We are quickly approaching the most traveled time of the year! Having whiplash has made me a trial and error expert in pain-free and healthy travel. These holiday travel tips take work and a little preparation (and sometimes some $$) but it’s totally worth it to be able to enjoy your time with family and friends and not think about your aches and pains over the holidays. Here are some tried and true tips for your holiday season:
1. Bring Healthy Snacks and Plenty of Water!
People tend to gain weight over the holidays, and it’s not only from holiday feasts or drinking to put up with family. Whatever your means of travel, you face the temptation to eat unhealthy fast food and processed junk. Pack your own snacks as much as possible. If you can, bring enough for the trip home, too. We stop at Whole Foods or a similar store and get healthy, organic salty and sweet snacks to fight cravings and hunger. Pack meals if you will need them. Try to avoid these foods that cause inflammation, while you’re at it. Feeding your body healthy, real food will help you to feel your best while on the road.
Get plenty of water for the trip. You will face the temptation to drink more coffee than water, but try to drink water after every cuppa joe! If you’re like me and have a tiny bladder and don’t want to stop every 30 minutes, drink as much as you can handle, and make sure getting hydrated is top priority when you get there!
2. Think About Your Posture and Bring a Pillow!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: sitting kills. Your body wasn’t meant to sit for an entire day of traveling, so pay attention to how you sit. Bring a small pillow, or even use a jacket or hoodie. Move it around in the following places (and try some new ones!): place it behind your lower back, middle back, your neck, and between your shoulder blades to allow them to stretch back. Don’t choose just one place unless you have to- switching it around will help immensely! Don’t cross your legs and try to keep your feet flat on the floor, and try to keep your chest up, like you are zipping up a jacket.
- Read more about posture: 10 Exercises to Correct Mom Posture
- and Posture Correction: Always the Bridesmaid Never the Bride
3. Bring a Foam Roller or a Lacrosse Ball
If you have room in your car, bring a long foam roller. They are ahhh-mazing! Foam roll your muscles when you arrive at your destination, and lay on your back with your arms out. That is my absolute favorite! If you don’t have room, just bring a lacrosse ball. These are much cheaper than rollers, and you can use them on the car, train, or plane! These both release toxins and help work out tension and knots- so drink plenty of water so you don’t feel sick after. [Here are 8 exercises to try with your lacrosse ball.]
4. Bring Workout Gear
Make exercise a priority. Even if it means getting up before everyone, or sneaking away for 20-30 minutes. It will relieve stress, get your blood flowing, and work to undo the damage from sitting for so long. You will feel better, and it will help combat the big dinners and indulging that comes along with parties and holidays! I bring my workout clothes, shoes, a pair of dumbbells, and my laptop for Fit Tutor workouts! If you can’t bring your dumbbells, don’t worry, we have body weight workouts, too! The more you move the better you should feel. I’ll also tell you a secret: I try to have a killer workout the day before we leave so I’m sore and have a mandatory “rest day” while traveling.
- Read more about how to survive the holidays: Healthy Holiday Eating Tips
- 7 [Realistic] Holiday Eating Tips
- and The #1 reason you should exercise during the holidays.
This means looking like a dork at rest stops, airport terminals, possibly restrooms, in your car, in doorways at your family’s house- wherever you can. Stretch. Stretch. and then stretch some more! This is a gift to your body after all that sitting. It will increase blood flow, circulation, energy levels, and flexibility, among other things.
6. Choose Your Drug
Although over the counter and prescription drugs will be of great help, you guys know I’m all about all-natural, non-toxic goodies. So here’s what I bring: Essential oils (peppermint oil for my neck and shoulders, lavender for stress), Deep Blue rub for my muscles (neck, shoulders, back, forearms from driving!)- this is like an all natural icy hot, but you can pick up something like Arnica or Tiger Balm at your local grocery store. I also pop turmeric capsules instead of NSAIDs, and bring vitamins and a greens supplement. The sleep deprivation that often comes with traveling weakens my immune system.
7. Get a Massage!
If you have your foam roller, you don’t need a massage, but let’s face it- massages are awesome! This costs money and takes a little time and planning, but if you have the opportunity go for it! I look at it as an investment in enjoying my time at my destination. If I feel better, I will have a better time. So if I need to do this to make the most out of my time there, then I’ll make an appointment. I’ve gotten them before and after, and I think I like getting them once I’m at my destination the best.
There you have it. These are my top tips for holiday travel, but I’m sure you have plenty to add! Share your faves in the comments, and have a happy and safe holiday season! :)
PS: I also recommend bringing adorable but pain-in-the-butt dogs that will force you to walk at each rest area :) Here’s Chainsaw and Samurai, enjoying our Thanksgiving travel: