On Vacation with Athletic-Minded Traveler’s Jim and Erin Kaese

Jim and Erin Kaese are a fitness-focused duo to be reckoned with. Between the two of them, they’ve completed countless marathons, triathlons and other athletic events that push their bodies to the limits. As founders of Athletic-Minded Traveler, they are also experts when it comes to keeping physical exercise a priority on the road.

We caught up with the couple to learn what a typical vacation is like for their family—and how they fit in all the fun and fitness without missing a beat.

Where do you and your family like to go on vacation?

Since we live in coastal San Diego, we seek different climates and experiences for our travels. Annual winter ski trips top the list (Park City the past few years), summer mountain getaways to Bend, Oregon and urban “fixes” to Chicago. Canada’s urban cities (Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal) are personal faves that offer a foreign country experience with shorter flights versus an overseas excursion (We have a 4 year-old son).

What types of activities do you normally plan?

We find the more we can pack in a day, the more fun we have. Erin is the early bird with 5am bike rides in the hotel gym and yoga workouts thereafter at local studios. Family breakfasts usually follow at highly rated healthy restaurants to start the day right. If we can find a local Farmer’s Market, all the better.

What type of exercises do you do on vacation? 

Erin is more dedicated to her yoga practice whereas Jim will vary his workout to the local surroundings—swimming, jogging, cycling, etc.

What do you recommend as a quick, effective workout for people who want to stay active, but don’t have a lot of free time on a trip?

Jogging, of course, is the easiest—20 minutes is all you need. But for something a little different, try jumping rope for 10 minutes and adding in 10 reps of burpees between jump intervals. The blood will flow and the sweat will follow! Erin will sometimes tap into an online yoga class. Push ups/leg lifts/burpees combined with the stretching equals a fairly full-body fitness fix.

How do you involve your kids in an active vacation lifestyle?

Family activities usually get us moving, for example: bike rides through urban parks or mountain trails, pontoon rentals with water skiing/tubing, horseback riding, golf and waterparks. We don’t sit around much!

Keep in mind that any vacation can be active. It’s how you “do things”.  Even a trip to Disney can be an “exercise”…all the walking! What we try to do is not undo the healthy habits with garbage food!

Do you look at available fitness facilities at the hotel before you book?

Yes, always. After location, the hotel fitness center is the #1 criteria for us.

Any amusing hotel stories from past trips to share? 

Fortunately, the horror stories are much less frequent than 10 years ago. One of our favorite stories to tell is about the NYC hotel that offered its fitness center on the one and only smoking floor!  Another hotel in Salt Lake City hung a sign on the wall next to its pool that said “147 lengths = 1 mile”—like anyone is going to swim back/forth that often and keep count that high.

What advice do you have for those hoping to remain active on their family vacation? 

Start the day right with a nourishing meal and then get going. Kids want to expend energy. It’s more of a challenge for the parents to work in their workout or training session. Luckily in our family, Erin’s early-bird ways mean Jim can take time later in the day. If exercise is a priority, parents need to plan it.