Does this statement instantly take your mind to how this will affect your pain? If you need to travel by car, do you think about how long the trip will be? How about how many stops are needed to be made? Then, how will you feel once you arrive—are you imagining your tired, stiff and achy body??
If flying is in the plan, do you start thinking about those tiny, cramped seats? Did you remember to make reservations for an aisle seat or plan to check in early online so you can earn an A seating? Are you planning out how to avoid crawling over others and contorting your body in those ways that will add to your pain?
Here are some tips to consider that may help make your travel more pleasing. There are things that you can do to help relieve some of the anxiety and enjoy the trip:
Tip 1: Start packing early, make a list of everything you will need and check off the items as you pack. Packing in advance gives you valuable time to rest before the trip. That way you are not running around the night before frantically packing and stressing yourself out.
Tip 2: If you are like me and get cold easily, do not forget to pack a light sweater or jacket—no matter the season or the climate of your final destination. If cold weather is expected, make sure to pack items that you can layer.
Tip 3: If you are traveling by car, bus or train, take along these items and make sure you have easy access to them.
- Make sure to keep all of your medications with you upfront for easy access.
- Take pillows that will support your back, neck, legs…whatever’s hurting you?
- Take a travel blanket
- Leave enough travel time to allow you to make stops so you can get out walk around and stretch. Try to stop & stretch at least every 2 hours. If on a bus or train, walk the aisle.
If traveling by plane;
- When booking your ticket, let the airline or travel agent know that you are disabled.
- Request a bulkhead aisle seat this is the first seat in coach. This is the easiest seat to get in and out of and has the most leg room.
- Even if you do not normally use a wheelchair, request that one be waiting for you at curbside and at the gate of each stop on your trip.
- Always pack all of your medications in your carry on and keep them with you at all times.
- Make sure all prescriptions are in the correct bottles.
- Get your ticket and boarding pass ahead of time to minimize the number of times you have to wait in line.
- Use luggage with wheels, check most of your bags and only carry on what you absolutely have to have during your flight.
- When the announcement is made for those with disabilities to board–do so. Do not feel self-conscious about utilizing pre-boarding.
- Take nonstop flights if possible to avoid extra walking from gate to gate.
The most important thing to remember is that you can still travel and enjoy yourself. Just because you live with pain, it doesn’t mean you have to stay home and miss family outings or work functions. Share other tips that work for you. After all, traveling does not have to be a pain.