So, after three long years… I finally got a vacation. A real, bonafide, certified vacation, y’all.

The future Mister, Mini-me, the dogs – Sala and Sushi – and I all packed up and spent ten days in NYC. For a girl like me whose been almost everywhere except NYC? This was quite the experience… so much so, that all of my posts this week are going to be centered around vacationing and how to carry your lifestyle through when you’re no longer in the comfort of your own home.

I always get tons of e-mails asking me how one should work out while they’re on vacation. I mean, sure, if you’ve got access to a gym in a hotel you simply get up an hour earlier and hit the shop… but what if you’re staying with a friend?

I’m a big proponent of the morning workout. Why? Because… I’m vacationing! After that initial wake-up and workout? I’m going to be hellbent on relaxing the rest of the day. I simply don’t trust myself to break that with a workout… which, I’ve got to admit, isn’t always as fun as laying out on the beach or exploring a new city.

Me, Sala and Sushi getting in a (very brief) jog.

But if you don’t have a gym, what do you do? Calisthenics and cardio, baby. Calisthenics are basically activities where you use the body’s weight against itself. Push-ups? Calisthenics. Crunches? Calisthenics. Leg lifts? Calisthenics. Arm raises? Yep, you guessed it. Calisthenics. Of course, if you can manage to get a hold of weights, make use of ’em! Just don’t feel like you can’t get a good session in if you can’t get a hold of some. And as for cardio? Step outside your front door… and go! Run, walk, train on intervals… just get moving!

That being said… there’s also this interesting thing about a place like NYC that I don’t see too often. (And I’m sure NYCers/visitors may understand where I’m going with this.) I don’t think NYC likes cars very much.

At all, really.

In a city where pedestrians really and truly rule, you can either burn a quarter-tank of gas looking for parking, pay the $26/hr in a parking lot, or figure out how to use that subway and those legs you’ve got. And you’d better make that decision. Quickly.

Y’all know me. I’m cheap. Walking it is.

…and that brings me to another part of this “fitness on vacation” thing. You’ve also got to know how to sneak a little exercise into your vacay, too. Suppose you’ve spent last night out, and wentto bed at 4AM (I’m not saying that happened to me…. but if it did, don’t judge!) The last thing you want to do is wake up at 6AM and work out. I mean, if that’s your thing, then hey – have at it – but if not? (And I wouldn’t be mad at you if it wasn’t.) Then sneaking fitness into your day is definitely going to be a win.

After spending well over a week’s worth of time in a building with no elevator – and having to walk up and down 4 flights of stairs to get to our place at least 3 times a day? I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that my booty, thighs and calves didn’t feel the burn. That was a kind of struggle I wasn’t ready for, shoot.

If you’re in a new area? Go exploring… in different directions… every day…on foot. Make the most of your vacation time and go exploring. If you’re in an area that doesn’t really have much, then drive to an area that does… and park. We’d ride the subway to one part of Manhattan, walk across the city, make our way back to where we started by taking different streets in the same direction, and then head home. We easily clocked 8 miles wandering around Brooklyn in one day… another 6 by wandering around Manhattan.  Most of us have smart phones, so grab your favorite GPS app (or head right on over to Google Maps) and plot yourself a path. Get the most out of your time away!

Exercise isn’t solely a bunch of stiff and rigorous activities with repetitive motions and minimal context. Not only that, but you can definitely remain active without those same stiff activities. The bottom line is that you get (and stay) moving as much as possible, and that you enjoy yourself while you do it! You are on vacation anyway, and that’s what you’re there to do… right?!

What about you – how do you remain active while you’re away from home?