5 Best Fitness Trackers for Travelers


Fitness gear every traveler needs.: Image courtesy of: bogdankosanovic/iStock/Getty Images Plus collection/Getty Images

Ever forgotten to take off your brightly covered fitness tracker before a meeting? The days of needing a unsightly band to track your activities are numbered. The fitness trackers of today look more like watches, and are stylish enough to go from gym to office to dinner without missing a beat.

But that doesn’t mean they skimp on performance — each monitors steps, sleep, workouts, and heart rate with work-friendly features like caller ID, email alerts, text messaging and calendar notifications.

Which one is right for you? Here are five to consider:

Apple Watch Series 2

The new version focuses on fitness, adding built-in GPS so you can run without your phone, meditation/ breathing guidance application and faster processor, so it can finally keep up with your busy life. Big for swimmers, new 50-meter water resistance lets you track swimming laps.

Apple Watch still smokes the competition for travel features: Check and respond to texts, answer calls, chat with Siri and play music. Unique Time Travel mode lets you glance ahead to see what the weather and your meeting schedule will be like when you reach your destination.

With Apple Pay, make purchases without revealing your card number. Built-in Navigation means you can quickly find your hotel — without looking like a lost tourist.

Pros: Water resistant to 50 meters, built-in GPS, fast processor, variety of band styles

Cons: Pricey, still iOS only

Price: $369-399

Fitbit Blaze

Fitbit’s first foray into smartwatch territory, the Blaze leans heavily toward fitness thanks to excellent activity tracking, sleep monitoring, built-in workouts and continuous heart rate tracking. Sleep and workouts are always tracked — even if you forget to press the go button. However, no built-in GPS means you have to carry a phone along if you want tracking during activity.

But the Blaze dips its toes into the smartwatch waters with travel-friendly features: Check texts and phone calls from the screen, receive calendar alerts and set silent alarms.

Swap between water-resistant and more stylish leather or link bands, and your Fitbit can masquerade as a watch.

Pros: Better battery life than competition (lasts up to five days), accurate continuous heart rate monitoring, affordable compared to Apple Watch

Cons: Not waterproof, can’t respond to texts from watch

Price: $199 for original face, $229 for gold-edged face

Microsoft Band 2

This device tracks the usual suspects — heart rate, calorie burn and sleep — by way of 11 sensors. It also allows you to discretely check a message, call, or calendar alert on your band instead of pulling out your smartphone, and includes speak-to-text messaging for Windows and Android.

The second edition boasts comfortable curved fit, elevation tracking and longer battery life. Plays nice with all smartphones: Windows, Android, or Apple.

Microsoft Health website has free workouts you can upload to the Band — perfect for your hotel room or the hotel gym.

Pros: Check texts and calls from screen, free workouts on Band

Cons: Not waterproof, battery life reduces over time.

Price: Was $249.99, now $174.99

Samsung Gear S2

Notifications, texts, apps, navigation, fitness tracking — this smartwatch has all of these features. The sleek design and intuitive rotating bezel makes navigating the watch’s many features and apps easy, when paired with an Android phone.

Athletes may find the fitness features rudimentary, but they’re plenty effective for active every day users. Comes pre-loaded with Nike+ Running and automatically tracks walking, running, and cycling along with calories burned. Heart rate monitor is accurate when resting or active, and you can set inactivity alerts and goals to keep you moving.

Pros: Excellent battery life, premium watch styling, rotating bezel

Cons: Slow voice controls, limited apps

Price: From $299, more for GPS version

Garmin Vivosmart HR+

While Garmin’s Vivosmart HR+ may not look as stylish as some other fitness trackers, its data-rich activity and heart-rate tracking makes it a great choice for fitness fanatics. Run it phone free, thanks to built-in GPS, and track the data on the Garmin Connect app, which works with any smartphone.

Email and text notifications come in reliably and are easy to read on the bright screen. Unlike many smartwatches, you can receive messages from third-party apps like What’s App too.

Pros: Six-day battery life, GPS, water resistant for swimming

Cons: Too big for small wrists, no swimming or cycling modes

Price: $220

About the Author

Jenny Willden is a travel and outdoor adventure writer for Outdoor Sports GuideGore-Tex Experience MoreBusiness ConnectRaceCenter Northwest24 Salt Lake, and Living On the Cheap. When not horseback riding or snowboarding in Utah's mountains, you'll find her traveling in search of unique festivals, half marathons and daring outdoor experiences.