Recently I have been on the road, traveling from Florida to Texas and back. Traveling takes a lot out of you. You get out of the daily routine that you are used to, which can be frustrating. You may stay with family or friend’s and try to figure out where you belong in the dance they have rehearsed and perfected of their house. You drive many hours or fly and have to deal with the airlines, security and luggage. It is all exhausting, especially when you have medical problems. The stress on wondering if you packed everything for the what if’s, could send you to a padded room alone!!!! However, the best thing to do is plan everything out!!!
Funny that I say that when I am not the most organized person. I like controlled chaos. I don’t know why but my brain does not function when everything is in it’s place or organized perfectly. Yet when traveling, I have to overcome the chaos and organize everything. So here are some steps I use when traveling.
1. Know where you are going and staying.
2. Figure out the best way for you to travel there, whether it is flying or driving.
3. Make a list of what you absolutely need to take, from medical supplies to your clothes. Look at the weather for the time you are staying so you know what you will need clothing wise.
4. If you are flying, you want to make your list manageable and not overwhelming. Take only what you will need. This way you do not over pack and do not have to worry about all the luggage.
5. If you are driving sometimes travel plans change so be prepared to have an extra bag in the car with an outfit, pajamas, and extra medical supplies. Also, remember to stop frequently to stretch, use facilities, eat and hydrate. In case a problem may arise, figure out where you can stay (ex: hotel) if you need to stop overnight somewhere. This can save you a lot of frustration.
6. Pack efficiently. When you know where you will be staying, see if there is laundry facilities. This way it cuts down on clothing and the amount of suitcases you have, that way you can wash your clothes and not have to take so much. I tend to over pack and find out that I don’t wear half the clothes that I pack.
7. When flying, carry all your medications and supplies plus a change of clothes on your carry on. This way if your luggage is lost or arriving later, you will not be in need of the most important items. Also, call ahead to the TSA and airline, notifying them that you are handicapped and whatever special needs you might have and if you need help through security and to the appropriate gate. Calling ahead and arriving early will help this process run smoother and help ease the anxiety.
8. Print out a brief medical history and bring it with you wherever you go!!! (This should have been number 1!) This should have your full name, insurance information, diagnosis, medication list, allergy list, a brief surgical history, and contact information for your doctors and for your point of contact in case of an emergency. This is also a great item to keep in your purse, wallet, day planner, vehicle and home.
9. Remember traveling can cause you to have anxiety especially when you have a disability. Stay calm and plan it all out. Notifying your doctors of your travel plans and of any anxiety is always the best thing to do and they can also help ease your mind.
Wherever you might be heading, remember to have some fun!!!! Hopefully your next trip will be easier with these tips!!! Enjoy and safe travels!!!!
Written 5th January 2015