Chronic illness and disabilities can have a massive impact on the way you live your life, especially if it’s a sudden onset illness or disability. Suddenly, you have to change your daily routines, look for wheelchair access, and even change your diet to accommodate your new way of life. And, it can hinder your ability to travel, and for those who love to explore our beautiful green earth, that news can be devastating. While it might be harder than it was before, travelling with a chronic illness or disability is far from impossible, and we’ve got some tips on how to do exactly that.
Seek assistance from your airline
As talked about in a previous post with Georgina Grogan, you’re able to ask for assistance from the airline you’re using to make necessary changes to help you with your travel. It’s a free service to use, but you’ll have to book at least 48 hours in advance to take advantage of this service. You can read more about what Georgina had to say about her experience and recommendations here, but it’s definitely worth doing to avoid any unnecessary pain.
Look for luggage storage
If you’re the type that doesn’t stay in one location for very long, then there’s a chance you’ll have to find a way to carry all of your luggage around with you. As you know, this isn’t ideal for someone who is disabled or lives from a chronic illness that causes joint and muscle pain. Did you know that you can use luggage storage in Rome? Look for locations like these to store your luggage while you explore wherever you travel. Services like this cost as little as 5 euros a day and can really help prevent any unnecessary pain.
Change your travel insurance
As someone who needs a higher level of medical care, it’s wise to check out what your travel insurance covers. Many basic policies will cover a large array of locations, but it’s always worth checking to avoid racking up large emergency health costs while you’re travelling. You should also take the time to read up on recommended vaccinations before travelling, as you’ll need to book in plenty of advance to have them administered.
Sort out your medication
Use your planning time wisely and check your medication bottles. Will you run out during your trip? Would you like some backup painkillers to take with you? Pack more than you’ll need in case your flights are delayed or you find yourself unable to travel home when expected. A great way to keep your medication organised is by purchasing a pill organiser. When using a pill organiser, be sure to take the original labels with you in case you do need to find a pharmacy to reorder any of your medication.
Another pro tip; carry your medications in your carry on bag in case your suitcase becomes lost or stolen. That way, you can rest assured you’ve got the medication you need.
Use assistive devices
You may use assistive devices at home such as a wheelchair or walking stick, and it’s important to think of what you may need while you’re travelling. At home, you may be able to cope without using them as much, but you should think about whether you’ll need any while travelling, as it can often entail long periods of standing or walking. If you think you’ll need some assistive devices while travelling, be sure to make necessary arrangements in plenty of time such as renting a wheelchair or finding collapsible walking sticks for when you don’t need them as much.
Know where Doctors or hospitals are
When travelling anywhere, whether it’s a staycation or a trip halfway across the world, it’s important to familiarise yourself with where hospitals and Doctors surgeries are in case of an accident or other medical emergency. It’s always a good idea to learn some basic phrases to help with communication when visiting a new country. Phrases such as “directions to the hospital” or “this is my medical condition” can really help make the difference, especially if you’re in pain.
Give yourself extra time
Finally, those who live with a chronic illness or disability need to slow down and take their time. Rushing can trigger stress, which in turn, can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. If you’re planning on seeing the great wall of China, great! Just be sure to plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time so you can enjoy the experience, rather than suffer through the pain.