The word on everybody’s lips is “travel”. As a young fitness professional, I am excited to see more travel incorporated in fitness business. With fitness becoming more popular and more widely recognized as a preventive method for chronic disease and premature mortality, professional options are endless. However, with options to spare it can still feel overwhelming to integrate travel into one’s profession.
Where to begin with fitness travel?
There are a few different options for the travel yearning trainer. I’ll begin with the most straightforward route; work exchange or more favorably titled “teaching vacation”. This option isn’t for everyone. There are some who view teaching vacations as “free work” and would rather not operate this way.
I, on the other hand, love this method and have used it myself. The idea of work trade, is just at. In exchange for your work you will be compensated, usually with high quality room and board.
You can find this theme in all sorts of capacities. There are many organizations that look for individuals to volunteer with agricultural and carpentry developments. However, these same companies exists for the travel savvy trainer!
A few that I am familiar with is Fit Bodies Inc. and NRG2GO. These organizations help pair fitness professionals with tropical luxury resorts. In exchange for teaching 1-2 classes a day, the professional will receive a week of room and board at said resort. So a trainer is looking at a free resort stay with a guest (if they chose), all while doing what they love.
How does fitness travel work?
It’s a fairly simple process.
- Create an online profile with the company
- Currently credentialed/certified in their professional field
- Apply to resorts of choice
- Comfortable with self-marketing and people skills
One would think as fitness professionals, those social qualities would already be present. However, it works a bit differently at the resorts. There would be an element of marketing one’s class in an environment that doesn’t always highlight wellness. Everyone at a resort primarily wants to sunbath and layback. One must have the type of personality to market a fitness class even in this environment.
You’d like a longer fitness trip?
Another route that I have personally used is through Workaway. However, it is not a fitness-specific travel organization like the previously mentioned companies. It is a more general “work trade” situation, with work varying from permaculture work to instructing yoga. Also, the compensation can vary from host to host. But a place to stay is usually customary as well as meals. Not to worry though, compensation will always be openly and directly discussed as to avoid confusion.
I linked up with the stunning yoga retreat, Suryalila, in Andalucía, Spain. I was teaching yoga two times a week plus some work in the garden. In return I shared a bedroom in the volunteer house (a large 4 bedroom 2 bathroom home), three all organic and handmade meals, unlimited access to daily yoga classes and the beautiful salt water pool, plus the occasional attendance to some of the retreat’s educational seminars.
The bonus to Workaway is that one may stay longer than a week. I was at Suryalila for 1.5 months. In fact, I traveled through Ireland, Spain and Italy for 5 months using Workaway. As I said previously, it is not fitness professional specific. So my only teaching experience was while I was in Spain. But for those professionals that want to spend more than a week traveling, I highly suggest looking into this organization.
There’s even more!
Another great way to bring travel into your professional world, is to create your own retreat. A great company for this sort of endeavor is Triptribe.com. Like the other companies a profile is created with them and then one will start planning as soon as they’re ready! The company is connected with tons of wonderful retreat centers all over the world. Your guest’s will have access to three tasty meals, lovely accommodations and whatever fun you have planned for them.
Nike said it best…
If you are a trainer who is desperately wanting to travel and work, I can’t impress enough that you must just go and do it! There will always be complications, projects, and any other slew of obstacles that you can come up with. There is never going to be this “perfect” time to start exploring work travel. You must make that time yourself. It is terribly fun and an experience I will treasure forever. I am so excited for my next work vacation, and I hope to see you all on your own.
You could always travel and vacation with personal training clients too….