4. Prioritize your comfort. It’s often tempting to push yourself while traveling, for obvious reasons! You want to experience everything you can, but prioritizing your comfort and health is important above all else. Sometimes this means something as simple as bringing your own pillow on a trip, sometimes it means you’ll have to cancel certain things if you’re feeling rough. Bring comfy clothes, wear those sweatpants, stop as often as you need to on road trips, and make sure you’re stretching and taking any meds you need, especially on busy days.
5. Give yourself grace. Traveling can be exhausting, even for completely healthy people. While chronic illness can add another layer to traveling, it can also make things harder. Give yourself grace if you’re feeling under the weather or slowed down by your illness. You can still have an incredible trip, even while listening to your body!
6. Keep up with your schedule from home. It’s all too easy to get lost in the fun of traveling and forget meds, lose track of schedules, or get behind on treatments. While traveling, staying on track with the schedule that keeps you going is even more important. Downloading an app like Medisafe can help you keep up with meds and changing time zones, as well as helping you remember if you’ve taken something or not.
7. Keep yourself entertained. Especially with long travel, having all of your entertainment pre-planned can be one of the most helpful things. Download episodes of your favorite TV shows, find a good audiobook or listen to a new podcast (check out The On-Air Advocate podcast!). Staying entertained can be one of the hardest parts of long travel, and if you’re in pain or tired, finding something to watch or listen to can be the last thing on your mind. Pre-planning playlists and entertainment allows for an easy distraction, and can also just be a fun pre-trip activity.
8. Pace yourself. Giving yourself grace and planning ahead are both vital parts of creating a successful trip, but the most important part is to pace yourself. The hard truth is that even if you’re maintaining the best medication schedule and understanding your limits, if you’re pushing yourself too hard your health could be negatively affected. Of course, pushing yourself is a part of travel, but chronic illness is all about listening to your body and your limits, even (and especially) when it’s hard.
9. Make sure you’re set on accommodations. If you travel with a mobility aid, make sure you have accommodations set for when you arrive at your destination. Ensuring you have access to an elevator, handicap-friendly hotel room, or other necessary help before you leave will save you hassles and help you settle in easier when you arrive. If you’re flying, make sure you’ve added it to your itinerary if you need assistance at the airport. Don’t pass up accommodations that could help you out in the long run!
10. Find a community to encourage you no matter what. Having a community to help and encourage you along the way is so important on the journey to believing in yourself. Whether you join a Facebook group, build a support system of your closest friends, or build community in some other way, having encouragement and tips along the way can mean so much. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter and join the On-Air Advocate community for more tips, articles, and information about living your best life with chronic illness!
11. Have fun!! Going on a trip while chronically ill can bring up a lot of emotions, from fear to excitement to wondering how to figure it all out. Whether this is your first trip or your fiftieth, it may always feel complicated and nerve-racking to travel while dealing with complex medical issues. However, it is possible to go and have an amazing time. Learning to travel with chronic illness is a balancing act of figuring out what your body can handle and sticking to it, but in the end, enjoying yourself and living in the moment is one of the best things you can do, as cheesy as it sounds! Have fun on your trip, learn from anything you feel was hard on your body, and keep traveling!
The holiday season is one of the busiest travel seasons of the year! By planning ahead and preparing yourself for what to expect, you can take a lot of the stress off of yourself at this time! For more information and support, be sure to join our amazing community and sign up for early access to newsletters, blogs, and other helpful tidbits!