Having an invisible illness makes traveling tricky.
However, if you make a travel plan, it can make it possible as well as keep you safe and possibly save you unnecessary pain. As a spoonie myself, I like to travel but can’t do it without some help. That’s why I created a list of 15 Travel Tips For Spoonies and a list of what to pack.
With summer comes the urge to get out of your room or house. When you are chronically ill, that urge can be even stronger. Being cooped up in bed with an autoimmune disease or chronic pain is difficult at best. Being cooped up and in pain because of winter makes it doubly so. When that warm sun comes out, wanderlust sets in.
I don’t travel much but when I do I make sure to plan it carefully.
Here are 15 tips that could make your travel plans go more smoothly and keep you safe:
- Use Google to search for a hotel that is close to amenities
- Use another Google search to make sure you are close to healthcare in case you have an urgent care need or for a more serious emergency
- Check your medical insurance for coverage
- Get a ride to and from the airport or have someone else drive to save precious spoons
- Use airport assistance
- Don’t try to be a superhero, ask for help when you need it. Burning spoons because you are too proud or shy to ask for help will turn your vacation into a sleepcation faster than someone will judge you for using a handicapped spot on a “good” day
- Use a suitcase with wheels if you don’t have help or don’t use a porter
Book some time off when you get home so you can recover
- Make sure your hotel or apartment has amenities you need such as a big bed, kitchen or cooking utensils in case you need to prepare your own meals
- Also, try to stay close to a supermarket or somewhere you can buy your own food
- Spend some time relaxing by the pool or in bed with a good book to recharge yourself
- Buy travel insurance that covers your existing conditions. Chronic illness can cause so many changes to your life and travel plans are no exception. Travel insurance helps in more ways than missing a flight.
- Sheryl Chan of A Chronic Voice says “I also share a timeline of events on Google Calendar with my family, so they have an idea of where I am. At best, they’re able to contact the hotel where I’m at for information. At worst, they might need to fly up to rescue me.”
- ButYouDontLookSick.com has a great article about packing a travel bag and bringing an I.C.E. bag (In Case Of Emergency)
- Take a travel companion who knows how to handle an emergency, should you have one. Fill them in on your illness, let them help you in any way they are comfortable.
Here are just some of the things you should take with you when you travel. The Travel Tips For Spoonies Packing List Includes:
- Medications – There's a neat gadget that can help you pack your meds in my post 7 Ways To Remember To Take Your Medications and it includes a FREE Printable medication list.
- Hot/cold wraps
- Compression socks
- Comfortable shoes
- Bring a travel pillow like this one with earplugs and a sleep mask
- A sweater, hoodie, lap blanket or anything else that helps you regulate your body temperature
- A walking stick or cane like this pretty, collapsible one just in case you need the extra support
- Sleep mask and earplugs
- A power bank like Amazon's Choice by Anker to charge your electronics
- Bring copies of your prescriptions or something that allows you to get a refill in case your luggage gets lost or you lose them
Bring a letter from your doctor detailing your history and illnesses
- Keep an I.C.E. (In Case Of Emergency) list on you at all times. This enables others to contact your doctor or family in the case of an emergency. It can also help to have it printed and kept in a bag or purse you keep with you at all times in case you lose your phone or it gets stolen.
- Comfortable clothes and pajamas
- Water & snacks
- If you’re riding in a car, try sitting on a pillow or cushion
- Keep a cooler in your car with ice for drinks and cold packs. You can even store some snacks that need to keep cooler
- Find a heating pad that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter or other connections. You can also get a power converter.
- Use games or apps on your phone or tablet as a distraction
- Hot tea. I love how hot tea makes me feel, it helps when I start getting or have a headache or panic attack. I also use black tea to help regulate my blood sugar.
- Antihistamines or an epi-pen for emergency allergic reactions
- A list of what and when to take your medications, vitamins, and supplements
Also, take frequent breaks on your road trip to stretch, use the facilities and move around. If you can’t stop, try moving your position or change your seat position
You need a plan. Use these travel tips for spoonies as a guide and add your own needs to the list.
Whether you are traveling to another country or just going to visit the grandkids a few hours away, you need a plan. Making a list and adding to it as you go will make getting ready to travel much easier on you and your SO or caretaker. If you keep your list up-to-date and easy to print you can save time and energy that you can use to enjoy those grandbabies or sightseeing.
I recently wrote a post 14 Steps For The Chronically Ill – Use Your Time More Effectively To Save Energy And (Hopefully) Avoid A Flare that might help you plan your days. A plan will help you pace yourself but only if you use it.
I know how easy it is to get excited and ignore your symptoms. When my grandbabies come over I want to do so much with them to make up for the time I miss. When I get a chance to actually do something, I get just as reckless with myself. I have started using lists and a calendar to plan everything I do but I also stay realistic. If I am unable to do something I let myself off the hook. If I am flaring, I take it easy.
You need to make sure you take it easy and listen to your body while traveling or you could end up in the hospital. Like this post? Share it with friends!
Let me know if you have any ideas I can add to this list.
*DISCLAIMER: I used some information from these articles when I wrote this post. Check them out by clicking on the links.
I love hearing all about how you tackle your struggles with chronic illness!
Do you have other tips you can share with us? Most spoonies have found workarounds for all types of things and I’d love to share your advice.
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Kim is a freelance blogger, writer and VA. She loves sharing resources for other “spoonies” to help them create lives they love. Hoarding crochet patterns on Pinterest is her second favorite thing.