The holidays are upon us and being pent up at home during quarantine has left many of us itching to go somewhere. Anywhere. I think it's safe to say that many of us are opting to go road tripping to avoid airports and airplanes. But never fear, if you're traveling on a plane this holiday season, I'm still throwing in some tips for you all as well!
I feel like I am somewhat of an expert on this subject after my road trip travels this year. Back in September, my wife and I drove to see my in-laws in Houston. My wife usually sees her family several times every year, so I knew going without was weighing on her. But we didn't necessarily want to take a plane either. So we braved the 25+ hour one-way drive and we managed to do it in two days there and back! The way we chose to set up our car postures and our travel must-haves saved our bodies during that trek.
I have always believed that our bodies are our vehicles to help us enjoy life's greatest moments and we should protect them at all costs. So take a look at my tips for traveling safely during this holiday season.
In preparation: The simplest of items can be the difference between getting out of the car stiff and in pain and feeling great.
1. Bring your 100% goose down feather pillow (ideally at least one per person). You can find my favorite ones here. Use the pillows to support your unsupported areas. If you're like me and like some of the comforts of your own home while traveling, you might be contemplating bringing your own pillow anyway. Luckily when you're road-tripping, you're not nearly as tight on space as you are when flying.
2. Bring a jacket or a small towel to press in the crack between the backrest and seat pan of your car. That will fill in that little gap which puts you in a better alignment and relieves some tension in your lower back.
3. A neck pillow helps tremendously on long car rides. Your neck can get so tired trying to hold your head steady during all of those bumps and vibrations on the road. Having neck support is a game-changer. You can find all kinds of neck pillows, but the dog bone shaped ones are my favorite. Here's one on Amazon.
4. This last thing will most likely be used only if you're the passenger. I have been talking about my love for this product for some time now. The TRTL neck pillow is one of my all-time favorite travel companions. No more leaning your head against the window or letting your head bob all-around when you're sleeping. You can find the TRTL on Amazon here. They make all kinds of colors and sizes.
If you're traveling on an airplane:
Chances are you probably aren't sitting on a plane as long as you are if you're road tripping, but any time you are sitting longer than an hour or two at a time, it can have a negative effect on your body. So here here's how I set myself up on a plane! I utilize a lot of the same principles as the car.
1. Fill in the space between the seatpan and back rest with either a small jacket or towel.
2. Use the pillow provided for you on the plane under your knees to extend the length of the seat pan and support your knees.
3. Tuck your trusty down feather pillow under your arms. This reduces a ton of tension in your head, neck and shoulders.
4. Last, give that TRTL neck pillow a try if you're wanting to take a nap on your flight. As an added bonus, you can wrap the scarf part around your face to act as your face mask while you're sleeping.
You can watch the video of how the seat set up is done on our website here.
So regardless of how you choose to travel, if you're even travelling at all, these simple tricks for long periods of sitting can really save your body! We may be dealing with a seemlingly neverending pandemic but that doesn't mean your body should be in pain!
Hope everyone has safe and healthy travels!
Dr. Justin C. Lin