Sunday, July 26, 2015

Self-care Sunday: traveling with a chronic illness


As you read this, I'm enjoying my last day in Orlando at the JA conference and working on heading home to Wisconsin. Naturally writing a post on traveling seemed like a great idea... mostly because maybe I can remind myself while I write this of things to do.


The first and biggest thing is to relax and rest. I think it's natural to get anxious when traveling with an illness, especially if it's hard on your body.

Make sure that when you are traveling for leisure that you make sure to plan for breaks. Tackle one big thing in a day and maybe leave a flex day in case you're not feeling well. Pacing yourself is the name of the game, especially if you're going to a major destination like a theme park.

T and I always try to plan what we want to do and leave a flex day or not finalize things other than out hotel arrangements so that we have more flexibility in what we do.


It can be super tempting to load up on the caffeine, especially if there's a time difference between where you're going and where you live. It's totally fine to do that, BUT you also need to make sure you're drinking enough water. A good rule of thumb is to have a glass of water for every caffeinated - or alcoholic - drink you have.

I usually try to snag Smart Water when I'm traveling. It has electrolytes which are good but it also comes in a gigantic bottle, which means you get a lot for the money you pay. Since it is a little pricier, you may be more inclined to finish the water too. I know I am!


Make sure you eat enough when you're traveling too! It's really easy to get caught up doing something fun and almost forget to eat. Making sure you eat enough will help you have energy to do the other things you want to do.

If you're traveling, let yourself indulge a little bit okay? I have a potato problem, so when we go places that is often my biggest indulgence... okay, and dessert, but DUH.

That said, make sure you're eating enough protein for energy and getting enough healthy things in you.


Organizing will make traveling a lot easier. Work on gathering things for your trip early on. My coworker starts a pile in her living room and everyone works off of a list, adding to it every day. They check off the item when it's in the pile, which helps them keep track of what they've already got ready to go.

It may not be as simple to do that, but you can usually start small. Our trip to Orlando had me working on a list at the beginning of the month. It was easy because T was gone for the week so I felt like I had to do things! More than that, a lot of the things that I was working on packing were things that I don't wear on the regular - crop tops, short shorts, etc.

Don't worry, the sunscreen will make it into our bags too!

This also includes prepping meds. Making sure you have a pill organizer that can hold your pills or, at the very least, that you can fit the pills you need in your luggage or purse.


This is my pill organizer.


The inside is great because it has more than enough room for up to two weeks of pills for me, depending on how many vitamins and such I'm taking. I may just put those in a separate pill holder.

Some medications really should have a note with them, like biologics. It makes it easier to fly with them. This also means you need to have a cooler and whatnot to keep those items at the best temperature you can while traveling.

Luckily, that means you'll work on bringing ice packs with you!


The last time I flew, I took advantage of pre-boarding. I am SO glad I did.

I didn't use a wheelchair, but I could've definitely used it at some points! It was so much easier to get on the plane first because I wasn't having to walk in a different and uncomfortable pattern. I also was able to easily navigate the rows with my bag instead of that awkward aisle shuffle. I was able to get settled into my seat without so much hassle as well.

I don't think I'll fly without it - unless we can get the exit seats.


What are some tips you might have?


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