Whilst holidays are meant to be about relaxing and getting away from it all, they can also be extremely stressful, especially when you have the added complication of Chronic Pain. With this in mind, and the upcoming summer period there are some hints, tips and advice that can help make holidaying a little bit easier. Hopefully they will come in handy when planning your next adventure!
Tips from a Physiotherapist:
- Book an aisle seat! Practical things like this can make your life a little easier when traveling by plane. You can then get up to stretch and move about more easily. You also might consider using compression socks, especially if you can’t move about as much as you’d like.
- Explore different stretches and exercises along the way – make use of the opportunities you have to do these, and get creative in the more limiting situations.
Keep fit prior to going away. Whether you’re just going to the beach or you’re site-seeing on a weekend break, it’s always good to try and maintain or build up your fitness beforehand, so that you’re able to do and enjoy as much as you want whilst away.
Stretching out your legs and circling your feet are good ways of keeping the blood flowing and prevent getting stiff. Many in flight magazines also now contain simple and gentle exercises to try.
Tips from an Occupational Therapist:
- Think about what you’re taking with you – Is your bag too heavy? If so, do you really need it all? If you struggle to carry things, make sure to get a bag with wheels!
- Make frequent stops if possible. Break up the journey to make it more manageable.
- It might be useful to have back-ups such as a fold-away walking stick, or a neck pillow.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it, i.e. using an airport buggy.
- Pace yourself up to it. If you’re planning a more active holiday, perhaps do a few day trips out before you go, or even a weekend away to see how you manage and consider what you might do differently to manage better on a longer trip.
- Plan ahead – Are there disabled facilities at your destination, as well as en route?
Before packing your bags why not lay out the clothes you plan to take. You can drastically reduce how much you need to take by selecting a few key pieces that mix and match together, it also gives the impression of having taken three times as much.
If you roll clothes rather than fold them they take up less room, meaning you could use a smaller bag. Rolling clothes has the added benefit of reducing creases. Wrapping toiletries in plastic bags first means if anything leaks you don’t end up with a case full of soap stained clothes.
If you are traveling by airplane, it is worth finding out if your carrier does early boarding as this gives you more time to get on the plane and get into your seat before the rest of the passengers get into the usual boarding frenzy.
Tips from a Psychologist:
- Remember that when doing something new, it’s very normal to feel excited as well as anxious and perhaps even a little apprehensive.
- Be mindful of any thoughts, emotions or feelings that come up and might act as barriers, getting in the way of you doing what is important to you.
- Communicate with your fellow travelers. Let others in your party know in advance that you will need to go at your own pace, and might need to take regular stops. Talking and problem-solving beforehand can help to prevent some frustrations whilst away.
- Manage your expectations. Often if we expect too much of ourselves, it can be demotivating when we do not achieve this and can deter us from having another go. Don’t try to squeeze too much in to one holiday, and just do what is manageable. After all, holidays are meant to be enjoyable!
If there are a number of things you would like to do or see whilst you are away, try to prioritize the most important ones whilst also allowing time to relax and unwind. Think positive, anything you don’t manage to do or see is always a good reason to return for another holiday.
Tips from a Nurse:
- Take enough medication with you to last your trip. It’s always good to be prepared – don’t assume you can get more when you are there, it may not always be the case!
- Make sure to take out health insurance. Nothing worse than shelling out for health care treatment the one time you forget to get cover for it!
It may be a good idea to pack an extra couple of days medication just in case of delays. Some medications can only be taken in hand luggage or in checked in baggage, and you may need proof that the medication is for you, so it might be worth checking with your pharmacist or airline before packing.
If you are traveling within Europe you will also need to make sure you have a valid European Health Insurance card, known as an
EHIC card. This is a vital item when traveling as it enables you to access state healthcare at a reduced cost or free depending on where you are, and more importantly, it also covers you for existing medical conditions.
When taking out Travel Insurance you must make sure you declare any pre-existing conditions. This can result in higher premiums, but the alternative is that you will have paid out for a policy that won't cover you. Make sure you get several quotes from different companies. Once you get the cheapest quote, why not try ringing back some of the other and see if they can beat your lowest quote, you’d be surprised how much you can save in just half an hour.
The most important thing is to enjoy yourself, whatever it is you like to do, and hopefully these tips will help make your well deserved holiday something you will be able to enjoy.
Rhonda Martinez is a college instructor, writer, editor and reviewer at
LegitWritingServices. She enjoys writing on different topics including psychology, marketing, education and technology. Rhonda has a degree in English Literature and Pscyhology.