I have just returned from my first family holiday with my husband and 10 month old son. But MY GOODNESS was I unprepared. Turn my mistakes into your wisdom and learn from my lack of planning! I did have a great time overall though!
Travelling can be an exciting experience, but for individuals with chronic illnesses and disabilities, it may come with unique challenges. However, with proper planning and preparation, it IS possible to have a smooth and enjoyable journey. So here goes! In this blog, I will share some valuable tips to help make your travel experience more comfortable and accessible.
1. Plan Ahead
- Research your destination: Familiarize yourself with the accessibility features and facilities available at your destination. This can include accessible accommodation, transportation options, medical facilities, and attractions.
- Consult with your healthcare provider: Before embarking on your trip, discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider. Ensure that your medical condition is stable and make any necessary adjustments to your medication or treatment plan.
- Obtain necessary documentation: Carry a letter from your healthcare provider explaining your condition, medications, and any necessary medical equipment or supplies. This can be useful in case of emergencies or when going through airport security! SO SO IMPORTANT!
2. Pack Smart
- Medications: Carry enough medication for the duration of your trip, (plus a few extra days in case of delays - courtesy of THAT airline lol) Divide your medication into different bags or containers to avoid the risk of losing everything in case of loss or theft.
- Medical supplies: Pack any necessary medical supplies, such as syringes, insulin, catheters, or mobility aids. Ensure that these items are easily accessible during your journey.
- Travel insurance: Make sure you have appropriate travel insurance that covers your medical condition and any potential emergencies that may arise during your trip. Don't just grab the stocky standard that the airline offers at checkout when booking your tickets.
3. Choose Suitable Accommodation
- Accessibility: When booking accommodation, look for accessible options that suit your needs. Check if they have features like wheelchair ramps, elevators, grab bars in bathrooms, or accessible showers.
- Location: Consider the proximity of your accommodation to medical facilities, pharmacies, and accessible transportation options. This will ensure convenience and peace of mind during your trip.
4. Prepare for Transportation
- Inform the airline: If you are flying, inform the airline about your condition and any special assistance you may require. Airlines can provide wheelchair assistance, priority boarding, or even allow you to bring necessary medical equipment on board.
- Research public transportation: Find out about accessible transportation options available at your destination. Many cities provide wheelchair-accessible buses, trains, or trams.
5. Pace Yourself and Rest
- Take breaks: Listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Pace yourself, especially if you have limited energy or experience pain. Plan for rest periods throughout your itinerary to avoid exhaustion or exacerbating your symptoms. A resort is my pick! I'm not too touristy, I like to plonk in one space and become part of the furniture by the pool. This also means you can get your meals at the same place your staying!
- Adjust your schedule: Plan activities during times when you feel most comfortable and energetic ( not the morning *insert vomit emoji* ) Avoid crowded places or peak hours if they trigger stress or anxiety - YIKES!
6. Seek Support
- Travel companion: Consider travelling with a friend or loved one who can assist you when needed. My hubby takes the cake for this one, the real OG companion! A friend's presence can provide support and peace of mind, especially during emergencies or unexpected situations.
ALSO! Remember, everyone's medical condition and needs are unique, so it's essential to tailor these tips to your specific situation. By planning ahead, packing smart, choosing suitable accommodation, preparing for transportation, pacing yourself, and seeking support when needed, you can have a memorable and enjoyable travel experience, even as a Spoonie!
Happy travels my friends!
Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not replace professional medical advice. Consult with your healthcare provider before making any travel plans or adjustments to your medical treatment.