a couple of years ago

10 Back Saving Gift Ideas For People Who Love To Travel

Back pain when travelling on planes, trains and coaches can be a real problem so here's a list of gift ideas to help a loved one avoid it.

Gift ideas for people who love to travel

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If you were to ask anyone what their favourite 3 things to do are then I'm sure that travelling would feature heavily among the answers.

As it's such a wonderful thing to be able to explore and broaden your horizons.

Experiencing different cultures, tasting delicious food, meeting new people and trying different things.

While catching the sunset on a beautiful beach, climbing a mountain, hiking through a rain forest, or navigating your way around an unfamiliar sprawling metropolis.


However, while it's fantastic to get out and see the world there's one thing that can ruin the whole experience.

And that is the actual getting there part.

Because travelling to and from places can put a strain on your back which may put you off from doing all the exploring that your heart desires.

As you are forced into cramped and uncomfortable seats on planes, trains and coaches which put your lower back under lots of pressure and strain.

While passing through time zones that leave your body feeling shattered by the end of the journey.

And all the time having to carry around heavy luggage that can unbalance you and strain your muscles.

So I've come up with the following list of gift ideas for frequent travellers that will help them to avoid back pain on their next trip.

These gifts will all be greatly appreciated by any friend or loved one that has the nomadic spirit inside them.

As they will help them to keep enjoying the whole travelling experience rather than having to dread their next plane or coach journey.

A Back Friendly Backpack

One thing that might be causing you back pain when travelling is the bag you travel with.

Because while there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to travel luggage not all of them are a good fit for your back.

For instance, carrying heavy suitcases around or using one shoulder bags places all the weight from the bags onto one side of your body.

Which unbalances you and forces your body to compensate, putting increasing pressure and strain onto your lower back.

So to avoid this it's better to get a roller bag with wheels that you don't have to carry right?

Well not quite.

Because even though you're not carrying any weight with a roller bag it's hard to maintain a healthy posture while pushing or pulling one.

Which means your lower back will still feel the pressure and start to ache after a while.

So studies have shown that the best bag to use for a healthy back is a two shoulder backpack as this is the option where the load and pressure on people's spines was the lowest.  

These are the best as you can stay balanced and carry the weight centrally which spreads the pressure evenly across your body.

And this allows you to maintain a healthy posture which helps your back muscles to stay relaxed rather than becoming tense and strained.

So getting someone a good quality travel backpack that they can also use as a carry on for planes makes for a great gift for travellers.

And my personal favourite is the Kelty Redwing 44 Backpack.

As this one has thick adjustable padded shoulder straps that work great to spread the weight and pressure of the load evenly.

Plus there is a padded waist belt if you need extra help securing it to your body.

And the lightweight aluminium frame means the bag holds it's shape and sits nicely on your back without weighing you down.

While the padded back panel makes it comfortable to carry as it cushions your back against the bag.

So it's a great backpack for your back but it also has some features that make it a top choice for travelling.

As it holds a lot of stuff (44 litres capacity) but is still compact enough to be able to take as carry on luggage on planes.

And it has a multitude of compartments, hooks, and pockets to organise your stuff that are easy to access including a laptop pocket.

So if you want to get the traveller in your life a great gift that will keep their back healthier on their trips, one of these back packs would be ideal.

An Inflatable Lumbar Support Cushion

A major cause of back pain when travelling is the amount of sitting down you are forced to do on planes, trains and coaches.

As when you sit for a long period of time your spinal discs become compressed which can cause them to shrink and weaken.

While your core muscles remain inactive and can also weaken.

And as your spinal discs and core muscles are responsible for providing support, stability and protection for your spine this is bad news for your back!

As it places your body and especially your lower back under increasing strain and pressure.

Add to that the vibrations from the plane, train or bus that are being constantly absorbed by your body and this just amplifies the problem.

And another thing that adds to the strain your back is put under while travelling is the crappy seats you have to sit in.

As many plane and coach seats lack any lumbar support or ample leg room and force you to sit in an awkward posture for hours at a time.

So your spine ends up in an unhealthy 'C' curve that puts more pressure and strain on your neck, shoulders and lower back as you sit.

But there is something you can do to make these plane and coach seats more back friendly and that is by using a lumbar support cushion.

As placing one of these pillows between your lower back and the back of your seat encourages you to sit with a healthy 'S' curve in your spine which reduces the strain and pressure on it.

So they're great for helping you to maintain a healthy sitting posture on even the worst seats.

And a great choice as a gift for travellers is the Mckenzie self-inflating travel pillow.

As this one is inflatable, meaning you can carry it around easily in your bag without it weighing you down or taking up too much space.

And it self-inflates so you don't need to worry about blowing yourself out before your trip!

Plus being inflatable means you can adjust the amount of air in it to make it as hard or soft as you like.

So, it makes the perfect travel companion for anyone who wants to avoid back pain on long or short journeys.

A Neck Support Pillow

Another cause of back pain on long plane or coach journeys comes from your neck being out of alignment.

Because while it's great to be able to nod off and get some shut-eye to make the trip go faster.

This usually leads to your head rolling off to the side or forward as you can't get into a comfortable position in the cramped upright chairs.

And snoozing with your neck at an awkward angle that is out of alignment with your spine places a lot of strain onto your upper back and shoulders.

Not to mention leaving you with a stiff and sore neck when waking up!

So a nice gift idea to keep your neck and spine in alignment is a neck pillow.

As these pillows stop your head from rolling by wrapping around your neck to cushion the weight of your head at the front and sides.

And a good option for travellers is the Manta travel pillow.

As this one is made from a responsive memory foam that offers 360 degree support for your head, neck and chin.

And it comes with it's own travel bag too so it's easy to carry around.

A Sleep Mask

Getting some sleep on your journey isn't just a nice way to pass the time and make it go faster.

It can also be a great thing for the health of your back.

As it's during sleep that your body can rest, relax and heal itself from any aches and pains you are having.

So if you're one of the lucky ones that can sleep anywhere then you could end up feeling refreshed and energised after your trip rather than tired and stiff.

But if you know someone who struggles to sleep on planes, trains or coaches then a gift of a sleeping mask could really help them.

As these masks block out any light and distractions that can keep your mind alert and cause you to wake up constantly.

And a great gift idea for travellers is the Manta Sleep Mask.

As this one has adjustable contoured eye sockets that mean the mask doesn't press against your eyelids as you wear it.

This allows your eyes to move around when sleeping, which helps you get into a deeper REM state of sleep that is more restorative.

And there's a strap to hold it in place and the added bonus that this mask comes with a pair of earplugs too.

Which means you can also block out any noise distractions, giving you the very best chance of sleeping on your journey.

A Pack Of Heat Wraps

Keeping your muscles warm can be a great way of avoiding the back pain and stiffness that comes from long plane, train and coach journeys.

As the soothing heat helps your body to relax and release any tension that has built up.

While also increasing circulation which helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your muscles to keep them healthy.

Also the sensation of heat on your skin can distract your brain away from any pain by blocking pain signals and limiting their hold over you.

So having a pack of heat wraps in your bag is a great idea for any frequent traveller.

As these wraps can give you targeted pain relief on journeys when you are starting to feel a bit stiff and sore.

You simply attach the wrap to your area of pain (such as your lower back) and it will heat that area for a certain length of time.

And while this heat is only temporary it will keep your muscles relaxed and prevent any stiffness from developing.

Plus you also get a nice, comforting feeling of warmth emanating from the wrap which will make you feel good too.

So a pack of heat wraps such as the Thermacare Heat Wraps makes a nice little gift for any traveller.

As they are designed to be worn on the move which is great when you are chasing around catching planes, trains and buses.

And they are thin enough to be worn under your clothing without feeling uncomfortable.

So they're ideal for on the spot pain relief when you need it.

A Water Bottle

If you want to avoid developing back pain then you need to keep yourself well hydrated.

This is because your spinal discs are made mostly from water and they lose some of this water as you move around throughout the day.

So you need to be taking in enough water to be able to replenish them and keep them healthy.

Otherwise these discs can end up shrinking and your back receives less support as a result.

And this is especially important when travelling as your discs are already compressed from sitting and under pressure from the vibrations of the plane, train or coach.

So you need to drink plenty of water to keep them healthy.

Especially as the cabin pressure on planes means it's much easier to become dehydrated.

So a nice gift to get a frequent traveller is a water bottle that they can carry in their bag so they always have a cold drink on hand to keep them hydrated.

And the Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle makes a great choice.

As this bottle can keep your water cold for up to 24 hours which is perfect for even the longest of journeys.

And you can also use it to keep warm drinks in if you fancy some tea, coffee or soup instead.

Plus for the eco-conscious traveller this will give them the peace of mind of not having to rely on single-use plastics.

So it's a thoughtful gift that any traveller will get a lot of use from.

A Gift To Distract You From The Pain

Did you know that a good way of reducing any pain you are feeling in your body is by distracting your attention away from it?

This is effective because your brain only has a limited capacity to take in all the signals that the world around you is constantly throwing it's way.

So it has to automatically select only the most important information and disregard the rest.

Unfortunately, for people with chronic pain the brain prioritises pain signals as this is seen as a sign that something is wrong and needs urgent attention.

However, if you consciously focus your attention elsewhere you can override these pain signals that are being sent to your brain and take away their power.

As your brain then doesn't have the space in its hard drive to listen to them.

Which means a gift that can distract someone away from their back pain while travelling is a great idea to keep pain levels down.

So consider getting them something like a Kindle Paperwhite that will allow them to get lost in their favourite books.

Or for gamers why not get them a handheld device like the Nintendo Switch so they can become absorbed in the gameplay.

And another idea something that can drown out noise and distractions are a pair of noise cancelling headphones like the Bose QC35s.

As these headphones will help them to become so absorbed in the in-flight movies or their music that back pain won't get a look in.

A Laptop Stand

Almost every traveller will have a laptop in their bags.

As we all need to work and stay connected no matter where in the world we're travelling to.

However, using a laptop on a regular basis can cause back, neck and shoulder pain.

Because having the keyboard attached to the screen means you constantly have to look down at it.

And this throws your neck and spine out of alignment, putting pressure on your upper body which can lead to 'text neck' and serious problems over time.

So a useful gift that can solve this problem is a laptop stand.

As using one of these allows you to raise the screen of the laptop to eye level so you can stare straight ahead at it rather than looking down.

And this means you can maintain a healthy sitting posture which will lead to a big improvement in your neck, shoulder and upper back areas.

So if you think one of these stands sounds like something your loved one would appreciate check out the Roost Laptop Stand.

This one is great for travellers as it's lightweight and easy to carry around with you.

And it's super easy to set up and adjust to the perfect height.

Just be aware that you'll also need a wireless keyboard and mouse when using a laptop stand, so it may be an idea to get them these items too and turn it into a lovely gift bundle.

Self-Massage Balls

After a long and grueling plane or coach journey your body can be stiff and full of aches and pains.

So this is the time you need to give it a helping hand to recover.

You can do this in a number of ways such as having a good stretch or soaking in a hot bath.

And another thing you can do is self-massaging your tight muscles.

As this will encourage them to release and relax, relieving the pain and tension you feel in your back.

While also increasing circulation and blood flow to the area which delivers oxygen and nutrients to your muscles to help them to heal and repair.

And a good way to do this for your hard to reach back muscles is by using self-massage balls

As these are small and hard enough to really get into your muscles to stimulate them.

So you simply lower your body weight down over the ball and roll over it until it's directly underneath the area that hurts.

Then relax and let the force of gravity take over and press the ball deep into your tight muscles.

This encourages them to release and relax, eliminating any blockages that were causing pain, and preventing the build up of lactic acid.

So if you want to buy your loved one a gift to help them recover after a long day of travelling try the Kieba Massage Balls.

As having a set of these in their travel bags will give them the tools they need to get rid of any lingering pain from a stressful journey.

A Travel Yoga Mat

When you are travelling on planes, trains and coaches your body comes under some real pressure.

As the seats force you into an awkward sitting posture while the vibrations from the vehicle are constantly being absorbed by your body.

And both of these things mean that your lower back can come under real strain that leads to plenty of stiffness and soreness afterwards.

So if you want to give yourself the best chance of withstanding the grueling rigours of travel then you need to keep your body fit and ready for action.

And the best way to do this is by keeping your body loose and flexible with regular stretching.

While also strengthening your core muscles that support and protect your spine.

This helps to take the pressure and strain off your lower back by keeping you nicely balanced which makes it easier to maintain a healthy posture throughout the day.

And if you want to find a good way to achieve this try practicing yoga or Pilates.

As both of these activities will lengthen and strengthen the muscles in your hamstrings, glutes and hips while also strengthening your core muscles.

Which will lessen the load on your back when travelling and give you much better support and protection.

So, giving a loved one who travels often a gift of a yoga mat they can take with them and use while away is a great idea.

As this will help them to stay fit and healthy while travelling.

And it may also encourage them to get into good exercise habits that will help them for many years to come.

So, check out the Manduka yoga travel mat, as this one is lightweight and folds up nicely to be packed away easily in their bags.

Rounding Up

Travelling should be a wonderful experience that opens your heart and mind to the wonders of the world.

So don't let back pain from your plane, train and coach journeys ruin it for you and your loved ones.

Instead get them a little something that can help them to keep their backs healthy and happy on their travels.

And I hope you can find something suitable among the gift ideas I've given you here.

As these will all go some way to making the whole travelling experience a more enjoyable one for them.

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I'm a psychology graduate and a veteran of 5 spinal surgeries. I want to help people learn how to fight back against persistent back pain just like I have.

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