With the busiest travel holiday of the year upon us, many travelers will be faced with long lines, delays and sitting for extended periods of time. There’s no need to arrive at your destination already stressed and exhausted from the trip. With a few handy tips and the right mindset you can reduce anxiety, pain and discomfort.

Be Prepared

Preparation and mindset are the two most important tools in your arsenal when it comes to reducing stress and anxiety as you travel. Prepare for your trip in advance by packing these travel essentials:

  • Comfortable Shoes
    If you are at the airport, you’ll have to slip them off anyway and shuffle through the line, and sitting for extended periods of time on a plan with little wiggle room won’t help either. Wear shoes that easily slip on and off and will allow you to be comfortable on the plane. Don’t forget to wear socks!
  • Noise Canceling Headphones
    You can’t control the screaming baby behind you or how many times the fasten seat belt light beeps, but you can blissfully ignore it with a set of noise cancelling headphones and your favorite music. They block even the most shrill of baby cries and are far more comfortable than ear buds.
  • Vitamin C
    Sitting in the same place with hundreds of travelers breathing re-circulated air for hours can weaken your immune system, combine this with the stress of travel and it’s a recipe for a cold. Throw some packets of Vitamin C boosting powder (like Emergen-C) in your carry on and mix up a quick drink before and after your flight.

Combat Stress

You can have as many gadgets to prepare you for your trip as you like, but if you start out your trip with a negative mindset, nothing will get you from point A to point B in a good mood. As you set out on your journey, keep the following things in mind:

  • Prepare for the worst, expect the best
    Decide in advance how you are going to react if your luggage is lost, your flight is delayed or you miss your connection. These are all factors outside of your control and feeling powerless can lead many of us to react poorly. Before reacting to any unplanned events, take a few deep breaths and count to five on your inhale and another count of five on your exhale.
  • Look at delays as an opportunity
    Contact the people who need to know of the delay, then look at the extra time as an opportunity for time to yourself – kick back and relax with a good book or a magazine.

Reduce Pain

  • Stretches are your friend when you travel. Try to move around and stay limber when you have an opportunity. This site has some good tips for stretching when you travel.
  • To combat back pain while you are away (and without access your Teeter inversion table), remember to pack a portable back stretcher with you!