Traveling is usually an exciting adventure, but for migraine sufferers, it can be a daunting experience. The change in routine, different environments, and even the stress of planning it all can trigger painful migraine attacks. However, with some preparation and mindfulness, you can significantly reduce the risk of migraines while traveling and enjoy a headache-free journey. Here are eight easy tips to follow.
- Stay hydrated.
Staying hydrated is one of the easiest yet often overlooked ways to avoid a migraine while traveling. Dehydration is a common trigger for migraines, and the hustle and bustle of travel can easily lead to forgetting to drink enough water. Make it a habit to carry a reusable water bottle and take sips regularly, especially if you’re flying where the air is dry.
- Watch your caffeine intake.
While a cup of coffee or tea can be a great pick-me-up during your travels, excessive caffeine consumption or sudden withdrawal can trigger a migraine. Maintain your regular caffeine routine, and if you decide to cut back, do it gradually in the days leading up to your trip.
- Stick to regular meals.
Skipping meals is a common mistake made while traveling, especially when you have a packed day’s schedule. Irregular eating patterns can trigger migraines and can even increase the severity of a headache1, which will only end up derailing any plans you had. Try to maintain regular meals whenever possible, and carry a stash of healthy snacks like nuts, dried fruit, or granola bars to ensure you have a steady supply of nutrition and energy throughout the day.
While on the topic of meals, avoid the urge to binge on too much processed food while traveling. A few cheat meals here and there are fine, but keep in mind that alcohol, chocolate, cured meats, artificial sweeteners, food preservatives, and the additive monosodium glutamate (MSG) are all commonly reported migraine triggers.
- Stay on top of your sleep schedule.
Changes in time zones, new and uncomfortable beds, or the excitement of a new destination can easily disrupt your sleep. Poor sleep quality can be a migraine trigger for a lot of sufferers, so establish a consistent sleep routine, even while traveling, to help keep painful headaches at bay. Consider bringing earplugs, an eye mask, essential oils, a travel-sized pillow, or anything else to help create a more comfortable sleep environment.
- Manage your stress.
Traveling can be stressful, and stress is a known migraine trigger. One of the best ways to avoid migraines while traveling is to minimize stress—try practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or simple stretching exercises. Take breaks when needed and give yourself time to decompress; you’ll thank yourself later. Another way to minimize the chances of a migraine attack while traveling is to plan. Know where you’re staying, have a rough idea of your itinerary, and make reservations ahead of time, when possible. It doesn’t mean you can’t change things on the fly, but having a well-thought-out plan, at least for the big things, can minimize stress, which in turn will help prevent migraines.
- Watch out for motion sickness.
The change in air pressure when traveling by plane can trigger a migraine for some people.
If you’re going to be flying, try chewing gum, sucking on a lollipop, or wearing earplugs, especially during take-off and landing, to help offset the chances of an in-flight headache.
- Remember your triggers.
Know your personal migraine triggers before you leave and take steps to avoid them whenever possible while traveling. This might include steering clear of strong odors, loud noises, or certain foods that you know can trigger your headaches. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to a migraine.
- Be prepared for anything.
A great way to manage migraine pain while traveling is to be prepared with the tools you need to both prevent and relieve attacks. Pack and store your migraine toolkit somewhere you can easily access if needed, like near your seat if you’re driving or in your carry-on luggage when flying (which also minimizes the risk of losing it with any checked baggage).
One tool to consider packing for your travels is gammaCore™ non-invasive vagus nerve stimulator (nVNS). Available with a prescription from your health care provider, this handheld device is small and portable, making it the perfect companion for migraine relief on the go. Use it twice daily to prevent migraine pain or up to 24 stimulations a day for relief when you need it.
To see if gammaCore is right for you, visit our clinic finder to locate a health care provider near you, or contact our dedicated Customer Experience team at 888-903-2673 or email@example.com.
1. (2016, January 1). Migraine and Diet. American Migraine Foundation. Retrieved December 15, 2023, from https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/migraine-and-diet/