Allison Kobasky was traveling from Miami to Santa Monica for work and after five hours on a plane, needed to stretch.
She used ClassPass, the fitness class subscription service, to find a yoga class nearby, and ended up trying something completely new.
“I found a foam rolling workshop down the street,” she said. “We literally don’t have foam rolling classes in Miami, so I was intrigued. Needless to say, the class was incredible and I left feeling refreshed and most importantly, stretched out.”
The co-owner of Over The Moon Vacations, a luxury travel planning company, said she considers herself “a ClassPass connoisseur” because she uses the service so much while on the road. She seeks out familiar studios with locations in the cities she’s visiting and uses the service to try new things.
“There’s a certain feeling of satisfaction associated with finding a great class in a new city,” she said. “It almost feels like I’m getting away with a really juicy secret. As I walk into a studio in Boston or New York City, thinking to myself, ‘they don’t even know, I’m not really from here!’”
That’s exactly the model of ClassPass, which started in 2011. The company now offers access to 8,500 studios in 39 cities and boasts that 30 million reservations have been made through its subscription service. Users can choose mostly from big cities in the United States, but also can visit exercise studios in London, Toronto, Vancouver, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and a few others.
But is the service worth it? Prices range from $30 for three classes a month to $95 for 10 classes a month, and there are some restrictions. On the $30-a-month plan you can only go to each studio once, while on the $95-a-month plan you can go to each studio three times. (The company used to offer unlimited subscriptions, but ended that option last year.)
The service works well for a traveler like Kobasky who’s going to mostly big cities. The company offers access to hundreds of studios in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas. But go to another place and there are far fewer options. Kansas City has less than 20 studios, Phoenix about 40 and Raleigh only 10 in the downtown area.
Then there are ClassPass alternatives: The company FitReserve offers passes to studios in New York City, Boston, and D.C. In New York City, it costs $59 for three classes a month or up to $249 for 20 classes a month. In Boston, the prices are slightly cheaper: $55 for three classes a month and $185 for 20 classes a month.
Users consider those high class options as basically equivalent to unlimited subscriptions, unless they really wanted to go to a different class every day. But it would only work for travelers going to New York City and Boston.
Some travelers also have subscriptions to nationwide gyms that have locations in multiple cities.
Equinox has almost 100 studios across the country — including more than 30 in New York City, three in San Francisco, nine in Los Angeles, four in Chicago and two in Dallas. Prices range between $150 and $250, and the studios offer cycling, pilates, yoga and workout facilities.
But for Kobasky, ClassPass works best for her needs. She says it saves her the expense and time of finding a gym or fitness studio and paying drop-in fees, which can sometimes be as much as $50.
“On a different trip to Boston, I attended a power yoga class before a big meeting,” she said. “ClassPass told me in advance that showers would be available, so I was able to get ready for my day at the studio. Not only did the workout make me feel great physically, but it also allowed me to start my day with something familiar, even in an unfamiliar place.”