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Chronic illness can be difficult for anyone and has a wide range of symptoms. Depending on what you have can determine exactly how you prepare for travel. As a sufferer of a wide range of illnesses, I have learnt the importance of preparation. Sometimes it seems like travel is impossible for those that are sick, but it doesn't have to be.
- It is key to identify what you need in order to survive your trip. Map out exactly how long you will be gone. Use this information in order to pre-pack all of your medications. Don't forget to pack an extra day or two just in case travel plans go awry. Make sure you know of the nearest hospital to where you are staying in case of emergency.
- Flying: Airports can be stressful and that can increase pain levels. Get to the airport a few hours early in order to have ample time to get through security and get to your gate. Also, pack snacks if you have dietary restrictions. This can lessen your costs of food and help you stick to any nutritional diets needed. Some airlines offer dietary restricted meals on international and longer flights as well, so check with your airline before flying. If suffering from Endometriosis or Adenomyosis bring a hot water bottle, it can be filled up by requesting hot water from a coffee shop or possible food provider. Comfort is key and so a pillow, clothing, or even comfort animal can be key to a successful flight.
Comfort Animals: Be certain to check with your airline in terms of their policy before you head to the airport. Some airlines require additional forms to be filled out 48 hours before the flight.
- Driving: The car can offer an easier setting for traveling with chronic illness. First and foremost there is more control and it offers you the ability to stop and walk around or spread out more within the vehicle. However, it can also be a longer travel time and more exhausting. Bring blankets and pillows in order to set up a comfortable space for the trip. Also, if you have a special diet be sure to pack food in case of hunger and the lack of dietary options at many food stops along the road. Stop and see the sites when you can, walking around is good for circulation which will help with pain management. Essential oils can offer a calming car ride and there are mobile defusers that plug right into your vehicle.
Hotels, Hostels, and Rentals:
- Rest is important to enjoy your travels. In order to get good rest, it is key to understand where you are staying. Try to find a place that is best suited to your own personal needs. Bring adaptors if needed to plug in heating pads and medical supplies. If out of the country, look into voltage as well as some electronic objects aren't optimized for a different countries outlets. If allergic to soaps, bring your own. Sometimes providers will be accommodating to certain requests and it is important to communicate with them for room accommodations and assistance.
Pro-tip: Get as good a night sleep as you can. Staying up late and getting up early can exhaust the body and deplete you for the rest of your trips. Set yourself up for success and refuel.
Attractions and Excursions:
- Plan activities that you both enjoy and can handle. If energy is low, then a long hike isn't the best option. When suffering from chronic illness, you need to listen to your body. Always have water on hand when walking or traveling in order to stay hydrated. Check out museums and gardens if a mountain hike is too much. You need to be able to determine your level of ability and there is nothing to be ashamed of. The world is full of different adventures and only you can decide which ones are best for you. Rest when you can and need to in order to enjoy your trip to the fullest. Take a boat ride, go on a short walking tour, eat at a local restaurant, try new things, and enjoy life.
When you are sick constantly, it is hard to imagine that you can have an exciting life. However, that isn't necessarily the case. It is key for those who suffer from illness to have something to look forward to. Travel takes time and planning, which is exactly what the chronically sick need. Pick up that laptop and start planning your next adventure. Let it fuel you to continue to try to live the best life you can, even if it isn't always the one you want. Illness doesn't have to stop you from seeing the world, you just might have to prepare for it in a different way than others. Look to your next adventure and find your own tips and tricks of travel. In the end, it isn't about what your life has handed you, but how you lived it.