by Aaron Weidman

VACATION!!! It’s one of the things we look forward to most – that sweet, sweet feeling of getting away. You’ve planned the trip, lined up a flight, reserved the rental car, and booked the hotel. The last thing you need is an injury to set the trip spiraling. It’s supposed to be a great time away, not a week laid up in bed where all you’re able to do is stare out the window of the hotel you booked onto a beach you can’t visit because you hurt your back lifting the suitcase you packed with too many clothes and shoes. No, thank you!

However, if you’re PREPARED, you can avoid this situation, be out there on that beach, take in the sun, and get some much-needed R&R. Check out some tips to set yourself up for success.

Review Your Hazards

This step begins before you leave for the airport. It starts when you’re packing your bag. Do you know how much your bag weighs? Utilize a luggage scale to make sure you’re able to safely handle the suitcase. Don’t have one? You can always weigh yourself holding the bag, then weigh yourself without the bag. Now break out the trusty calculator and determine your bag’s weight.

Most airlines limit the weight of checked bags to 50lbs without additional fees. They’re protecting their employees from getting injured with this policy. If an overly-heavy bag increases those industrial athletes’ risk of injury, then it certainly increases yours. So, lighten the load. Don’t pack 5 pairs of shoes, and maybe pack only 2 pairs of jeans (I mean, do you really think you’re going to wear jeans on the beach!?).

Proper Lifting Technique

Great!! You’ve packed that bag perfectly. Next, it’s time to lift it safely utilizing Proper Lifting Technique. Make use of your bags’ handles while you’re lifting and maintain that S curve in your spine when picking it up off the ground to put it in your car. This ensures you can lift that bag safely even if it’s pushing the checked bag weight limit.

Now if you’re one of those expert packers who can fit everything to a carry-on luggage item (not me), make sure you keep your elbows in and thumbs up when lifting it into the overhead compartment. This will make sure your shoulders are protected from injury as you lift over your head. While we’re at it, be sure you’re not arching your back. It’s time to enjoy some in-flight entertainment!

PREPARED for Vacation

You’ve arrived at your final destination in one piece and without injury! Finally, it’s time to start on that itinerary you so meticulously planned. Or, maybe now is the time to get that chair set up on the beach in the perfect spot and just relax. Either way, if you follow these tips on being PREPARED to travel you’ll be ready to enjoy your much-needed vacation!

About Aaron Weidman, MS, ATC, CEAS ||

Aaron is a Certified Athletic Trainer in the Normal, IL area. Aaron has spent his career helping athletes, patients, and team members prevent and recover from injuries and is passionate about prevention. When Aaron isn’t at work he enjoys traveling with his wife or being at home spoiling their Scottish Terrier, Zoey.

Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips from Work Right NW!