6 tips to reduce travel stress during the holidays

Travelling can be a stressful experience, from catching flights to getting around in new environments. If you live with a chronic health condition or an autoimmune disease like arthritis, there might be added pain, fatigue and discomfort to worry about. These tips can help you prepare for travel over the holidays:

  1. Shoes wisely
    Choose shoes that provide a firm grip for your heel. If the back of the shoe is too wide or too soft, your foot will slip, causing instability and soreness. Look for shoes with great arch support, or that can be worn with orthotic supports. Lack of arch support can cause your foot to flatten and can affect knee, hip and back pain.
  2. Bag it up
    It’s easier on your body to carry a bag with an across-the-shoulder strap (or a backpack), than to carry a handbag. Additionally, suitcases, backpacks and briefcases with wheels reduce the physical stress maneuvering luggage can have on your body.
  3. Drive smart
    When preparing your car for a trip or when choosing a rental car, consider adjustable components like the steering wheel and seatback. Bring a beaded or vinyl seat cover to make it easier to get in and out of the car and look for extra features like a swivel seat and wheel grips.
  4. Keep meds handy
    Your medication should be at the top of your packing list for any trip. Be sure to pack medication in your carry-on luggage, as checked luggage could go missing. When booking your stay for a trip, ask for a mini fridge in your room to store medication that requires staying cool.
  5. Pack a snack
    Travelling often means you can’t always control what – or even when – you will eat, so make sure you pack a snack before you head off. While you’re travelling, try to eat fish, skinless poultry and meatless proteins more often than red meat, and opt for vegetables, fruits and whole grains when possible. Keep water with you and sip throughout the day – when you’re well hydrated, your body functions better, your joints feel better and you have more energy. To reduce the risk of inflammation, limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks.
  6. Get moving
    Your joints may be sore after a long flight or drive, so it’s essential to get moving by walking or doing simple stretches. If your trip involves a lot of walking, remember to take some breaks, and consider bringing a mobility-assisting tool, such as a cane to help you stay active on your trip.

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