Six Essential Tips for Traveling With Chronic Conditions

Chronic conditions don’t have to make people feel restricted from traveling. However, they can cause hassles for people who don’t plan out the details of their journeys. Preparedness is often the difference between an incident-free trip and a stressful one.

Get Your Doctor’s Approval

One of the first steps of getting ready to travel is to visit your physician for a checkup. A doctor can confirm your condition is under control enough go away from home.

If you require medications or devices as part of your condition management strategy, he or she can also write notes that verify they need to be with you while traveling.

It’s especially important to get that documentation if your condition is one like osteoarthritis or migraines that might require taking strong painkillers. These substances may be controlled or banned in some countries.

Take Necessary Foods with You

Even people without chronic conditions don’t feel well if they go too long without eating, typically due to drops in blood sugar. Also, illnesses like ulcerative colitis and diabetes can get worse if people don’t adhere to the recommended diets.

One of the safest options is to bring food with you — especially snacks. Then, you’ll always have something to munch on, even when you can’t find something suitable while you’re away.

Plus, airports shops, train station cafes and vending machines often charge higher-than-average prices for foods. Packing consumables in your luggage is a money-saving strategy that helps you stay healthy.

Do Research About Travel Risks and Reduce Them

Anyone going on a trip should thoroughly research their destinations and potential hazards associated with them. However, if you have a chronic illness that compromises your immune system, such as AIDS or viral hepatitis, it’s especially important to keep yourself as safe as possible from potential contagious. Precautions to take may include wearing a mask or getting immunizations.

If you think there are other aspects of a destination that could exacerbate your illness, do what you can to make them less problematic. For example, if you have breathing difficulties related to asthma or COPD and are going to a place known for having a highly polluted atmosphere, find out when pollution levels are lowest and try to get outdoors during those times. Some apps even give live smog level updates.

It’s also smart to find out the contact details for your country’s embassy if you’re traveling abroad. You can contact that body in an emergency, especially if the situation you’re in restricts access to health necessities, such as medication.

Consider Getting Short-Term Travel Insurance

You’re probably aware of health and life insurance packages, but did you know there’s insurance for travelers, too? Many companies offer travel insurance that provides coverage if a person gets ill while they’re away from home. Some plans also accommodate travelers in other unforeseen problems, like lost luggage, canceled flights or inclement weather.

Such a plan could provide peace of mind while you’re on the go. Make sure your chronic condition — whether it’s heart disease or arthritis — doesn’t invalidate your coverage. It’s necessary to read the terms and conditions of the insurance carefully, noting any details about pre-existing conditions.  

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

If you’re a fiercely independent person, it probably goes against your nature to admit you need assistance. Bear in mind, though, that people often purposefully go abroad to help others, and individuals generally feel good when they lend a hand.

If you get in trouble while you’re away from home, there’s no need to feel intimidated about asking someone for help. When dealing with a chronic condition such as epilepsy, which can cause seizures, or another disorder that could cause you to become unresponsive, consider wearing a medical alert bracelet that tells helpers which ailments you have.

Be Flexible

Like most people, you probably have a few must-see-and-do items on your agenda while traveling. It’s a good idea to give your itinerary to a few trusted contacts and let them know how to reach you. Sending periodic text messages can also let them know you’re having fun and feeling well.

However, you may discover your health makes some plans unfeasible. For example, people with chronic fatigue syndrome often find that too much exercise exacerbates the condition, which could prevent them from staying as active as they’d prefer.

By keeping your attitude upbeat and being willing to do different activities than anticipated if it helps avoid problems, you could have better-than-expected trips.

The more informed you are before traveling, the better. If you need more specific guidance than what’s provided here, message boards with advice from frequent travelers who have particular conditions are excellent resources to explore. Staying mindful of limitations helps prevent adverse consequences, too.

Author Bio:

Kayla Matthews is a wanderlusting blogger and senior writer at MakeUseOf. Her work has appeared in Afar Magazine, The Next Web, Houzz and Inman. Read her About.Me page here.

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