Sunday, 23 August 2015

Holiday Get ready with me

Copyright: Sian Wootton

Here's my get ready with me holiday post. But one with a bit of a difference, not just a get ready with me for a day/night whilst on holiday but in this post I'm going to go into detail about how I prepare my poorly body to go on holiday. Covering everything from about 6 weeks to go until I leave for the airport. Although I'm writing from a chronic illness perspective hopefully this post will be useful for the organizers and planners out there too. Or anyone wanting to be more organized when it comes to holidays.

 6-4 weeks before

Admittedly pretty much as soon as I've booked a holiday the next thing my mind turns to is clothes. I can't help it! And so the internet browsing amps up a notch, looking for some pretty new outfits. However it's good to see what you already have too. I like to have a trying on session just to be sure things still fit and if they don't I know then I need to look for alternatives. At this point I start thinking about what I want to take with me and the different looks I want to go for. I love to scour instagram and Pinterest for inspiration.

Copyright: Sian Wootton

I like to mix and match possible outfits. Often I will lay them out on my bed (as in the photo above) and then see what other pieces will go with that. This is a good tip for if you need to pack light or pack a capsule wardrobe. It can also help you think about any other pieces that you might be missing. Or items you want to get to complete your holiday wardrobe. Get shopping.

Travel insurance- I make sure my travel insurance is still in date and if not that I take out a new policy. I tend to do mine online through the post office. It's handy because it allows me to input all my medical conditions online and not need to phone up.

If I'm going to Greece then in the weeks before I go away I like to brush up on my Greek and get used to speaking it again. I'm by no means at a level where I can have a long conversation but I can be polite and order in restaurants/cafes. To me this is something I enjoy doing and it makes me feel accomplished, at a time when I can often feel unaccomplished. Plus you're not just the person in the wheelchair but you're the one that can speak Greek too. I would recommend to anyone to learn a few words of the language where they are holidaying. It's polite and it's fun. Also because I'm in a chair there are times where the need to say thank you increases, so it's nice to be able to do so in the native tongue.

3 weeks before

Medication- Time to check if I have enough medication to take on holiday with me and if not that I order more. I say I but this is mainly my Mum then later on I will count out the meds I'm taking for my own piece of mind.

 Pre holiday skincare routine- I use some more moisturizing treatments on my hair to get it ready for the heat. I try my very best to up my moisturizing too but I am generally rubbish at remembering, then moan when I look at my legs and they're scaley. I love the moisturiser sprays you can get now as they are so quick and easy. I love the Vaseline Cocoa one and the Palmers Rapid Moisure one too.
2 weeks before

I force myself to fine tune my choices of what I'm taking, especially in relation to clothes. I know that seems crazy early and the chances of changing your mind about 20 times in those remaining 2 weeks are high, but I at least like to have an idea. I will then separate what I intend on taking either at one end of my wardrobe or on hooks. It's good to check everything is clean too or whether it needs to go in the wash first.

Make a packing list- I list everything I am going to take and put it into sections, such as clothes, toiletries, make up, beach bag necessities, medical essentials and I write a separate list for hand luggage. I like to keep my lists handy so that I can add to it as I think of things, which is all the time. It's staggering how much you need to take with you.

I also make a 'last minute packing list". This is a list of all the things I can't pack until the night before or day of. Mainly these are medical related items like my heat pad (yes I take it with me everywhere, regardless that it's a hot country) that I may need until just before we leave. By making a list I know that these things that could very easily be forgotten will definitely get packed. On this list you could also put last minute things you need to do before you leave such as checking all the windows and doors are locked and that you have all your travel documents and passport.

Once I have written my list I then start to pull everything together and put all the things I will be taking together in one place. As I collect each item I  put a tick next to it on my list so that I know I have it ready to be packed.

To be extra organized and save myself some time and energy once I get there I like to prepack my beach/ pool bag with my beach towel, sunglasses, book etc.

Currency- If you're going abroad, you'll need to order foreign currency. This can be done online for ease but sometimes there might be a minimum amount that you can order so you may need to plan to go to a post office or currency exchange desk. I think it's best to do this before hand rather than at the airport because you get a better rate and therefore a bit more money to spend.

1 week

Sort out plane "entertainment"- In my travel anxiety post I wrote that I like to have a playlist of relaxing music and guided meditations to help me should I start to panic. So during this week when I need to stay as calm as possible I go over my playlists and add newer ones, testing to see if they actually do help keep me calm or not.

I'll also browse Audible for a good audio book to download, that I'll be able to listen to on the plane. I found this really useful as it kept me occupied but didn't make me feel travel sick like reading a magazine or book would.

5 days before
Copyright: Sian Wootton

Finalize handluggage- Well the bits that are not last minute items anyway. Again I know it seems early but it needs to be done. My handluggage always weighs a tonne, because it has so much in it. All my medication and various bits and pieces to keep me as comfortable and healthy on the plane. Plus I always pack a bikini in there, just in case my luggage goes missing. I struggle finding them in this country never mind a foreign one.

Rest!! The most important step of all. Generally the 2 weeks before I go away I try my best to make sure I have no plans, so I don't have anything to recover from. This means I can try my best to conserve that energy for going away. However in the 5 days before I go away this is when that resting steps up even more to being really restrictive because I am trying to make sure I get myself onto that plane in one piece.

Last minute beauty pamper- I try my best to get myself looking a bit less ape like and defuzz.

2 days before

Time to pack- Or in my case get someone to pack for me as I supervise and tick off each item on my packing list.

Day before
Copyright: Sian Wootton
Lay out travel outfit- I try to be as organized as possible, so that the time before I go to the airport is as smooth running and stress free as possible. So I will lay out my travel outfit and have it all in the one place, including any underwear, socks (usually of the attractive flight sock variety) and shoes.

Copyright: Sian Wootton
Apologies this photo is so poor, it was shot in bad light

I will also lay out anything else I intend to use before I go. Again to make things as simple as possible. So I put any skincare or haircare products and make up I want to use, as well as my mirror on my nightstand for easy accessibility.

Cross my fingers and hope for the best- Even though I know I've tried my best to conserve my energy as best as possible to try and be able to go, I also know that sometimes that is not always enough. That my illness will get the last say on whether it's a green or red light.

Morning of

Assess- Sadly sometimes regardless of how much I have tried to prepare myself to go on holiday having a chronic illness means nothing is ever guaranteed, so the very first thing I need to do on the day of going away is assess whether I am actually well enough to travel. Am I well enough to even make it out of bed? This moment is critical and can be touch and go for anyone with a chronic illness. I would advise that you be honest with yourself and make a fair judgement. Only you know what you are capable of. Remember to let others know to check in with you that all is ok to actually go ahead. If all is ok then I go ahead and do the following steps:

Pack those last minute essentials- using the list that I made.

Get ready to go-  I get ready at my own pace and as calmly as possible. Stress at this point is really not good, as it's going to drain you of energy really quickly. It's good to remind others of this too. Airports and travel can make people extra stressed but you need to put yourself into a bubble and just focus on each step you need to take to get yourself onto that aeroplane.

Final checks- Go over my list one last time to be reassured I have everything I need and done what I've needed to.

Take a deep breath and go- Off you go enjoy yourself. I always remember to give myself  bit of a pat on the back at this point too and say well done, as well as be very grateful that i'm actually getting this opportunity to travel. Like I said it certainly isn't guaranteed that you'd be able to go so having a few moments of thanking your lucky stars I feel is a good step. on the journey to the airport I always try to rest my eyes as much as possible and use up as little energy as possible, because once I'm at the airport I'm going to need to focus. I also try to reman calm and take deep breaths to keep any travel anxiety under control. You can read my post on coping with travel anxiety here.

For more detailed information on any aspect of travelling with a chronic illness I have a whole series of posts, which can all be found by clicking this link, or by clicking on the travel tips page in the right hand column of the blog layout. There you'll find posts on everything from researching a holiday to how to cope during a flight. You'll also find interviews with others about their experiences of going on holiday as a chronically ill person.

My next post will be an interview with Hannah with an emphasis on long haul travel. 

Sian X   

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