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12 Tips for Traveling by Train With Chronic Illness

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For healthy people, traveling is just an everyday thing they may take for granted, but as a spoonie it can be quite a nightmare! We have to plan weeks ahead and have rest days beforehand to conserve spoons, and a few days after to recover. I travel on trains on a regular basis so I have come up with a list of things I do to make traveling with chronic illness a little easier.

1. Make a list of things you need to do in the days before and try to stagger them over a few days to conserve energy.


2. Make a list of things you need to pack, especially medical supplies, and tick it off as you pack! Sounds simple but if you have brain fog then remembering what you’ve packed can be difficult.

3. Again, brain fog is a pain so print out journey details before traveling!

4. Take a blanket and pillow! I always find trains really cold, and my fatigue can hit at any time, so having a blanket and pillow can be a godsend. You can get special travel pillows too which might help with pain.

5. If traveling by train a lot, apply for a railcard to get money off fares! When looking at the eligibility I didn’t think I was eligible, so I emailed them and it turns out if you have fibromyalgia you are eligible for a disability railcard. I just got my doctor to write me a note confirming I had fibromyalgia and they accepted that as evidence.

6. If you use the accessible toilet, get a radar key! They’re only a couple of pounds on eBay and I use mine so much, especially when traveling! Most accessible toilets in train stations and airports can only be accessed using a radar key, so they’re well worth having.

7. Bring snacks and a bottle of water in your bag. I tend to have something sugary in case of low blood sugar and something salty incase of a POTS episode.

8. Keep any medication you may need on the journey handy, rather than in your suitcase.

9. Take a book/magazine, or I take my tablet and headphones and download a film on Netflix which will last the whole journey – makes it go a lot quicker!

10. Carry a list of your illnesses and the medications you take, your doctor’s contact details and your partner/family’s contact details. Not only for your own reference but if you have an accident or become ill then medics may need them.

11. If you have a life-threatening illness or rely on medication, etc., wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace.

12. If you have a bladder or bowel condition then ask to be seated near the toilet. You can also get cards that state you have an urgent need to use the toilet.

I hope these tips help ease the pain (pun intended) of traveling!

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Thinkstock photo via kasto80.

Originally published: August 9, 2017
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