Travelling with a chronic illness, or anything that provides a limitation on your life can seem like a daunting task but there are steps that you can take to make it way easier! Here are 5 tips that I find really useful when planning my trips.
1. Stay somewhere with a Kitchen
Diet is important when it comes to keeping up energy levels and whilst you don’t have to be healthy all the time- you are on holiday after all– it can be helpful to know what is going into your meals.
When I go away, I still do go out for meals sometimes but having access to a kitchen has really helped me to plan my food around my activities.
Got a big afternoon? Make a dish with some brown carbs and veg for energy.
Light day? Make a salad that won’t cost an arm and a leg etc
It also helps to save money too as eating out for every meal can be expensive!
2. Make sure you have ways to get back to your accommodation
For someone like me who has chronic fatigue, a dip can happen anytime, and anywhere. Eating well can help to control this slightly but it doesn’t mean that this won’t happen unfortunately :(.
Making sure that you have a way back to your accommodation should you need it is essential.
If you are travelling with a car that is ideal (but make sure you’re in the right state to drive ofc!) or if you’re with someone else, make sure they are insured on the car too. Max (my boyfriend) has been driving me everywhere whilst we’ve been down in Cornwall (mainly because I still can’t drive…) and it has been really helpful to have someone help me get back when I feel bad.
Should you not have access to a car, make sure that you look up public transport links and know your route home.
Also, get the number for a taxi firm incase it is hard to get one off the street. If you are staying somewhere that is does not speak your native language, try and memorise: ‘Do you speak x’ and ‘Can you take me to x’. If you don’t think you’ll be able to remember it, write it down.
3. Make a To-Do List
I don’t know about you but I feel way calmer having planned out what I intend to do for a trip. Making plans of what to do and see really calms any anxiety of floundering around aimlessly.
To make an overall trip list I look on pintrest or other people’s travel blogs to see what previous visitors recommend. Local tourism sights are always a good bet and I even look on Instagram to see where the coolest looking spots are!
Then, it helps to make daily breakdowns. Planning what you want to do each day is great for people with illnesses because we can say: ‘Wednesday looks like a heavy day so let’s make Tuesday an easy one and plan for an early night’ etc
4. Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go to plan
After spending ages creating your perfect itinerary (or at least I do) it can be so frustrating when your illness decides not cooperate.
During my trip to Cornwall, I think I only did about 70% of what I had planned to do because I had dips. It sucks but no matter how hard you plan, shit happens. The best thing to do is try to enjoy the things you’ve managed to do and be flexible with changing up what you want to do based on how you’re feeling.
5. Take energy boosting snacks with you wherever you go
If you start to flag, have a dip of or just start to feel all round rubbish, having some energy boosting snacks to hand can help give you that small boost of energy you need to get back home or to get you over the hill so that you can continue on with your day.
Personally, I take a super small Tupperware of trail mix with me everywhere I go. It has a mixture of nuts and seeds that are not only a yummy, healthy snack, but are also great for a little boost.
Let’s say you’re feeling rubbish but it would take you a while to get back to your accommodation or to get a proper meal- having something like a peanut bar, some seeds or (if you fancy something more fun) a cacao bar can be a huge help.
Don’t think you can’t do it- you can!
Our bodies might be fighting against us at times but it is 100% possible to get out there and do the things we love. We just need to take a few extra precautions than healthy people.
So to all my fellow Spoonies out there, let’s get exploring!