Living your best life with arthritis.

Tips for travel enthusiasts living with arthritis

plane over citylineTravelling with arthritis can be challenging because of the added physical and mental stress on your body and mind. But if you are a travel enthusiast, nothing will stop you from travelling. Here are some helpful tips to make travelling safer and easier:

  1. Travel light – Limit the amount of hand luggage you carry and keep their weight light so that you are not placing additional stress on your joints. Take a bag with wheels so you are not straining your shoulders or arms. Ask for help whenever you have to lift your bag. Buy your necessities once you arrive at your destination. Consider donating clothes or shoes at the end of your trip so you don’t have to carry too much home.
  2. Dress accordingly and for comfort – Travelling often involves a lot of walking. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and loose-fitting clothing. If you plan on doing outdoor activities, bring the appropriate gear and clothing.
  3. Avoid travelling during busy times such as Christmas and Spring Break – Book holidays during slow times to avoid standing in long queues for hours or fly in crowded planes. Slow times are usually mid-week, outside school holidays, and in the months of February, April, May, and November.
  4. Stretch regularly – Sitting for long hours can be painful if you have stiff joints while walking for long hours can cause cramps and put additional stress on your joints. Try and move frequently and alternate between sitting and standing. If you are travelling by plane or train, choose an aisle seat so you can get in and out easily or pay for additional legroom.
  5. Keep your medication and prescription handy – Keeping your medication readily accessible will ensure you can take it when you need it. Label all your medications and check with your doctor to see if there are travel restrictions. Some medication requires you to carry a doctor’s note. Additionally, time pain medications for their most effectiveness.
  6. Do your research – Learning what amenities are available in your hotel, the type of roads at your destination, if public transit is accessible, what the physical requirements are for certain activities, and what the typical weather in the region is – these are all information that will prepare you for your trip.
  7. Get insurance – Travel insurance will help you get medical help when you need it. Make sure you get a travel insurance catered to you. Speak to your travel consultant or insurance broker.
  8. Get vaccinated – Healthcare professionals at travel clinics can help you determine what vaccine(s) you may need for your travel. Bring your full itinerary (to the best of your knowledge) to the travel clinic – be sure to include specific travel dates and city names.
  9. Emergency contact – Ensure you have an emergency contact in your travel files and that this person knows your itinerary. In the event of an emergency, this may speed up rescue efforts.
  10. Travel with a buddy – A travel buddy can do many things:
    • help you take pictures so you don’t risk hurting yourself while taking a selfie
    • help you carry bags when your joints are hurting
    • keep you in check and remind you when you need to rest