7 travel strategies – whether it’s for work or play, the last souvenir you want to bring home from your travels is a few extra pounds.

according to recent studies, you’re logging more miles in the air than ever before, and that demand is expected to double in the next 20 years. when you add in falling prices at the pump (road trip!), a trend that’s expected to continue, it means you’ll likely be away from home—and your fitness regimen—more and more often. in a way, that’s great news—hotel bars and expense account meals! and in another way, that terrible news—hotel bars and expense account meals! fear not—with a little prep and planning you can enjoy that business trip or weekend getaway guilt-free (and yes, still have that martini at the bar and a steak on the boss).

  1. never unpack your workout gear

the best way to make sure you don’t forget to pack your workout gear is to never unpack it-always have a bag at the ready. when it’s time to replace your running shoes, reserve the old pair as your travel sneaks (there’s surely enough life left in them for that), and dedicate a quick drying pair of shorts and a tee to a small waterproof bag you can toss in your luggage. this way if you forget your exercise stuff, you’ll know it was on purpose.

2. fly hungry

when it comes to airline food, sometimes the best option is, as anthony bourdain puts it, to “go hungry.” along with your workout gear, throw a few low sugar, well-balanced bars (clif and kind fit the bill) in your bag to stave off hunger on the plane. (why waste the calories on mystery chicken?) plus, if you roll into your hotel late, you’ll have something to get you through to breakfast instead of paying $36.50 for a bag of chips and 11 m&ms from the mini bar.

3. even the worst hotel gym is good.

today, even the worst hotel gym is pretty good. after all, you’re not out to set a new pr, you’re there to get in some quick weights and 30 minutes on the elliptical. by the time you’ve watched cnn cover the same breaking news! for 45 minutes, you’ll be done. not only is consistency the secret to staying in shape, but later when you order the filet with béarnaise sauce, you’ll have earned it.

4. run through the city

there’s no better way to explore a new city, be it paris or poughkeepsie, than by running through it. ask your concierge to draw you a quick map of a three-mile loop and start the day sweating it out while seeing the sights.

5) say no to expense accounts

expense accounts can be dangerous—really, would you order that third old fashioned and the toffee cheesecake if you were paying for dinner? try not to eat like there’s no tomorrow, because there is-it’s when you have to fit into your suit and give a presentation (and your boss is skyping in).

6) yes, go to bed.

yes, we landed a rover on mars and there are iphones and madden nfl 17, but undoubtedly the most amazing progress mankind has made is in the field of hotel mattresses and pillows. oh my gosh they’re comfy! luxuriate in the high thread count, nod off to some hgtv, and use this time away to log a solid eight hours of sleep. because not only is it good for you, but really, what is there to do at 10pm in omaha anyway?

7) embrace your inner indiana jones

of course vacations are fun, but that doesn’t mean business travel has to be punishing. no matter where you go (yes, even omaha…sorry about that) there is something unbelievably cool…something you can’t do or see or experience where you live. try that regional food, see that live band, or spend a few hours strolling an idiosyncratic exhibit at the quirky local museum. even the tightest schedule usually has some flex in it, and you owe it to yourself to squeeze in as much living as you can while you’re there.

remember, “fitness” isn’t just about diet and exercise…it’s also your state of mind. we are largely creatures of habit, and a disruption of your routine doesn’t have to mean it’s room service and sportscenter until you return to your regularly scheduled program. stimulate the brain, body and soul while on the road, and you may find that you come home with the cobwebs cleared and a fresh perspective (and no extra lbs.). just make sure you wash those gym clothes and air out your sneakers…no need to take that sweaty funk with you on your next trip.

go on a hike, work out with locals or really dive deep and discover the city – you can do all these on verlocal1.com.

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