Thursday, February 16, 2012

PFAM: The Travel Edition

As some of you know, I've dipped my toes back into traveling since it's become obvious that chronic illness is, well, chronic. And I like taking vacations, even if I have to take my symptoms and health issues along with me.

I'm still learning how to be successful at travel, but I have learned a few things that make a huge difference for me:
  •  Staying at a hotel like Embassy Suites that has a separate area from the bedroom means Ellie and Scott can have a home base to watch tv and/or hang out while I'm still sleeping. It's crucial that there be a door to shut between the two rooms. If we only have a regular hotel room, it means either I'm awake way earlier than my body can cope with or they have to get up and have somewhere to go. And having somewhere to go around 6 or 7 a.m. can be challenging most place. (It wasn't a problem at Disneyland, though. :)
  • Plan for naps. Although I don't nap daily at home, I always have quiet time. On vacations, it's a lot harder to find quiet time, especially when you're traveling with a kid. Naptime makes it all possible. 
  • Don't over commit. I find this most challenging when we're visiting family and there's people who want to spend time with us. I find that the larger the group, the more tiring it is to spend time with them and increased fatigue makes many of my symptoms worse. It's really hard to say no, but it's crucial.
  • Eat regularly and keep healthy snacks available in the hotel room for when going out in search of a meal isn't an option. 
  • Schedule downtime for after the trip, even if you don't expect to need it. I always need it, but I don't always realize ahead of time how much I'm going to need it. Even a low-key weekend trip takes more out of me than being at home.
In My RA Beach Vacation, Deb Murphy of ABCs of RA wrote about a successful weekend away at Myrtle Beach, North Carolina, a popular destination in the southeast U.S. It took some planning ahead, but it sounds like a great vacation.

Meanwhile, Deb also pointed out a great travel blog called Travels With Pain, which has many, many articles with some great advice for people with chronic illnesses. Here are two that I'd like to share: Five Ways To Make A Trip Less Painful and Taking a One-Night Trip.

So this was definitely not the most popular edition of Patients for a Moment that I've hosted, but I'd love to hear tips and travel stories from other spoonies in the comments if you have any you want to share!


abcsofra said...

Well, like you, I still like to try and take a trip now and then....even a local stay vacation of sorts. I think if this was done closer to summer when kids are out of school more might have tagged on but I do appreciate all the tips on traveling. There is a travel blogger I follow at They have some great tips for traveling as well and I thought you might want to check them out. Check out some of the older posts and some the links. Any bit of help traveling with ra, in my book, makes for a better it near or far.

Aviva said...

Thanks, Deb!

Yeah, I guess the timing wasn't right for the topic. I'm probably unusual in planning my trips as far ahead as I do. Thanks for the link to! I hadn't come across them before but I'm going to go check them out right now!

Anonymous said...

Aviva, Sorry, I didn't know about the PFAM that was going on. But, I probably would have just written about how I DON"T vacation...ever...since I had been sick. I am boring. My idea of a vacation is going to the front porch to the back porch!

Laurie said...

Sorry I didn't have anything to add--the past few years we've never had more than a couple days where we won't both working (or on bedrest...or with a new baby...) But, we're hoping to take a few days this summer and I cannot wait! Anyway, I really just wanted to pop in and say hello, and say thanks for hosting! (Something else I hope to be able to do again soon...)

Aviva said...

Mo: I'm so sorry that you haven't been able to travel at all since you got sick. :-( I've had three trips now in the past almost two years: two 4-hour car rides to visit my inlaws, a trip to Chicago (~4 hours by plane) to visit my extended family, and a trip to Disneyland, where I felt successful by simply managing to get into the park for about an hour per day, mostly to eat with Scott & Ellie. It's hard, and I generally come home swearing I'm never going to try traveling again until/unless I'm healthier. But I feel guilty about not doing the family visits because both sets of Ellie's grandparents are in poor enough health they can't really come to visit her.

Aviva said...

Laurie: No worries! I totally understand! But thanks for coming and visiting anyway! :) And I look forward to you hosting, too. Your editions always make me think, which is good!