49 states and 22 countries.
Barry’s Bootcamp has a pay-per-class model, with an average cost of $30 to $36 in the United States. Barry’s operates 60 studios in most major cities, including 23 international locations such as the United Kingdom, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
After a long day in the airport or on a train, yoga has become the detox method of choice for many passengers. Core Power Yoga operates more than 200 studios across the country. Memberships are transferable, however, guests from outside of New York are subject to a $20 surcharge when visiting a New York studio.
Independent gyms and hotels
Some independent health clubs belong to IHRSA, the International Health Racquet and Sportsclub Association. With almost 10,000 clubs around the world, it does offer a passport program allowing members to access another participating club at a discounted rate. In order to participate, you must sign up for the TrainAway mobile app.
Finally, don’t shun your hotel. A number of chains offer fitness-focused amenities. For example, Westin’s website has running shoes and workout gear for guests to borrow while staying at its hotels for a $5 fee. In addition, some Westin hotels feature Peloton bikes.
Hilton is now offering exercise equipment in some rooms, as well as BOSU balls, sand balls, resistance bands and yoga mats as part of its Five Feet to Fitness program. Select properties in popular destinations such as Orlando, El Paso and Chicago offer these specialized in-room fitness options.
Hyatt offers on-demand, in-room content streaming barre, HIIT and yoga classes at select Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotels. Spotify playlists and running maps are available at Hyatt Centric.
With a ClassPass subscription, you can access yoga, strength training, barre, martial arts, Pilates, boxing, and indoor cycling classes, as well as use health clubs, via its flat-rate monthly subscription service. It’s a great option to consider if you travel a lot, given it’s currently available in over 2,500 cities around the world, including cities in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.
ClassPass can also be a good way to identify high-quality studios and unexpected activities near you. Doesn’t an 80’s themed trampoline aerobics class in NYC sound exhilarating?
Hire a Private Instructor
If you have the money to spend, hiring a private instructor or coach is an excellent option. With a dedicated professional helping you achieve your fitness goals, you’re guaranteed to receive the most customized and personalized program no matter where in the world you go. But it will cost you! Elite, experienced and highly credentialed trainers can charge anywhere from $125 to $275 for an hour-long session.
Contacting smaller gyms in the area and asking for referrals is one way to find a trainer. Or turn to social media and ask for guidance. Taking a look at a trainer’s social media platform or website should give you an idea of what type of specialized technique each offers.
Lastly, don’t forget to use the right credit card if you plan to pay for a gym membership, day pass to a fitness club, private instructor, etc. These kinds of purchases don’t qualify for the typical credit card bonus categories, so using one of the best cards for everyday spending is likely your best bet.
With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, for example, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back (1.5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) on purchases – including those made at health clubs. If you spend $1,500 per year on fitness club expenses you’ll earn 2,250 Ultimate Rewards points, which are worth $45 according to TPG’s valuations. That’s not a bad return for purchases you’d planned on making anyway.
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Additional reporting by Josh Grimm.
Featured image by Zodiacphoto/Shutterstock.
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