Gift ideas for the traveling health fanatic

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As a globe-trotting health enthusiast, I know how hard it can be to find a useful gift for me. We’re a somewhat picky bunch — when you live out of a suitcase, you don’t have much choice.

Everything you pack must have a purpose, lest you graduate from the convenience of carry-on to the burden of checked luggage and the ever-present risk that you’ll lose it all while making your connection at LaGuardia, or wherever. One of our constant struggles involves maintaining healthy practices while confined to the limitations of the road. It’s difficult to exercise and eat well when you’re constantly on the go.

Here are a few gift ideas that fuse portability and health, from frugal to extravagant.

Jump-rope: $5-$70


I discovered the benefits of owning a jump-rope when I was trying to adjust to a 115-degree summer in Spain. A jump-rope is not only highly portable but also, no matter the climate — from the heat and humidity of New Orleans, to the constant rains of Seattle, to the frigid Stockholm winter — it allows you to get in a workout from the comfort of your hotel room.

Basic, perfectly functional jump-ropes start at $5 to $15. The price goes up as you add options such as weighted handles, an adjustable cord or digital calorie and time trackers.

Blender Bottle Sport Protein Shake Mixer: $15

One of the hardest things about staying healthy while traveling involves getting the proper nutrition, so a portable protein shake mixer makes for a powerful addition to any fitness-minded traveler’s kit. While there are a lot of brands out there, I like the Blender Bottle because it looks kind of slick. And nothing is better than a piece of slick-looking travel gear. It’s also affordable, easy to clean and (most important) leakproof.

AquaBells Dumbbell Water Weights: $50

This might cause raised eyebrows at first (let’s face it — the concept is cool but also kind of silly), but I guarantee that any traveling fitness enthusiast will come to appreciate it. The idea is simple — a pair of dumbbells that are almost weightless and take up virtually no space until you’re ready to work out. Fill them with water, and voila — you’ve got 32 pounds of on-the-go strength training.

Bike Friday Folding Travel Bike: $789 and up


I’ll admit that I’ve never actually had the pleasure of owning one of these customized travel bikes, but my friends recommend them and I love the concept (hint to my loved ones). Bike Friday makes bicycles that are customized to each rider’s body and needs, and they are small enough to fit in a suitcase.

Stainless Steel Water Bottle: $5-$30

Hydration is a key part of health, and it’s an easy thing to neglect while traveling. A reusable, durable, stocking stuffable water bottle solves that.

With a few of these gifts, you can provide everything necessary for a travel-fitness routine — cardio, weights and proper nutrition.

What your loved ones do with the rest of the journey is up to them.