The Complete 30-Minute Road-Trip Workout

Road trip Exercises

Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you can’t fit in a fast and fun road-trip workout. All you really need is 30 minutes and your own body weight. In fact, you might be impressed with how great you feel after a full-body, little-to-no-equipment workout you can do anywhere.

Why a Road-Trip Workout is Worth It

If you’re on the road, chances are good that you’ve been sitting all day and your body is craving a little action. But, you might be in unfamiliar territory, not know of any gyms in the area, and might not want to spend money on guest fees for the night. So, having a road-trip workout ready to go can make the difference when it comes to staying healthy and on track and feeling good in your body.

What’s the secret formula? Getting both your cardio and your resistance training in. And don’t forget to give yourself some time for stretching, too, since sitting all day will shorten muscles and tendons, and you want to undo as much of the damage from sitting all day as you can. Plus, getting up and moving around for about 30 minutes at a time can make you more resilient and awake when traveling.

Why HIIT Training is Great

Since you’re traveling and may be tired and/or short on time, combining resistance training with some high-intensity cardio moves in-between can really pump up the effectiveness of your exercise. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is great because it’s very effective at both burning fat and calories and also improving your cardiovascular health dramatically. And, HIIT cardio will fit really nicely in-between your resistance training exercises to give you a complete workout on the cheap with minimal time investment.

What Types of HIIT Can You Do?

High-intensity interval training type cardio means using cardio in short bursts for maximum effectiveness. Here, you’ll be doing resistance training exercises and choosing a type of HIIT training to do for 30 seconds between your sets. Some good exercises to choose from include:

1. Running Stairs

Road-Trip Workout

If you’re staying in a hotel, chances are good you can find a stairwell somewhere and put it to good use. You can walk up and down a few flights as a good warm-up or cool-down. Or, if your room is close to the stairs, run them for 30 seconds in-between resistance exercise sets.

2. Jumping Jacks

Road-Trip Workout

Start by standing with your feet together. Simultaneously jump with your feet landing about hip-width apart while raising your arms out to the sides and overhead. On the next jump, bring your feet back to the center and your arms back down to your sides.

3. Step-Ups/Foot Taps

Do step-ups if you have a stable surface you can step up onto; otherwise, try alternating fast foot taps up onto the side of the bathtub, a chair, or even your suitcase. To do a foot tap, with your hands on your hips, lift your right leg and tap the surface in front of you with your foot. Bring your right leg back down to the start and repeat on the left. As you get faster at each tap, you can add a bit of a jumping motion with each tap. Continue stepping-up or foot tapping for 30 seconds.

4. Running in Place

This is probably self-explanatory. Simply run in place and make sure to lift your knees high with each step. Pump your arms back and forth for extra movement and calorie burn.

5. Jumping Rope

Jump Rope Workout for Beginners

This may be difficult if ceilings are low in your hotel room, but depending on where you’re staying, you may be able to jump rope in the hallway, lawn, or parking lot. Jump for 30 seconds consecutively. You can also jump without a rope. To better simulate the exercise, hold the tip of a washcloth in each hand and rotate them as you jump.

6. Mountain Climbers

Road Trip Exercises

You can do any type of plyometrics to raise your heart rate, but mountain climbers are a good start. Begin by placing your palms on the floor slightly wider than shoulder width. Kick your feet out behind you and get up on your toes. Next, bring your right knee up to your chest and then return it to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side. The faster you are able to go, the more you’ll get out of these. Continue for 30 seconds.

Try This Complete Road-Trip Workout

For the perfect road-trip workout, try this 30-minute, fast-paced, full-body plan. Do one round of each resistance exercise for 15 – 20 repetitions and then go immediately into 30 seconds of HIIT cardio of your choice.

Note: If you’re traveling for several days in a row, you can split this workout up into upper body and lower body. Just do two rounds of each exercise with your HIIT cardio in-between to make this into a two-day workout split.


Start by walking in place for two minutes, followed by small arm circles, working your way up to large arm circles. Do arm circles for two minutes. Then, finish your warmup with yoga sun salutations: stand with your feet slightly apart and bring your arms out to your sides and all the way up over your head. Look up and stretch up toward the ceiling (sun) and feel the stretch through your whole body, including your fingers. Then, bring your arms out to the sides and down to your feet to touch your toes (if you can) getting a good stretch through your back and hamstrings.

Now you’re ready to get started!

1. Pike Pushups

Portable Workout

Start with your hands on the ground in front of you, hips in the air, and your legs straight. (You should look like an “A”). Next, slowly bend at the elbows to bring your head and chest closer to the ground. Hold for a moment and then push back up through your palms to straighten your arms. Repeat. If these are too difficult, drop down onto your knees and do pushups that way.

2. Chair Dips

Road trip Exercises

Start by sitting on the edge of a chair with your hands next to your hips. Gently slide your hips off the edge of the chair and lower your body toward the ground while bending your elbows until they are at a 90-degree angle. Push back up to straighten your arms and bring your hips back up to chair height.

3. Suitcase Lifts

Close your suitcase first (!) and then bend slightly forward at the waist. Place your left hand on a sturdy surface and grab the suitcase handle in your right hand. Keeping your arm next to your body, bend at the elbow to bring the suitcase up in a rowing motion. Slowly lower back to the start. Do all reps on one side and then repeat on the opposite side.

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4. Dumbbell Curls

Road-Trip Workout

Use your water bottle to perform dumbbell curls or buy a gallon of water, turn it sideways, and lift/curl with both hands.

5. Wall Squats

5 Isometric Exercises

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Stand a couple of feet from a wall and lean back until your upper back rests on the wall. Place your feet about hip-width apart and slowly slide down the wall until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle with your knees directly over your ankles. Hold this position for 10 – 20 seconds, push through your heels to straighten your legs again, and then repeat.

6. Alternating Lunges

Walking Lunges HIIT

With your hands on your hips, take a giant step forward, bending until your knee is fully flexed. Push back up through your heel until you’re standing again and repeat on the opposite side.

7. Walkout Planks

Plank Workouts

These will work your shoulders and upper body, as well as engage your core. Start by standing with your feet about a foot apart. Lean forward and bend at the waist until you can place both palms flat on the ground (you will look like an “A”). “Walk” your hands forward, one at a time, until your back is straight. If you want to get down on your forearms at this point and continue holding the plank position, you can. Otherwise, walk your hands back toward your feet until you’re standing again. Repeat.

Re-energize yourself with this quick workout while you’re on the road. It’ll help you stretch out the kinks, shake off stress and boredom, and get your circulation going again. You’ll be more alert, too, for your next leg of the journey.