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Summer vacations are all about creating lasting memories, but chronic back, shoulder, hip, or knee pain can cast a shadow on your fun. Don’t let it! With some planning and these helpful tips, you can manage your pain and enjoy a relaxing, fulfilling summer getaway.

1. Do your research. Plan for pain-free fun.

A little pre-trip planning goes a long way to lessen chronic pain. Research your destinations, including:

  • Accommodation: Choose a hotel close to sightseeing areas to minimize travel time. Look for elevators and ramps to avoid stairs. Consider a late checkout if mornings are tough. Luggage assistance is ideal—the less heavy lifting you do on your trip, the better.
  • Activities: Opt for open-air sightseeing tours over strenuous hikes. Are there cafes or museums along your route for rest breaks? Research wheelchair availability if needed.

2. Pack like a pro. Be prepared for comfort.

Pack items that promote comfort and pain management.

  • Support gear: Bring foam padding, neck pillows, and a lightweight folding seat pad for uncomfortable seating.
  • Pain management Tools: Pack heating pads, ice packs, wraps, and any medications you normally use. Research pharmacies and medical care at your destination in case of need.
  • Supportive footwear: Invest in comfortable shoes with good arch support to prevent back and knee pain flare-ups.

3. Relax your schedule. Prioritize rest and enjoyment.

Don’t try to cram everything into your trip. Create a flexible itinerary with plenty of time for rest.

  • Prioritize: Choose your top activities each day and be okay with canceling others if you feel tired or in pain.
  • Pick gentle activities: Opt for less physically demanding outings.
  • Schedule rest breaks: Plan for breaks back at your hotel or find cafes or museums with seating along your sightseeing route.

4. Stay comfy on the road. Conquer car trips.

Long car rides can be challenging. Here’s how to make them more manageable:

  • Take breaks: Schedule frequent stops every few hours to get out, stretch, and explore.
  • Front seat advantage: Sit in the front seat whenever possible for more leg room.
  • Maintain good posture: Adjust your car seat for proper back support. Use a back cushion or extra padding if needed.
  • In-car exercises: Do simple exercises like ankle stretches, knee lifts, shoulder rolls, and arm stretches while seated to improve circulation and reduce stiffness.

5. Prepare for plane travel. Manage tight spaces.

Airplanes can be tough on the body. Train travel typically offers more space and flexibility than cars or planes. You can easily get up, stretch, and walk around during your journey. However, if you need to fly, here are some tips for a smoother flight:

  • Extra leg room: Consider seats with extra leg room when booking your ticket.
  • Pack light: Limit your carry-on weight to avoid straining yourself.
  • Get up and move: Walk the aisle whenever safe to do so.
  • Seated stretches: Do the same car exercises mentioned above to prevent stiffness.

No matter how you travel, feeling your best is key. Get enough sleep, stay hydrated, eat healthy, and do some gentle exercise each day.

By following these tips and planning ahead, you can minimize pain flare-ups and maximize your summer travel enjoyment. Remember, take your time, listen to your body, and most importantly, have fun.

How Carrum Health can help

If you believe you need surgery to treat joint pain, Carrum Health may be able to help. Carrum Health is a surgery benefit provided by employers that often covers most or all of the associated cost for certain orthopedic surgeries.

Find out if the Carrum Health benefit is available to you. Check your eligibility.


The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only. No material is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.