Travel Tips: Road-Tripping & Fitness-Focused Suitcase edition

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T. 


My niece, in London, with me. Road-tripping the country!!


The people in my local bars may not know my name, but the folks at the rental car agency do.

It’s nice to walk in on Monday and have someone say, “Ms. Hatch!!!!! How are you today?” In fact, one day the attendant handed me a rose and said, “I saw your name on the list this morning and wanted to brighten your day. How amazing is that?

My paperwork is always done and waiting.

Now if I could just get them in the habit of having my coffee in a to-go cup, I’d have it made!!




Although I travel hundreds of days each year, most people don’t. That’s a good, and bad, thing – depending on how you look at it. Regardless, I wanted to take the opportunity of sharing a few of my travel tips this afternoon.

These tips are for a road trip.

The series will include future installments for air travel, hotel workouts, awesome fitness apps, and how to be creative in finding places to workout while traveling.


Picking the Rental Car

I can select any car on the lot that I like. Things I (and you might want to) consider include:


  • Ease and quickness of picking up the car. Signing up (for free) for a loyalty program is definitely worth it! Many times that means rather than waiting in line at the counter, you merely find your assigned spot posted on the board – you walk to your car, and you’re outta there.  I am enrolled with five different programs.


  • Good gas mileage. This is key for me personally. I see no need to get an intermediate car. My business associates may disagree. My friend who is over 6’2” definitely isn’t interested in a compact car. My associate who lives for sports, views her satellite radio as the premier requirement.


  • Full tank of gas. Yes, they are all supposed to be full but that’s not always the case. You do have tIMG_6843o check! On at least three occasions (once overseas where petrol was $8 / gallon) I’ve been given a rental car with less than a full tank. Just ask them to fill the car, or give you a different one, before you leave the lot.

 I may, or may not, pay for the ability to bring the car back with less than a full tank. It depends on how much driving I’m going to be doing and how much time I have between dropping the car and getting back to the airport after class. Contrary to popular belief, paying for them to fill the tank (provided you’ve used the entire tank – – I mean, I literally cruise in on fumes!) is not any more expensive, and sometimes it’s less expensive, than filling it at a local station.

Speaking of that, be aware the last gas station(s) before the rental car lot IS going to typically be more expensive than any station you might find that’s out a few miles.



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  • USB audio port for my books and podcasts. No, not every car has one, as odd as that might sound. I read voraciously when I’m driving. I have an Audible gold subscription. It’s amazing!!!!






This route does require tolls.

This route does require tolls.

  • Toll pass box. This can be handy and I never travel throughout the Northeast without one. My personal EZ pass is preloaded with my credit card information but, if I don’t have that with me, for some reason, I rent a car with one.


Who has spare cash for – or wants to waste time – the stop and go lines?







  • Key fob with automatic entry and audible alarm button. Again, you might think this is standard but that’s not always the case. I travel alone 99% of the time so these safety features are important to me.  I will not accept a car that “just” has a standard key and nothing else.


Packing a Fitness-Focused Suit Case

Even with as much as I travel, I still print a list, every single time. It’s the little things you’ll forget without a list: like your under garments. Trust me.

Things that always go into my bag include:

  • My iPad, pre-loaded with more audiobooks and podcasts than I could ever listen to on one trip!  But…what if I don’t have wifi for new downloads?  I like to be prepared.


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  • Gym Membership. I love to lift and have memberships to a couple of different gyms. Anytime Fitness is my favorite because I can get into any club, anywhere, at any time, with my key fob. That said, most gyms offer a per day fee even if you’re not a member. Personally, spending $8 – $10 for a workout provides more enjoyment than say, taking myself to the movies. That may or may not be true for you.






  • Workout Bands. I frequently travel to remote areas so, even though I have my gym fob, there isn’t always a
    Versatile. Compact. Full-body workout in a bag!

    Versatile. Compact. Full-body workout in a bag!

    gym close by. I can use my workout bands to supplement the hotel gym, or even in my room.


    My favorite bands are by Fitgevity. They store in a small travel bag and these things stay in the front pocket of my suitcase!

Kate is a friend of mine and she’s offered a 15% discount to my e-Family on individual loop bands as well as the loop band set.  Thank you, girl!!!!

Just type “FAMFIT15” during check out.

There are several exercise suggestions on the Fitgevity website.  Here are a few I did just yesterday.  The bands help (a TON) with pull-ups.  You just put one foot, or in my case your knee) into the band.  It helps with the concentric part of the movement (the pull UP portion) but not too much.

Fitgevity Resistance Band Workout



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  • Snacks.  Chips, cookies, and granola bars aren’t “forbidden” but they also don’t provide the energy or nutrition I need to be a healthy and fit roadwarrior. Rather, I bring packets of tuna, protein powder, water, fruit, Quest bars and yes, chicken breast. RX Bars are yummy too. Have you tried these?



  • Monochromatic clothing. The more individual pieces I can mix and match – the better AND the fewer pairs of shoes I need to carry! For a week’s traveling, I bring one (an absolute max of two) pair of shoes, a pair of flip flops and I wear my sneakers.  No, you don’t really need an entire suitcase for your shoes, ladies!!


  • My RoadID. Again, this is a piece of safety equipment for me. It contains my blood type, my name, address, Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 8.44.16 PMand two points of contact for emergencies. I wear this to the gym and every time I go out running or walking.  My grandson also bought me this bracelet for running/walking after dark.  It lights up with movement.





1 comment

    • Sylvia on September 8, 2015 at 04:44
    • Reply

    Thanks! Great tips and things to consider.

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