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5 Ways to Prepare for a Trip With Fibromyalgia

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Traveling when you have fibromyalgia (or any other chronic pain condition) sucks. Even with the below tips, your trip is bound to cause you extra discomfort. I’m sorry – I understand!

​I have used all the ideas I am going to suggest. Some have worked for me, some have not…but they might work for you. I am 100 percent sure that not taking steps to make traveling more tolerable is guaranteed to bring you more pain, probably inducing a fibro flare.

Here are five things you can do to prepare ahead of time:

1. Check the Weather

Get details about the area you are going to – I just do a Google search. I like to check the weather to see not only what the forecast is calling for, but what the normal weather is. This way, ​if the area is having an unusual heat spike, I can pack for that. But also, knowing what the normal weather is like is so helpful. That heat streak may end, and I want to know I have packed extra items (layering) I may not have thought I’d need. This is a must for those of us who are temperature-sensitive.

​If you are sensitive to changes in weather, it can be invaluable to plan for a few possible bad days, plan activities around them, and have other plan in case the bad days don’t happen! The weather network is my go-to for weather forecasts.

2. Consider Food Sensitivities

Having a special diet can make traveling hard. I know I am lactose intolerant and very sensitive to MSG. If you have food sensitivities, search for the restaurants near where you will be staying and see if they offer online menus. Knowing ahead there are a few places where you can eat will help reduce stress and anxiety.

Also look up grocery stores, so you know where to stock up on snacks you can eat. Pick up some bottled water too – keeping hydrated is so important!

3. Pack A Go-To Bag

​Make sure it is easy for you to handle. Some items you might include:

  • Pack your medication bag and take more than you think you’ll need. Emergencies can come up and you don’t want to be without. Include a bottle of water to take medications with. Pack prescription medication in original bottles to prove they are for you.
  • Pack a paper list of all diagnoses, medications, doctor and pharmacy
    information, allergies and any other pertinent medical information you may need to provide to a hospital or clinic if you need one.
  • Any charge cords you are bringing. I usually drop mine into a glasses case to keep them together.
  • Ear plugs a great help if you want to sleep while traveling. They also help with noise sensitivities (will it be noisy where you are going?). I never forget these.
  • Bring any hot or cold packs you use. Look for over-the-counter products like heat patches (pharmacies or stores like Walmart would have them).
  • Dark sunglasses or an eye mask for light sensitivity or migraines.
  • Paper and pen to write down anything you want to remember if you struggle with fibro fog.

4. Plan Activities​

  • Research the activities you want to do/see while away.
  • Know ahead of time what sites are on the “bucket list” and prioritize them. You may not get to enjoy everything, but visiting the top items first will make the trip just as great!
  • Look them up online, make sure you are going at the right time of year and check if they are disability accessible (if needed).
  • Remember to schedule rest times or relaxing days (maybe by a pool?).
  • See if you can buy passes for the time you want to go or if they should be booked online or ahead of time. (Sometimes there are deals to be had by buying online.) I try to avoid anything date/time specific though since I don’t know how I will feel ahead of time.

5. Download Handy Apps

Maps, restaurant review sites, coupons, your banking app? There are so many available now – I suggest searching for the apps relevant to you and your needs when you travel (I bet there is even an app to tell you where the nearest washrooms are if you have IBD, IBS, etc. or just need to go).

I hope you find these helpful! ​Is there anything you do prior to traveling that you find helps?

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: December 9, 2016
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