As you make travel plans for the holidays, it’s important to consider your comfort in the process, especially for long flights and car rides. Continue reading to learn some travel tips for back pain this holiday season.
1. Get Seat Smart
Book your flight as early as you can for the best seat choices. If you can afford it or have reward points, upgrading to business or first class may be worth the extra comfort. In coach, exit row seats have more legroom. But you need to be able to carry out emergency duties. Always aim for an aisle seat. You won’t have to climb over people, and it’s easier to stand and stretch or take a quick stroll.
2. Timing Is Everything
Avoid long lines at check-in and security, and travel during off-peak times. Midweek tends to be less busy. Check in online when you can. And get to the airport at least an extra hour earlier than recommended. On road trips, try to avoid rush hour and heavy holiday travel days so you don’t get stuck in traffic.
3. Clearing Airport Security
Call TSA Cares at 855-787-2227 to learn how to get through security more comfortably and easily. They can even assign a helper at the airport. If you want someone you know to go to your gate with you, ask your airline for a pass that allows the person through security without a ticket. A Transportation Security Administration notification card, which you can get online, or a doctor’s note about your condition can help things go more smoothly.
4. Sign Up for TSA Precheck
If you travel often, precheck can save you hassle and pain. You pay $85 for a five-year membership that fast-tracks you through airport security. You won’t have to take off your shoes, belt, or a light jacket. Even your liquids and laptop stay packed. You have to pass a background check and get fingerprinted. So it’s not something you can sign up for on the spot. And not all airports have it, so check the ones you fly out of.
5. Phone or Email Ahead
Airlines, hotels, and cruise ships want to please you. Contact them ahead of time and ask about elevator access, bellhops, accessible bathrooms, and more. Be specific about what you need and what might help. If you have the option, go for a hotel that has a heated pool, hot tub, or sauna to ease your pain after a long day.
6. Ask for a Wheelchair
Even if you don’t usually need one, consider it. Airports are filled with snaking lines and long walks, which can be a recipe for back pain. You can reserve one when you buy your ticket or just ask for one at the airport. Either way, give yourself extra time. It could take a while for the airline to line up a chair and someone to push it. The service is free, but the attendants appreciate tips.
7. Pack Light and Get Wheels
Bring only the things you really need and divide them into a few light bags instead of single heavy one. If you can’t stay light, you could ship your luggage ahead to your hotel or cruise ship. Nix the backpacks and duffel bags and go with rolling luggage. Ask for help every step of the way, from fetching you bag from the trunk to stowing it overhead.