5 Tips to Avoid the Travel Stiffness

Everyone is familiar with that feeling of being crammed into airplane seats that seemingly get smaller and smaller. Even if you’re lean with a bit of muscle on you, it’s difficult. Doubly so if you’re over 5’10”.

Add in trudging through airports with heavy suitcases and backpacks, the dehydration that occurs from flying, and all the other hassles that come with travel—you’ve got a recipe for constant soreness, stiffness, and general misery if you’re on the road for long.

Here are a few tips I’ve picked up over the years to help me stay flexible, pain-free, and a little-less-miserable whenever I travel (whether for work or for pleasure).

#1: Walk/Stretch Hourly

Too many people make the mistake of just sitting in their airplane or train seat for an entire 10-hour journey. Even if they’re not sleeping.

If you’re staying awake, make sure you get up every hour and stretch and walk around. For this reason, the aisle seat is usually preferable. Don’t be the dick who makes his neighbors get out of their seats every hour to take a walk. Book the aisle, forego the window view—your body will thank you.

Just get up, use the bathroom, or even just stand in the aisle for a few minutes. It will help keep you loose and limber for when you arrive at your destination.

#2: Invest In The Right Backpack

For a long time, I carried around some crappy backpack that I’d had for close to a decade. And I jammed it full with everything I could muster—spare clothes, laptop, noise-cancelling headphones (more on those later). It probably weighed north of 30 pounds.

And some airports are really damn big. You may have to walk a mile to the gate.

Even if I checked my main suitcase, I’d still be lugging around 30 pounds on my shoulders for hours on end—even worse if I was flying trans-Atlantic or Pacific and had to transfer once, twice, or three times. On top of it, I’d have a heavy jacket on (to save weight!), and the poor ventilation would make my whole back sweat. Nasty.

My shoulders were constantly sore, my neck hurt, and my posture poor. Then, I finally decided it was time to invest in something better. I picked up a SwissGear 1900 Travel Backpack.

For a measly $59, and all these problems went away.

With air-flowing, padded straps, plenty of storage, and a backpack generally designed for the long haul—it was one of the best investments I ever made. It’s been the difference between back-breaking and back-saving.

A great budget travel backpack!

Learn More About The SwissGear 1900 Here

On a related note, I’d also suggest you pick up a suitcase that rolls easily.

I’m partial to this one.

#3: Drink WAY More Than You Think Need To

Dehydration is real when traveling. Too many people don’t drink enough because they don’t want to have to be bothered to take a piss every hour. The thing is…

  • Walking around, lugging backpacks and suitcases makes you sweat and burns off your water supply
  • Airplanes dehydrate the hell out of you with cabin pressurization
  • In most cases, you’ll use far more fluids and won’t actually have to piss constantly

Drink more than you need to, and drink before you’re thirsty.

It’s much farther to re-hydrate yourself and play catch-up than it is to stay on top of it from the start. Always drink more water than you think you need to, and you’ll be just fine.

PS: On another note, when you reach your destination, this is also important. If you’re spending your day walking around for miles on end, drink a lot of fluids. Most people forget this, too.

#4: Find A Portable Workout System

If you’re traveling for a long period of time, your workouts are going to suffer. There is no way around that. And skipping workouts for too long will make you stiff.

Here’s a few tips:

  1. Find a hotel with a gym—most 3+ star hotels have gyms these days. While you won’t find the equipment to do major compound lifts, most of them have dumbbells up to 50 pounds.
  2. Anticipate your travel, and plan it into your workout plans. If you know you have a business trip in two weeks, plan your workouts to give yourself some rest days and then a light week.
  3. Do portable workouts such as P90X, or even just apps on your smart phone.

Make sure you pick up a book about bodyweight workouts, too—I’d recommend Convict Conditioning as a good starting point. For something more robust, try Kinobody Bodyweight Mastery (our review is here).

great form of cardio.Also, most hotels have pools—swimming can be a

#5: Stretch, Stretch, Stretch

I can’t recommend yoga enough.

Yoga mats are small and portable enough to be rolled up and put into a suitcase. Doing it for just 15 minutes a day while you’re on the road will pay huge dividends.

I like the app Down Dog, which I just install on my tablet and take with me.

Got any more tips for staying fit and limber on the road? Share them in the comments below…


PS: Make sure to pick up a quality backpack and a bodyweight program—those are both key.