Going on holiday can be a real pain. Never mind the early start, the airport queues, and flight delays but back pain is common on holiday especially if you take the wrong luggage. With the huge variety of suitcases to choose from, what is the best luggage to protect your back from harm when you are travelling?
The very worst type of luggage for bad backs is the conventional suitcase. It is often heavy, even when empty and is awkward to move around. If you have to carry it any distance it soon puts a huge and uneven strain on your back. Using a trolley can help but what if you don’t have the right coins at the foreign airport or if all the trolleys are in use. Then you are stuck with 20 kilos or more of back bothering menace.
If you do find a trolley and have the right change you still have to lift the case on and off it. Once you have all your luggage on the trolley it can become heavy and awkward to move. Trying to turn a corner means you have to twist from the waist to move the trolley which again strains the back. If your trolley has a dodgy wheel it is even worse!
The best option for holiday luggage is a light wheeled bag with an extendible handle. This will save your back from lots of lifting. You still need to take care getting it on and off baggage carousels and in and out of car boots but it reduces the strain whenever you have to walk anywhere. Unfortunately with luggage you can only have two out of these three options:-
The strongest and lightest luggage will tend to be a bit pricier than more flimsy bags but it will last longer. It is worth visiting a luggage store where they can talk you through the options and you can play about with the different types of bag. Heft it around and make sure the wheels are big enough to ride over rough surfaces otherwise you’ll end up carrying it more than you need to.
Many luggage manufacturers make premium luggage for a cheaper brand so if you know what to look for you can save some cash. For example, Samsonite make luggage for the American Tourister brand as well as Lacoste and Timberland although the last two may not be cheaper. A good local luggage shop in Brighton is Friends for Leather, who have 20% off their Samsonite Cosmolite range at the moment . They are also offering Sundial clients a 10% discount on other Samsonite ranges.
A luggage maker that has won awards and was the first to offer rolling carry-on luggage is Travelpro. It is known for durable, well made luggage. Its Maxlite range stands out especially the four wheeled spinner type bags. Spinner bags put even less strain on bad backs as they are more easily moved around inside tight spaces like aircraft and in queues. You will probably end up carrying a two wheeled bag more frequently.
Best carry-on luggage for a bad back
With the coming of budget airlines comes carry-on only luggage. Exorbitant fees for putting luggage in the hold of an aircraft means more of us are using on carry-on bag instead. The same rules apply to choosing carry-on luggage – but more so as you will probably end up carrying it around the airport for longer. Look for roller or spinner cases that most carriers will allow in the cabin, for example Ryan Air allow maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm and British Airways a slightly more generous 56cm x 45cm x 25cm.
If you are checking bags in then keep your hand luggage as light as you can. You can end up carrying it for a long time and you don’t want to lift a 23kg load above your head into a locker if you back is aching. A good option for a carry-on bag is a rucksack type design. Some even have wheels as well but this adds to the weight. Use both straps to avoid back strain too.
Travel light to avoid back pain
One more obvious bit of advice, of course, is to travel light. There is not much that you cannot get in to a Tesco shopping bag for a one week beach holiday so why weigh your self down.
When packing your case, put it on a bed rather than the floor so you are not bending over repeatedly. It is easy enough to slide it to the floor when full and it is closed without lifting it directly. At your destination either ask someone else to lift it onto the bed or luggage rack or unpack it on the floor. It is best to minimise lifting after a long journey.
Top luggage tips to avoid back pain
- Use light, wheeled cases
- Travel light
- Raise the case up to pack
- Get help lifting a full case
- Avoid airport trolleys
If you get back from holiday and you are still getting back pain in spite of following these tips, or you want to get into tip top shape before you go, then feel free to give us a call for a check up to see if our chiropractors can help you.