Preparation for Trip:
- Choose your destination knowing the fact that you have a chronic pain condition in mind.
- Consider staying in one place.
- Make sure you plan activities that will not be taxing on your physical health.
- Schedule down time.
- Don’t feel you need to participate in every activity just because your traveling companions do.
- Make arrangements in advance for mobility aids if needed.
- If traveling on a plane, book aisle seats so that you can get up if necessary.
- Bring items from home that will make for a comfortable trip, keeping in mind that you need to keep your luggage light. Always use luggage with wheels, try not to carry anything on your shoulders.
- If you are staying in a hotel, be aware of their amenities so that you don’t have to bring personal items that they will already provide.
- Create a playlist of relaxing music or meditation to listen to during travel times. This will distract you from worrying about your symptoms.
- Pack comfortable clothes.
- Pack protein filled snacks to keep your energy up.
- Pack enough medication plus a couple of extra days in case you get stuck.
- Have your doctor write a list of health issues and medication to bring along with you, in case you need to seek medical care on your trip.
- Use a pre-set packing list prepared in case of “mental fog” during time needed for packing.
During the Trip:
- Keep moving. Use gentle stretches and take your time as you get up.
- Regular, light exercise will help to avoid flares.
- Listen to your body. Rest often.
- Set an alarm to remember to take your medication on time.
- Drink lots of water.
- If traveling by car, break up travel time by stopping to stretch every 1-2 hours.
- Say “no”. If you are in pain, it’s okay to forgo a planned excursion. If you are with family and friends, hopefully they will understand and either reschedule or continue without you.
- Plan for regularly scheduled meals, as well as bedtime and wake up time.
- Pace yourself. Vacations are supposed to be enjoyable.
After the Trip:
- If possible, plan for a “light” week so that you can ease back into regular life slowly.
- Also if possible, have a friend or pay someone to stock your fridge before you return so that you don’t have to worry about going to the grocery store right away.
- Don’t feel that you have to unpack immediately. Relax, get in to comfortable clothes, drink some water and then once you are feeling more rested, you can tackle the unpacking.
- Sorting through mail and voicemails can generally wait one more day. If that is a possibility for you, please hold off. It could be the difference between having a flare and not having one.
Sources: everydayhealth.com, lifescript.com, healthywomen.org, myrestoredhealth.com