With the long lines, delayed flights, traffic jams and chatty fellow passengers, traveling during the holiday season is nobody’s favorite. That’s why we asked the Thrive Global community to share what they take along for the ride in order to cope. Whether it’s a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, a kit of relaxing must-haves, or a planner that helps you make the most of delays, some of these stress-reducing items are sure to make your travel time less hectic.

Turn your ride into a restorative massage

“If I’m sitting for a while, whether it be on a plane or in the car, I like to take a lacrosse ball with me for some in-seat back massages. It’s rejuvenating, relaxing and inexpensive! That, along with lavender essential oil, makes for a more enjoyable travel experience for me.”

—Megan, corporate recruiter, Baltimore, MD

Try these:

Kieba Massage Lacrosse Balls:

Image: Amazon

Vitruvi Organic Lavender Essential Oil:

Image: Vitruvi

Stock a train case strategically

“I keep a small, soft-sided train case in my carry on with all my travel essentials:

1) aspirin

2) eye drops

3) headphones

4) antacids

5) bleach wipes (I have a six-year-old, so I like to clean the armrests and tray!)

6) a pen/pencil and a small notebook (handy for my daughter!)

7) tissues

8) anti-bacterial lotion

9) gum/mints

The case fits tucked in the seat next to me so I have easy access to everything. As soon as I sit down, I pull out my book/iPad and travel case, and I’m good to go for the whole flight.”

—Tara A., marketing, Brookfield, CT  

Try this:

Sephora Collection Starlit Traincase:

Image: Sephora

Block the world out with the right headset

“The most stress-reducing items I travel with are my Bose noise-cancelling headphones and my iPad with a full season of episodes of my favorite show. The headset makes the world go away and the episodes engage me until we arrive safely at our destination.”

—Donna Kruse, technology consulting, San Diego, CA

Try these:

Bose Custom QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones II:

Image: Bose

Bose Noise-Masking Sleep Buds:

Image: Bose

Tote luggage that will lighten your load

“I travel all the time! These specifically help ease stress:

1. A fully-charged iPad with at least two movies downloaded (in case I don’t enjoy one of them). I love Netflix’s cheesy, but feel-good, rom-coms.

2. A bottle of Jao Refresher spray. It’s a non-drying hand sanitizer that smells like lavender and eucalyptus so it also doubles as calming aromatherapy.

3. Sambucus (elderberry) gummies. The Vitamin C and zinc could help protect me from and cut down on the length of colds. What could be more stressful than having to travel while sick? No thanks.

4. Makeup removing/cleansing face wipes, so I can travel with a clean face and prevent breaking out from the recycled airplane air.

5. A good set of travel bags make a huge difference. Make sure your suitcase has four wheels and your tote bag has a sleeve to easily fit over the suitcase handle. No need for backaches and getting sweaty from dragging around heavy bags.

6. Don’t over-pack.

7. Leave for the airport early.”

—RK, sales manager, New York, NY

Try these:

Tumi International Expandable Carry-On

Image: Tumi

BLUBOON Weekender:

Image: Amazon

Don’t underestimate the power of compression socks

Want to reduce your stress when you travel?  Here’s my favorite and super simple triple-ease formula:  

1. Compression socks: they are a must, they keep your legs from swelling and you’ll feel energized when your toes touch the ground.

2. A small mister bottle filled with water and three drops of your favorite essential oil: give lavender-rose a try for a quick and refreshing pick-me-up!

3. Lip balm: keep those dry airplane lips soft, and you’ll be ready for a smooch at your final destination.”

—Blaze (Barbara) Lazarony, business strategist and advanced certified Life coach, Huron, OH

Try these:

Go2Socks GO2 Compression Socks:

Image: Amazon

Dermalogica Lip Renewal Complex:

Image: Ulta

Bring a planner and get ahead

“Most people look at a five-hour plane ride and cringe. I love it! As a wife, entrepreneur, and busy mom to a four-year-old, it’s my ‘go time’ to plan. I grab my pen, paper, planner, and set goals and action steps for the next month, quarter, and year in my business, with my health, and as a family. It’s also my time to dream! Nothing is off-limits. It’s amazing what really comes out on paper when you have peace, quiet, and time!”

—Lisa Pezik, business strategist and content expert, Ontario, Canada

Try this:

2018-2019 Navy Watercolor Planner:

Image:  Paper Source

Beautify while you fly

“I also find that taking off my makeup while flying helps me feel refreshed, so I make sure I always carry Neutrogena makeup remover wipes and a travel-sized moisturizer to apply afterwards. If it’s a long flight, I apply a mask to hydrate and use Nurse Jamie’s Massaging Beauty Roller to ensure that my skin absorbs it, and treat myself to a little face massage. Yes, people might stare, but at 10,000 feet, there’s not much you can do.”

—Natalia Benavidez Moreno, marketing and operations, Pennsylvania

Try this:

Nurse Jamie Uplift Massaging Beauty Roller:

Image: Nurse Jamie

Capture your random (brilliant!) thoughts

“I start my travel during the holiday season by first acknowledging the fact that there may be delays, long waits, missed connections and lost luggage 🙂 Once I make peace with these possibilities, I’m prepared to take them on, should they happen. I’m happy to catch up on the reading and writing I have been meaning to do. My Samsung Note is also a great place to write down all the random thoughts that flow through my mind. The lavender sleep patch that I carry in my tote also serves as a great relaxer on the long haul.”

—Supriya Kumar, marketing, Pune, India

Try these:

Samsung Galaxy Note9:

Image: Samsung

Anya Hindmarch Eyes E/W Tote:

Image: Shopbop

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  • Marina Khidekel

    Chief Content Officer at Thrive

    Marina leads strategy, ideation and execution of Thrive's content company-wide, including cross-platform brand partnership and content marketing campaigns, curricula, and the voice of the Thrive platform. She's the author of Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive. In her role, Marina brings Thrive's audience actionable, science-backed tips for reducing stress and improving their physical and mental well-being, and shares those insights on panels and in national outlets like NBC's TODAY. Previously, Marina held senior editorial roles at Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, where she edited award-winning health and mental health features and spearheaded the campaigns and partnerships around them.