Alright, alright! Yes there is a yoga craze sweeping the planet. Yes we all might have totally different opinions about our pranayama breathing techniques. And yes, we all might care about our ass-anas and how they look in yoga pants. But here’s something new: yoga mats can come in handy for other things, especially while traveling.
I added my yoga mat to my ‘list of things to pack’ and I’ve never looked back. I only wish I would have done it sooner. A lot sooner. Lesson learned, my yoga mat is the best co-pilot I could ever ask for. It’s been a total lifesaver, from keeping me healthier on my trips, to keeping me dry during spontaneous storms. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than riding in the back of a truck or walking down the streets of a foreign country while it’s raining cats and dogs.
One thing I’ve always loved about my yoga mat is that it’s super lightweight. It easily rolls up and squishes into whatever shape I need it to mold into. I usually strap mine to the side of my backpack and never notice the extra weight. I even have enough space to keep my backpack as a carry on. Cha-ching [that’s the sound of all the money I saved by not checking a bag]. Since it’s such an easy item to bring with, why not find some good uses for it?
You don’t have to be the king or queen of yoga to travel with your mat. These ideas are for any traveler, yogi or non-yogi. Since yoga mats come fairly cheap, it’s probably the smartest travel investment you can make this year.
So with that, here are my favorite ways to use a yoga mat on the road:
That extra comfort
Yoga mats bring a bit of comfort from home- literally. They can be a nice way to remind you of home and the countless of hours you’ve spent sculpting your healthy body in hot yoga classes… More than that comfort of home reminder though, yoga mats can provide an actual source of comfort! Use your mat as extra bed padding if you’ve lucked out and scored the brick bed in your hostel, or if you’re stuck with a delayed flight in the airport. You can even use your yoga mat at the beach and reap the benefits of having a sand-free towel at the end of your surf and tan sesh! Don’t be afraid to roll your mat out literally anywhere. No one questions the magical powers of a yoga mat. No one.
Yes, believe it or not, every time I’ve traveled with my yoga mat, I’ve met people I actually enjoy talking to. Not the typical, “where are you from” sort of conversations but the “wow you’ve practiced yoga all around the world while working on farms to pay for your travels [true story]” sort of conversations. And what typically follows epic conversation? A need to unroll my yoga mat and stretch it out while being high on life, and stoked on my adventures.
No I’m not talking about raw foods. What’s more telling of a yoga mat than the word actually in it’s title? Nope the other one, that little “mat” word. There have been so many times where I wish I had somewhere clean to set my things, clothes, valuables, food, etc.. Well wish no more, your yoga mat is a perfect place to keep your items! Whether it’s claiming your space in your hostel dorm room, or trying to dig for something in your bag at an airport or on the side of a road, you’re going to be glad you aren’t dumping your belongings out on the dirty floor.
More specifically sleeping, sitting, lounging. We can’t always travel with sleeping pads and sleeping bags but camping opportunities often come out of traveling and I’ve never been happier to be the one with the yoga mat! Can I call it a life hack? It feels like one when you’re waking up refreshed and stoked your 1.5 pound yoga mat just saved you from rocks in the ribs and a sleepless night under the stars. Not to mention the extra cush for your tush around the bonfire, at your waterfall picnic, or on the extra shelly beach!
Whether you’re coming home from Thailand with Buddhas made of jade, or looking to protect your bottle of wine from Italy, you want those items safe! What better way to protect your goods than with your super durable, water resistant, and bendy yoga mat? Amazing right? Wrap, fold, strap in, mush, and do what you need to, in order to keep those items in one piece during your long journey back home.
Believe it or not, you can use your yoga mat as an actual fitness and yoga mat. Now I know what you’re thinking..duh! But, hear me out. Before I started traveling with my mat, I would find myself thinking ‘damn, if only I had a yoga mat right now, ’ or ‘hmm I wonder when the last time these floors/mats were cleaned… or even how am I going to land my head stand and warrior II without my mat? It’s such a bummer when you’re craving yoga but it’s not very accessible. I do yoga so much more during my travels when I’ve brought my mat from home. You might find yourself staying a lot more active during your travels and what’s a better reason to bring your mat than that?
There you have it! A few brilliant uses for your everyday yoga mat while traveling…although you might find yourself dreaming up new and exciting ways to use them. Get creative and hopefully save some money in the process.