Tips for travelling well
“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag.
Travelling can be so exciting, but if you’ve got a chronic condition, it can also cause anxiety and stress.
Here are some tips and tricks I find help me manage my condition so I get the most out of my trip and have the best time. I’m sure they’ll help you too.
Planning is vital
Take the time to plan your trip carefully. Being proactive before you go away gives you the opportunity to plan around your condition, rather than have your condition disrupt your trip. I always make sure I:
- give myself plenty of time to pack
- get some rest before I leave so I have plenty of energy
- make my itinerary realistic – and don’t try to cram too much into it (this is a hard one, because I want to see and experience everything!)
This can be one of the hardest parts of travelling – what to take, what to leave at home – so if in doubt, leave it out! Lifting heavy bags on and off trains, buses and through airports increases your risk of injury and fatigue. When you travel you also end up carting your luggage around more than you may realise. So:
- pack light –take only what you need
- use lightweight luggage if you have it (or can borrow it)
- don’t forget to pack the things that help make life more comfortable e.g. your lumbar pillow, orthotics, splints
- keep your meds in separate pieces of luggage to ensure you don’t lose it all if your luggage is lost or stolen.
Give yourself plenty of time to get prepared for your trip – including medical appointments and vaccinations, and:
- ensure regular doctor visits, blood tests etc are done before you leave
- talk with your doctor about vaccinations – do you need any? If so, which ones? Are they ones you’re able to have? Some vaccines need to be avoided if you’ve got an autoimmune condition, or if you’re taking certain medications
- check the Smart Traveller website to see if your medications are legal where you’re going
- store your biological meds properly – your rheumatologist or the pharmaceutical company can advise you about this.
Know exactly what you’re covered for. Shop around and find insurance that’s best suits your needs.
Rest up. After your trip, give yourself a day or so to unpack and rest before leaping back into your daily schedule.
Talk the ears off your family, friends, doctor and work colleagues about your trip and the sights, smells and experiences you enjoyed. Before you know it you’ll be dreaming about, and planning, your next adventure.
And don’t forget to use our resource Managing your pain: An A-Z guide. It’ll give you lots of practical information about ways you can manage your pain – many of which you can do wherever you are – at home, on a plane, in another country.