Summer is here! Well, technically in two weeks, but where I am in South/Central Texas the weather is full swing into the heat. For most people, I hope that includes you, summer means they will be headed out for a vacation! Wherever you are headed on vacation this season, traveling with a chronic illness or physical disability can cloud your sense of excitement with dread. I know that feeling all too well, I usually have more stress about the actual traveling then the destination. Not this time though! This summer already, I have had some practice and thought I would share the things that got me through and look forward to more adventures!
If you have a tendency to get cold, pack light and layer your clothes. Always pack a sweater and/or jacket. You can leave the jacket in the main luggage, but definitely keep a shawl, cardigan or warm sweater with you on whatever mode of transportation you are taking. Pack leggings, fuzzy socks and a warm set of pajamas ya just never know when you might need them. All of my warm gear was used.
Depending on whether you swell in your feet and legs or not, wear lace-up shoes or some compression socks. I wore loafers and regretted it. I wanted to be able to get through security faster and my feet paid the price, they were so swollen while traveling. I was gifted some compression socks on my vacation and I wish I had bought them sooner! They actually work!
Use travel sets to pack your essentials like facewashes, lotions, and personal products. I bought this travel set in blue and loved the various sizes. Target Plastic Travel Set . This is key if you have sensitive skin. You don’t want to be using random hotel brands and end up breaking out. The option to buy all of your essentials of things you are used to using all in a travel size can become pricey. The frugal and healthy thing to do is to pack what you already have plus your skin will thank you for not using the random hotel brands or whatever your hostess has on hand. However, on things that are difficult to place into reusables like aerosol hairspray, face wipes, and toothpaste purchase the travel size.
The Carry-On Bag
Pack all medications in a makeup/toiletry bag. Nothing else in this little bag just medications.
Don’t forget your pill organizer in which I like to call “The Combler” ( Peter and Mary over at Youtube, Frey Life coined that term, The Frey Life The Combler Shirt.).
The “Combler” will serve as the immediate medications (also any extra medications needed that are not included in a daily dosage or something you might need for immediate symptoms that are unpredictable e.g. nausea, back up seizure medication) that you can pack into your purse, but make sure that your medicine bag is in your carry on. Basically, all of your medications should remain with you at all times.
Carry a light-weight reusable water bottle. You can almost always find free tap water or water fountains available to refill your water bottle. Most airports in the U.S. are now providing a water refill station. I am not sure whether or not it is filtered. I am not much of a water snob because I have found that most waters bottled that you purchase are not filtered. Yikes, I know, but there are reusables that have a filter in it or you can buy filter tabs that you drop into the water to help clean it.
Stray away from heavy metal water bottles due to the weight of the water and metal combination can make it difficult for chronic hands to manage the weight. Having a water bottle handy will help alleviate any anxiety for the need to go buy water for taking medications and staying hydrated. Staying hydrated helps with bodily swelling as well.
Pack the extras! Sunglasses ( for a headache), headphones, chargers, and cash ( at least $100 for emergencies or convenience, because some small chains have a minimum order on debit or credit transactions), over-the-counter antidiarrheal and chewable nausea tablets are great to have!
Warning: Check with your pharmacist before taking any new medication or mixing any over the counter medications with the medications you already take.
Keep one change of clothes in your carry-on bag. You just never know when you might need to change or have to stay overnight at a hotel during a canceled flight layover.
A makeup bag with your essentials to freshen up. A must for me is lotion ( preferably fragrance-free to keep nausea at bay for you and for others) and lip balm! Any flavor of Eos brand lip balm is my favorite. It stays on the lips pretty well, leaving your lips soft without having to reapply it within the hour.
Snacks. Having some light snacks like granola bars, fruit roll-ups, and fresh fruit, are nice to have on hand and help to coat the stomach before taking medications.
A book. I am a bit old-fashioned when it comes to books. Everyone at the airport needed to charge their readers or phones for entertainment. I just needed a chair and my book. It was awesome. Also, people watching is always fun…you just have to be cautious not to stare—staring is rude and creepy. Haha.
Eat less salt and try to eat as healthy as possible. If you are staying somewhere you can eat a home cooked meal or cook then do so. This will help keep your salt intake down and will help you eat familiar foods to help alleviate nausea or food poisoning. If you do venture out to eat, try to go to a restaurant that will prepare fresh food rather than a drive-thru that has no control over the salt.
Skip the bubbly drinks if you suffer from nausea. Somehow the sugary and the combo of bubbly carbonated drinks make my nausea worse if I drink things like 7-up or Sprite. Stick with non-carbonated juice or water.
Focus on the water that has electrolytes or buy some mix-in powders to have electrolytes assist in keeping you hydrated. This one is a double whammy! It helps relieve you from being swollen and keeps you hydrated.
Eat. I know this can be hard when traveling to not have an appetite, but you need fuel to burn. Try eating fresh fruit, vegetables, salads and low-sodium soups.
Bonus tip for nausea: If you feel you can’t eat and you don’t want to be drowsy from the nausea medications, try a bit of Lay’s Lime potato chips. I know, it goes against the no -salt and eat your veggies rule but hey, I know nausea! You do you when you need to!
Try to always get a window seat. This will help you feel less closed in. If are feeling sicker than usual you can enjoy the sights to get your mind off of things.
Keep the air vent open to feel refreshed.
Watch a movie, this will help pass the time and keep you from focusing on whatever discomfort you are feeling.
Take medicines that make you drowsy before the flight and it will help you nap. Therefore, helping you to feel great and ready to tackle the adventure ahead!
Have fun. Period. Make up your mind to enjoy the trip regardless of how you feel. Life is in the moment and our attitudes play a key role in how we ultimately experience things.
Know your limits and explain these levels of rest periods or precautions that need to be taken with whomever you will be spending time with.
I had to take a 2-hour nap every day to keep up with all the visiting, traveling and enjoying myself.
Sometimes on your vacation, you will have to put your chin-up buttercup if you want to capture moments that you wouldn’t want to miss. Despite the pain, you will have to push through and do what you think you aren’t capable of.
For example, when traveling and visiting with children they will not always “get” it that you need to rest. Spending quality time with them will help when you do have to rest and not feel guilty about it.
Your body is going to be in a weird limbo because you aren’t home and are doing unpredictable things like going to the beach, hiking, road tripping or walking a lot seeing tourist things. This is okay, just try to wing it somedays and rest on another. Don’t try to be the super traveler that never rests but balance it out with gently encouraging yourself to keep going and to have a great time!
Do you have any tips for traveling? I love to learn new things, so please let me know in the comments below!