Do you have the travel bug?
You’re not the only one! 80 million Americans traveled abroad in 2016. Whether you travel during your work’s vacation time or you’re a professional backpacker, there’s an incredible adventure waiting for you outside of your home.
But all travelers know the issues when on the road. Some issues are common, such as transportation and language barriers. But there’s a travel issue no one discusses — pain.
Why does your body suffer while traveling? There are many reasons why. But you can take strides to travel and be pain-free. When avoiding traveling pain, follow these 7 tips.
1. Use Good Posture
31 million Americans experience low back pain, when at home and when at travel. This is likely due to bad posture. Working computer jobs causes us to naturally sit while leaning forward.
Even when a computer isn’t in front of you, you’re still a victim of bad posture.
You lean forward in the airplane seat while watching a movie. You’re hunched over while looking at your phone.
While traveling, try and watch out for bad posture. Remember to stand and sit up straight.
What is good posture? Keep your back straight and your eyesight leveled. Relax your shoulders. If standing, bend your knees slightly.
Don’t forget good posture when lying down. Lie on your side with your whole body even.
2. Don’t Carry Too Many Items
Are you the type of person who packs the whole house on every trip? Stop doing that. Not only will you face serious luggage up-charges, but you’ll also endure lots of pain.
Going back to posture, carrying heavy items forces your body into bad posture.
Your body naturally moves forward as you’re holding your luggage. If you’re only carrying one heavy bag, you’ll slouch to one side.
Carrying a large, heavy backpack also puts lots of strain on your back.
If you have to pack lots of items, invest in a suitcase you can roll. Suitcases that offer standing rollers ensure you can transport heavy luggage without causing unnecessary pain.
3. Eat Healthy
We’re always told to eat healthy, for a variety of reasons. But did you know eating healthy can decrease pain?
You’ll specifically want to eat an anti-inflammatory diet. This diet focuses on higher vegetable intake and replace red meat with fish.
Vegetables contain a plethora of nutrients that will strengthen your body and help your immune system fight inflammation. Fish such as salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce swelling and pain.
It’s easy to want to cheat on your diet while traveling. Instead, take this experience to try local healthy cuisines.
If you’re going to Italy or Greece, the Mediterranean diet is recommended to relieve pain and inflammation. Other ocean and beach destinations such as Alaska, Florida, and Japan are home to a variety of nutritious and delicious fish.
4. Stay Comfortable on the Plane
Does the thought of sitting on an airplane give you back pain? Planes aren’t the most comfortable places in the world.
If you have a long international flight ahead of you, you may feel nothing will prevent that dreaded aching back. This is far from true.
First off, buy a larger seat with more leg room. This way, you can stretch out your legs and move around in your chair. Dress in comfortable clothes. If you plan on sleeping on the plane, why not wear your favorite pajamas?
Bring some extra pillows. Many flights will provide a pillow and blankets for overnight flights. But there are specialty pillows that prevent neck and back pain while sitting for long periods of time.
Is lying on the beach a part of your traveling agenda? While we’re not advising against sunbathing, you should also squeeze some walking in there. Sitting and lying down for long periods of time increase back pain.
Walking is the most basic exercise we can do and also one of the most beneficial ones. You’re able to stretch your back, neck, and legs. You also increase your blood flow which helps fight pain.
And seriously — you’re traveling! Get out of your hotel room and explore what new surroundings you can find. Take at least an hour out of each day to get a good walk in.
While we’re on the topic of walking…
6. Wear Good Shoes
While working is great for your body, you will risk hurting your feet. The last thing you want is to endure severe food pain while traveling. The best thing to do is to wear good shoes.
For most, traveling shoes don’t require anything fancy. Find your comfiest sneakers. If you insist on wearing flats or slip-ons, bring a pair of comfy insoles so your feet don’t start cramping.
Make sure your shoes also have great traction. Certain countries, especially ancient cities, have streets made out of limestone. This is extremely slippery and you risk tripping and falling.
What if you follow this advice and your feet are still cramping? Take a couple of hours and treat yourself to a pedicure or a foot massage.
7. Bring Your Pain Medication
Taking pain medication should be a last resort. But if you tried all of these tips and are still suffering from pain, at least you have medication you can take.
You can usually travel with over-the-counter pain medication such as Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen with no problems.
If you prefer holistic pain relief methods, always keep vitamins and supplements in your luggage. Even taking caffeine pills can help reduce pain and give you that energy boost you need.
You can also find pain medication with the cannabinoid receptor CBD. Keep in mind, many countries still ban the use of CBD and other hemp products.
Feel Traveling Pain No More!
All seasoned travelers know the detrimental effects of traveling pain. Use these tips and live out your wildest adventures pain-free!
What if you want to relieve pain from your climbing trip? Check out our climbing section for pain relief and other climbing tips.