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7 Workout Tools that Fit in Your (Carry-On) Suitcase

Paper Plates

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Slip two party-sized paper plates (about 7 inches in diameter) in your bag to fit in a killer core challenge wherever you go. This household alternative to gliding discs can amp up a variety of different exercises and works on most surfaces, including carpet (though we recommend doing a test first). Need some ideas to get your started? Try this paper plate workout routine!

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Resistance Bands

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Forget lugging around heavy dumbbells. A resistance band helps add more, well, resistance to your workout without adding bulk to your suitcase. Pack one without handles for even easier storage, and put it to good use with this super-effective toning routine. In fact, print it out and stick it inside a plastic baggie with your band—it's the most convenient gym ever!


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The TRX suspension trainer is a must-have tool for every advanced exerciser who wants to stay on track away from home (or at home too!). Anchor it to a tree or sturdy beam and try this 40/40 Challenge. If you can finish this routine strong, you won't need to do anything else but sit back and enjoy your vacation!

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Smartphone or Tablet

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We know—as if you'd ever leave home with it! But beyond emailing, texting, and playing Angry Birds, your smartphone or tablet device can double as your personal trainer when you're on the go. With so many awesome fitness apps available for iPad, iPhone, and other devices, there's no need to pack DVDs or workout cards for a follow-along routine. Some of our favorites (in addition to SHAPE's free apps, of course!) include PumpOne's Fitness Builder, NIKE's Training Club, and Map My Run.

GYMBOSS Interval Timer

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Interval training is an excellent way to fit in an effective, fat-burning workout in a short amount of time, which is even more important when you're on vacation. If you'd rather not sweat all over your phone while trying to track your intervals, check out the GYMBOSS interval timer.

This compact, sweat-proof timer easily clips onto your clothes and stays put, even during plyometric moves. It also offers pre-programmed options for exact interval length and rounds complete with vibrating or alarm notifications. It's especially helpful with Tabata training sessions, when work/rest periods are shorter (but super intense!).

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Neck Pillow

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Packing a neck pillow for the plane ride? It can double as a body-shaping device! Try sliding it under your lower back to add a little extra challenge during basic crunches, or use it for this total-body hotel room workout.

Yoga Socks and Gloves

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Love doing yoga while you travel but hate carrying around your mat? Ditch your mat and don a pair of yoga socks and gloves instead. They're specially designed to grip the ground and help you stay put during your practice.

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