Friday, 22 August 2014

Travel interview with Ali

 Today's post is another interview with one of my spoonie friends, the very lovely Alison, who travelled with her husband and little girl to Palma Nova in Mallorca. I think it's great to get as many perspectives as possible of travelling with a chronic illness and this interview has the added perspective of travelling with a child too.
Name: Alison 
Illness: M.E
Destination: Palma Nova, Majorca
Who did you travel with? My husband and my little girl
What airline did you use? We also booked the holiday through them
First of all, how was your holiday?
Really nice, the sun always helps my symptoms and it was our 3rd time at the same hotel so I knew everything would be good re accessibility etc.  Was nice spending time with my daughter doing things like finding shells on the beach or being in the pool with her.
What was your biggest worry before travelling? And how did you overcome it/ justify it?
I was panicking about how much the travelling was going to wipe me out. I had to try to tell myself it would be worth it & had some tips from friends about how to stay calm!
Did you notice any changes in your health whilst away? Good or bad? Any new symptoms?
I always find the sun helps with my pain a bit but then, despite hiring a mobility scooter, I walk about more than I should be doing so end up suffering afterwards.  I always tend to sleep better on holiday which may be down to the sun plus doing too much!!
How was Palma Nova as a resort/ destination in relation to your illnesses/disability? (Access, flat, close to restaurants etc, quiet)
It's a really good resort for wheelchair or mobility scooter users. There are many places to hire disability aids from & it is very flat. The only problem I found was that there were no flat kerbs in some places on either side of road so if you wanted to cross you could get down onto the road but not over again on the other side! Had to try to remember where the sections were that did have flat kerbs on both sides! Otherwise would have to drive on the road which with how they drive over there I didn't fancy!The beach is good as it has a wooden platform with a covered area which you can drive straight onto & leave scooter on (in my case).
How did you find attitudes/perceptions towards you by other travellers and from the locals?
Really good mainly. As I am young I am used to getting looks from people when I am in wheelchair or scooter but didn't notice it too much.  People were helpful regarding opening doors & passing me stuff etc if I was on my own.
From your experience(s) what piece(s) of advice would you pass on to other spoonie travellers?
Always use special assistance at the airport if travelling by plane.  Makes such a huge difference & makes travelling not seem as daunting or scary.  Also make sure you find out as much as you can about the resort/accommodation & how accessible it is if you use walking/disability aids.
What items would you not travel without?
Painkillers!! Heatpads, which I used on my back during journey to help with the pain.  Ear plugs to block out excess noise & eye mask for light sensitivity or for when need rest.
What are your favourite holiday beauty products?
Not sure if classed as a beauty product as it's more a necessity but I love Malibu suncream, the smell is yummy! I use anti shine face sheets from e.l.f on an evening, I have to take a few lipsticks & eyeliner, anti frizz hair serum to try to tame the huge holiday hair, I always take some Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream & will never be without nail polish remover pads & a few polishes!
If you were to go on holiday again what would you do differently?
Not panic as much about the travelling as it wasn't anywhere near as bad as I expected!
How are you after the holiday?
It took it out of me for a while after getting back.  We had a late flight home plus a horrible experience when the plane was about to land & the landing was aborted due to the weather so that really freaked me out & probably flared my symptoms too.
Do you think that despite all the extra 'hassles' of travelling as a chronically ill person it is still worth it?
100%. I would definitely rather have a holiday than not.
What are the biggest stresses when it comes to travelling with children when you're chronically ill?
 For me, keeping them safe & making sure they stay with you whilst at airport.  I have always travelled with special assistance so she either walks with us or sits with me on wheelchair. Thinking about all the stuff they will want to do while you're away & knowing you won't be able to is a bit stressful but is more upsetting!
Do you have any tips or methods of getting your child more involved with packing etc?
She tried outfits on before we went so she knew what we would be taking & she would be wearing whilst there. She helped fold stuff up & put in case! But other than that, not really. I always pack as much in advance as possible.
What are your top tips for keeping them entertained on the journey?
Buy them a kids magazine, they usually come with a gift of some sort & have various puzzles games & stories in.  Colouring pads/pens. I got her a colour your own pencil case in which kept her occupied for ages. And snacks/sweets!
How do you balance keeping your child entertained and having a good time but also making sure you get the rest you need? Is this something you feel is important to consider when choosing a hotel/ resort?
Make sure you have someone else with you who can do stuff with them!!! ...Our hotel had a children's club which she joined in with a few times but she was quite happy going in the kids pool & we could be at the side to keep an eye on her if didn't want to be in the water.  She was also happy on the beach making sandcastles so I could sit next to her & chill while she did it.  She is 5 so it was much easier than in previous years as she never stayed still! I would preferably opt for a hotel with entertainment so they can join in with kids club in day then disco & games at night rather than try to find things to do with them outside of accommodation.
Did you have to make any special arrangements for transfer from the airport to the hotel because you were in a wheelchair? Or did you, or have you ever, encounter any problems about this?
No transfer was (& has been on previous holidays) included in holiday package & they take us on a coach so always room for wheelchair in with the baggage.  If we booked separate flights & ,accommodation though we would have to arrange own transfer.
Thank you to Ali for taking part and offering up some insight into what it's like to travel with a child in tow. Although her little girl is angel and very well behaved. You can read more about Ali and how she manages motherhood with a chronic illness over on her blog


  1. Thank you lovely, I beg to differ about her being an angel (sometimes anyway)!! Xx

  2. Great interview and useful tips, Sian and Alison! xxx

  3. Thank you for sharing lovelies. I love hearing about other spoonies that have travelled on holidays.I'm making plans to go abroad on holidays next year, I will keep these tips in mind.

    Lennae xxx