This holiday season, millions of travelers will meet up with friends and family all over the country. Preparing to spend time with loved ones can be exciting and hectic. But it’s important to remember to take care of ourselves and stay healthy.
Follow these tips for a safe holiday vacation:
Sleep tight. The night before travel, plan to get a good night’s sleep. Avoid drowsiness, which can leave you out of sorts or confused.
Eat breakfast. Breakfast is essential when traveling. You need energy to tackle what could be a long day.
Take breaks. If you are driving, plan out a schedule to share the driving load. Make sure you take breaks at rest stops to avoid fatigue and eye strain. If flying or on a train, stand and move around every few hours to avoid getting stiff.
Drink up! Dehydration is a serious concern when traveling. Plan to drink fluids as usual — and definitely before you get thirsty. By the time you feel thirsty, dehydration has already set in.
Bring your Assist America card. As a UPMC Health Plan member, you can connect to Assist America. That means if you have a medical emergency while 100 miles or more away from home, you’re covered. Assist America can help members with replacing lost prescriptions, hospitalization, lost luggage, and more. To print your Assist America card, go to upmchealthplan.com, click on Members at the top of the page, and log in to MyHealth OnLine or download our mobile app available for iPhone and Android.
Stretching every few hours can be critical while traveling. If you are in a car, stop every few hours to get some fresh air and stretch. If you are on a plane, use layovers or the aisles to get up and move. Try these four simple stretches:
- Neck stretch. Gently take one ear to one shoulder and hold for 15-30 seconds and then switch sides. Next take your chin into your chest and then all the way back and repeat for 15-30 seconds.
- Seated hip stretch. While seated, keep one foot flat on the ground and lift the opposite leg, placing the ankle over the thigh (should look like the number 4). Slowly bend your torso forward and hold 15-30 seconds.
- Shoulder circles. Sit up tall in your seat and slowly roll your shoulders to the front for 15-30 seconds. Next, switch to backwards circles for 15-30 seconds. End with bringing your shoulders up towards your ears and then releasing with a few deep breaths.
- Forward bend. Stand up nice and tall with your feet shoulder width apart and arms stretching overhead towards the ceiling. Next, inhale deeply. Exhale as you bend at the hips (keeping a flat back) and reach towards your toes. Repeat this one to three times.
Keep in mind that while you may not get a chance to use all these tips on your trip, even one can be better than none at all. Try to be aware of how you are feeling. That way, you can recognize early signs of fatigue, dehydration, and muscle soreness and avoid complications later.