Wondering how to travel with a yoga mat? Welcome to our inside guide to help you find the perfect yoga mat to stay flexible on the road.
How to Travel with a Yoga Mat
Nothing beats the feeling of finishing work for the holidays and making your way to the airport to begin your well-deserved trip. Whether you’re travelling somewhere new or you’re heading to your favourite destination, going on holiday is the perfect way to relax and unwind.
However, travel can take a physical toll on the body. From lugging a heavy suitcase around the airport to sitting cooped up on the plane for hours, a lot of travellers choose to travel with their yoga mats so they can recuperate physically as well as mentally.
But if you’re wondering how to travel with a yoga mat, then this article is for you. We will be sharing everything you need to know about travelling with a yoga mat so you can get the most out of your holiday, while still taking good care of your body.
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THE BENEFITS OF TRAVELLING WITH A YOGA MAT
Going on holiday is always an exciting time. The chance to explore new places, try new cuisines, experience different cultures, and get away from life’s normal routines. However, with this can come a more sedentary way of life where you sit down more and eat bigger meals than you normally would. To get the most out of your holiday, it’s important to add a yoga mat to your packing list so that you can enjoy the following benefits:
Stay Fit and Flexible: Practising yoga while travelling is a great way to counteract those hours spent lazing on the beach and the extra calories you will inevitably consume. If you want to stay fit and flexible, taking your yoga mat with you on vacation lets you maintain your exercise regime while you’re away so that you’re not playing catch-up on your return.
Mindfulness: going on vacation is the perfect excuse to unwind and relax. Practising yoga whilst on holiday helps speed up the process of relaxation by promoting mindfulness. According to the Centers for Health and Wellbeing, “Practising mindfulness allows individuals to slow down and notice how their thoughts drive their emotions and behaviours, and to observe the many ways that they can get caught up in distraction, rumination and resistance – often running on ‘automatic pilot’.” Practising yoga while on holiday helps you unwind fully so that you can be present and enjoy your vacation to the fullest.
Stretch Your Body: as we’ve already mentioned, going on holiday is an exciting time. However, it can mean you spend hours dragging your luggage around the airport or cooped up on planes or in taxis. As a result, practising yoga can help stretch your muscles when needed most, helping promote a faster recovery.
Reduce the Effects of Jet Lag: nobody likes experiencing jet lag after a long flight. Jet lag can negatively affect your sleep; often, it can feel like the first few days of your vacation are spent recovering from the journey. And it shouldn’t need to be that way. Practising yoga is a great way to get ahead of jet lag and reduce its effects. You will feel refreshed sooner, enjoy better sleep, and have increased energy levels sooner than you expect. What’s not to like about that?
How to travel with a yoga mat
So, now that you know the benefits of practising yoga while travelling. how could you not get excited about taking your yoga mat with you on your next trip? The great thing is that travelling with a yoga mat is easier than you might think! Below we share some of the best tips for how to travel with a yoga mat.
Carry your yoga mat separately
Whether you choose to strap your yoga mat to your luggage or tuck it under your arm, learning how to carry your yoga mat properly can make for a smooth journey. If you’re adventuring quite a long way, it can be helpful to invest in luggage that has straps on the outside. This way, you can strap your yoga mat to your backpack and set off without a second thought. Or, if your backpacking days are behind you, look into buying a dedicated yoga travel mat bag to make this easier. Here’s an example of a yoga bag on Amazon.
Protect your yoga mat
Of course, the downside of strapping your yoga mat to the outside of your luggage does make it most susceptible to dirt and grime. Consider how often you have to take your backpack off and rest it on the floor or put it on the conveyor belt to be loaded onto the plane.
There is a lot of dirt your yoga mat could be exposed to while you’re travelling which is why it’s so important to protect your yoga mat with a bag or case. This will ensure your yoga mat is protected while travelling from place to place so that it’s clean and ready to use when you arrive.
Can you carry a yoga mat in carry on?
Unfortunately, the vast majority of airlines will not let you take your regular mat as carry on to store in the overhead locker. Instead, you must check it into your suitcase. Alternatively, if you travel often, you could look into buying a travel yoga mat. These thin mats will still protect your knees from the hard floor and give you a good grip but they fold up small and can fit in your carry-on luggage. But regular yoga mats are not allowed on board most flights as hand luggage.
The best Travel Yoga Mats
If you want to make travelling with a yoga mat as easy as possible, you may want to consider investing in a lightweight yoga mat. What makes travelling with a yoga mat difficult is how heavy and bulky they can be. Carrying so much extra weight can cause unnecessary strain on your muscles and increase your baggage weight limit, while making your journey more tiring overall.
With a travel yoga mat, you get a foldable yoga mat with excellent grip which is perfect for beginners and yoga instructors alike.
According to yoga teachers, the best yoga mats for road trips and beyond are:
The YOGO Ultralight Travel Mat
Smooth and grippy, like the manduka mats, these travel yoga mats are made from renewable tree rubber and come with their own handle.The folding system protects you from picking up germs from the hotel floor during your yoga practice (or yoga studio if you visit a local studio while on the road.)
MANDUKA EKO SUPERLITE TRAVEL MAT
Often regarded as the premium brand of yoga mats, the Manduka EKO Superlite Travel Mat folds up to about the size of a pair of jeans. Some people have reported that it feels a bit thin, so if your knees struggle on a thinner mat then reach for a hand towel to help tolerate certain poses. Also, on first use, you may smell the rubber materials but this feature fades over time.
Mikkoa Travel Mat
This yoga travel mat folds up wrinkle free and is slightly longer than a standard mat. Great for stretching out on the hotel room floor! It has a sticky grip which is perfect for those downward dogs or a hot yoga class.
Jade Voyager Fold Up Yoga Mat
A Jade travel mat has been a favourite for a long time. Jade mats last a long time and you can throw them into the washing machine. The Jade yoga travel mat is another one of those natural rubber mats that is a good choice if you travel a lot.
Choosing a lightweight yoga mat can make your journey easier and more convenient. Whether you choose to pack your yoga mat into your suitcase, your hand luggage, or strapped to your luggage, a lighter weight mat will make everything easier.
Unroll your mat when you arrive
As soon as you arrive at your holiday destination, it is important to unroll your yoga mat to avoid wrinkles, creases, and deterioration. Unrolling your mat upon arrival will help prevent your mat from damage and will mean you’re more likely to do some basic stretches to unwind and relax after a busy day of travel.
Think about a yoga towel
A yoga towel provides great grip, is lightweight and folds up easily. Yoga studios recommend that they are combined with traditional yoga mats to be most effective. It’s worth thinking about one if you’re planning to travel somewhere hot and sticky as you’re more likely to slip.
Final Words on how to travel with a yoga mat
So, that’s our advice on how to travel with a yoga mat. Just a little practice every day will help you return home feeling fully relaxed and refreshed.
Need other travel gear?
For big family trips, check out the Osprey Rolling Transporter 120.