I love to travel—whether it’s to a faraway beach locale or a few states over to check out a new attraction. While I’m a grade A sleeper, regardless of the mode of transportation, I’m not always at my best when it’s time to disembark and start the real trip. So, here are some tips for the next time you travel—trains, planes, and automobiles be damned.
Let’s Talk Luggage
Let’s cover the anatomy of your travels, starting with your luggage. While it’s better for your body, overall, to distribute the weight of what you pack across several smaller bags, most of us are usually traveling with a limit on how many pieces of luggage we can have. That being said, there are a couple of other ways you can still minimize baggage and the likelihood of hurting yourself while schlepping it all. When you lift your luggage, avoid using your back muscles to lift. Instead, bend at the knees, and use the muscles in your legs. Try not to twist or turn while lifting. If you need that kind of mobility, use your feet to rotate instead. Distribute the weight of your bags evenly across both sides of the body, and try to carry your heaviest items as close to your body as possible.
Seating Is Serious
Now that we’ve settled your luggage, let’s talk seating. Most modes of transportation offer poor back and neck support. If you’re not interested in investing in a pillow to fix this specific problem, you can roll up a blanket, jacket, or sweater and place it between your lower back and your seat to provide more support. This quick fix can also be used for neck support, in addition to an inflatable travel pillow. As we discussed in “How to Sit Right at the Office,” sitting in the same position for long periods of time is a major no-no for the muscles in your back. Save yourself the backache, and get up and stretch, stroll, walk up and down the aisles, if you can, every 20-30 minutes.
Hydration In Every Nation
Next up: hydration. If you don’t have a trendy water bottle to motivate you to stay hydrated, not to worry! Try drinking a cup or two of water before bed and when you wake up in order to give your body that extra H2O it needs to keep going. Certain foods will also help you hydrate, and help you stay that way. Adding chia seeds to your food or water will help you stay hydrated for longer periods of time—and you’ll be able to go to the health store with a purpose. Drinking coconut water will also help you stay hydrated for longer, as it contains natural electrolytes and potassium. Eating fruits like berries, pineapple, cucumbers, and watermelon that have high water content will also help you stay hydrated. Water-rich foods like rice and oatmeal will help too. Bananas and superfood avocado are both high in potassium, which enables longer-lasting hydration! Avoiding caffeine and sugary drinks might be difficult, but if you’re really dedicated to the hydration game, it’s worth your while. Caffeine is a dehydrating diuretic, and both cause you to lose more water than you gain from drinking them. Dehydration can also worsen jetlag, which brings us to our next topic of conversation.
Just One More Thing: Jetlag
Jetlag is hands down the worst part of travel, but you can prep your body in advance to help beat it. Gradually changing your sleep schedule to match the time zone you’re traveling to will make your adjustment much easier. Changing your watch to your destination’s time while you’re on the plane will also make your transition a more natural occurrence. Sleeping on the plane is never a bad thing, especially if you’re arriving in the morning. And if you need to nap once you arrive, try not to do so for more than 20 minutes, so as to avoid difficulty sleeping at night. Lastly, daylight is helpful in terms of body clock regulation, i.e.: get outside and soak up some rays! Staying inside will only make jetlag worse.
#ProTip: As you embark on summer vacations and weekend getaways trips, keep these tips in mind. Your body will thank you!