How to Beat Holiday Travel Fatigue from 13 Easy Ways to Beat Holiday Travel Fatigue

13 Easy Ways to Beat Holiday Travel Fatigue

How to Beat Holiday Travel Fatigue

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To find out how you can create a more enjoyable travel experience for you and your loved ones this holiday season, I talked with two experts who are well versed in the worlds of both travel and wellness. Joshua Duvauchelle is a NCCA-accredited personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise who holds a nutrition certificate from Cornell University and works as a wellness consultant. 

Bo Parrish, is a semi-professional triathlete and platform speaker who has competed on a global level since 2008, racing around the world in places like New Zealand, England and Mexico.

Together, they offer the following advice for staying healthy and level-headed on the road and in the air this holiday season.

Prepare in advance.

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One of the simplest and smartest ways to reduce travel-related stress is to get everything you’ll need ready ahead of time. “Do not wait until the last minute to pack,” says Parish. “Check the weather at your destination ahead of time and plan accordingly.” 

Communicate.

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Before you leave, touch base with your co-workers, boss, significant other and anyone else who might need to know that you’ll be away. Parish suggests letting them know your travel dates with ample notice. “The idea here is to avoid any potential surprises,” he said.

Hydrate.

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“Your overall sense of well-being will be comprised initially in unfamiliar surroundings,” says Parish. “Proper hydration will allow you to adjust much more quickly.”  Additionally, according to Duvauchelle, some studies have shown that just a 1 percent decrease in dehydration can slow down your metabolism, which is why he suggests that you start drinking water a day or two before you travel in order to keep all of your body’s essential functions on track. “The Institute of Medicine recommends men drink three liters of water a day and women drink 2.2 liters of water a day,” he said. “Continue to drink water throughout the day of travel. Bring an empty water bottle with you through airport security and refill it on the other side to save money on expensive bottled water within the airport.” He says that hydrating properly will help keep your joints and tendons lubricated, prevent insomnia and eliminate toxins from your body.

Resist the urge to medicate.

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“If you are flying and feel fatigue setting in, take a short nap rather than reaching for a cup of coffee,” says Parish. If you’re driving and are lucky enough to have company, take turns behind the wheel. 

Stay active as you travel.

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“For every hour of flight time, spend five minutes walking the aisle,” Parish suggests. “If you are driving, leave with enough time to schedule rest stops. Whether at a gas station or a rest stop, plan to walk or run at least 500 yards. This will get the blood flowing and provide a quick burst of energy.”

Upon your arrival, move as much as possible.

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“Do everything possible that involves movement,” says Parish. “Take the stairs in the airport, rather than the escalator. Carry your bags, rather than roll them. Unpack your car yourself and carry your bags yourself.”

Exercise ASAP.

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If you have the opportunity after arriving, Parish suggests getting a small workout in as soon as possible. “This does not have to be a trip to the gym,” he said. “But it does need to be more than a casual stroll. Exercise is the best fatigue killer and the quicker you do it, the more refreshed you will feel.”

Keep your sleep schedule on track.

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“The first night at your destination, make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep,” says Parish. “Try to avoid alcohol for 12 hours upon arrival giving your body time to adjust without chemical interference.” 

Avoid airport and rest stop junk food.

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“Stress and exhaustion can cause us to crave junk food,” says Duvauchelle.  “But the carbohydrates and empty calories can drain our body and don’t help us rebuild energy related to adrenal fatigue and travel stress.” He suggests opting for high-protein meals and snacks, like eggs for breakfast or a grilled chicken salad for lunch, or opt for something like nuts or Greek yogurt when in need of a snack. “Protein helps boost alertness,” he said. “Pair protein with a whole grain to really refuel your energy.”

Increase energy with supplements.

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For a big energy boost, Duvauchelle  recommends maximizing your supplements. “Iron, especially in women, can also help boost energy levels,” he said. “Additional energy-boosting travel supplements include vitamin C and a B-complex pill, which may help your body’s systems fight off travel stress that’s making you fatigued.”

Don't get stressed.

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“Fighting in baggage claim, getting through security, experiencing flight delays… All these travel stressors can wear away at us,” Duvauchelle explains. “Practice deep breathing on the flight, follow a yoga DVD to calm yourself in the hotel room and perhaps do some meditation in the taxi ride. Anything you can do to help ground yourself and calm your nerves will pay off in the long run.”

Block out distractions.

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“When we travel, the hum of airports and a new hotel room can keep our nervous system alert and wear us down,” says Duvauchelle. “Use ambient noise or wear earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to help create an oasis of piece around you.” 

Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

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“These may stimulate you and make you feel better, but they can worsen adrenal fatigue and cause even more exhaustion as soon as the stimulating effects wear off,” says Duvauchelle.