Some people probably love to travel. I am not one of them. Sure, being on vacation is awesome, once you get there. But the actual process of traveling is what I cannot stand.
There is no good method of travel. Every type of travel sucks. Driving: UGH! Traffic jams, numbness in my ass, stiff back, stress, takes literally forever to get anywhere, yuck. Train: fine for short trips, but not as fine for over-nighters, strangers' children coughing and crying all night long, uncomfortable seats, impossible to sleep, takes almost forever to get anywhere. Flying: hours sitting in the airport before even getting on the plane, terrifying take-off, plane rattling like it's about to fall apart, stale air, tiny seats, bad food or no food, can't walk around, horrific landing.
Since vacations are awesome, and we all plan to continue taking them, how can we make traveling less unbearable?
1) Start off on the right foot. What I mean by this is: start healthy before you leave home. Start out well fed, well-rested, well-hydrated, calm, and as relaxed as possible. If you hate (and/or fear) flying, like me, then start at least a week ahead of time with a deep breathing, relaxation, or meditation practice. Instead of freaking myself out and imagining all the worst case scenarios, I try to begin the journey in a calm and centered place.
2) Flying, especially, dehydrates the body. Airplane air is very dry. Make sure to drink plenty of water before you get on the plane, while you are on board, and after you land. I know this means more trips to the tiny lavatory, but this is a small price to pay for feeling MUCH better during and after flying. Also avoid alcohol. You might think drinking booze will calm you down, but for me, alcohol equals air sickness. On my last trip back from England, I stuck with only water. I got up to pee no less than 4 times, (I had an aisle seat, thank God) BUT I was WAY less sick than on the previous flight when I drank the free wine with dinner. BIG MISTAKE!
3) Healthy snacks. I know it's tempting to eat a load of junk while on vacation. I have fallen into this trap MANY times. But junk food ends up making me look and feel like crap on a cracker. Airplane food is either terrible or nonexistent, so remember to pack some snacks (or even a meal) for the plane ride. Go for whole almonds, dark chocolate, dried fruit, power bars, meat jerky, cheese sticks, etc. If you're driving, scope out the spots with the healthiest fast food. McDonald's has a bad reputation, but in reality has plenty of great options like salads, oatmeal, fresh apple slices, and pretty decent coffee.
4) Move your body. This is especially difficult on a long plane ride, but don't give up! As I mentioned before, I like to visit the rest room frequently. This is great for stretching the legs, getting the blood moving, as well as emptying the bladder! You can also manage some modified stretches in your seat. If you're driving, be sure to stop every 2-3 hours for a rest, to stretch your legs and walk around, switch drivers if possible, and find the healthiest fast food. (See #3.)
5) Don't overdo it. It may be tempting to drive all night to get there sooner, but driving while tired has been shown to be just as dangerous as driving drunk. Don't risk it! Plan to spend the night in a motel and get some rest instead of pushing past your limits. Getting enough sleep while on vacation will make your daytime adventures so much more enjoyable. I know I sound like a big party-pooper, but getting sick on vacation could ruin all your plans.
Safe travels this summer! If you have tips to add to my lest, please post them in the comment section!