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The 16 Best Portable Workout & Exercise Equipment for Travel [2024]

Amar Hussain's image
Amar Hussain
Amar Hussain's image

Amar Hussain

Senior Content Contributor

791 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 63U.S. States Visited: 9

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

35 Published Articles 3230 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 47U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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While it is true that being on vacation is a great time to catch up with some rest, eat great food, and maybe overindulge a little, being away from home doesn’t mean you have to give up on your exercise goals completely.

From simply packing your own yoga mat for a more zen-like workout, to investing in smartwatches to monitor your every mile, there is plenty of effective and highly portable workout and exercise equipment out there for you to take with you.

Tune out from the real world, but stay in shape with any of these great little additions for exercising while you are on vacation.

Wrist and forearm exerciser
Portable workout equipment is perfect to take traveling. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

The 5 Best Yoga, Pilates, Stretching Tools

1. Manduka eKO Superlite Yoga Travel Mat

This incredibly lightweight and super portable yoga mat is perfect for those who want to stay focused and in shape on the go. Weighing just a mere 2 pounds, this mat can easily be folded and packed away in your carry-on, gym bag, or even your suitcase.

Stay in place with the orange peel-like surface texture that offers a tight grip to the floor surface, even when you sweat it up a little — in fact, the more it gets wet, the grippier it gets. The closed-cell surface has been made in a way that prevents bacteria, sweat, and dirt from absorbing into the mat’s surface, ensuring that it is easy to clean no matter how hard you work it.

Made from natural tree rubber and without PVC, toxic plasticizers, or harmful dyes, this latex-free, eco-friendly yoga mat is sustainable, biodegradable, and durable. It is also super easy to clean, either by hand or in the washing machine, making it a much more hygienic alternative to the ones you find in hotel rooms.

What We Like

  • Folds up small enough to take in your carry-on

What We Don’t Like

  • Might be too thin for some people

2. Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands Workout Set

This workout set is perfect for keeping fit on the go. Offering an instruction guide, a carry bag, an e-book, and online workout videos, you will be able to enjoy your daily workout wherever you are headed.

Featuring 12 x 2-inch heavy-duty resistance loop bands that are made of 100% natural latex, there are 5 varying resistance levels for you to choose from.

Choose from any of the color-coded bands to integrate into your yoga workout, Pilates session, strength training, or power weight program to add an additional layer of resistance. The 41-page e-book included in this set also gives great guidance on how best to use your bands.

Made from superior quality materials, the bands are also easy on the skin, making them perfect for physical therapy and individuals suffering from leg, knee, and even back injuries. Highly portable and incredibly effective, this exercise band set is great for use both at home and away.

What We Like

  • Lightweight and comes with a carry pouch

What We Don’t Like

  • Can roll up and pinch your skin

3. Balanced Body Ultra-fit Circle Pilates Ring

Lightweight and incredibly portable, this Pilates ring offers superior comfort and is suitable for use both at home and away. Made from sturdy, yet flexible plastic with a soft, rubberized shell, this is a super comfortable addition to your everyday workout.

The handles of the ring are padded, both inside and out, to keep your hands sweat-free and comfortable no matter how long you train for. The resistance of this band is approximately equivalent to a 3-band Spring Circle, giving you more power when you need it most. The band also comes with a free 15-minute DVD training guide, suitable for beginnings through to experts.

A Pilates ring is designed to help you strengthen the muscles more deeply than just by regular exercise alone. The resistance added to your workout will make a big difference in the results you see in the upper body, waist, and legs.

The spring-like resistance is more than enough to offer a full workout just by using this 1 single piece of equipment to your usual routine.

What We Like

  • Comfortable to use with a rubberized shell

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t have as much tension as some other pilates rings

4. WorkoutLabs Yoga Cards

Perfect for beginner yoga students, these cards contain all the basics and sequences you need to start practicing both at home and away. You can easily learn 47 core asanas, 3 pranayama breathing exercises, and 5 sequences that are suitable for both men and women.

Having been professionally illustrated, these flashcards feature poses and Sanskrit names, as well as alignment cues and written instructions, pose benefits, modifications, and health warnings where necessary. Used by both Yoga Alliance teachers and students, this pack features some of the very best yoga flashcards for beginners available anywhere.

Perfectly portable and compact enough to carry everywhere with you, the 5 x 3.5-inch yoga pose cards are made of high-quality waterproof plastic. This makes them much more suitable for trips to the beach, vacations overseas, or even use in the garden than traditional books and flow charts may be. Stay zen wherever you are headed with these yoga pose cards.

What We Like

  • Waterproof cards that can be taken everywhere

What We Don’t Like

  • Misses some standard poses

5. Live Infinitely Exercise Ball

Adding an exercise ball to your workout can certainly help to increase your productivity. These large, vinyl balls are used to strengthen and stretch your body, ultimately helping to improve your core stability and balance. The Live Infinitely Exercise Ball is just right for working out both at home and on the go.

Made from professional grade PVC material, the ball can support up to 2,200 pounds of weight, and being BPA-, latex-, and phthalate-free, it is safe for all the family. The heavy-duty PVC construction has been designed not to burst, and the non-slip ridge guarantees that the ball can withstand cuts or damage without going “pop” on you.

This ball also comes with a hand pump, 2 air plugs, and a valve remover tool to ensure that you are always good to go no matter where you are headed. There is also instant access to digital exercise groups and online training workouts that you can watch on your phone or tablet.

What We Like

  • Available in a range of colors

What We Don’t Like

  • The pump could be better

The 6 Best Strength Training Tools

1. TRX Suspension Training: Home Gym in a Box

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This fabulous set of suspension training straps gives you everything you need to help build strength, increase your flexibility, and enjoy a total body workout anywhere in the world.

Strong enough to handle even the toughest of exercise routines, these straps are made from durable, easy to clean materials and include rubber handles, a locking carabineer for safety and security, and a variety of anchors for maximum versatility.

Suspension straps allow you to undertake a full range of movement-based physical training, and by simply using just 7 simple foundation moves, you can push, pull, plank, squat, lunge, hinge, and rotate to increase strength, tone muscle, and burn calories.

Perfect for fitness fans on the go, this system can be set up virtually anywhere in less than 60 seconds, meaning you can build your core and sculpt your body at home, on the beach, or anywhere else that takes your fancy.

What We Like

  • Great for working your core

What We Don’t Like

  • Quite an expensive piece of equipment

2. NSD Power Spinner: Gyroscopic Wrist and Forearm Exerciser

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Offering a simple strengthening exercise that can be done in just minutes, NSD Spinners can help to relieve pain, increase strength and grip, and improve dexterity. Small and incredibly portable, this little ball is much more effective than you might think just by looking at it and is perfect for carrying around with you.

The spinner is operated by the rotation of your wrist, and it’s all about how well you can synchronize your wrist rotation to the momentum and time the rhythm of the rotor’s gyration to ensure that you really feel the burn. Just a few minutes on this innovative little device can give equivalent results to a much longer workout using weights or dumbbells.

For those that want to improve their strength for sports such as golf, tennis, or baseball, this NSD spinner will ensure no loss of strength or capacity, even on the go.

The gyroscopic rotor spinning on the stainless steel axel provides 26.9 pounds of torque at 15,000 RPM and it has an easy auto-start function without needing to use

What We Like

  • Small to carry in your bag

What We Don’t Like

  • Quite noisy to use

3. IronMind Captains of Crush Hand Gripper

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This handy little device is perfect for helping to increase or regain strength in your hands, wrists, and forearms. From rehab patients to weight lifters, this is a highly portable little tool that can be carried with you everywhere you go.

Small enough to fit in your carry bag, the Captains of Crush Hand Gripper is the fastest route to improving your grip. Hand strength is key for a wide variety of sports and activities, including golfing, baseball, lifting, climbing, rowing, and even those who enjoy taking part in obstacle courses and other outdoor activities.

Made from aluminum and alloy steel, this gripper is incredibly durable and built to last. There are 11 different strength levels to choose from, and it’s suitable for everyone from a beginner to the World’s Strongest Man.

Brought to you by the industry leaders in strength development since 1988, these are an easy way to get a crushing grip, even on the go.

What We Like

  • Really durable

What We Don’t Like

  • The handles can be rough on your hands

4. Stack 52 Bodyweight Exercise Cards

These motivational exercise cards are a great way to work out with the family while you are away. Designed by a military fitness expert, you can create super easy or incredibly intense workouts just by picking out cards from the deck.

Comprising of 104 bodyweight exercises, your whole family will enjoy using the super-sized cards that feature brightly colored illustrations and easy-to-read instructions. Set yourself a daily mini-workout using the cards to keep in shape even while you are away from home. You can start at any level and work your way up to the more advanced exercises as you start to get stronger and fitter.

Without any need for bulky equipment, planning time, or expensive memberships, the Stack 52 Bodyweight cards are a great way to start your new exercise regime. You can even sync the codes on the cards with your smartphone to access online instructional videos to give your workout an extra boost when you need it.

What We Like

  • Great for adding variety to your workout

What We Don’t Like

  • The instruction text is quite small

5. Perfect Fitness Rotating Push Up Handles

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If you like to do perfect push-ups at home, in a hotel, or even in the great outdoors, these innovative rotating handles are a great way to help you push harder. Incredibly innovative, they have been designed to reduce strain on the joints, which in turn leads to more engaging and effective push-ups.

Perfect for all levels of fitness, these affordable and portable handles include a ball-bearing system that provides a smooth, full rotation for natural alignment of the arms and the wrists. Featuring comfortable rubber grips and a non-slip base, they are also incredibly safe for use on a multitude of surfaces.

Originally invented by a U.S. Navy SEAL, these handles are a great way to optimize the power of your push-ups. By simply reducing the pressure on your hands and wrists, you can, in turn, increase the strength and definition in the arms and shoulders, as well as across the chest, back, and deep down in your core.

What We Like

  • Good grip on the bottom to stay put

What We Don’t Like

  • The square handle can hurt your hands

6. Tone Fitness Ab Roller Wheel

Ab rollers offer a simple but super effective way of strengthening your abdominal muscles and improving your core strength. By simply adopting a position on all fours, you can roll the device back and forward while you tuck your tummy in tight and work towards that washboard stomach. Ab rollers also help you strengthen your arm muscles and hone up your glutes!

This particular roller is compact and lightweight enough to use for home workouts or on your travels. The non-slip wheel will glide with ease across most surfaces, making it perfect for use on all types of terrain, and the added foam handles offer a comfortable grip, even when your belly starts to feel the burn.

The Ultimate Abs Work Out e-book contains 45 pages of abdominal exercises as well as 5 little-known secrets to effective tummy workouts, while the Six Pack Abs Nutrition e-book is packed with healthy eating tips and recipes. Both of these books will be sent to you via email after purchase and registration.

What We Like

  • Weighs just 1.2 pounds

What We Don’t Like

  • Can be difficult to use at first

The 2 Best Massage and Recovery Tools

1. Kieba Massage Lacrosse Balls

Massage balls are used to allow the user to undertake their very own deep tissue massage that can feel just as good as the palms of a professional massage therapist. These little balls isolate problem areas meaning you can eliminate pain and increase your flexibility all on your own.

The self-myofascial release of muscle knots and tension can keep you pain-free and relaxed while on vacation. Using trigger point therapy to target the exact area of pain and tension, you can immediately feel the benefits of the ball. By simply leaning on the massage ball and using a combination of body weight and gravity, you will start to feel the results straight away.

Incredibly small and perfectly portable, you can use your Kieba Balls virtually anywhere. Sitting in a chair, lying on a bed, or even on your yoga mat — the choice is yours. Made from 100% solid rubber construction, this set of 2 firm balls will be like taking a professional massage therapist on holiday with you.

What We Like

  • Brightly colored and easy to spot

What We Don’t Like

  • Both balls are the same size

2. IDSON Muscle Roller Stick for Athletes

Roll away muscle knots and tension with this IDSON muscle roller stick. Compact enough to be taken anywhere, you can help to ease muscle soreness and aid recovery after a full-body workout, long run, or extensive training session.

Particularly well suited to use on the calves, hamstrings, back, glutes, quads, neck, and shoulders, you can reduce stiffness and pain quickly and easily, even on the go.

Made from high-quality industrial-strength materials, this roller stick is built to last a lifetime. The ergonomic grip and 9 ABS independent rollers on a steel rod core make this an incredibly effective way to administer self-help for your muscles without the aid of a physical therapist or personal trainer.

Compress and stretch your muscles to help treat post-workout pain and stiffness, or loosen up before exercise using the therapeutic spindles to work on nearly all of your muscle groups. Easy to use, highly portable, and incredibly effective, this is a useful little addition to your workout gear.

What We Like

  • Much smaller to carry than a foam roller

What We Don’t Like

  • The rollers can sometimes get stuck

The Best Swimming and Beach Fitness Tool

1. Speedo Hydrospex Classic Swim Goggle

Speedo is one of the biggest names in swimming accessories across the world, and these Hydrospex goggles are from one of its best-selling ranges.

Perfect for leisure use, you can rely on these to help keep out the chlorine in the hotel pool, check out the wildlife in the ocean, and keep your eyes splash-free at the water park. Whether your next vacation involves playing in the pool with the kids or exploring deeper waters, these are the only goggles you need to buy.

Made with a PVC frame and a silicone strap, these goggles come complete with the patented Speed Fit Headstrap System, making them easily adjustable for a customizable fit. The gasket shape of the goggles offers a universal fit outside your eye socket and the G.O. Fit system guarantees that they remain comfortable while you are wearing them.

The durable Lexan lenses provide optimum safety, and the eyepieces are made from shatter-resistant material. These goggles also offer 95% UV protection and anti-fog material to help you see underwater for longer.

From the hotel pool to the ocean, these affordable, comfortable, and highly effective goggles are great for taking on vacation.

What We Like

  • Anti-fog is good

What We Don’t Like

  • Scratches easily

The 2 Best Running and Cardio Tools

1. WOD Nation Speed Jump Rope

Rope jumping and skipping offer many benefits for users of all ages. It can help to improve your coordination, your cardiovascular health, and burn calories. It is also a super-popular way to work out as you only need a minimum amount of equipment, and you can take it virtually anywhere with you.

Unlike other regular jump ropes, this model has been specifically designed to cut seconds or even minutes off your workout times. Laser-sharp precision design enables the user to move super-fast, as well as offers increased stability to help you recover from the occasional bad bounce.

This super-clean, steel jump rope allows for a smoother rotation with every skip, it also prevents the wire rope from knotting or tangling as other jump ropes can. Lightweight and easy to use, this is the perfect rope for regular, intense daily workouts either at home or on the move.

What We Like

  • The wire rope can be cut to suit your height

What We Don’t Like

  • The rope is painful if it hits you

2. Garmin Vívoactive 3, GPS Smartwatch

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Going out for a run is a great way to take in new surroundings while still keeping in shape. Just because you are away from home shouldn’t mean that you need to let your usual routine go, and the Garmin Vivoactive 3 can help you to track your progress wherever you are. The built-in GPS lets you record the distance, pace, and even your location as you run.

Looking just like an everyday watch, this little gadget works just as well for all kinds of activities, including cycling, swimming, gym sessions, skiing, and even yoga. You can personalize your watch with a ton of different watch faces, preloaded sports apps, and widgets that add interest to your workout and will help you to keep track of your progress.

The Garmin Vivoactive 3 also features wrist-based heart rate technology that will show how your body responds under various circumstances. You can continually monitor your fitness level with the VO2 max and fitness made estimates, and the stress-level tracker will help you to stay focused on the go.

With up to 13 hours of battery life when using GPS, as well as smartphone compatibility, this is a completely portable tool that can enhance every aspect of your run or training schedule.

What We Like

  • Has GPS for accurate tracking

What We Don’t Like

  • The touch screen is a bit sensitive

Final Thoughts

Being away from home will help you find the time to recharge and refresh. But, being able to workout while you are away will not only help to burn off some of those extra calories and keep you in shape, it will ensure that you are still able to release some of those all-important endorphins that will help you to make the most of your time away.

Set small daily goals and get the family involved where possible. There is a ton of portable workout and exercise equipment out there, so there should be no excuse for not keeping up your fitness routine wherever you are headed.

For more travel products, see all of our reviews of our best travel products.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I hide my exercise equipment?

The best way to hide your exercise equipment is to make sure that it is compact and portable in the first place. For example, yoga mats and resistance bands can be rolled or folded and easily stored in a backpack or suitcase.

What equipment should I buy for a home gym?

While it may be tempting to buy a workout bench and dumbbells for a home gym, space and tidiness may have you thinking otherwise. There are many compact and portable pieces of equipment you can use for a home gym that can be stored and hidden away easily. Things like yoga mats, resistance bands, ab rollers, and suspension straps are all great additions to any home gym.

How do I exercise while traveling?

The best way to exercise while traveling would be a combination of running or skipping for cardio, HIIT workouts for all-round fitness, or bodyweight training for strength training. These need little or no equipment and are easy to do while you are traveling.

What exercise equipment can I use when traveling?

From simply packing your own yoga mat for a more zen-like workout, to investing in smartwatches to monitor your every mile, there is plenty of effective and highly portable workout and exercise equipment out there for you to take with you.

Can I bring workout bands on a plane?

Passengers are permitted to bring workout bands in their carry-on or checked luggage.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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