Travel comfort and safety tips

Whether travelling for work, on a road trip or a plane flight, travel can be exciting and tedious at the same time. Fortunately, you can take action to help you arrive as well as possible at your destination. Consider some of these comfort and safety tips for travelling.

The following information has been adapted from ABC Commercial’s award winning Happy Body At Work Program which has been rolled out for some groups at the University. Further roll outs are being planned. For more information please contact Injury Management Services

Luggage and bags

  • For smaller items, back packs are ideal for carrying things because when worn correctly, they distribute weight across your back. Choose a backpack with several compartments to spread the load and pack heavier items closest to your body.
  • For those with handbags, place it on top of your luggage rather than over your shoulder.
  • Wear side bags straps across your body rather than over your shoulder to redistribute the load and take the pressure off your delicate neck nerves.
  • Practice moving your luggage before you go to the airport. Most people lift heavy bags by bending at their waist with straight legs, picking up the back, and then twisting their backs as the place the bag in the boot of the car or in the overhead compartment on a plane.
  • Never twist and lift when carrying a bag or you’ll find yourself seeking medical intervention. Instead, bend your knees first, lift, and place one leg forward before stowing the bag.

In the car

  • Remember to load and unload your luggage with care for your back and shoulders. Use your core for stability and never bend from the waist. Try and keep your back straight.
  • For long car trips, the main thing is to make sure your seat is in the right position. Have your bottom back and sit up straight so your eyes are up. All the whilst try to relax the shoulders down, soften the hands on the wheel and don’t forget to breathe!
  • At least every 2 hours, pull over and have short breaks out of the car. It’s an ideal time to incorporate some stretches.
  • Road trips can be as much about the journey as the destination itself.

In the plane

  • Sit as upright as you can in the chair by placing a cushion at the base of you back. If your feet don’t reach the floor, use the footrest or place something under your feet to remove the pressure from your hips.
  • Circulation is very important during plane travel. Keep your blood pumping by drinking plenty of water. Also, release tension from your neck and shoulders by regular stretching of your arms overhead.
  • Sleep well. For back sleepers, keep a pillow at the base of your back and place a neck pillow around your neck. If your head is still unsupported, place a folded blanket between the neck pillow and back of the chair. For side sleepers, place the pillow on the armrest, turn the neck pillow to the side with a blanket for extra support and rest sideways.
  • Beat jetlag. If you arrive in the morning, take a walk in fresh air and do some stretches. Daylight helps to reset your body clock. If you arrive very late, spend 30 minutes helping your body to unwind before going to bed. Turn bright clocks away from view.


  • When you aren’t in your own bed it can be hard to get comfortable with your pillow being too high or too low, or perhaps the mattress is too soft.
  • If you are back sleeper, try using a flatter pillow pulled right down under your neck to your shoulders. If the mattress is too soft, try using a pillow under your knees to ease the pressure off your back.
  • If you are a side sleeper, use 2 flatter pillows on top of each other to fill the gap between the neck and mattress. Try to get your neck as neutral as possible. Additionally, whilst on your side, use a snuggle pillow to support your arm. When sleeping on the side, you can take pressure off pelvis and low back by putting pillow between the legs.