Travelling is stressful at the best of times. You have to pack, make a schedule, deal with travel companies. When you add having a health condition or disability to the mix it can become a total nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be – here are my top tips to help your holiday start and end with ease.
1 – Be careful where you book. Check out your destination before booking anything to see what other people with disabilities say about it. Is it wheelchair friendly? Are there modern facilities, such as lifts and accessible bathrooms in most public places? What do other people with similar health issues to yourself say about it? Have a quick search online, there’s many forums dedicated to this information.
2 – Choose where you stay carefully. If you’re staying in a hotel check it has lifts and accessible bathrooms, that it’s near travel stops or things you wish to visit, that the facilities match your needs and (if going abroad) whether the staff speak a language you can communicate in if there’s an emergency. Sometimes it is wise to prepare a cheat sheet containing all the information they’d need in a crisis translated into the local language.
3 – Preparation, preparation, preparation. What aids will you be taking with you? What does the airline need to know before you fly? What documents do you need? What provisions are there if there’s a medical emergency? Do your travelling companions know what to do if you have a crisis? Make a list of everything you need to know/do before you go and calmly deal with it one point at a time.
4 – Pack wisely. I always pack using a simply three step system. First, get together all your medical necessities – walking aids, medication, any relaxation aids you may need – and put them in one pile. Second, get all the non medical essentials together in one pile, only things you must have with you. Third, get together anything else you want to take. Prioritise your medical needs and pack those and your other essentials, check how much of your weight limit/space you have left, then start packing the other stuff if you have room. Remember to leave a bit of space for souvenirs!
5 – Plan your activities in advance to avoid burning out. Want to do something active one day? Great! But plan for the next day to be low key and easy so you can recover. Trying to do too much could lead to a burn out that ruins the rest of your holiday and we don’t want that.
6 – Have fun! Just because you’re ill doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. get out there and enjoy yourself – and send me a postcard!