The Best Guide to Running While Traveling [11 Tips!]

Written By: author image Kyle Cash
author image Kyle Cash
Kyle is the writer behind The Travel Runner. He’s a full-time traveler and adventurer who’s visited over 20 countries, including places like Thailand, Mexico, Vietnam, and Albania.


Master the art of travel running with this guide. Get expert tips and strategies for running while traveling to stay fit and see the world in a new light.

Stop letting your trips turn into a break from training.

Travel running is one of the best ways to explore and stay fit on the road. And if you’re skipping running while traveling, you’re missing a ton

Imagine coasting along Barcelona’s beaches, through Tokyo’s bustling streets, or in serene London’s parks. Sounds pretty great, right? But, running while traveling isn’t without its challenges. From finding safe and scenic routes to managing your running gear and adjusting to different climates, it can be overwhelming.

So, with over 7 years of travel running experience, I’ve learned how to enjoy it worldwide. And I’m here to help out.

Let’s dive in.

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Benefits of travel running

1. Get to know new places

Running while traveling is a great balance between fast and slow.

And that’s what hooked me on it. I was moving faster than a walk, so I got to see more. But I wasn’t moving too fast where I missed all the little sights along the way. From important landmarks to the smaller, unknown sights, it’s the best way to explore a new place.

A man runs on a sandy trail in a forested area

Plus, I got the chance to connect with locals.

Whether it was a simple ‘hello’ in the local language, or it turned into them inviting me in for dinner with their large family (true story) — I’ve had some of the most amazing experiences during travel runs.

2. Stay fit on the road

Travel naturally knocks a routine out of whack — in all areas of life.

And that’s especially true for a running routine. So, I use travel as an opportunity to get out the door, stretch my legs after traveling, and also get a general idea of the area I’m staying in. One of the best experiences I’ve ever had was using Escape Campervans to roadtrip around Arizona and getting to pull up to a trail, put on my shoes, and just go!

A man ties his shoes in a blue and yellow van with the doors open in a forest.

Always take a GPS watch on a run in a new place as well. Looking at the Strava map post-run is a great way to remember landmarks and other important items where you’re traveling.

This will make navigation easier in the future.

3. Fight jet lag

A run is a great remedy for jet lag.

The combination of sun and exercise is the perfect sleep cocktail. It helps reset your internal clock, getting you into the swing of a new location faster.

A 2019 study even suggests it can shift your circadian rhythm depending on the time you run. A morning run can shift your circadian rhythm up, promoting a more natural sleep cycle depending the time zone. Whereas a later run will do the opposite.

So use this to your advantage during your travels.

4. Meet new people

Running is a social activity.

Even for many runners who enjoy running alone (me included), having a group to run with makes the experience more enjoyable.

A group consisting of three men and a woman stand smiling at the top of a hill with dense green forests in the background.

And I’ve found that’s even more true when traveling. Travel, especially solo travel, gets lonely. So whether it’s a local running club or some strangers that joined you mid-run, embrace connecting with other people.

Runners are a friendly bunch, and it’s an easy way to get to know a place.

A guide to running while traveling

1. Plan places to run and routes into itinerary

First and foremost, you should plan routes ahead of time.

That means before you even step foot in a new city or country. This reduces the friction when you wake up at 6am, and now you’re scrambling to find a route to run.

I use apps like Strava, AllTrails, and even Reddit to find routes.

This image shows an AllTrails dashboard for Zion National Park. On the left, there's a featured trail, the Angels Landing Trail, rated 4.9 stars and classified as hard, with a length of 4.3 miles. The map on the right marks various trails and points of interest within the park and its surrounding areas, including locations such as Kanarraville, North Fork Virgin River Wilderness Study Area, and Zion National Park itself.

I prefer to use Strava or AllTrails thanks to the ability to export the route to my GPS watch. But if you can use an app on your phone (make sure it works offline), that’s just as good. Mostly look for popular areas — local parks, waterfront paths, and dedicated trails.

Popular places ensure you don’t get lost.

2. Find accommodation near running areas

This is something I started doing around five years ago.

I was specifically traveling to places to run them, so why not find the best accommodation to make it even easier? For this, I’ll go to Strava and AllTrails and check out where there’s the highest concentration of routes.

This image is a side-by-side comparison of two maps: one from Strava and the other from Airbnb for finding routes for running while traveling. The Strava map shows a segment of San José, Costa Rica, with various landmarks such as Fresh Market, Plaza Juan Mora, and Parque Las Vegas 2 highlighted. The Airbnb map displays rental prices in the same area, with prices ranging from $45 to $63 for accommodations available between June 20 and 24.

I’ll then pull up my accommodation website. Usually Airbnb, but I’ll cross-reference with Expedia. If I can find an accommodation right in the middle of all those running routes, I know I’ve found the best spot. I recently did this on a trip to San Jose, Costa Rica and it lead me to Parque Sabana, a nice little green area in the middle of the city.

This is one of my top hacks to ensure you stick to a running routine while traveling.

3. Pack your running gear in a smart way

Packing for travel running is a balancing act.

You need to bring clothing that’s versatile. It must be suitable for various weather types — but also must be light and packable.I recommend always having a “cold option” for clothes, depending on where you’re headed. You should also consider running shoes for travel specifically. A lightweight, packable pair of shoes make running while traveling a lot easier.

A woman pulling a first aid kit out of a running pack

If interested in a full breakdown of my gear, check out my trail running gear checklist. I don’t take all of it when I travel, but it’ll help get you started.

4. Stay hydrated

Hydration is key.

But dehydration and travel are no joke. So it’s important to stay up on fluids to reduce dehydration’s effects on your body and running.

I travel with a TSA-approved water bottle, both on road trips and flights.If you tend to forget (like me), I recommend using an app. A simple notification reminder can help you stay up on hydration.

5. Prioritize safety

This is general, but it’s one of the most important tips for running while traveling.

And there are a few things to prioritize safety (especially trail running safety!):

  • Tell someone where you’re going: Always, always, always let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Even if it’s the hotel front desk worker.
  • Stay in populated areas: More populated areas are safer for runners. Something is more likely to happen running at night and alone. So stick to well-lit, populated areas.
  • Carry the essentials: ID, a bit of cash for a snack or emergencies, and your phone. If you have these three, you’re set for most situations. 
  • Check the weather forecast: Weather is crazy sometimes. I’ve run in sunny weather only to have a storm roll in unexpectedly. And it’s not fun. So prepare and know what’s coming.

Running at home and running while sightseeing are similar. Just follow a few key rules, and you’ll be just fine.

6. Adjust to local conditions

If you’ve ever changed climates dramatically and went running while traveling, you know why this is important.

Fast travel as we know it is still new, and our bodies are still stuck on an old operating system. It takes time to adjust and get acclimated. And that’s especially true if you travel to elevation.

A person is smiling at the camera while pointing to a narrow, muddy trail winding through a dense, green forest. The individual is wearing glasses, a backwards cap, and a red shirt, and appears to be enjoying a hike or run in a rainy environment.

If you can, take it easy the first few days in a new place to allow your body to get comfortable.

7. Be flexible

Travel is unpredictable.

Running while traveling is even more unpredictable.

So your schedule needs to be flexible to enjoy your trip fully. That means making time when you can. Whether it’s a quick morning jog or an evening exploration, enjoy the spontaneity and have fun.

A man runs on a trail in Flagstaff, Arizona

For me, I run early. I’ve found that early morning runs are the best way to stay consistent. You’re only running in the dark for a bit before a beautiful sunrise comes up.

8. Join local groups

One of the best decisions is to connect with local runners.

It’s a great way to meet locals, which means you get a deeper experience into the culture of the place. But they also know where to run. And, they’ll show popular running spots! It’s like having expert advice on the local running scene.

It’s important to be respectful, though. Don’t impose yourself on anyone or feel entitled to anything.

If you’re unsure where to find a group, find the local running store and they’ll surely know.

9. Respect local customs

Be mindful of the customs and etiquette where you plan to run.

Different places have different etiquette. For example, yield to uphill runners in the US, don’t wear inappropriate apparel in South Korea or Kenya, or block walkways in Japan.

A man stands to get his picture taken during a travel running race in Thailand

Each place has its unique culture, and that’s what makes it enjoyable to experience it all. But, first and foremost, be aware of the dos and don’ts before you actually run.

10. Listen to your body

I mentioned it once, but it’s worth mentioning again: traveling is exhausting.

So it’s important to listen to your body and not overdo it. Jet lag, fatigue, illness — all are easy to feel post-travel. So it’s best to ease into things if you’re feeling tired.

Instead of a long run, choose a shorter and easier run. Then slowly build back up as your body adjusts. Remember, the goal is to enjoy your runs, but not push past your limits.

11. Record your runs

Keep a travel running journal or use an app like Strava or Nike Run Club.

Write down your distance, any experiences, and where you went. These tools can help track your adventures and remember them better. Plus, you get a fun travel journal to look back on in a few years time. And whether its digital or physical, I think it’s a running essential.

Happy running on vacation

Travel running is one of my favorite things to do (if you couldn’t tell by the website name). But sharing it with others is a favorite, too.

And I hope this travel running guide helped you out.

If you’re a travel runner, drop your favorite places you’ve run in the comments and share your experience! I’d love to hear about any destination races, travel runs, and everything in between!

And, if you want more, sign up for my newsletter where I’ll drop tips, routes, and other travel running stories straight into your inbox!

author avatar
Kyle Cash Owner
Kyle is the writer behind The Travel Runner. He’s a full-time traveler and adventurer who’s visited over 20 countries, including places like Thailand, Mexico, Vietnam, and Albania.