By Gerrie Summers
Let’s face it. Travel is fun, adventurous and even rejuvenating. But sometimes sleepless nights, sudden pains, and even foot problems can interfere with your getaway. What’s a traveler to do? Take a peek at the latest innovations to make any trip—be it business or pleasure—a more enjoyable one.
PROBLEM #1: INSOMNIA
You’re on the road in new surroundings in a different time zone. All of this can contribute to losing sleep. But there’s also something known as the “first night effect.” It’s your first night in a new setting and you wake up in the middle of the night. It’s a real thing. It’s something that helped our ancestors before using watch dogs and alarm systems, stay alert when in unfamiliar environments.
According to Brown University research, part of the brain is on night watch, staying alert to potential dangers and strange sounds like footsteps, or movement outside your door and snaps you out of dreamland. Something that can help is to bring with you an item that makes you feel comfortable (like a pillow) or doing something to help you get into sleep mode (like listening to relaxing music). Creators of the Dreampad Pillow have a brand new, portable version to help you sleep when you’re on the go. It is a slim, standalone pad that can be slipped into any sized pillowcase/pillow to use in a hotel, motel, even a sleeping bag. It easily fits into your carryon. The pad (which has a water-resistant, removable washable cover) has bone conduction technology to transmit music from devices through the included Bluetooth receiver to your inner ear. No worries, sleeping partners will not hear it. Just upload the updated app with music selections developed by Dreampad and a Spotify playlist. Info: dreampadsleep.com.
PROBLEM #2: ANXIETY
Breathing exercises can have a positive effect on your body. Controlled breathing can calm the nervous system and therefore your stress levels—often raised during the sometimes hectic experiences (read: delayed flights, weather conditions, etc.). Welcome CalmiGo a device small enough to fit in the palm of the hand, which helps with breath control. It has lights and vibration feedback to guide you to regulate your breath according to your needs at a given moment. It’s simple to use. Inhale and then exhale into the mouthpiece. Three lights turn on one after the other until you’ve reached the desired exhalation length. It teaches you to have a relaxed, slow and calm exhalation that you repeat for at least three minutes (or as needed) until you feel a sense of relief. During inhalations a delicate scent is produced by the scented element to further assist in relaxation. Info: calmigo.com.
PROBLEM #3: SORE NECK MUSCLES
We can all experience neck pain, especially when traveling for business and you’re already stressed wanting to make connecting flights on time. The solution is a better travel pillow. The NeckSmith from HealWell Solutions is the only FDA-approved inflatable neck pain relief brace/pillow that can help alleviate discomfort associated with stress, poor posture and pinched nerves. With an ergonomic design, it gently stretches and relaxes your shoulder and neck. It can also help reduce headaches and shoulder pain. Also, good for home and office, it has a soft flannel fabric and folds up compactly to easily take wherever you may go. The gray model comes with a 6-inch neck extension for larger necks. Info: thenecksmith.com.
PROBLEM #4: AVOID GERMS
Do you know where the most germ-filled area is on a commercial airplane? If you guessed the bathroom, you’re wrong! Though you probably want to thoroughly wash your hands and use sanitizer after touching the flush button, the dirtiest, nastiest places are the tray tables and seat back pockets! While seats get wiped and trash gets collected after flights, there isn’t enough time to sanitize each and every tray between flights. While airlines are well-aware of bathrooms and other common areas needing disinfecting, seat back pockets are rarely cleaned and you don’t know what might have been left in them. Airplane Pockets can be used to cover the tray table and fill-in as your own private seat back pockets. It conveniently fits inside your carry-on and has enough room and storage for your personal items. Made of machine washable stretch fabric, it should be on your list for the next journey. Even better: Fifty percent of all profits go to the Homeless Not Toothless nonprofit that provides free dental care to homeless veterans and foster children. Info: airplanepockets.com.
Our second recommendation is from Seat Sitters which contains a seat cover, tray table cover, a face mask (protection from sneezes, allergens, and coughs), plus two sanitary wipes to use on the arm rest—and don’t forget the touch screen—and a hand sanitizer. The kit is also perfect for long-distance travel on a train and bus. Seat Sitters comes in kits for adults and kids, with a convenient carrying bag with shoulder strap. The covers are reusable and can be washed in cold water, in the delicate cycle. Info: seatsitters.com.
PROBLEM #5: ACHING FEET
Summer sandals, especially flats and flip flops, send a lot of wearers to the podiatrist office. Podiatrists don’t recommend them for extensive walking because they offer zero arch support, which leads to foot pressure and pain. Plus there’s no shock absorption, no heel cushioning or ankle support, the latter of which can lead to balance problems. Have you ever tripped in flip flops or had them fly off your feet if you try to run? Flip flops are great for the beach or pool, but for more extensive walking you need sturdy soles. Wiivv Custom Fit Footwear makes bespoke insoles and sandals. The Women’s Custom Fit Sandals are custom made via a 3D technology to create custom arches, adjustable, interchangeable straps and a custom placed toe thong that you can reposition for comfort. They also feature a deep heel cup to stabilize the heels and absorb shock. Best of all they are waterproof and sweat proof. The sandals help reduce pressure of the plantar fascia and foot fatigue.
A 3D scan helps identify flat feet and makes a supportive arch unique to your foot for a healthier alignment and custom support for high arches, to distribute even weight and pressure across the entire foot surface. You just use the Wiivv app and take a photo of your feet and the app digitally maps each foot to create a 3D printable file unique to each foot—and you’re ready to order custom made insoles or sandals. Info: wiiv.com.
PROBLEM #6: TENSION HEADACHES
There is a pressure point in traditional Chinese medicine called LI-4 (Hegu). By putting acupressure on this point you can relieve pain and headaches. You usually use the thumb and index finger on one hand on a space between the base of the thumb and index finger on the other hand to relieve muscle tension and promote blood circulation. But that can be tiring. Aculief is a wearable acupressure device that you can place on the LI-4 point to help you reduce tension and manage headaches (even migraines in some cases) hands-free. Also great for driving. (Note: It is not recommended for pregnant women.) Info: aculief.com.