Tips and Tricks for Traveling with Chronic Illness 

Traveling is hard no matter. Making sure you get to the airport and your gate on time. Plus, all the hard work you have to put in before getting to the airport. The planning, the packing! Not just clothes but medication. Where do you put those? How do you travel with them safely?  Then you add a chronic illness and chronic pain on top of everything and traveling seems impossible. There are ways and “tricks of the trade” to make traveling easier.  Let’s explore some of those to find out how we can make our next trip easier. 

If you plan ahead your trip can be pleasant and not hellacious like you expect. Here are some tips to make traveling with chronic pain easier. 

  1. Plan for a good time and to remember the good time that you had!  As you plan your trip look through travel brochures and websites to find things that you would enjoy. While you are enjoying your trip take lots of pictures, so you can remember the good times you had.  
  2. Make sure you get your supplements and prescriptions filled ahead of time. If you need any refills make sure to call your Doctor or Pharmacy 10 days before you leave. If you take prescription pain medications, you should check with the state you are visiting to know if any special arrangements need to be made beforehand for a refill so you don’t get caught with a shortage. If you need to refill them while you are gone. Most national pharmacy chains can refill your prescription at any location. But it’s always better to check before you leave. 
  3. Prepare to sleep with comfort. If possible it’s a good idea to carry a foam pad or air mattress to cushion unfamiliar beds. Also, take an extra sheet with you to cover the beds. 
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.  If you know ahead of time that you need a room with a shower, or a room closer to the elevator, or someone to life your bag into the overhead bin. Ask for help! 
  5. Don’t get stiff –do your stretches. If you are doing a long distance by plane or car, you will probably going to be sitting extended periods of time. If driving, you should stop every two hours for a 10-minute stretching break. If you are on a plane, take a walk to the restroom as often as needed to keep you from getting stiff. You can also do  stretches in your seat. You can stretch your arms and neck wiggle your toes and rotate your ankles. Don’t forget to do your daily, stretches in the morning and before bed.
  6. Sleep is NOT overrated. Even though your trip may be jammed packed, make sure to get plenty of rest. Take naps during the day and put your feet up. You don’t want to get run down and not be able to enjoy your trip. 
  7. Your feet were made for walking, so take good care of them. Ditch the flip-flops and cute shoes and wear something comfortable. At the end of the day pamper your feet and soak them, massage and put lotion on them. 
  8. Rome wasn’t made in a day, so don’t plan on seeing it in a day. Take time to see the attractions. Don’t try to cram them all into one day. 
  9. Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hand!!!!

Here are some tips specifically for flying!

  1. Invest in luggage with wheels. 
  2. Pack light. 
  3. If possible try to sit on the aisle so you can move around more easily. 
  4. Dress in layers. 
  5. Stay hydrated. 
  6. Practice relaxation techniques during the flight to alleviate anxiety. 

So now we have explored ways to make your trip easier. Let’s explore the safest way to travel with prescription medication. Here are some tips to make traveling with medication easier. 
The TSA has strict guidelines about medications. So it’s important to know those guidelines so you can fly with no extra issues. Listed below are the guidelines as reported by USA Today. 

  1. Prescription Drugs Are Allowed. You may bring all needed prescription drugs with you on your flight. These medications include liquids, gels and aerosol medications. You can also bring eye drops, lotions and petroleum jelly.
  2. Declaration. The Transportation Safety Administration will not limit you on the number of prescription drugs that you bring on board with you in your carry-on baggage. However, if you bring liquid medicines that are not in bottles of three ounces or less or are not in a one-quart plastic bag must declare to a TSA security officers that they have prescription medication in their luggage. The prescribed medication is subject to being inspected before you and your medication can pass through  security.
  3. Non-liquid Medications. Travelers may pack non-liquid medications inside their carry-on luggage as well as in their checked baggage. The TSA recommends that travelers label their medications to expedite the screening process.
  4. X-rays. The TSA will usually X-rays medications and other medication-related supplies. You have the right to request that the TSA security officers visually inspect your medication instead of running it through an X-ray machine. During the visual examination, the TSA officer will ask you to show, handle and repack your own medication. If a medication cannot be visually okayed, they must go through the X-ray machine before you are allowed to pass the security checkpoint.
  5. Documentation. If possible, you  should have documentation you can show to TSA employees to help explain why the medication is necessary. It’s important that the name on a prescription matches the name on a passenger’s ticket, if these two names do not match, the traveler should be prepared to explain why they have this medication in their possession. 

Hopefully all of these tips and recommendations will make your next trip a little easier. And you can actually enjoy your vacation and not worry about the traveling itself. 

-Amber 

Resources 

  • http://www.fmcpaware.org/lifestyle-resources/travel-tips-for-chronic-pain-illnesses.html
  • http://www.apmhealth.com/blog/bid/403917/9-Quick-Tips-For-Flying-With-Chronic-Pain
  • http://traveltips.usatoday.com/regulations-flying-prescription-drugs-63014.html

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