What a great adventure the last month has been!

*If you missed the news, I was honeymoon-ing and visiting my South American family + friends in Argentina.

I learned a lot about my own patterns for what works and doesn't work for my fitness life while living abroad.

It wasn't always easy.

Like when:

  • I missed a Pilates class I was going to take just because google maps sent me to f*%$^ train tracks and I couldn't figure out how to walk across them. Doh!
  • I planned to do a video at home, but the internet went out (happened often) and I hadn't pre-downloaded so I had to pull up my yoga pants and design the workout as I went along. 
  • My digestive system and I became frenemies and I was bedridden for a few days (but really, what's traveling to another country without a hospital visit!?!?!).

There were also plenty of things that worked well... like these 6 pieces of equipment I packed in my bags.

Having these in my backpack ready to go at anytime helped me focus on keeping true to what I knew I needed for my own body and carving out the space and time to make that happen -even if it didn't always go as planned- while I was away from my normal routine.

1. PonyBabe Multi-Use Wrap

"Multi-Use" is an understatement! This was one of my most valuable pieces because it's so extraordinarily versatile (and soft + cozy!).

I used PonyBabe's wrap as:

  • a 'yoga strap' for stretches after long travel days
  • a scarf for unexpectedly cold winds
  • a sun cover up for beach days!
  • a blanket on a chilly plane
  • a head wrap to shadow my face when I forgot my hat
  • a folded for a meditation cushion
  • and for feeling like Super Woman ;)

Plus, everything from PonyBabe is ethically produced and made in Brooklyn, NY. It feels good for body/mind/soul to wear the comfy clothes from this company. 

2. Gaiam Travel Mat 

This gal has been my sidekick since 2012. We've been together in Thailand, Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Uruguay, all over the US, and we're constantly together in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

This mat rolls up to about the size of a small handbag and is super light. It's been a life saver, especially when traveling, for doing on-the-go workouts in tight spaces, for setting up yoga space on the (questionably clean?) floors of hostels, or joining in a class abroad when you have to bring your own mat.

We filmed about 8 new videos for the Sparkes Wellness Workout Library on this trip, and they all feature my Gaiam travel mat!

3. The Stick

If you've ever been on a long plan, train, bus, or car ride (or heck! even if you're at your desk all day) you know what sitting for that long does to your body. 

Stiff. Sore. Achey. Tired... just to name a few. 

Having a really simple massage tool along for the ride, can make a 10+ hour flight feel a-okay on your body. I used this after our long car rides to the beach and to they country, and after my at-home workouts. 

I even showed mis suegros how to use The Stick after their legs were sore from all the walking we did in Uruguay. They were impressed! 

4. 2 Balls + A Sock Trick

Speaking of self-massage, another very simple and effective tool is this DIY trick. All you need are 2 balls (I use tennis balls) and a sock. You can use the balls together along your back and around your neck and shoulders, as demo-ed in this video:

OR you can use one at a time for around your hips: 

  • Take one ball and stand near a wall. 
  • Place the ball in the center of your butt and lean in toward the wall. 
  • Bend your knees and angle your body as you need to massage your tender spots. 
  • Repeat on the other side. 


5. Tempur-pedic Travel Neck Pillow

When you're on the road, you never know what kind of mattress or pillow you'll be sleeping on. Having this travel pillow allows me to relax knowing I'll always have a comfortable night of rest. 

Plus I use this for lumbar (low back) support and/or behind my neck for cervical support when I'm on a long flight or car ride. I love it so much I use it as a regular pillow when I'm at home too! 

My ma-in-law made me this cute removable cover for it! ;) 


6. Thera-Band Exercise Resistance Bands

I've been experiencing pain in my hip for almost 9 months now. Ugh! I didn't want to drop my physical therapy exercises just because I was on the road, so I took a Thera-Band, wrote down my PT exercises and made sure I did them 2-3x per week.

Resistance bands are great to add into any fitness routine (not just for PT) to add resistance, get creative, and add variety to your exercises. They take up virtually no space and don't add any weight to your luggage.

I find that they can break easily, so I recommend taking more than one - I packed 2 different bands in my bags!


What about you? What fitness equipment do you bring with you when you travel? 

I'd love to know! Leave me a comment with your recommendations. 


With love, packing light, and keeping fit on the road! 

xoxo elyse


PS - Just fyi - I'm not getting paid by any of these companies to tell you about them. I just found that these helped me and I believe in the products, so I want to share them with you! 


I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com




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