How to Stay Active While on Vacation


I’m not a big believer in restricting myself from eating or doing what I want while I’m on vacation. That’s because I’ve personally found that nothing can ruin a good time quite like panicking over caloric intake or forcing myself to work out in a weird, sad hotel gym when I’d rather be out exploring.

So when I’m on vacation, I’m really on vacation. I fully indulge in the best foods my destination has to offer with zero guilt, committing to taking in new experiences instead of burning off every calorie.

So when I got the chance to hit up Lollapalooza this Summer, I was already mentally prepared to gain a few pounds during my weekend in the Windy City. There was deep dish pizza and Chicago’s local Goose Island beer to be consumed, and I wasn’t about to miss out on any of that in the name of weight loss. (Photographic evidence of me sticking to my vacation habits during this trip below.)

As planned, I was a total glutton during my weekend at Lollapalooza. I ate and drank pretty much whatever I wanted and had an awesome time doing it. But to my surprise, I didn’t come home five pounds heavier. Instead, this indulgent vacation — ice cream cones, beer, and all — turned out to be one of the most active, calorie-burning trips I’ve had to date.

And it’s all because I walked everywhere — seriously, that’s it! While I suspected that walking the length of beautiful Grant Park multiple times each day to get from concert to concert was racking up my step count, I wasn’t sure until I decided to randomly check up on stats at the airport.

Apparently I clocked in more than 38,000 steps over the course of just two days. According to my iPhone’s Health app data, I walked 17,436 steps on my first day at the fest (or eight miles) and a whopping 20,430 steps (9.4 miles) on my second day at Lollapalooza, for a total of almost 18 miles combined. To put those numbers into perspective, I walk all the way home from work every day — 1.7 miles — and make a concerted effort to travel wherever I can on foot in my daily life and still only usually land in the 8,000-ish steps zone.

What excites me the most about hitting such a high step count on vacation was that it didn’t happen because I was consciously trying to stay active. Those steps were the result of fully embracing the Lollapalooza experience and making it to as many shows as possible. (And yeah, burning around 1,900 calories without making any extra effort to squeeze in workouts or cut down on my calorie intake is pretty solid, if you ask me.)

Moving forward, I’m going to use this active weekend trip as proof of two things: I don’t have to force myself onto a hotel elliptical to stay active while on the road, and I probably deserve more vacation ice cream cones than I think.



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