Written by: Dr. Elizabeth Whitehead, PT, DPT
We were ¾ of a mile from our AirBnb when the cab driver stopped and told us to get out. It was a cloudless and hot (97 degrees!) day in Boston, and there we stood on the sidewalk…6 adults, 1 eight year old, 1 three year old, 1 two year old, 9 suitcases, 5 backpacks, 2 car seats, 2 strollers, 1 booster seat, and the Boston Pride Parade standing between us and our final destination. Let me tell you…we learned a lot about a lot that day! And while I’m sure you’re wondering where I’m headed with this…I want to share with you a few travel tips that this situation brings to mind.
Tip 1: Pack Light
Pack LIGHT! We talked about this at Christmas, and I think it’s SO important that I’m bringing it up again. And I might bring it up again after that, and then AGAIN after THAT! I’m not saying that you can’t take all the things. I’m just saying that you don’t need to cram ALL of those things into one suitcase that weighs 75 lbs. When you’re packing your suitcase, roll it (because I suggest all suitcases have wheels) around your house and ask yourself if you’d be content to pull that suitcase ¾ of a mile through a parade while wrangling your children in the 97 degree heat. It might sound extreme…but trust me, you never know what’s going to happen!
Tip 2: Learn to Laugh
Which brings me to my next point…expect the unexpected and learn to LAUGH about it! Vacation is supposed to be FUN! I LOVE to plan a vacation. And to be honest, I’ve gotten pretty good at it over the years. Yet one thing in all of our travels remains the same…very rarely does everything go EXACTLY as planned. Sometimes there’s a parade in your way, sometimes your debit card gets stolen in Italy, sometimes your alternator goes out in the middle of nowhere and you have to beat your car’s battery life to the closet dealership 75 miles away, and sometimes you just see something exciting that takes you off of your original path. LEARN TO LAUGH ABOUT IT! There is a LOT of research out there proving that laughter relieves stress and improves the quality of relationships. Lean in to LAUGHING with your travel companions about ALL of the ridiculousness that happens when you leave the comfort of home.
Tip 3: Sleep
SLEEP! Leave time built into your vacation to recover from the events (expected and unexpected) of the day. Our bodies use the time that we are in a deep sleep to heal and recover. So while I’m not suggesting that you sleep through your entire vacation, I AM suggesting that you leave at least 8 or 9 hours each night to get some good, quality sleep. Also, remember all of those sleeping positions and the pillow support that your favorite PTs have been teaching you for years. Being in a new bed sometimes means making some adjustments. Find your happy place and sleep well!
Tip 4: Hydrate
Last but not least, stay well hydrated! Our habits of home often go out the window while we’re on vacation. We drink more coffee, we are more active while we sightsee, we are out in the hot sun all day on a beautiful beach, we partake in more adult beverages…all of these things work against your body’s ability to stay hydrated. Take a refillable water bottle and be sure to sip on it throughout the day. I’m also a BIG fan of electrolyte water. You can buy it pre-bottled, or you can buy electrolyte tablets or drops to add to your refillable water bottle. In my opinion, they are a game-changer!
Cheers to summer travels, new adventures, and time spent with friends and family! And as always, know that when you return home, our team of experts is here to help if needed!