It is no secret that I love islands and beaches. There is just something about being surrounded by water that is so calming that it is no wonder people flock to island vacations for some serious relaxation from their daily hectic lives. And if I am being totally honest, I use to LOVE beach only vacations too! There was nothing I would rather do than lay on a beach all day, and bake in the sun with a bunch of fashion magazines and a bottle of “sunscreen oil” (my poor skin!).
Clearly my prioritizes have changed, and while I still absolutely love my beach and island vacations (some of my favorite vacations of all time have been on islands), my idea now of an incredibly relaxing vacation is taking in all that the location I have traveled to has to offer, and finding a nice balance between staying still and exploring!
So Why Get Active On Vacation?
When it comes to feeling great and having the best, most restorative island vacation possible, I really do believe that some kind of daily activity is essential to balance out all that down time in the sun, keep your digestion going smoothly, and overall make you feel happy! Those exercise induced endorphins are real folks! Where I think people get overwhelmed, or resistant to activity while on vacation is that they feel like it has to be similar to what they do for workouts at home, and honestly this couldn’t be further from the truth.
For me I know that taking a break from my typical workout routine while on vacation is actually a perfect reset for me, and allows me to get moving in other ways that I normally wouldn’t. Most of the year I live in a city, so for me rather than hitting the hotel gym on vacation like I do at home, I would much rather get outside and explore! When you start to think about moving and exercise on vacation as exploring the whole concept becomes entirely different, and will lead to a more rewarding, active experience.
Let’s Talk About All-Inclusives
Now all inclusive vacations can make this balance between relaxation and movement a little bit more tricky, mostly because when people tend to book all inclusive resorts they also tend to not leave the resort, because umm hello “free everything” right? There are endless frozen drinks, and a chair that you claimed at 8 AM with your towel on it so really why would you even think of doing anything else?
I will get into why I never travel to all-inclusive resorts another time, but for now since I know many people do go to all-inclusive resorts for island and beach oriented vacations, I figured we had better address some of the challenges these resorts have when it comes to staying active, and ways to get around them!
Staying Active At An All-Inclusive Island Vacation
Like I said I really don’t like to take my home workout routine on vacation with me, I’m on vacation for a reason and doing that same gym workout isn't something I really want to do. Not to mention, l already told you that I actually don’t workout on vacation, I explore. While some all-inclusive resorts may be better than others, the key issue most people seem to face is that outside of the hotel gym all other “activities” usually are not included and come at sometimes a pretty steep price. So here are some ways to get active and exploring while at an all-inclusive!
- Check The Price Of Activities Ahead Of Time: Usually the hotel will have water activities like kyaking and paddle boarding, in addition to things like yoga classes on the beach listed on their website. Before arriving, check with the hotel and see if any of these options could fit into your budget. If you think you can swing it, plan ahead to spend your money renting a paddle board one day.
- Get Outside The Resort: Remember that just because you are staying at an all-inclusive resort, doesn’t mean that you can’t arrange for your own exploration separate from the resort (it will probably be cheaper), and in fact I would encourage you to. As long as you feel as though you are in a safe area, getting outside the resort can be a great way to better see the island you traveled so far to get to.
- Utilize The Beach: Okay so getting outside the resort isn't going to happen, but instead of staying in your hotel gym, take your usual workout outside. Go for a walk, run, swim, or even try a no equipment needed beach workout to get you moving in the beautiful scenery you traveled to.
- Go Golfing: You would be surprised how many all-inclusive resorts have some kind of relationship with golf clubs on the island you are staying. Maybe they even have a golf course of their own! Whether you are an avid golfer or total amateur (aka me!) golfing can be a really fun way to get some exercise, while spending time in the sunshine with your significant other or making new friends!
Now lets talk about all the things you can do when your not staying at an all-inclusive and have the ability and desire to explore the beautiful island you are vacationing on.
- Rent A Bike: Any island I have ever traveled to has always been pretty bike accessible. While this may not be the case for some of the more rugged islands, most of the time I have found that biking is pretty much the best way to get around, and what even most of the locals rely on for transportation. Biking is such an easy way to see the island you are staying on, and almost trick yourself into a workout that is so much more rewarding than the hotel gym.
- Try Paddle Boarding: So many people are hesitant to try paddle boarding because they think their balance isn’t good enough, or they are going to look “silly” while doing it. Just trust me, and if paddle boards are for rent on the beach you are relaxing at, put your ego to the side and get out on one. You will find that you have a much easier time staying up than you may have thought and it is an incredible workout
- Go For A Beach Run Or Walk At Sunrise/Sunset: One of my favorite quotes of all time is “There is a sunrise and a sunset everyday, and it’s up to you to see it, it’s up to you to put yourself in the way of beauty.” Nothing is more peaceful and relaxing than moving your body and watching the beautiful sunrise or sunset that you are bound to see on island time.
- Ask About Local Nature Walks/Hikes: Many islands that I have traveled to have had some kind of nature walks or trails that could make for a great morning or afternoon activity. This is always one of the first things I will ask the hotel we are staying at and usually they will have a map or guide that can help us find beautiful paths and trails for exploring.
- Do 5 Sun A and Sun B Salutations At Sunrise or Sunset: As a yoga teacher I want you to trust me when I say that every single person can do yoga, and every single person can do some variety of sun A and sun B salutations. So whether you know exactly what I am talking about, or need a youtube video, doing 5 rounds of these wonderful salutations on the beach or even your hotel patio will leave you feeling more grounded, and are the perfect way to move on vacation.
There are so so many ways to stay active and get exploring while on an island vacation, and I really hope that you take some of my favorite tips and make the most out of your island escape. I promise that there is nothing like a mix of rest and gentle FUN movement to help your body and mind get the most out of your vacation.