chronic illness,  Travel

Planning to Travel When You Have a Chronic Illness

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Planning to travel when you have a chronic illness requires you to pay close attention to details that others take for granted. Even though it may be difficult, sometimes you have to put aside your fears and anxiety and just go for it. Life is too short to let time slip away without experiencing the things on the bucket list. One thing that has been on my list for a long time is a trip to Washington DC and it has been planned to happen next month.

Although I will be blogging about my travel experiences during the trip, I want to go ahead and share with you the things that have been my focus while planning the trip.

5 Travel Considerations:

1. Airline Regulations

It is important to make sure you are aware of the rules and regulations of traveling with medications. Contact the airline to set up any assistance you may need. If you are traveling with your own wheelchair, let the airline know as well.

In picking our flight times, I made sure to arrive in Washington at a time when our room would be ready. Check in time is at 3:00 pm and our flight arrives just after 4:00 pm. This was important because I will need the room in case the flight triggers a migraine. I also picked our seats with what I would need if I had an episode during the flight in mind. There is no one sitting in front of us so my husband will be able to assist me if necessary.

2. Hotel Accommodations

Choosing the location of the hotel was very important on this trip. We are not renting a car because Washington has a good public transportation system and we plan on utilizing Uber or Lyft during our stay. Making sure our hotel was near public transit and within walking distance of stores, restaurants and attractions was very important when making a hotel selection.

3. Dietary Restrictions

There are several food items such as processed meats and hard cheese that I avoid because they are Migraine triggers. This can make eating out challenging and it can be frustrating when menus are not specific. Unfortunately, wait staff rarely know the answers to my unique questions and when they go ask, it requires me to put a lot of faith in the kitchen staff to accept the answer as fact. 

Because of this, I have spent many hours researching local restaurants to determine the places that have food I can eat. I have a list of these pre-approved restaurants so we can choose each day from the list. I think this will keep me from getting frustrated and it will make it easier to avoid the items I need to stay away from.

4. Energy levels

Since my energy runs out pretty quick, I knew that planning our activities for each day would be important. I know that I am not able to handle 12-14 hour days of non-stop sightseeing like most people do on vacation. 

In order to keep fatigue induced episodes to a minimum, we only have 1 activity planned for each day. Since I do not handle lights well, we have no evening activities planned. Our evenings will be used to rest for the next day. We have a day of rest planned in the middle of the trip.

5. Transportation

As I said earlier, we are not renting a car. Washington DC has a good public transportation system with a Metro as well as busses. There are also services like Uber and Lyft that we can utilize. 

I have put a lot of planning into this trip that most people don’t have to consider. I want this to be a great trip. It will be great to get away from the usual day to day routine.

What types of things do you have to consider when you travel?

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Planning to Travel with Chronic Illness


  • Shannon

    As someone with Fibro, traveling honestly makes me so nervous. Obviously I want to go explore the world, but I also don’t want to feel horrible all the time haha. These are wonderful tips that I honestly never really though about. I never really thought about making plans a certain way when traveling to accommodate my illness.

  • T.M. Brown

    As a food allergy family, we can relate to every single of the travel considerations you have to take into account. We, like you, won’t let it keep us down, though, and we have traveled quite a bit ~ making accommodations where we need to in order to ensure our child’s safety.

    • Jen Cannon

      It took a long time to get there but it was worth it. It makes my life easier now. Amazing how I was preparing for my chronic illness before I even knew it would be my journey!

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