I've been traveling a lot lately, and like most people, I love it. But unlike most people, traveling can actually cause me to be in more pain than I'm usually in. New and uncomfortable mattresses, long plane or car rides, extra physical activity and an unhealthy diet are all culprits in making some time away mean some time in a flare. I haven't let that threat stop me yet, and although I haven't been able to completely avoid being in pain for traveling, I've got some keys🔑 to being as comfortable as possible during your vacation.
🔑 GET AN AISLE SEAT
Flying on a plane? Make sure to get yourself an aisle seat ahead of time. Sometimes if they're not available the desk attendant can help you out before you board if you say it's for medical reasons! I've found that having an aisle seat means more room to stretch your leg and arm out when someone's not walking by, easier access to the bathrooms and less people touching you unexpectedly. If you're lucky you'll be able to get one that allows the side that hurts the most to get the most room.
🔑 CUSHION IT
Whether you're driving or flying, bringing at least one small cushion with you allows you to prop yourself in ways to avoid pain. Some years ago I purchased this memory foam pebble pillow from MUJI that I always sleep with and travel with. Sadly, I can't find it anywhere anymore, so my old one is one of my most treasured possessions. When I forget to pack it along, my whole trip is out of sync.
🔑 PLAN IT
I'm a self confessed over-planner. For every trip I go on, work or pleasure, I make myself a Google doc itinerary and save sights and restaurants on my Foursquare. Planning ahead assures me not only that I'm getting to all the spots I wouldn't want to miss, but that I'm not over doing it each day.
🔑 BUDDY UP
Traveling with your emotional support animal can make all the difference in having a comfortable vacation. Contact the airline, hotel or airbnb you will be visiting to make sure you're good to go with your buddy. If you're planning on taking them to restaurants also either make sure they have an outdoor space or are cool with the animal being inside of the establishment. I recently had the most wonderful experience bringing Sneaky Weasel to the Dancing Cat Saloon in the Catskills of NY! They gave him a big bowl of cool water, let him use the rest room and even interviewed him for their Facebook live!
🔑 EAT UP
As soon as I touchdown in a new city, I can't wait to taste test the local eats. Planning which places I have to go to beforehand helps me to make healthier choices and assures I'm getting exactly what I want. Being a spoonie often means limited food choices, and can be hard to stick to your diet in uncharted territory. I'm pretty guilty of going way off path, but knowing where to go takes away the stress of finding something edible on the menu.
Take travel sizes of everything you use on a daily basis to fight pain in your cargo. Muscle rubs, extra meds, stretch straps and muscle tape always makes it's way into my bag. If you wouldn't go a day without it at home, don't think you can go a day without it on vacation.
🔑TAKE YOUR TIME
I'm a doer, not a relaxer. I'm the first one to get bored laying out by the water or hanging around the hotel room. Something I've been working on lately is enjoying the peace of freedom from the everyday. Your time away should be filled with beautiful sights, culture and adventure, but it should also be about you caring for yourself. Make sure to set aside time to heal mentally and physically and you'll notice the difference when you get back to reality.