Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Some useful tips for travelling with a chronic illness: Planning

Following on from my last post about research, today's post is all about planning for your holiday. One thing that I want to say beforehand though is that you think carefully about who you chose to go on holiday with. You will need to be with people that understand that even though you are on holiday it still does not necessarily mean that you will be able to do much. People that understand that your symptoms may flare at first with the change in activity or climate and that they may need to help you even more. You need to feel confident that you are not stopping those you are holidaying with from having a good time but that they understand that for you, you are going away to relax. So just be wary of any conflict in interests. Basically you need to feel comfortable with the people you are holidaying with caring for you. Think about what you are like on your worst day. Who would you have no qualms about helping you then? As I have mentioned, I was supposed to go away to Turkey with friends this year, but the worse my condition was getting the more I realised that I wouldn't feel comfortable with them needing to care for me. Washing my hair, or even helping me off the toilet if needed. If you all just want to get away and completely relax and enjoy some quiet time, then that's a good start. I personally find that although my parents or sister still need to care for me while we're away, that's just par for the course, that at least on holiday they are partly getting cared for too. Not having to cook and clean, or work.

 Once you have researched and booked a holiday that you feel confident and comfortable with and let's not forget excited about, then it's time to start planning. As ever with chronic conditions the rule is DO NOT DO IT ALL AT ONCE. Chances are that you have not booked a last minute holiday, as some of you know leaving the house with a chronc illness can require a lot of planning. However as soon as you book, and possibly before, you will start to get ideas about the types of things that you will need to take and all the things that you need to do beforehand. So below I have come up with some tips to help you prepare for your holiday.

* Make a check list of all the things that need to be done before you go away. 
- arrange travel insurance and inform them of my condition

- book special assistance through the airline

- order any foreign currency

- make sure that I have enough medication for my holiday. Order more if necessary.

- make a list of all the things that I need to purchase for my holidays

- make a list of all the things that I will need to pack, sort into a list for hold luggage and hand luggage

- familiarise yourself with the airlines luggage allowances, how much weight that you are allowed or the size of hand luggage.

* Writing lists will help you if you suffer from brain fog and to help you feel confident that you have everything that you need.

* If you need to purchase anything for your holiday, get them while you can or use internet shopping.

* On your list of things that you need to take remember to include anything that you use at home to help you cope with your symptoms. For example vitamins, supplements, tens machine, hot water bottle, aromatherapy oils. The more things that you have to help you cope the better.

* Aim to leave the week before you go away as free as possible, to help you reserve energy. Meaning all the things on the checklist should be completed by then. This also means keeping any social visits etc to a minimum. It also may mean that someone else packs your things.

For most of the points on the checklist above I have more information and will post them soon. I'm feeling in need of a holiday now. 

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