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Just a heads up that the post below may have affiliate links.
It’s timely that I’m scheduling this post right as I’m planning two trips back to back. I want to give a big thanks and shout out to Ali for helping out with this guest post this week. Please be sure to check out her bio at the bottom and visit her blog.
Travelling with Chronic Illness
Everyone finds travelling stressful, don’t they? I’m sure that’s part of the reason we prefer to go on relaxing holidays – getting up early, standing in long queues, feeling like your gate is a 10k run away… and don’t get me started on the stress of packing, and lugging a suitcase around!
Suffering from a chronic illness makes things harder – the journey there is only the first hurdle, what if you’re going on a sight-seeing holiday and can’t spend the next few days recovering by a pool?
I’ve been so fortunate with holidays over the past two years – travelling to Barcelona, Miami, Havana and more! So how did I cope with the travel, and were the trips worth the flare up that ensued afterwards?
For me, the key is all in the preparation. Whenever I’m booking a holiday or planning a trip, I like to research the weather, things to do, local customs, how to get around… everything!! Planning is so crucial when you’ve got a chronic illness, that’s undeniable, but planning can also boost your excitement and relieve any anxieties you have. One of my favourite ways to plan a trip is by using social media; searching Instagram before Barcelona led to me having the best breakfast of my life! I also love using Pinterest – as it’s an easy way to save both pictures and articles for later viewing.
I’m also a big fan of writing lists – there’s something about putting pen to paper that is really soothing to me and, and much as I love my laptop and phone, writing notes using a keyboard just isn’t the same! I try to write a list of five things that I’m excited about or looking forward to, and use them as a reminder of why I’m going, and why it’s worth all the effort. Even small things like “not having to cook for a week” or “having time to read a book” can be turned into valuable inspiration to get through those stressful moments! You can even turn it into a mantra if things are getting really tough: “Sun. Sea. Cocktails. Books. Dancing! Sun. Sea. Cocktails. Books. Dancing! Sun. Sea. Cocktails. Books. Dancing!”
Seize Every Opportunity!
The second best thing about preparation is how much time and energy it can save you once you’re there – something most of us spoonies are a little short of! Seize every opportunity you can to make life easier for yourself. I used to feel self-conscious about using airport assistance but not having to walk to the gate can make such a difference if you’re having a low day. Make sure you find out about what accessibility options the places you’re visiting have – such as, a doctor’s note at Disneyland can save you standing in queues all day! To be safe, bring a copy of an old medical note that you have and keep it on hand for when an opportunity to get extra help arises.
One list that I cannot go on holiday without is my ‘last minute packing list’ – all of those things that you need to use the morning that you leave, but cannot leave at home. Jot down your medications, or any other things you might be likely to forget (toothbrush and hairbrush!) on a piece of paper and tape it to your front door so you cannot miss it.
Give Yourself Time
Throughout your trip, make sure you give yourself the time you need. If you feel awkward asking for a rest break, try to make the most of it by combining it with coffee and a cake, or a chance to sample a local delicacy whilst people watching! The main thing is – remind yourself of why you’re there and then just enjoy it. We all have our good days and bad days, allow your body the love it needs and hopefully it’ll reward you with some extra strength on the day you want to visit ‘that building’ you’ve seen all over Pinterest!
Ali Hemsley is a 22-year-old Economics graduate who is now pursuing a career as a Personal Trainer and blogger. She was diagnosed with M.E and Fibromyalgia in 2011 and has gone from being housebound to a fitness lover. You can connect with her on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat @AliHemsley or visit her blog www.alihemsley.com to find out more about her journey.
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