#HAWMC Day 20: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? Maybe you’ve already traveled to an exciting place and want to go back. We know travelling with a chronic illness can be challenging, so any tips for others that you can share would be great!
- If you need to travel with any medical equipment, make sure that you have the proper written documentation from your doctor. I recently watch a woman kicked off a plane because she didn't have documentation for her oxygen tank. She was about as happy as the insulin lady above (note; also make sure all meds are in the original packaging. Customs doesn't like unidentified pills).
- When you first arrive, try to adjust to the time zone. If you can make it until about 7 or 8 PM and then go to bed early, it helps to adjust your body to the time difference.
- Try to keep more or less to regular schedule. If you usually go to bed at 10 and wake up at 7, don't stay up until 2 AM every night and sleep in until noon. Illness doesn't take a vacation (unfortunately) just because we do, and I think for many of us, routine is key.
- Build in rest time. I'm guilty of being go, go, go when I'm on a trip because I don't want to miss anything. I've learned I have to build in a day or two to relax - go to the hotel spa, order room service, or at least do something less physically strenuous to give myself a break.
- Alcohol. If you have an illness that is affected badly by alcohol, it's still affected badly by alcohol when you're on vacation. This is a sad but true fact.
- If you have food allergies or sensitivities, try to learn the words for these foods in the local language before you go, so that you can at least attempt to ask about them. The same is ideal for your condition, though I'm nearly certain that cyclothymia doesn't translate into other languages, and I suspect many chronic illness sufferers are in the same boat.
- Other countries seem to have a different idea of a food "containing something" - as in, it doesn't contain it if it's not the main ingredient. While I hate to advise being a finicky traveler, sometimes it's too important not to be.