Chronic illness. Travel – is it possible? Yes and rather: It is worth it! These bloggers have experience traveling with chronic illness and show how to best prepare, fly and vacation.
Especially if you have only recently been diagnosed with a chronic illness or permanent health limitation, the adventure of "travel" can seem incredibly far away. But just as one gradually adjusts to everyday life with a chronic illness, it is equally possible to travel with it. With the help of bloggers who themselves regularly travel with a chronic illness, we have compiled the most important tips and tricks for traveling with a chronic illness for you.
1. Thorough research in advance
To avoid obstacles or nasty surprises at your destination, it pays to do thorough research in advance: Is my hotel barrier-free? Does my accommodation provide reliable refrigeration for my medication? How far are the nearest pharmacy. The nearest hospital away? Inform yourself in advance extensively about the local conditions.
If knowledge of English is not widespread in the country you are planning to travel to, it is also worthwhile to write down some important phrases describing your illness and the correct behavior in emergencies in the local language and to carry these notes with you or learn them by heart. Discovered his love for traveling years ago. Is professionally active as a travel consultant for people with disabilities. When testing barrier-free destinations, benefit from their experience as wheelchair users, among other things. He advises people who need a wheelchair or other aids for their trip to book their vacation with a specialized tour operator:
"Specialists can access a wealth of destination knowledge. Entirely according to the personal needs and disability-specific requirements of the traveler, the ideal vacation spots and accommodations are worked out individually."
Important: Make sure you have a health insurance that is adapted to your needs. There is a detailed article about this for example on the Blog 'Travelous Mind' by Denise. Denise loves the feeling of freedom when traveling. Therefore, constantly tour around the world. She has already gained a lot of experience and reports on the ups and downs of traveling with cystic fibrosis on her blog. Also in her eBook course "Traveling with illness: push your limits!" it goes into detail about important ies regarding traveling with chronic illness. In order to start optimally prepared into the adventure, belongs for it before each journey also a discussion with its treating physician to it.
2. The right flight preparation
Familiarize yourself in advance with the guidelines that your airline has for carrying liquids and items, such as medicines.B. Injections, on board pretends. In order to get through the controls quickly and without problems, you can have your doctor ie a medical certificate or a medication passport. Sabrina from out 'n' about can sing a song about it. When she and Jannis got tired of their dreary daily routine, they decided to go on a trip around the world, not even letting Sabrina's rheumatism slow them down. Your advice:
"Don't forget all the proofs and confirmations that you have to get from the doctor, for example to be allowed to take the syringes and the cool packs (liquids) in the hand luggage in the plane. Customs can also be a hassle when entering the country with medications without this paperwork. One finds forms on the side of the ADAC or also usually with the own physician."
By the way, almost all airports offer a service for people in wheelchairs and special needs. For this, however, you should register in good time.
Relaxing through your vacation with MyTherapy
This also applies if you want to take other larger aids and appliances with you. Since long-haul flights in particular are physically very strenuous, it can help to have a fixed seat z.B. Reserve at the aisle to be able to get up and stretch or reach the toilet without major problems.
3. Store medications properly
Care is needed when packing and storing medications. Important for storage: medications should be kept in a cool, dry place. Also, as our bloggers agree, always pack enough doses for more than the planned duration of the trip, because: unforeseen events can delay a return trip at any time. Denise, for instance, has as a tip:
"Unless you're traveling with only carry-on luggage, it makes perfect sense to divide your medications between your carry-on and checked luggage: About a week's worth in your carry-on in case your checked bag gets lost. This gives you time to either wait for your luggage to arrive or, if it can't be found immediately, to have new medication sent to you."
On trips and long journeys to the destination, you should always store most medications in the dark in a cooler bag. Remember to put medications in a refrigerator at the proper temperature as soon as you arrive at your accommodations. But be careful: Many medications may not freeze. Therefore, it is advisable to find out about the optimal storage temperature of the medication on the medication package or the package insert. The general rule when taking medicines with you on your travels is: "More is more" and a small emergency package that you put together while still at home can be a lifesaver. Steffi from Pep Me Up Describes himself as an "absolute travel junkie". On your blog, she has compiled a great packing list for diabetics and recommends:
"By the way, for a spontaneous weekend trip it's worth having a small travel kit with all the necessary utensils at the ready. This way you don't have to gather and pack everything anew each time."
4. Prevent infections
In many countries, especially outside of Europe, be very careful with tap water and hygiene. Especially if you already have chronic conditions, additional infections have an even more devastating effect than they already do – by the way, be especially careful if autoimmune suppressants are among your medications. So make sure your vaccinations are up to date, drink only bottled water and always pack some disinfectant in your backpack.
5. Plenty of water
Staying hydrated keeps you fit and alert. With all the new impressions one often forgets to drink enough, although this is indispensable, especially in the heat that prevails in many vacation destinations. 2 liters of water per person is the ideal amount to take with you, especially on trips to sparsely populated regions.
6. Do not get sloppy
On vacation, you often sleep longer, stay out late in the evening, and remember important medications much less than in everyday life. Especially if they are tied to daily routines, such as z.B. the morning cup of coffee are linked. Apps such as MyTherapy, available free of charge on Google Play and in the App Store, are therefore the perfect way to ensure that you don't miss any medication while on vacation. The app is a reliable reminder to take pills and injections. In addition, measurements such as z.B. Record regular blood glucose measurements conveniently on the spot and discuss them with your doctor on the basis of the printable health report when you return from your vacation. Being sloppy with your medication regimen is something Denise knows all too well, too:
"The important thing is that you don't drift off and maybe get sloppy with your medication intake (yes, I know this too well!), the sport and your diet."
7. Enjoy the sun – in moderation
At a dream vacation spot, you want to take advantage of as much of the day as you can. Exhaustion is not a good thing – that's why you should avoid the blazing sun and midday heat. Samira from Chronically Fabulous suffered from the "diagnosis wanderlust", has successfully ventured on the adventure of backpacking with MS and has as a tip:
"Avoid the midday heat, protect yourself with a hat and sunscreen and evtl. A cooling vest/cooling packs. Don't overdo it with the activities at the beginning and take it easy."
So it's best to use the hot midday period to rest, cool down or take a short nap in the shade. Ideally, plan outdoor activities during the morning or evening hours. The breathtaking sunrises and sunsets will reward you richly.
8. Keep moving
Relaxation naturally comes first on vacation. However, you should not completely forgo activities: we all tend to eat sumptuous meals when traveling and like to lie on the beach all day, which is not necessarily conducive to good circulation. So try to fit small fitness exercises into every day. Be it your favorite yoga poses in the morning or a little volleyball in the afternoon.
9. Listen to your body
Listen to your body, because: The better you feel, the more you can enjoy your vacation. Pay attention to how well you eat food and and different climates such as z.B. tolerate mountain or sea air, make sure to cool down if the heat gets to you and plan your time generously to avoid hasty departures and stressful situations. Slow travel is also something Denise advocates:
"Take the time that your body needs. Don't rush from one destination to the next, but allow your body to rest as well. Traveling slowly is not only important for your health, but is much more enjoyable in general, as you can immerse yourself in the cultures much more."
The belief that chronic illnesses or assistive devices such as wheelchairs make travel impossible is unfortunately still widespread. But there are countless experiences that prove the opposite. Jurgen knows doubting comments from the environment and finds motivating words for other people with a chronic illness or disability:
"The most important thing I have learned in my 50 years of life experience is: don't let others tell you or even dictate how you should live! Do your thing, do what you want to do!"
With this in mind:
Even with a chronic illness, you can experience firsthand the many wonders that our planet has to offer. Specialty tour operators offer customized trips and with enough advance notice and research, you can count on adequate medical care in most countries. And if you still lack courage, you will find helpful tips and tricks, as well as testimonials about traveling with chronic illnesses on the blogs mentioned above. Last but not least, a few encouraging words from Samira:
"Don't let them stop you. Even if you have a major handicap: You can find a way.