Gym Membership: A Key Resource for Budget Travelers
Traveling comes in many shapes and forms. One of the most budget friendly options for travel accommodations is camping. Camping doesn’t just refer to tents, but also camping out in a vehicle. I have tent camped a week in Hawaii, I slept in a cargo van for 2 weeks in the northeast portion of the US and I have certainly had my fair share of overnight stays in the front seat of a car when we failed to plan ahead (camping wasn’t always by choice). The biggest takeaway from all these experiences was that you need to have a gym membership with locations in the area you are traveling in.
Whether you go to the gym to workout (I highly recommend) or not, a gym membership while on the road can be a huge value add for you. Getting cleaned up and showering when camping can be nonexistent at times if you aren’t going with traditional improved camping sites. I have ran into numerous campers who were roughing it with no shower for a week or splurging on a hotel every couple nights because they had no idea about this gym hack. I never considered this a hack until I realized that many people actually had no idea about this!
Most every gym has showers and many of them even have free Wi-Fi as well. If you are on the road and have no access to these things, then a gym membership is an easy solution. There are thousands of gyms all across the US and many gyms, especially since covid hit, have very affordable prices and no contract options.
While I was in Hawaii with my girlfriend and sister, we used my girlfriend’s Anytime Fitness membership to get us all in at each location. She was paying $35/month at the time and that allowed us showers and a workout every single day which works out to $1.66/per day/per person.
While in Arkansas we signed up for a Planet Fitness membership that cost us $20/month with no contract, so we cancelled right after the trip. $20 for a week of showering is a great deal when camping and avoiding the cost of expensive hotels
As I mentioned before, there are thousands of gyms all over the US and many of them you can sign up for with no contract. Here is some current pricing for the biggest gym chains in the country.
Planet Fitness. 2006 locations across the US. Currently $15/month with $15 initiation.
Anytime Fitness. 2338 locations across the US. Currently starting at $22.95 biweekly.
Golds Gym. 173 locations across the US. Currently $25/month and no initiation.
24 Hour Fitness. 280+ locations across the US. Currently $10/month at 1 location or $40 for all locations, initiations are the same as monthly pricing.
Snap Fitness. 629 locations across the US. Currently $39/month plus $61 initiation.
LA Fitness. 468 locations across the US. Currently $45/month and no initiation.
These prices are reflecting Texas prices and can vary depending on when you start your membership as well, but this should give you a good idea of what to expect.
Free trials are amazing if you can get them. Many gyms require that you be from a local area to try out there gym so if this comes up you can always try the “I’m moving here soon and just checking out which gym I want to sign with”.
The biggest hack of all regarding gyms and travel is not known to much of the population, and it is a program called Active and Fit. This program is bad ass and will save you SO much money over the course of time.
Active and Fit is a program offered through USAA (and some other agencies as well) and it is a multi-gym membership. For $25/month with a $25 initiation (and NO annual fees), I get access to thousands of gyms all across the country, many of which are listed above. With my Active and Fit membership, I have access to LA Fitness, Gold’s Gym, Planet Fitness, Crunch Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Snap Fitness, some YMCAs and tons of other small mom and pops gyms.
This last year I carried a gym membership with Gold’s Gym, LA Fitness, Planet Fitness (premium membership) and Anytime Fitness through Active and Fit. Had I got the membership through each of these companies directly I would have paid $1560 before annual fees, but with Active and Fit I paid $300 for the year (the price of paying for just one of these memberships). Needless to say, this is one of the best savings you will ever find.
To get this you have to have a free USAA account. USAA offers insurance and banking, but you do not have to have either of these you just need a base account. If your parents or spouse have a USAA account (which they can get from being in the military or having family in the military), then you are eligible for a USAA account as well. This account as I said can be a free, non-paid account, which is essentially just an account you create and holds all kinds of benefits.
I understand that many people will not be eligible for this, and I am sorry if I got your hopes up. There is another option that may be available to you which is a gym pass offered through your insurance. Many health insurance companies have similar passes for their insured members and if they don’t, some insurance companies will actually pay for your gym memberships. Just give your insurance company a call and they will surely know what you are eligible for.
When traveling it is critical to have access to bathrooms and showers even when you are camping. Gyms are an easy solution to this even if you aren’t working out. They are everywhere and most offer free trials and low prices.
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Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day!