Great point, and looking back I should have been wearing a helmet. Love this! We workout nearly every single day since we have dogs. Thanks for the great advice! I backpacked across Spain on the Camino de Santiago all of July and thought I was going to come back ripped. Well, when the markets are far and few in-between, the main lifeline in the small villages is fresh bread, and the wine is cheaper than water, it becomes tricky.
MSc Nutrition, Physical Activity and Public Health
Even with all of that I figured I was burning the calories because my bag weighed 23 pounds double what I should be carrying and we hiked miles a day. Ended up gaining 5 pounds and losing a few toe nails. I bring my TRX along and hang it on playgrounds, palm trees, whatever! Plus, you get some really funny looks from people, which are amusing. It is a structured series of exercises using your body aka calisthenics. Also, all the material downloads to your phone, so no connections are needed once installed I think.
Hi Matt! We found your blog today and we love it! Today we have been on the road over four months and we have realized that eating healthy and doing some exercise once in a while keeps us better shape and we enjoy more our travel activities and adventures. I appreciate different diets work for everyone, so why advocate the paleo diet? Isnt most bacon full of nitrates? This is more than likely going to lead to binging later on in the day! I was hiking for hours every day in New Zealand for two months and I felt like I needed carbohydrates.
I would have a big dinner of carbs and protein to replenish all that was lost during the day. I actually maintained my muscle, and put on no weight. Sure, paleo may work for some, but not all. I have been for 10 months so far and yes I have put on weight. But I have also been eating like the locals, having an adventure and experiencing different ways of life.
I totally agree, and yes, he did need to be called out on suggesting just one diet. I think the cutting of carbs recommendation is relative to a traveler that does not participate in as regiment of an activity like you did for a long period of time.
Calories are king. If calories is MORE than you currently eat, you will gain weight. If calories is LESS than you currently eat, you will lose weight.
When it comes to body composition and performance how you feel, are you bloated, energy levels, etc. Some people thrive on high carbs, others … not so much. This is where experimentation comes in, and you need to listen to your body. High in micronutrients vitamins, minerals, etc. Much more difficult to do with a huge plate of lasagna and beer from a restaurant. Anyways, this has turned in to a novel. The rest of the article was fine and had some good every day advice for the average traveler. Determined to find a balance for this years trips and your advice is great…must find playgrounds!
Travelling for me burns so many calories, i need the extra food. I love how you lay out a comprehensive and yet, simple plan that anyone can follow virtually anywhere on the planet. Right now Nathan and I are really focusing on health and fitness particularly because our wedding is in 3 months!! I am gonna give that playground workout a try. Steve, we have a gym we go to 5 days per week. Running, elliptical?
Also, I love the inclusion of the paleo type diet. We have done that in the past and it really worked for us. My suggestion to those out there is eating cheap yet healthy: sweet potatoes super cheap , eggs, canned green beans with no additives , bananas, applesauce, and cans of tuna.
Excellent post, Steve! A lot of valuable information for travelers. I think intermittent fasting is a perfect option travelers. Very informational post. Great post! I moved from the US to Thailand to teach English. Back home I frequented the gym times a week. Here in my little province of Nan, I have no gym!
We complete body weight exercises, hold races, and play games like soccer and tag to stay healthy and fit. One challenge was weighing myself — my best way of keeping my eating healthy. To find an accurate or any scale this is what I finally worked out: go to a hospital or medical clinic. Can you please take me to a scale? I found seeing the hospitals or clinics extremely interesting. Some were filthy, some not, all very informative. I especially did this if I was staying somewhere longer than a week.
Oh man, liquid calories are SO my downfall — at home and abroad!
Thanks for the tips! I stressed out a lot about keeping up my exercise regimen when I did a 5-month study abroad but I actually ended up losing more weight abroad than I did at home, thanks to all the getting around on foot. Excellent post, is helpful for all who like adventure sports, and it is always good to be in better shape when you travel because you do not know how you can affect other places. One of the key ingredients to enjoying your time in new country, is having the energy to experience as much as possible in a short amount of time!
Great information. This was a very informative post. I really appreciate the insights! Question, are there certain places in the world where it is cheaper to choose certain proteins over others? And for that simple reason that I usually walk for miles and miles every day. I lost weight when I spent my summer traveling in America — gained it all back when I went back to England. Get some barefoot shoes and pack them in a ziplock bag, you can take them everywhere, and make a point to run.
Some of my greatest memories from our trip around the world was on country trails or running through suburban sprawl. Thanks for these awesome tips. I like the video about working out in the park. It is true that no one wants to look for a gym when traveling, but being out in a park is different. They are usually at playgrounds. I came to the realization how out of shape I was 3 days ago on a mini hike, now only was I the last one to get to the top in a group of 20, now only did it take me for a 25 minute hike not only did i take a break every few steps, this cute Asian preppy city who never hiked a day in her life showed me up.
I found Nerd Fitness through an interview Matt did with him a few years back and since then my lifestyle has gone through a complete overhaul as far as fitness goes. When I first started working out, I used to struggle with keeping up while traveling, but now I actually love what I do, that I figure out a way to happen regardless of where I am — with a gym or without…. I realized some years back that because I drove the Baja, lived in two countries and enjoyed other travel that I needed exercise that was portable. I do yoga, no I do not tote a mat, I find a fit surface in my hotel room and stretch.
It lowers my metabolism, costs no money on the road and is something you really can do anywhere.
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On the beach? Yes, it is done here in Baja on the beach. And if you do not want to lay on a floor; there are many stretches that can be done standing. Best work out I know of. Almost 68! Great tips, guys! Love the videos and the body weight exercises! Thank you! Great information here! This is always a problem that I deal with when traveling. Do I indulge or should I stay consistent with my exercise and dieting? Happy to have found some guidance on being moderately healthy while trying to enjoy myself.
Excessive carb intake, dehydration, and large portions are three dieting mistakes that brought me down on busier days when I studied abroad with school last semester. A thick sole or soft insole does NOT mean comfort. I chose a Merrell shoe and while they looked lame, they were incredibly comfortable. Great post. Made me chuckle as I generally do eat chicken and broccoli for dinner and omelette and spinach for breakfast.
Eating in Oz and NZ is expensive. In cities in Oz the local markets were ace for cheaper and generally fresher vegetables. Very informative post. It annoys me when blogs just state the obvious in posts, giving tips which are basic common sense, but this post gives some really good ideas that I had not thought of. I often eat so badly when I am travelling and then feel awful when I get back that I lost track and sight of my fitness goals! Thanks for this post, it has really helped! Thanks for sharing this, Matt! I am so bad at staying in shape while I travel. I have only visited two countries and my visit only lasted 3 days, so there was no chance of thinking about any routines leave alone trying anything creative.
Great tips! Working out while has always been an enjoyable moment for me. Usually during a trip, I can be able lost Kg and redesigning my shape! Thanks a lot.
I tried once, I loved it! As a result, my waistline suffered. I too think that diet and healthy eating is the most important thing to consider when travelling. It is hard — there are plenty of treats you will want to try out. Moderation is key. I always tell myself that the more I splurge, the less I get to try, because every stomach has its limits. I find that since I have gotten into a routine with exercise its easier for me to keep it on vacation.
What gives me the biggest issue is how much my diet can change on vacation. Love the way you make exercise and nutrition so practical. Going on a two-week trip to New Mexico and will look for a playground to lead our women in your exercises. Wow, fantastic post! Not really. It is almost identical in design and layout to the corresponding Platinum model.
It has the same pocket and interior layout, the same excellent handle, and MagnaTrac wheels. The most apparent drawback of the Crew 11 is that it uses plain straps instead of mesh compression panels for tightening down your clothes inside the carry-on suitcase. Furthermore, the Crew 11 appears to have a weaker internal frame that feels less supportive than that on the Platinum Elite.
This means a hard drop on a corner has the potential to jab farther into your bag than it might on the Platinum Elite. The Crew 11 is protected by a three-year warranty against airline damage, as long as you register the luggage within days of purchase. Both models perform just as admirably as each other. The two-wheeled version has the same internal layout as the spinner model, but it offers a bit more usable space. The most ingenious part of the Baseline Domestic bag is its CX expansion and compression system.
Load the bag as full as you need to, and zip it closed. Then you push down on the bag, which compresses it as a clip mechanism secures it in place. Unlike other expansion systems, which are either open or closed, this one locks into incremental positions. Another significant difference: The tracks for the handles are on the outside of the bag, which allows for a flat surface in the interior of the bag, with no small crevices to work around for simple packing. And in our tests, after packing 10 bags trying to figure out strategies for each nook and cranny, packing on a broad flat surface felt like a luxury.
According to our measurements, the bag, unexpanded, offers 1, cubic inches of storage room and that accounts for the space occupied by the wheel wells and such.
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Expanded, it can stow 2, cubic inches—or nearly 77 percent of its conceivable available space. All of these features add up to a carry-on that is easier to pack than any other bag we tested. A wide, wrinkle-free tie-down system completes the package. On the outside, the Baseline Domestic is pretty unremarkable.
We also noticed a robust feel to the zippers, which are a self-repairing type made by YKK. Or you can drop off the bag at one of the many repair centers. One last long-term testing note for this luggage review: Wirecutter founder Brian Lam has carried a two-wheeled Baseline while traveling , miles and farther over the past four years. Sometimes I carry it. It always fits. Despite the plastic shielding, the exposed rails on the exterior could use some more protection.
In practice, this is very helpful for scaling stairs and could save you some hassle in tight quarters, such as in the aisle of an airplane. We noticed, however, that even with this feature the handle sometimes requires gentle guiding to retract all the way. However, the Baseline series handle has held up well over four years now with no jams.
If you travel often for one- or two-day business trips, nothing will keep your office wear as pressed and protected as this bag. We concluded the C38 is marginally better at preventing wrinkles, but the Road Warrior is the better bag overall thanks to its superior zipper and more usable design. In our tests, it had only enough space for a day or two of clothes. We suggest our top picks if you travel for longer periods of time. But the Road Warrior does heavily pad the folding board where creases would otherwise develop, which makes wrinkles highly unlikely.
On the exterior, your clothes are protected by a hybrid, pliable outer cover that offers the look of a hard shell, but is much more scuff resistant than stiff polycarbonate. The Road Warrior features oversize 3-inch inline-skate wheels made of polyurethane, which glided across every surface we tested. It also comes with 6 inches of plastic curb protection, so it was plenty protected going over edges.
Its large diameter and soft cushioning made it the easiest to carry over long distances without complaint. Lacking the expanding capabilities of all our other picks, the Road Warrior has the shallowest depth of any bag we tested, which makes it light a little less than 7 pounds , maneuverable, and just the right amount of bag for a quick trip with nothing extra. Should anything go wrong, the Road Warrior is backed by a five-year warranty that does not cover airline damage.
Away now also offers a version of The Carry-On that does not include a battery, or a place to put one; it costs the same as the one that comes with a built-in battery. This is particularly attractive for anyone who travels a lot but lives in a small space like a city apartment. Readers often ask us for separate picks that are compliant with international carry-on requirements.
While we would love to provide you with one, there is unfortunately no standard for what that means. If you want to play it safe, there is a non-insignificant number of airlines that restrict depth to less than 8 inches. Thankfully, some—but not all—of our picks are available in slimmed-down and shorter versions for major international carriers:.
However, after extensive testing and industry improvements in design and materials, we reversed our stance. The bulk of luggage brands and travelers have moved in this direction as well. According to Jason Gifford, design manager for eBags, spinner models made up almost 90 percent of luggage sales in You can push a spinner bag ahead of you, run it along your side, or drag it behind you like a two-wheeled bag if you prefer; the point being, you get to choose what works best in a given situation, and this is often the difference between a stress-free day of travel and a stressed-out day of agitation, caught corners, and annoyed strangers.
Meanwhile, the only maneuverability benefits of two-wheeled luggage are better ground clearance over rough terrain, such as cobblestones, and easier rolling over carpets. If you prefer extra space or wheel durability over maneuverability, then two-wheeled bags are perfect for you. Frequent flyers especially should place a premium on wheel durability and capacity.
But we think most people who travel fewer than, say, six times a year will have an easier time navigating crowded terminals and narrow airplane aisles with a spinner suitcase. We made the conscious decision not to recommend any hard-sided luggage. All of our experts agreed that the benefits of soft-sided luggage—exterior pockets, more packing space, and better organizational features—are too important to pass up in a carry-on bag.
The only truly noticeable scuff is on the zipper. Photo: Michael Zhao. The issues for hard-sided luggage begin with their clamshell design. Instead of having a single compartment accessed by a single main zipper, hard-sided cases split in half, leaving two individual compartments, each with its own internal zippers and mesh linings to keep things in place; this means more bits to break or tear.
The main concern is the zipper. The metal gets worn down across the nose from the abrasion and inevitably that single piece will fail, more often than not. Because hard-shell suitcases need rounded corners to maintain structural integrity, they have less overall interior packing space. And none of the hard-sided pieces we tested came with a built-in suiter, a necessity for most frequent business travelers. Hard-shell bags also lose out on a lot of features that are particularly important for a carry-on.
They typically lack expansion zippers, for example. And very few offer external pockets for storing things like a battery pack or sleep mask. But this comes at the cost of a large amount of packing space for a small amount of convenience. Wirecutter editor Michael Zhao took a weeklong cross-country trip with a matte black Raden A28 checked bag, and it came back showing more wear than our soft-sided picks have accumulated in over a year of long-term testing.
Darren Orf, writing at Gizmodo , had even worse results using a glossy black Raden A22 as a carry-on. That being said, there are some advantages to hard-shell luggage. One could argue that every pound matters when carry-on weight limits can often, in the US, be as low as 30 pounds, but in practice, airlines rarely check the weight of carry-ons.
So we called up experts to help us narrow the field. Among them were:. Conversations with these experts helped us understand things such as the function behind nylon and polyester, the difference in wheel-bearing designs, why alloys in telescoping handles matter, and more. With the collected intelligence from these luggage reviewers, builders, and professional travelers, we zeroed in on some top brands. Besides the suggestions from our experts, we researched editorial and user reviews of luggage, making sure to include popular brands like Samsonite and Tumi as well as esoteric names like Filson and Hideo Wakamatsu.
In addition to the expert interviews, we spoke with assorted salespeople, brand engineers, and media-relations folks to make sure we found the best models from each brand. We measured these components and subtracted each from the total volume as well as we could. From there, we analyzed the bags and put every data point into a spreadsheet. In addition to the measurements, we looked at features. Did the wheels have sealed bearings? How big were the wheels? How many pockets did the bag have? How good were the pockets? Was the garment bag big enough, or would it crumple finery? How many stages did the handle extend to?
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How comprehensive was the warranty? How user-repairable was the bag? We asked all of that and more. We also tried to look at subjective and less-quantifiable factors. For example, did this bag appear bulkier and more likely to get a person gate-checked? Was it a good-looking bag, or an eyesore? How protected is the bag on the outside? How usable are the external pockets? What, if any, extras are included? Then we loaded them down and beat them up. We decided that carry-on bags should be capable of holding enough clothes to last you five days with room to spare for miscellaneous necessities.
Two testers, one male and one female, packed a bag individually as if headed to the same wedding. You can see the two packing lists in the footnotes below. We looked at how each bag loaded. Was there an easy way to keep smaller items such as socks and underwear organized? Did it have compression straps that would keep things in place?
Were the straps thick enough to avoid adding creases to the clothes? Just how much would the bag compress?