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Tried-and-true tips from achy travelers

As a traveler, the last thing you want is to start a vacation in pain. Unfortunately, thanks to those notoriously uncomfortable airplane seats, you might arrive at your destination with anything from a stiff neck to back spasms. Here are nine ways to ease post-flight discomfort. 

 1. Stretch 

Help your body loosen up by doing a few quick and easy stretches. Start with a quad stretch. Resting your left hand on a wall for balance, gently pull your right foot toward your buttock with your right hand. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.  Next, move into a figure-four pose, lying down: Cross your right ankle over your left knee, interlace your hands under your left thigh, and then gently pull your knee toward your face. Switch sides. Finally, do a cat-cow stretch on your hands and knees. As you inhale, arch your back like a cat; as you exhale, reverse the arch so that your belly moves toward the ground.

2. Change Clothes

Even comfortable clothes can compress our bodies when we’re seated for a long time. When you get to your hotel room, change out of the clothing that’s been constricting your skin and circulation all day (ideally, get into something loose). 

3. Try the Hot and Cold Method 

A combination of heat and cold therapy can provide relief for stiff or sore muscles. Dampen a hand towel and place it into the minibar fridge to cool (but not freeze), then massage sore body parts with the chilled towel for up to 20 minutes. Follow with a warm shower. 

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4. Take an Epsom Salts Soak

If you have a tub in your room, follow your cooling session with a warm bath instead of a shower. Add some healing bath salts to the mix for an extra boost. Try Haus Urban’s Super Swing Muscle Soak, which relaxes muscles, facilitates recovery, and can even improve your sleep.

5. Get Some Sleep

Your relaxing bath should be followed by a solid night’s sleep—or at least a nap. Lying down will reenergize your system and stimulate blood flow to your muscles.

6. Make Friends with a Foam Roller

If your hotel has a gym, there are probably a few foam rollers lying around. Use them to roll away any muscle knots in your lower body and back—foam rollers help elongate the muscle tissue, which can make aches subside. 

7. Book a Massage

Even better than a foam roller? A massage therapist. The smart idea is to book a massage in advance so that you can arrive at your hotel and immediately experience bliss. 

8. Try Arnica

Arnica is a great homeopathic remedy, particularly when it’s applied in gel form to an inflamed or aching area. It can soothe that tight neck you developed after sleeping for six hours while hunched up against the plane’s window. 

9. Hydrate 

Dehydration can accelerate and exacerbate aches and pains. Drink up: Water, caffeine-free teas, and fresh juices can help restore water levels—and make you feel better.

>>Next: 9 Unique Races Around the World

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