We love the holidays, the festivities, the celebrations, seeing our little nieces and nephews, and the magic of the holiday spirit, but none of us enjoy the travel that goes with it. I have a love/hate relationship with travel. I love it and I love experiencing new things, seeing new places, meeting new people, visiting family and friends, but I don’t always love what I have to do to get to my destination. There’s the planning, packing, driving, flying, rushing, honking, and loads of aggravation. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way.
I’ve come up with a few things to make my traveling a little easier. Hopefully they will help you too. And with the holidays right around the corner, thousands of us will be embarking on our respective journeys. Take these tips with you and see how easy it can be to have an amazing travel experience, or at least one that’s not horrific.
Make sure you hydrate. This means 5-6 days before you begin to travel, start paying more attention to what you’re drinking and what you’re eating. There is a general rule about hydration. If peeing isn’t inconveniencing you, you’re not drinking enough fluids. And this doesn’t mean drinking alcohol. Water and lots of it. You also need electrolytes and some immunity boosters. I take probiotics prior to departure depending on where I’m traveling, but definitely some extra anti-oxidants and maybe a little Airborne. Our bodies are fighting off illness on a regular basis. Sometimes you might catch a little bug, but before you know it, your body has fought it off. Of course, it doesn’t always go that way during the height of the holidays. Sometimes, we catch that little bug, it starts with a scratch in our throat, then turns into a few coughs and sneezes, and before you know it you’ve got a harsh flu and you’re in bed. You can prevent a lot of these cases from happening by keeping yourself in good shape. If possible, exercise the morning you travel. It makes sitting for so long feel less horrible.
Pre-packing and giving yourself a lot of extra time are two keys to making your travel much less stressful. I start laying out what I’m going to pack from cords, to electronics, to clothing, to active wear, reading materials, toiletries, and more. As I begin thinking about it all, I continually run through what I’m going to need to make sure I don’t forget anything. I’ve got it down to a science now and I recommend you start looking at things you take on every trip, such as noise canceling headphones, toothbrush, socks, underwear, shoes, etc. Then make a list or a spreadsheet. Break it up into categories for ease of use and begin to check things off when you’ve got them in the right place. Always leave a little room for the unknown. Obviously, packing will change based on length of stay and weather, but you get the idea.
Definitely stretch whenever you think about it and whenever it’s possible. If you’re on a 5 hour drive, you know you’ll have to make a pit stop. Make sure you do some arm circles and twists. This will take you no longer than 2 minutes and will help the blood flow through your body. Take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing is a fast, easy way to relax and can be done anywhere. Finally, allow yourself to nap if possible. We have a 10 month old, so napping is limited, but when traveling alone, you have an opportunity, unless you’re driving, of course, to shut down momentarily. Allow yourself to do it. If sleep isn’t an option, meditation is always an option, even when you’re traveling with kids. Find the lull in the excitement and relax. Oh, and use lumbar support. I started doing this years ago and I absolutely swear by it. That slouching from all the sitting is horrible for your back. If you put one of the airplane pillows at your back or even a sweater, you’ll be much better off.
No one performs at their highest level after a flight or any kind of travel. The cabin pressure, the altitude, the germs, the sitting. It’s all a big mess. Of course, I’m happy we get to fly, drive, bus, and train around the world in a very short period of time, but it’s not always the healthiest thing for you. You can take some actions to help your experience once you’ve landed at your destination. Shower as soon as you can. It’s just so nice to give yourself a nice hot shower, if possible, as soon as you arrive at your destination. After that, a nice cup of tea, coffee, or your drink of choice. Make this a social occasion to visit with whomever you came to see. Eat a proper meal. Our diets typically fly out the window, pun intended, during our travel. Get some good healthy food into your system. Finally, make sure to exercise and get a good night sleep. So you see, it’s all pretty simple stuff, but with the rigamarole of the holiday season and most travel, just a few corrections can make your experience a whole lot nicer. I’m always here to help, just send me note on Twitter @teddymcdonald.
Originally published on the author’s website.