Life holds so many possibilities, including exploring the world. Whether your dream is to go on safari to Africa, relax on a tropical beach, or visit a bustling metropolis, you won’t want to miss out because of joint pain.
But if you have arthritis, you’ll need extra preparation to avoid flare-ups when you deal with holiday crowds, lineups, long walks in airports, and accommodations.
Here are 12 tips to help you organize a pain-free, enjoyable and memorable holiday.
12 Tips for Arthritis Care on Vacation
1. Work with a specialized travel agent:
If you suffer from arthritis, a specialized travel agency such as The Disabled Holiday Directory
can give you help and advice when booking a holiday. They search for suitable accommodations and arrange for equipment for people with limited mobility or disabilities.
Here is a listing of Full Service Travel Agencies
for mature travelers, slow walkers, wheelchair travelers. It includes accessible travel planning for group tours, cruises, and individual accessible travel.
2. Pack the right stuff
: Preparing for climate and activities is always important, but when you’re travelling with arthritis, you need more than good walking shoes and sunscreen. Make sure to pack any medications you take, and always bring extra to
[caption id="attachment_508" align="alignright" width="300"]
Pack whatever you need to make your journey more comfortable.[/caption]
account for unforeseen circumstances, such as layovers, delays or lost luggage.
Also bring canes, walkers, heating pads, extra pillows, or whatever else might make the journey more comfortable.
3. Discuss accommodations ahead of time:
If you’re traveling to stay with friends or family, be sure to tell them what kind of help you'll need. This may include sleeping accommodations on the first floor to avoid stairs, a chair that’s easy to rise from, and anything else that can make your stay easier.
4. Book accessible hotels:
Do a little research when you book your hotel. Call the reservation desk to ask if they can book you in a room that’s close to elevators so you don’t have to walk down long corridors.
If you use a wheelchair, find out if the room is set up to accommodate the space you’ll need. Ask if they have walk-in shower rooms, or grab rails in the bathtub and near the toilet.
Find out if the doors have levers or knobs, and if there’s a fridge in the room if you need to store medications.
5. Plan your flight:
Holiday flying can mean long lines at security or customs, and packed flights. To make it easier, book smart by looking for non-stop flights to prevent unnecessary boarding and re-boarding, or for the fewest stops possible to your destination.
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Plan your holiday flying time to avoid long lines and packed flights.[/caption]
Mid-week flights are less likely to be fully booked, so you have a greater possibility of getting the seat, including one with extra leg room.
Flying with Disability
is a website with excellent tips for making air travel less stressful. You’ll find tips on everything from how to book your flight to accessibility at airports. Also check out Disabled World
for many more tips.
6. Get more leg room:
When you check in at the airport, ask if there's a seat with more available leg room. If not, you can ask the flight attendant to move you if the flight isn’t full.
You can even ask a fellow passenger nicely if they would trade seats. You never know when you'll find someone in the holiday spirit who will be happy to help you.
7. Stay mobile in the air:
Keep moving before and during the flight. Standing in security lines or sitting in a small airplane seat can increase joint pain.
Whenever you can, take the opportunity to move, whether it’s to bend your knees in line or to get up and walk around the plane.
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Drink plenty of water to reduce inflammation while travelling.[/caption]
8. Stay hydrated:
Air travel can dehydrate you. Drink plenty of water to reduce inflammation. A glass of wine might help make the flight pass by more quickly, but in general it’s better to avoid alcohol and coffee because they reduce hydration and aggravate inflammation. Ask for water, cranberry, tomato or orange juice when the drink cart comes by.
9. Request assistance:
Before you travel, find out about assistance at the airport. If you find it difficult to walk long distances, take advantage of wheelchairs or motorized escorts through the airport. On the flight, let the attendant know that you may need extra assistance. Don’t waste all your energy getting there - save it for your destination!
10. Enjoy the train:
Train travel is easier on your joints because you have more opportunities to be active and prevent stiffness. You also have more options for where you can sit and there is generally more leg room. When booking your ticket, find out if seats are available for people with limitations.
As you board, ask the staff where key facilities are located, especially the nearest restroom.
11. Road trip!
Whether you're behind the wheel or in the passenger seat, driving offers the greatest amount of flexibility, because you're on your own schedule.
Leaving early for your destination gives you more time to get out of the car to stretch. You can even take advantage of roadside attractions to walk around and get your joints moving, while you scout out the best spot for a photo opportunity.
Here are more tips for surviving holiday road trips
12. Crucial carry-ons:
Make sure you carry your medications and back-up
prescriptions with you. Have your doctors' names, phone numbers, medical diagnosis, and names and dosages of medications you take in case you need a refill in a foreign country, as well as information about any allergies you have.
Have the phone numbers for any medical insurance policies you take out. Photocopy passports, airline tickets, traveler’s checks, credit cards, and any important papers.
Keep copies in a separate place in your baggage, in case you lose the originals, and also leave copies with a family member or friend back home.