6 Tips for Travelers with Chronic Illnesses

Traveling to a new place, while on vacation, can be exciting, but, for people who suffer from chronic illnesses, it can also be therapeutic. The benefits of a getaway, even a short one, are many, but so are the difficulties faced by those suffering from illness. The answer is not to stay home. The best solutions offer chronic sufferers ways to follow the advice of their healthcare providers and also enjoy time away from home.

1. Create a Travel Bag

By creating a special travel bag, sufferers of chronic illness can ensure their needs are met while traveling by any mode of transportation. In fact, if properly stocked, the travel bag can provide a ready-made remedy for most problems that may arise. Fill a small tote or duffel bag with bottled water, snacks, a media player, a blanket and pillow, and any medications you’re currently taking. Don’t be afraid to improvise and add anything else you think might come in handy in managing your symptoms.

2. Bring Help

Even if you’re not traveling alone and your companion is familiar with your illness and your needs, you may want to hire a practitioner to come along, as well. A nurse will have more experience in helping you cope with your condition on the go. Also, in the event of an emergency, a real health care provider will react more efficiently and ensure you get prompt care.

3. Indulge Yourself

While traveling can be fun, it’s also exhausting and more so for those with a chronic illness. One key tip to consider is to go for the four- or five-star luxury accommodations. After a long day of sightseeing, you’ll want to pamper yourself. Relax by the pool, hit the spa, or kick back in a jacuzzi before slipping into your bed for the night.

4. Take Days Off From Your Days Off

While on vacation, many people plan out everything they want to see and do. Even healthy people can overdo it and end up becoming ill or too tired. There’s nothing wrong with taking one or two days and leaving them unplanned. You can spend them relaxing by the pool at that luxury hotel or stroll around the town leisurely.

5. Know Your Limits

This goes hand in hand with the previous point, but it involves more than just ensuring you don’t overtax yourself. It also involves swallowing your pride. Bring a cane or a walker along, if you know you’ll need the extra support. Don’t be embarrassed to bring anything that will help keep you mobile and as free of pain as possible. Taking care of yourself on vacation is just as important as taking care of yourself at home.

6. Prepare For A Worst Case Scenario

Once you arrive at your destination, try to anticipate your needs, both in everyday situations and in the event of an emergency. You may want to consider letting the hotel staff know about your condition, especially if you are traveling alone. Also, familiarize yourself with the local hospitals and emergency clinics, just in case you need to get to one on your own.

Today, most people carry smartphones or some other mobile calling device. Be sure you keep yours within reach at all times for easy access. If you’re outside of the United States, familiarize yourself with that country’s emergency response number and program it into your contact list.

Overall, the best advice is to plan ahead for unexpected contingencies, so you can be prepared. Once you’ve made those arrangements, trust that they’ll be there if you need them, and then forget about them until then. This is your vacation. Enjoy yourself.