General

Traveling with a Chronic Illness

Traveling is always a stressful endeavor; so much more so when you have a chronic illness.  There are ways, however, that you can enjoy your travel experience while dealing with a chronic illness.

First of all, make sure that you are going to a location that you’ll be able to enjoy.  If the sun wears you out quickly, don’t plan a trip to Hawaii in the summer. Think about your health needs and plan accordingly.  Pack far ahead of time and make sure your itinerary is in place and is solid.  Stress can make your illness flair up and the more that you can prepare for the trip in advance, the more that you’ll be able to keep your stress in check.

Carry all of your medications with you, not in your suitcase.  Make sure that you have enough meds for the entire trip – and then some if you’re able to get extra.  Have the names of every medication and your dosage in a separate place, in case you need more or lose anything. If possible, have the name and number of a doctor who lives in the vacation spot so that you’ll have someone to call, if necessary.

Don’t set unrealistic goals for the trip. Just because you are paying for a vacation doesn’t mean that you have to scale the tallest mountain or use every moment of your day.  Give yourself time to relax, to take a nap, and to read if these are things that you need to make your vacation work.
If you’re traveling with others, specify your needs before you even leave on vacation. This will help you to avoid frustration while you are away and false expectations that your companions might have about you and about what you can accomplish together on the trip.