Home or Away: 10 Tips for managing MS while on holidays.

It is safe to say this year has been the year of the ‘staycation’ and exploring our own back garden. This time last year we had all hoped that by now the pandemic would be a bizarre distant memory. Perhaps, you had dreamed of plane hopping to some exotic, sunny location during the summer. Finding some perfect getaway to relax and reflect on the absurdity of the last year while sipping a cocktail and looking out across a crystal-clear sea with waves breaking over ivory sand. But alas, it seems that the way we travel is not set to change anytime soon.

 

While the pandemic has certainly changed the nature of how we travel, the list of ways MS can interfere with our adventures remains the same. In this blog post I want to share with you some travel tips and tricks I have found useful when both jet-setting abroad and exploring our beautiful emerald isle.

 

  1. Check your appointments.
    Double check your calendar and make sure you will not miss any important appointments while you are away. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to reschedule any doctor's visits or scans.
     
  2. Pace yourself and plan rest.
    If you are planning a busy trip, be sure to also schedule some rest days to relax and recuperate. Maybe try to alternate heavy activity days with some more relaxed days where you can chill out and enjoy a well-deserved lie-on in bed.
     
  3. Get your medical supplies and medication organised.
    Make sure you have filled all your prescriptions in time for your trip away and ensure you have enough medication to cover your entire trip. This might mean contacting your pharmacy to ask about filling your prescription early. I would also recommend bringing a few extra days of medication just in case you are delayed in returning home for any reason. Don’t forget to bring a general first aid kit as well to cover any non-MS related mishaps. Colourful band-aids are a must! Finally, if you are travelling abroad make sure to store your medications in your hand luggage to avoid any lost luggage nightmares.
     
  4. Bring an up-to-date doctor’s letter.
    Take an up-to-date doctor’s letter which explains your condition and lists the medications you take. This is a great document to have should you have any medical mishaps or injuries while you are away. Be sure to have your doctor list the generic name of any medications you may be on, so they are easily recognisable to medical professionals both at home and abroad. Keep this letter for future trips and don’t forget to update it if there is a change in your condition or treatments.
     
  5. Get your documents in order.
    If you are traveling in Ireland, make sure you take important documents such as the details of your medical insurance, as well as some form of identification, such as a driver’s license. When the time comes for traveling abroad again ensure documents such as your Passport and European Health Insurance Card are in date. Also, depending on where abroad you are traveling you may need to bring a record of certain vaccinations.
     
  6. Extra Time.
    If your schedule allows, try to take an extra day away from work or everyday life when you return home from your trip. This will give you time to unpack, run any pressing errands and rest if needs be. This extra day can help reduce fatigue and stress associated with travel, as well as helping you ease yourself back into normality.
     
  7. Call ahead. 
    Whether you are travelling by train, plane or automobile make sure you call ahead to check your transport will be in-line with your accessibility needs. For example, you may need to pre-book or make sure your travel provider is aware that you need disability assistance. The same applies for checking the accessibility of your hotel or rental.
     
  8. Pack early.
    Start packing a few weeks in advance. This allows you to stay on top of things and prepare what you want to bring with you. I would also recommend making a checklist of what you need to bring, which you can update as you go along and use to check-off your packing just before your trip. This helps avoid the last-minute packing panic and stop you forgetting any essentials.
     
  9. Ask for and accept help. 
    Do not be afraid to ask for help from others if you need it. This could be seeking help from someone you are traveling with or seeking assistance from staff members in a hotel, restaurant, or attraction. Don’t forget if you use a mobility aid or disclose that you have a disability you may not have to queue at certain museums or attractions. This is a great trip for making your energy go further. Remember, this is your holiday, and you deserve to enjoy every aspect of it in comfort.
     
  10. Remember to enjoy your trip. 
    Life is not perfect, and mistakes and mishaps can happen, especially when MS is involved. So, remember to have fun anyway! If certain things do not go as planned, don’t let them get in the way of enjoying your trip. 

To learn more about MS and Travel visit here https://www.ms-society.ie/about-ms/ms-info/everyday-life/travel

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