By Emily Main, Rodale.com
Gearing up for the long holiday weekend? You certainly won’t be alone. Despite the down economy and increasing unemployment, people don’t seem to be ditching their vacations, according to a recent survey from Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business. Nearly 50 percent of people polled said that the economy would have no impact on their travel plans this year, and 15 percent said they’d be even more likely than usual to travel this year.
If you’re facing a few hours of highway time, here are some ways to stay healthy, plus a few last-minute destination ideas:
1. Prepack your car.
Unless you’re just throwing an overnight bag in the backseat and hitting the road for a short two-day trip, you’ll save your back some ache if you pack the night before you leave. Fluids pool in your spinal disks while you sleep, and that makes your lower back tight and sensitive to irritation when you first wake up.
Packing a picnic lunch will help you pinch pennies and calories alike. Plus, you’ll be more likely to eat foods that fight fatigue, increase your attention span, and keep you alert. Sandwiches on whole wheat bread will prevent you from feeling draggy, and peppermints are healthier stimulants than caffeine, which can lead to energy crashes. If you’re forced to grab some fast food, stay away from fried, fatty menu items and stick with salads (dressing on the side) and yogurt parfaits—add blueberries to that yogurt and you have an attention-, energy-, and memory-boosting breakfast.