Traveling with a Chronic Illness

Whether you’ve struggled with a chronic illness your entire life or it’s a newer condition, you may already know how difficult it can be to enjoy travel. From seating on planes, trains, and buses designed for a special kind of torture to beds made out of granite, it can sometimes feel like the experience may not be worth it. You don’t have to completely give up your travel dreams, though! With the right kind of planning, you’ll be hitting the road in no time.

Planning Ahead for Travel

There’s quite a bit of ground to cover when it comes to planning for a trip, and if you’re traveling with a chronic illness that goes double. It’s difficult for anyone to feel confident and happy having to make decision after decision when they’re tired, hungry and sore. Where will you be staying? Should you eat dinner at the airport after your flight lands, or hurry to the hotel to check in? Make all of these decisions ahead of time, when you’re feeling your best and won’t feel rushed.

Planning ahead has the added bonus of allowing you the opportunity to get exactly what you need to thrive on vacation. You can call ahead to your hotel and request extra pillows or blankets, ask for a quieter part of the building, ensure they have blackout curtains and more. If you need a special diet but don’t want to make all your food, research restaurant options that will offer safe and tasty options in your price range.

Be Aware of How You Feel

If you’re traveling with a chronic illness, it’s especially important to keep track of your mood and symptoms when you’re not in your regular environment. The normal cues you’d use to tell that you’re tired or not feeling well may get garbled with all the excitement and commotion of the trip. For people traveling with family or friends, make sure you keep that line of communication open so that everyone knows where you’re at. Make a plan to rest, either together or on your own, when you need to. Staying ahead of a total energy crash will keep everyone feeling happy.

Don’t Let Disappointment Creep In

It’s easy to feel guilty at the end of a vacation when all you want to do most in the world is go home. After all, you went to such expense – physically and financially – to travel with your chronic illness. Just because you’re craving your own bed doesn’t mean that the trip was a waste, though! Give yourself some grace and remember that it’s okay to feel happy and exhausted and frustrated all at once.

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