Answering Readers’ Questions: Pack a yoga mat or rent from a studio?

Manduka Travel matRecently, I received this email from a reader:

I am heading to San Francisco in October. Yoga is my work out of choice and I think I’m in luck I’m SF. I would like to carry on for this trip and I was wondering what’s the best way to pack a yoga mat? Is it worth buying a travel mat (I do travel frequently on the bus between NE cities so wouldn’t be wasted) or do I just rent a mat. As a fellow yogi what do you do?

First, I would just like to say that I’m super jealous of your upcoming trip! I love San Francisco, and nearby Napa Valley is one of my favorite places in all the world.

Now, for your actual question: I have the Manduka eKO Superlite Travel Mat. It folds up very small, so I can take it on a trip and easily carry on. Plus, it is reasonably priced. I like it because I can lay it over a borrowed or rented mat at a studio, or use it over the carpet at a hotel. However it is VERY thin, so is not great to use by itself. If you don’t plan on doing yoga at your hotel, just rent a mat at the studio. (Get there a bit early though–sometimes studios run out of mats.)

Readers, do you carry workout equipment with you, or use something available at your destination?

(Also, if you haven’t yet–please fill out my short reader survey!)

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  1. I use the hotel gym usually, but also try to run outside in the parking lots/roads when possible.

  2. I do Pilates on the road and,if I’m stuck, I fold up the bedspread and use that as a mat. If I’m checking luggage, which I often do (I know it makes me unusual as a frequent business traveler!), my yoga mat fits in my gargantuan suitcase. I also take gliders for cardio.
    Jayne McAllister
    Health Coach to Business Travelers Worldwide

  3. If you can stay at a Kimpton hotel while in SF they provide yoga mats. Otherwise I saw a lot of people just carry on their yoga mats on my way to Vancouver for the Lululemon Seawheeze. Seemed easy enough, and more than half the participants were from out of area so there were a lot of traveling yoga mats. I am a runner so no equipment needed 🙂

  4. I pack Yoga Paws, and running gear. Getting out for a run in a new place is great way to experience it. Yoga Paws stick to any surface. I used to carry my Manduka travel mat, but for a quick business over night trip, the paws are great.

  5. As a yoga instructor and a frequent traveler I can attest to the Manduka product. If you like to do yoga you should take a travel mat so you can get your practice in and if you are near a studio then rent a full mat if you like.


  6. My favorite hotels are Kimptons and they have yoga mats in every room and you can ask them for additional belts and blocks. They also have a yoga channel if you want guidance. I also regularly use the work-out rooms especially for meetings where I am sitting all day with no chance of activity. I like the new Westin option of borrowing running shoes but haven’t used it and still not sure if these are used shoes.

  7. i usually roll up a yoga towel and put that in my luggage to use over carpet or another mat. if my travel picks up, i think i’ll invest in a travel mat as it’s grippier than the towel.

    and ditto everyone else on kimpton hotels! SF area has so many to choose from.

  8. I’ve traveled with resistance cables (cords/bands?) for years are barely use them. I use the elliptical the most in airport gyms since many of the treadmills are sketchy.

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