According to a January 2023 U.S. Travel Association survey, 52% of Americans said they plan to travel within the next six months. Traveling is a wonderful way to open your eyes to new cultures, cuisines, spiritual practices, and unique, memorable experiences. It helps you become a more worldly person, and it can be incredibly relaxing.
One study found that people who were able to travel more frequently reported better mental, physical, and emotional health when compared to people who remained at home. While seeing the sun greet the day from atop dormant volcano in Indonesia is an amazing experience, the journey to your destination is not always the most pleasant. From flight or train delays to travel-related upset stomach, traveling is not always easy on the body and mind.
Changing time zones can disrupt your circadian rhythm and airport or plane food may not always sit well. Prolonged immobility, especially on a long transatlantic flight, can lead to aches and pains. Sitting for long periods of time increases the risk of blood clots, which can be a very serious medical problem. Then there is the stress of potentially losing your luggage or becoming dehydrated! You see, travel isn’t always glamor and glitz! That said, we have a few helpful hacks in this article to make your travel experience healthier and more comfortable.
Consider A Pair Of Compression Socks
Long hours driving on a road trip or endless hours on a plane can be rough on the body. According to research, slipping on a pair of compression socks can help reduce leg swelling and decrease the risk of blood clots. If you don’t move for a long period of time, the risk of blood clots is much greater.
Pack Some High Fiber Snacks
It can be hard to find healthy snacks when you’re on the go, which is why travel experts encourage you to bring your own. Airport, gas station, and train station snacks can be limited to salty chips, candy, and sugary bars. When packing your clothes, shoes, and accessories before your trip, make sure to add some dried apricots, cashews, walnuts, or even some prunes. Prunes are naturally rich in fiber and don’t take up a ton of space in your bag. Plus, you may need them in case a traveler’s constipation strikes.
Move When You Can
When you travel by plane, train, or bus, you don’t have a lot of opportunities to move. For this reason, make the most of your time between stops. On a layover between flights? Walk around the airport or consider doing some bodyweight exercises in an uncrowded portion of a gate area. Bypass moving walkways and take the stairs instead of cruising up escalators. Taking a break from your normal workout routine is very standard while traveling, but if you are inspired to engage in a quick workout in the hotel gym, we encourage it! That said, you tend to do a lot of walking while on vacation, and getting those steps in is great for your body, but be sure to stretch to avoid pain.
Bring An Eye Mask And Travel Pillow
These are two essential items that you should travel with for several reasons. First off, a travel pillow during transit can help you relax more easily on planes. Additionally, it helps to prop your neck up so it doesn’t keep dropping to one side. Plus, you won’t wake up with a kink in your neck from it drooping in a weird way. An eye mask may also help you sleep on a plane, especially if the flight crew doesn’t dim the lights. It can also be beneficial to wear at your hotel, hostel, or AirBnB, especially if your room doesn’t have great curtains or shades.
Seek Out Morning Sun
There are many health experts that encourage stepping out into the sunlight every morning. This is a crucial first step for the morning after you land because staring in the sun’s general direction can help signal your brain that it is time to be awake. Within an hour of waking up, get some sunlight exposure because it helps to reset the body’s circadian rhythm. Not only does this help you feel more energized during the day, but it also signals the body to produce melatonin (the hormone necessary for sleep) about 12 hours later.
Adjust Your Sleep Schedule
When you finally arrive at your destination, especially if the journey was long, it can be very tempting to crawl into bed and fall asleep. Travel experts warn against this if you want to establish a better circadian rhythm in your travel destination. It is best to start sleeping according to your destination’s time zone as soon as possible. This can be challenging, especially if you arrive early in the morning after a long day of traveling. You should also try to maintain your regular routines, whatever they may be. That may include reading or meditation as soon as you wake up or before you go to sleep. Try to eat your meals and snacks at the same times you do when you’re at home as well.