Planning to Travel When you Have a Chronic Illness

By Jennifer

Planning to travel when you have a chronic illness requires you to pay close attention to details that others take for granted. Even though it may be difficult, sometimes you have to put aside your fears and anxiety and just go for it.

Life is too short to let time slip away without experiencing the things on the bucket list. One thing that has been on my list for a long time is a trip to Washington, D.C. I want to share with you the things that were my focus while planning the trip.

5 Travel Considerations:

  1. Airline:

In picking our flight times, I made sure to arrive in Washington at a time when our room would be ready. Check in time is at 3:00 pm and our flight arrives just after 4:00 pm. This was important because I will need the room in case the flight triggers a migraine.

I also picked our seats with what I would need if I had an episode during the flight in mind. There is no one sitting in front of us so my husband will be able to assist me if necessary.

  1. Hotel Accommodations:

Picking the location of the hotel was very important on this trip. We are not renting a car because Washington has a good public transportation system and we plan on utilizing Uber or Lyft during our stay.

Making sure our hotel was near public transit and within walking distance of stores, restaurants and attractions was very important when making a hotel selection.

  1. Dietary Restrictions:

There are several food items such as processed meats and hard cheese that I avoid because they are migraine triggers. This can make eating out challenging and it can be frustrating when menus are not specific.

Unfortunately, wait staff rarely know the answers to my unique questions and when they go ask, it requires me to put a lot of faith in the kitchen staff to accept the answer as fact. So, I have spent many hours researching local restaurants to determine the places that have food that I can eat.

I have a list of these pre-approved restaurants so we can choose each day from the list. I think this will keep me from getting frustrated and it will make it easier to avoid the items I can’t eat.

  1. Energy Levels:

Since my energy runs out pretty quick, I knew that planning our activities for each day would be important. I know that I am not able to handle 12-14 hour days of non-stop sightseeing like most people do on vacation.

In order to keep fatigue induced episodes to a minimum, we only have 1 activity planned for each day. Since I do not handle lights well, we have no evening activities planned. Our evenings will be used to rest for the next day. There is a day in the middle of the trip that we have nothing planned, if needed that day can be used for rest.

  1. Transportation:

As I said earlier, we are not renting a car. Washington, D.C. has a good public transportation system with a Metro as well as busses. There are also services like Uber and Lyft that we can utilize as well. I am currently deciding which methods will be best for each day’s activity. Deciding this in advance will assist us with timing since a walk to the Metro could take longer since pacing myself will be very important.

There are also other things that I am still working on such as finding out about airline policies on traveling with injectable medications. We have not decided yet if I will be using my wheelchair or my rollator but I do have it arranged with the airline already.

I am sure you can tell that I have put a lot of planning into this trip that most people don’t have to consider. I want this to be a great trip and I look forward to getting away from the usual day to day routine.

What types of things do you have to consider when you travel?

(See original post on Jennifer’s blog, The Frozen Mind).

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