Vacationing is supposed to be all smiles and fun, but the reality is that traveling to get there can be a real pain in the neck (and back). If you’re flying coach, the seats are tiny and not very comfortable.

If you’re driving, you may find yourself sitting in the same position for hours on end, and that’s before we even mention the act of loading and unloading the luggage, and toting those heavy suitcases up and down stairs.

Fortunately, travel doesn’t have to be a painful experience. Here are a few simple tips that can help you avoid the pain, so you can focus on the fun.

• Take Regular Stretch Breaks – This is easier to do if you’re driving, but you can usually arrange it if you’re suffering through a long flight too. Just get up and stretch about once an hour. It doesn’t have to be a long break; you’ve just got to provide a bit of relief to those cramped muscles at regular intervals.

• Say No To Duffels – A lot of travelers use a simple duffle bag as an overnight bag, but this is a suboptimal choice as far as your back is concerned. A backpack, worn properly, is a much better option that will virtually eliminate the possibility of strain or sprain.

• Be Mindful Of Your Posture – There’s a right way and a wrong way to lift and carry luggage. Too often, people get in a hurry and don’t think about posture or proper lifting techniques when handling luggage, and that’s unfortunate, because it’s one of the leading causes of vacation-related back injuries. That’s a shame, because a little mindfulness can avoid most of the trouble!

• Ship It – One simple way to avoid the issue altogether is to simply ship your luggage ahead of you to wherever you’re going. While this doesn’t completely eliminate your need to handle it, it does minimize the amount of time you have to spend dealing with it, and every little bit helps.

While these tips won’t completely eliminate your chances of back injury on vacation, they’ll certainly go a long way toward minimizing them, which means you’ll get to spend more time focusing on relaxing and having fun.