Almost everyone enjoys traveling. Kicking back on a white sandy beach, camera in hand, the sweet roar of the waves surrounding you, these are special moment. Why let a chronic illness stop you from traveling? There are so many beautiful places to visit on this planet, and the fresh air and relaxing atmosphere of a vacation is invigorating to the mind, body, and spirit. Traveling with a chronic illness just requires a few precautions and a little more careful planning. Here are 3 important tips for travelers with chronic illness.
Gather Your Documentation
Before you leave, make sure you consult with your primary care giver. Then, carefully gather your important medical records that may be helpful to any treating physicians in the case of an emergency while you are away. Travelers with known heart disease should carry a copy of their most recent electrocardiogram (ECG). Tourists with implanted devices that may trigger an alarm with electronic security, such as pacemakers, coronary stents, or implantable defibrillators, should carry documentation stating the presence, location, type, and all the electronic details of the device. If you are carrying medications, take along your prescription for those medications, especially if they could be considered narcotic.
Spend Extra Time Researching Accommodations
You’ll need to spend a good deal of time researching your options for accommodations before choosing the right one. If you have impaired mobility, you’ll need to find out about wheelchair ramps, elevators, the width of the hallways, and so on. Most undeveloped countries in Asia do not have any ADA requirements. Many European countries have cobblestones streets and lengthy stairwells. Read customer reviews and continue to ask questions until you’re confident that they can fully accommodate your unique needs. Also, depending on your condition, it may be wise to find a hotel near a hospital or medical facility.
Take Plenty of Medications
It’s imperative to gather all your medications ahead of time and to take along the appropriate documentation for those medications. Talk with your doctor to make sure you have an ample supply of what you will need during your travels. Keep your medications in your carry-on bag so you have them even if your baggage is lost. Also, check on storage recommendations. If you are traveling to high altitudes or an extremely humid or hot environment, check that it won’t have a negative impact on the storage or effectiveness of your prescriptions.
The most important thing when traveling with a chronic illness is to stay as healthy and comfortable as possible. The last thing you need while on vacation is to panic about forgetting your heart pills or insulin. You can do things like ask the airlines in advance to provide low-sodium or low-fat meals on flights, or to meet you at the gate with a wheelchair. All you need to do is plan ahead and pack carefully. A little extra time and effort is all that’s needed to ensure you have a trip of a lifetime.