how to avoid vacation migraines

How To Avoid Vacation Migraines

Vacations are essential for rest and relaxation. You get to take a break from work, spend valuable time with your loved ones and explore new destinations. However, many people who experience migraines might find their vacations disrupted by a flare-up. Instead of getting time to relax, a migraine attack spoils your time off.

It’s not just bad luck. Vacation migraine is a real phenomenon, and it can be triggered by various factors, from weather changes to stress.

While there’s no magic trick to prevent a vacation migraine, you can lower your risk by raising your migraine threshold. Start taking action to make yourself less vulnerable to triggers.

Here is more information on vacation migraines and how to prevent them.

What Are Vacation Migraines?

Vacation migraines are migraines that happen during a vacation. They are different from typical travel headaches in that they can bring on a full migraine attack with aura and other symptoms.

These types of migraines can happen due to a variety of reasons, such as:

  • A sudden decrease in stress: Vacation migraines often occur because of abrupt changes in stress levels. Vacation planning is often stressful, from booking hotels and transportation to making it to flights on time. Once you arrive at your vacation spot, many of these stresses disappear. This sudden letdown of stress could trigger a migraine as your body tries to reregulate its stress hormones.
  • Changes in routine: For many people, a sudden shift in patterns can trigger a migraine. In everyday life, many try to keep a consistent eating, sleeping and activity schedule to prevent a sudden migraine attack. But vacations are typically centered around changing your routine — sleeping in, trying new foods, relaxing at different points in the day. You could experience a migraine as a result of these changes.
  • Dehydration: Not getting enough water is another common migraine trigger. Dehydration is more likely to occur during vacations because you have less ready access to water sources. Depending on your travel methods, you might also have fewer opportunities to take drinks.
  • Other travel stressors: Various other vacation stressors could prompt a migraine. For instance, a delayed flight or other cancellations might cause you to get overly stressed and experience migraine. Trying a new travel technique — such as booking your first-ever plane ticket — might lead you to encounter a migraine after flying.

A sudden vacation migraine can feel incredibly frustrating. You plan vacations for refreshment, but these attacks can keep you from enjoying yourself.

Tips for Avoiding Vacation Migraines

You still find ways to enjoy your vacation if you frequently experience migraines while on your trip. Luckily, you can use different strategies to avoid a traveling headache or vacation migraine. These tips could help you avoid migraine attacks.

Taking off Work a Few Days Before Vacation

staying aware of common stressors

Because a sudden drop in stress can trigger migraines, it’s important to stay relaxed on the days before your trip. Do your best to reduce stress in the days leading up to your break. If possible, see if you can build in a buffer zone of two or three days between the end of work and the beginning of your vacation. You could use these days to make final preparations or for extra time to get into a relaxed mood.

Stress is one of the biggest causes of migraine. People who frequently deal with migraines often use stress management techniques to stay calm and prevent attacks. Staying aware of common stressors or bodily signals of stress can help you manage it. During these extra days before vacation, you can use stress management techniques to help lower stress levels.

Try techniques such as:

  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Exercise

Asking for Help With Planning

From comparing hotels and vacation rentals to buying travel insurance and everything in between, planning your vacation can seem overwhelming.

Managing vacation logistics is a challenge, especially when planning for the whole family. If it stresses you out, ask someone else to take the reins. That might be a spouse, partner or even a travel agent. Travel agents are on the rise again, as many people want guidance on traveling in the age of COVID. There are more rules to follow and restrictions to navigate.

A travel agent can:

  • Find the perfect place to stay.
  • Advise you on your destination’s COVID-19 requirements.
  • Snag special deals and freebies.
  • Act as your advocate when things go wrong.

If you go this route, tell your agent you experience migraines and explain any limitations you may have. A travel agent might be able to arrange certain accommodations, such as a room on the quietest side of the resort or a request for the housekeeping staff to use fragrance-free cleaning supplies.

Using Your Regular Migraine Prevention Techniques

Vacation can tempt you to scrap your regular routines. Whether sleeping late, eating a four-course meal or sipping prosecco, you change your typical routine significantly.

The only problem is that migraine hates change. Shaking up your usual patterns can trigger an attack and ruin your plans. Instead of immediately shifting into a different lifestyle, try to ease into things on your vacation. You can still enjoy different foods or try new activities without triggering a migraine.

However, if you maintain your normal routine as closely as possible, there is less opportunity for a migraine to occur. Try these tips for keeping to your routine while on vacation:

  • Stick to your regular sleep-wake schedule, and try to get a full eight hours of sleep.
  • Choose foods and drinks that aren’t triggering.
  • Eat at typical times, and don’t skip meals.
  • Remember to drink enough water, especially if it’s hot.
  • Keep up with your exercise routine (or a pared-down version of it).
  • Continue your migraine prevention routines, including using CEFALY’s PREVENT program for 20 minutes daily.

Even if your vacation is months away, the time to invest in drug-free migraine prevention is now. CEFALY is an FDA-cleared medical device that’s clinically proven to quickly treat acute migraine attacks and prevent future episodes. Try it for 90 days with our money-back guarantee!

Contact CEFALY Today

Everyone deserves to have a stress-free and refreshing vacation. But for those with vacation migraines, it can be challenging to feel this freedom. At CEFALY, we understand the challenge of living with migraines and created a different type of migraine solution.

Our CEFALY DUAL Enhanced device targets the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for migraine pain. Sending small electrical pulses to the nerve can reduce the frequency and severity of your migraine attacks. You can use CEFALY daily as a prevention measure or when you experience a migraine attack.

CEFALY DUAL Enhanced is portable, making it simple to transport during your upcoming vacation. It can help reduce potential migraines or assist with the pain in case one occurs during your travels.

To get started with CEFALY, browse our products today.


Lipton RB, Buse DC, Hall CB, et al. Reduction in perceived stress as a migraine trigger: testing the “let-down headache” hypothesis. Neurology. 2014;82(16):1395-1401. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000000332

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