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5 tips for travelling with a chronic illness

By Dale Carter

June 8, 2017




It may be one of the most daunting challenges you’ll face. Dealing with a chronic illness isn’t a breeze at the best of times, and the potential added stress when travelling abroad may stop you from ever doing so. Don’t let it! It’s definitely possible to take a holiday whilst you’re unwell – and let’s be honest, you deserve a break. Here are five tips to help you cope with a chronic illness whilst travelling.

Let your travel partner(s) know

It’s likely that whoever you’re travelling with knows already, but it’s essential to brief them on what it is exactly you suffer from and the potential symptoms. This way, they’ll be able to look out for any signs and act as a figure of reassurance during your holiday. And, if worst comes to worst, make sure they’ve got a copy of all the essential details to give to whoever may need it – this should include your personal details, emergency contacts and what medication you need (if any). Also, make sure your buddies don’t expect too much from you! If you don’t want to go hiking or walking for miles then you don’t have to, and your friends shouldn’t pressure you to.

Make sure you’re stocked up on the necessities

If you require medication and/or supplies as a result of your illness, make sure you’ve got more than enough to ensure you don’t run the risk of having nothing left whilst abroad. If you suffer from diabetes or any other illness where taking medication has to come at a certain time, this handy travelling guide recommends briefing your doctor so they can tell you how to adjust to time zones and keep on top of it. And, of course, it makes sense to research your destination on arrival to see what healthcare facilities are available if you need them. Also – and this really goes without saying – travel insurance is a must.

Create an itinerary that works for you

When travelling, you’ll certainly be wanting to do a bit of exploring. Why not, right? Just make sure you’re not overdoing it so as to avoid the risk of tiring yourself out too quickly. There’s nothing more disappointing than missing out on something you’ve been looking forward to due to overdoing it beforehand, so try and plan short excursions that involve the least amount of walking/exertion possible. This way, you’ll likely be able to do everything you want to do without missing out. If you do unexpectedly fall ill and have to retreat back to your hotel or equivalent, don’t let it get you down – relax for the rest of the day and do what you need to do to feel better, without worrying about anything else.

Do your research on accommodation

Speaking of accommodation, it’s not a bad idea to find somewhere that’ll offer you maximum comfort. Not only do you want to find a clean and safe place to stay with all the necessary amenities, you’ll want somewhere that offers a relaxing detox at the end of every day. You’ll expectedly be in need of some rest rather frequently, so instead of choosing the cheap option for economic factors, consider the likelihood of you returning to the room quite often. The National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association even suggest travelling with your own pillow for added comfort in an unfamiliar bed. Think about how much better you’ll feel when you’re well rested and prepared for a day out seeing the sights!

Plan your travel methods before you’re there

Depending on where you’re going, you might be tempted to choose the cheap option and drive, or hop on a coach. Be cautious, though – these methods of travel realistically aren’t comfortable. They take longer, especially when dealing with traffic, and they don’t offer much in the way of space. Consider flying instead! Nowadays you’ll find that a majority of flights are cheap as chips, and comparison apps only make the process of finding the perfect journey easier. Or, if you are insistent on driving, take a route which offers a stop or two along the way. Bathroom breaks and frequent eating and drinking are very important and can’t be skimped out on.