Some Help for a Comfortable Christmas Break

December 6, 2016 - Mike Dilke



Everyone has an airport or a flight gone horribly wrong story. Here are some tips on ways to avoid them especially if the small and uncomfortable seats on aeroplanes  can trigger back pain or sciatica for you. If you are in pain and there are six more hours of flight left then it doesn’t matter how good the in flight movie or food is or even how many gin and tonics you drink it is likely to be hell.

I spoke to travel consultant, Gayle Anderson-Vismeg, of The Travel Director for some tips on avoiding this nightmare beginning to your holiday. You can hear the whole conversation here on UK Health Radio.

The first thing she suggested was actually for home – when you pack don’t put your suitcase on the floor so you avoid bending down to fill it. More importantly don’t fill it too full or just get a smaller one – you won’t need all that stuff anyway and how many outfits are you really going to wear! Then there is the type of baggage because I always feel jealous of those people who glide through the airport with fancy light cases on wheels. A good quality suitcase that is light but strong and moves easily on its wheels will make things much easier.

Standing in queues can set off back pain so do your best to avoid them. Check in on-line if possible and try to arrive at a time when security is less busy. That is not always possible to predict so perhaps think about an upgrade to using the VIP lounge which although it might be expensive will involve less standing in queues.

When you are on the plane try and get up every so often and walk about. If you know you will need to if you suffer from sciatica or a condition that is relieved from standing try to get an aisle seat. Gayle suggested having hand luggage that can double up as a foot rest but remember if you have been clever and saved an emergency exit seat with more leg room you might not be able to keep bags on the floor in front of you.

Stress can aggravate aches and pains so try and do your best to avoid extra aggravation where you can. Paying a bit extra to have your car parked by someone else so you can drive up to the front will save time and involve less dragging your luggage about. I always forget to have change for the luggage trolleys which involves a hunt through pockets or a purchase of something not required to get the change which seems to add to the general stress levels.

Then of course if you are travelling with children please do think about them. They are likely to need snacks as having meal times changed can upset small tummies – but please don’t bring loads of sweets to fuel them up with short term energy so they make your lives (and everyone elses) a bit more stressful. Also remember some things to entertain them but do everyone a favour and don’t make it a noisy toy – books, puzzles and a favourite teddy are likely to make life better for all.

I will be flying to India with my family this Christmas so I will do my best to follow Gayle’s advice.

If you would like some travel advice or need help on booking your next trip contact Gayle by sending an email to or calling her on 07468 420420

Hear the whole conversation on UK Health Radio and thank you for reading. If you have some favourite travel tips of your own please do share them below.