“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”
I love traveling. Or at least the part where you actually get somewhere and you can relax, sightsee, visit with friends or family, or whatever is on the agenda. The actual part where you’re sitting in an airport, on a plane, or in a car isn’t always the most pleasant or comfortable these days.
I can’t remember the last time I had an entire trip that had “smooth sailing” when flying with our airlines. Flight delays due to weather or mechanical issues, crew changes, dumping fuel, refueling, scheduling and logistics issues all wreak havoc on your ability to get somewhere on time. Three times this past year I have been rerouted to another city because one of these things. And now I am preparing to head to Florida just days after Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall with storms expected at home when I leave.
Airport travel is challenging enough between allotting enough time to get through security and arriving before your actual scheduled flight time. Add to that an illness, injury, a chronic condition, or fibromyalgia, and the challenges multiply. Will I be having a flare? Will my back or leg pain act up? So how does one manage travel delays and stressful times when you have a chronic condition?
Back in May I wrote about my 7 Tips for surviving Business Travel with Chronic Pain. Here are 5 more tips for dealing with travel delays or long travel times.
The ABCs of Surviving Travel Delays
- Attitude – Keep a sense of humor and some patience – there is no sense in getting angry about things outside of your control. Laughter is the best medicine sometimes, so try to take it in stride. Being tense and angry might set off a flare. Keep in mind that flight delays are often to keep everyone safe. I would better be late and in one piece than not arrive at all.
- Be Prepared – Try to anticipate what you will need for your travel day(s). Water bottle, medicine, snacks, entertainment, all of these things make the day a little more enjoyable, especially in the face of delays in an airport or long car rides. I prefer direct flights when possible, but if you have a tight connection at an airport and you can’t “run” through an airport, don’t be shy about ordering a wheelchair or transport ahead of time.
- Comfort – Make sure the tools you need to stay healthy. Have a neck problem? Bring a neck pillow. Problems regulating your temperature? Bring a sweater and/or blanket. Back or neck pain? Try a heat patch like Icy Hot or Salon Pas to get you through the trip. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes, especially in case you get stuck sitting in an airport or on a plane for awhile. Feet can swell, so consider that when selecting your travel outfit. Here are some Comfy Travel Outfits to consider. I keep a blanket, pillow, eye mask, ear plugs, socks, a sweater/jacket, and Salon Pas patches or my TENS unit with me on my trips.
- Diet – Flight delays or long car rides might mean missing a meal or weird schedules. While the airlines now have healthier snack options, packing your own is always advisable (and cheaper) – especially if you have dietary issues like me. Who wants that on an airplane? So make sure you have snacks and water to stay fueled and hydrated, and your medicine so that you don’t miss a dose. I keep a water bottle with me, some gluten-free protein bars, raw nuts, and tea bags.
- Entertainment – Make sure you have things to pass the time, whether sitting on a car or plane, or in an airport. I keep my iPad loaded with magazines, books, music, movies, and if I am really pressed, work. I keep my ear buds and Beats, chargers, and back up batteries in my carry-on, just in case I need to pass the time or charge up while waiting.
If you look at getting to where you are trying to go as part of the journey and try to enjoy the experience, rather than dread it, you’ll be in a much better place. No sense in starting out the journey stressed.
Do you have other strategies for staying sane while traveling? I would love to hear them. I am always looking for good travel tips!
5 thoughts on “Five Travel Tips for Fibromyalgia”
Those are some great tips! I definitely agree about booking direct fligths and not being afraid to ask for help. On my first long flight I was too stubborn to ask for disability service and ended up having a bad flare. Last time I traveled by train I got the help I needed and it made my trip so much smoother and less stressful.
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Thank you! Yes I feel like we are only doing ourselves disservice by not voicing what we need. Day 2 of my conference and I ended up at the medical tent first thing. 😭 It’s going to be a long week for me.