avoid-painIf you’ve ever spent time traveling by bus, train or plane, you know the dilemma. Sure, those modes of transportation get you where you need to be, but they can be a real pain, both literally and figuratively.

First, of course, there’s the issue of luggage. Hauling it around and moving it from one place to another can put major strain on your back, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Seating on trains and buses is bad, but the all-time worst seats are airplane seats. Too small for most people, and monstrously uncomfortable, a long plane trip can make your back feel tortured and abused.

Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce your risk of pain while traveling and minimize your discomfort.

The first thing involves your luggage. Most people grossly overpack. Don’t make that mistake, and you won’t find yourself having to lug a half ton of bags around during your travels.

Second, the way to cure those uncomfortable seats is to bring a small travel pillow, so you can place it at the small of your back and provide some badly needed lumbar support. Even better, bring two, so you can have a second one for neck support.

Those two things alone will provide a powerful one-two punch that will greatly reduce any travel-related pain you might feel, but a third step you can take is to be sure to take an hourly stretch break. This applies regardless of how you’re traveling. Just get up for a few minutes every hour and stretch those leg and back muscles to keep them from cramping up on you.

While it’s true that there’s no magic formula that can completely eliminate travel-related pain, these three simple steps can go a long way for minimizing it.