Vacation is supposed to be relaxing, but travelling with fibromyalgia or other chronic illness makes travelling more difficult and can leave you worn out before you even reach your destination.
Edit: This post was originally written in 2010, just at the beginning of my illness. A lot has changed since then.
This week we are in Colorado for my nephew’s graduation, so add to the stress of travel my body having to adjust to a major change in altitude.
I really had no idea how much just the initial travel would wear me out.
Unfortunately, I booked our travel plans before we knew what was going on with me or we would have planned differently. We made the travel plans to fly out of Nashville (2 hours from home) and since our plane left at 8 am that meant either getting up really early or driving up on Friday night and getting a hotel room.
We opted for the hotel room and because I had physical therapy Friday afternoon just before we left, by the time we got there I was ready for bed.
We had one layover on the way out and luckily there was a tram to get us from one end of DFW to the other, but still I was ready for a nap as soon as we landed. Of course, our plane landed at Noon and our room wasn’t ready when we got to the hotel, which meant heading straight for my brother’s place.
I would have preferred to have taken a nap first before seeing them. I feel like we all would have enjoyed the time more and we would have been able to stay a little longer.
As it was, I felt they wanted us to stay for dinner but I just couldn’t do it.
By 3pm the only choice I had was to go back to the hotel room and get checked in and go to sleep, which is exactly what we did. We ordered pizza in for dinner and watched Lost and that was our Saturday night.
I’d like to say that Sunday I was feeling much better, but that just wasn’t the case.
I’m sure the altitude change didn’t really help things.
I knew that large amounts of water were required to acclimate but even having been here before and having been warned, I wasn’t prepared for the feeling of a rock in my stomach as soon as we landed.
I went through a liter of water within the first hour of landing and probably 2 more before that afternoon was over.
Aside from heading out to breakfast Sunday morning, we pretty much took the day off and stayed at the hotel until dinner time. Around dinner we headed over to visit with my brother and his family again and that was pretty much all we did before heading back to the hotel to make use of the hot tub (which, of course, was be broken that night).
In the first few days of our vacation I learned several tips that will make traveling with Fibromyalgia easier:
It’s worth it to pay for a hotel room to have some privacy and the ability to fully relax away from family.
1 . Find a store and buy water in bulk.
We picked up 2 cases our first day in town and have been keeping several bottles in the car any time we go out. This one is especially important if you are in a high altitude (or even some just someplace a lot hotter than you are used to).
2 . Don’t rush your vacation.
Try to take a long enough vacation to be able to enjoy yourself without pushing yourself too much. The more things you want to be able to do the more time you need to take.
3 . Do your research.
Do some research on the area you are visiting and figure out what you want to do while there and plan your trip. Spread the activities out so that you don’t wear yourself out.
3 . Choose your hotel wisely.
If possible choose a hotel with a hot tub, we all know that the hot water can help ease the aches and pains and after an active day you’ll be all the more thankful for it.
4 . Don’t wear yourself out before you even get to your destination.
Fly out of the airport closest to your home and into the airport closest to your destination. Even if it means shortening your trip by a day or two to make up the price difference. It’s worth it to not waste the first two days of your trip crashed out in your room.
5 . Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If you have a long distance between connecting flights ask for assistance getting to your next gate. Come on, you know before you were sick you were always jealous of the people who got to take the golf cart – now you can!
6 . Buy the right travel insurance.
Look for travel insurance that allows you to cancel for any reason with a full refund. Most travel insurance is limited and requires a doctor’s note. This won’t do you any good when you live with chronic illness.
By planning ahead you can enjoy a vacation despite Fibromyalgia. Don’t let chronic illness keep you from travelling.