Travelling with a disability or illness
Do you find it difficult to manage your health when you’re away from home? Follow these tips to help your trip go smoothly.
Lots of us who have health issues find it difficult to be away from home. Home is our safe place; our comfort zone. We become very good at managing our needs in our own space. When we move out of this space, health management can suddenly become daunting. Travelling with a disability or health condition can cause lots of worry.
Have you avoided a social event or a trip away because of a health condition? Sometimes travelling is unavoidable. As well as that, we should all be able to get away sometimes- if only for a change of scenery.
Well, it’s time to relax. We’ve put together our best advice for travelling with a disability or illness.
1. Speak to your doctor
If you’re worried about your health, ask your doctor if you’re clear to travel. Your doctor will also assess whether you’re fit to fly, if that’s part of the trip. Talking to your doctor will also alert them to anything you need, such as a repeat prescription that might be due beforehand.
2. Assess what you need
Home is a safe place, but why? What is it that helps make the day go smoothly? Whether it’s the wide bathroom doorway or the fact you know where your medication will be, assess what matters to you. Make a list of everything that’s essential and desirable. That way, you know exactly what you’ll need or want when travelling.
3. Accessible accommodation
Refer to your list when booking accommodation, to make sure you have what you’ll need to feel comfortable. These days, it’s easier to filter out any unsuitable options. Booking.com has a great accessibility feature, which lets you search for hotels that accommodate disabilities.
The best thing to do is to give the hotel a call and explain your needs in full. This is a great way to find out exactly what’s there and how helpful the staff are.
4. Flying requirements
If your trip includes flying, communication is key. Let the airline know if you’ll require assistance at least 48 hours before. It’s a good idea to include details- as they might not think of everything you would. So, if you’ll need help folding a wheelchair or assistance getting into a seat, make sure you address that.
If you’re travelling with someone else who’s disabled, it’s great to visit the airport beforehand, if you can. This is a great tool for putting your mind at rest. You can find out where the nearest toilets are and assess noise levels and quieter spaces, if that’s something your loved one requires.
5. Packing for the trip
Again, lists are your best friend. Make a list of items you need every day- from your toothbrush to wheelchair batteries and comfy shoes. Get yourself a lightweight case with wheels- nothing too tricky to move around.
You might not be able to take specialist items in carry on luggage. Liquids have to be limited, so if you have several liquid medications, be sure to add a check-in bag to your trip.
6. Medication management
It’s vital that you continue taking your medication properly when travelling. If you struggle to organise your doses or would simply prefer it to be done for you, check out PillTime. It’s a simple and free way to better manage your doses. Everything you need for one dose is in one pouch. The lightweight packaging makes it easy to travel with medication.
7. Worry about travelling with a disability
Anxiety about travelling can be tough to manage. The best way to stay as calm as possible is to get organised. If you know everything is taken care of, there’s less to feel anxious about. It’s a good idea to pack some tools to help keep your anxiety at bay whilst you’re away. Guided meditation videos can be really helpful, and are easily accessed via your phone or tablet.
8. Healthcare abroad
Work out what emergency healthcare will be available abroad, to save getting caught off-guard. If travelling within Europe, ensure to have an up-to-date EHIC card. This lets you access professional help, should you need it. When picking travel insurance, be sure to disclose your medical information to get protection that covers your needs.