For 5 simple ideas for traveling well in spite of pain, watch the video below featuring Jenni Prokopy, a woman living with the pain and exhaustion of fibromyalgia. Despite her condition, Jenni needs to travel many times throughout the year and, in this video, she shares her favorite tips for traveling well. A transcript of the video is also available.
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Hi, and welcome to Fibromyalgia: 5 Tips for Traveling Like a Pro in Spite of Pain. My name is Jenni Prokopy and I'm just like you—a woman living with the pain and exhaustion of fibromyalgia. But I need to travel many times throughout the year, so I've collected some of my favorite tips for traveling well. I'm excited to share them with you!
Tip 1: Plan Ahead for Accommodations
Tip one: Plan ahead. I'm not just talking about making hotel and rental car reservations—you need to think about each step of your trip and the accommodations you may need.
If you have a hard time walking long distances, ask for a hotel room near the elevator. Of course, if you're a light sleeper, elevators can be noisy so you might want to request a room a little further down the hall. If you're attending a trade conference at a large convention center, you may need to reserve a scooter for transport; even some resort areas make scooters road-legal.
If you use a wheelchair, make sure your hotel can accommodate you and that rental car or shuttle companies are aware of your needs. Check some of the top travel Web sites or disability-specific travel Web sites for recommendations and specials. Plus, the FAA even has recommendations for navigating airports with assistive devices.
Tip 2: Medications: Do You Have Enough?
Tip two: Bring enough medication. One of the biggest travel mistakes I ever made was visiting a Gulf Coast vacation spot with just enough medication to last the trip. Of course, the inevitable happened: a hurricane threatened to extend our trip by days.
The painful lesson I learned then was to always pack an extra week's worth of medications, no matter where I'm going. You may want to keep your pills organized in counters like these (show pill organizer) but it's safest to travel with your meds in their original containers with the prescription labels still attached. Not only will you have an easier time with security personnel who may search you, but if you do need a refill while traveling, it will be easier to get one with that information handy.
And remember to always pack your medications in a carry-on bag! A lost suitcase with vital meds can ruin a vacation.
Tip 3: Channel Your Inner Packing Goddess
Tip three: Pack smart. Fatigue and pain from toting huge bags is often just an accepted part of travel. But one way I minimize these negative effects is to pack smart and pack light.
Spend time a few days before your trip to plan each outfit; jeans can be worn a few times, and well-organized coordinates make it easier to make multiple outfits out of just a few pieces. One gorgeous handbag can work for almost any occasion. Roll up anything you can to increase room in your suitcase, and coordinate colors for even greater flexibility.
If you have a hard time remembering what to bring when traveling (I always do!) make a list and save it for future trips.(show an example of a packing list) I tweak mine every year or so, and it saves valuable time and keeps my load light.
Tip 4: Luggage Matters
Tip four: Find your perfect bag. It may take a bit of research, but it's worth the effort. A great bag that meets FAA guidelines for overhead bin storage can still accommodate a week's worth of belongings, if it's designed right.
Today's best bags are made of lightweight materials and have long extendable handles and wheels that rotate to make pulling the bag easy. (show bag with matching carry-on [blur any logos]) You don't have to sacrifice style, either. Many designers have attractive suitcases with matching carry-ons. Visit discount commerce Web sites for periodic sales, checking user reviews for the best finds.
Tip 5: Transport—Choose Wisely
Tip five: Travel smart each step of the way. So you're packed, rested and ready to go. Getting to the airport is just the beginning of your travel day. If need be, did you call ahead for a cab that accommodates a wheelchair? Does your shuttle company guarantee a driver who will lift your bag? Did you check in with your airline ahead of schedule to avoid long lines? Will your rental car offer air conditioning and GPS for when you arrive tired and hungry? Does your hotel offer free shuttle pick-up?
Before every step of your journey, do your homework using trip planners, Web sites and referrals from trusted friends. You don't have to use up all your valuable energy when you travel...as long as you plan ahead and ask for what you need.