MS and the Holidays

This week Declan Groeger shares some useful tips and advice when travelling with MS.

I love holidays; plain and simple I love them. It is my chance to get away from everything for a short while. I find that even the shortest of breaks is worth the organisational effort involved before getting away.

Some people like different holiday locations every time they travel. Whereas others like the regularity of the same location each time; the seasons influence others choices. The location and the time of travel are personal choices but a hugely important part of any holiday. It doesn’t matter what destination or season, it’s planning.

When choosing a holiday select your destination carefully – research the weather, accommodation and the accessible facilities in the area. I have included a short list of my holiday preparations. Wherever and whenever you decide to travel preparation is key.

This is your holiday – fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Pack smartly:

This blog is not about packing advice  but is my best advice for 20% of us  that carry some form of disability.

When packing remember that there is no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing, so pack appropriately . Pack all of your medications and always add a few spares in case of delay. I think that it is imperative that you keep your medications in your carry-on luggage as luggage has been known to go astray; if you self-inject check out the carrier’s policy.

 I carry a typed list of my current medication at all times but it may prove to be an invaluable piece of information should some misfortune occur whilst abroad. It should make treatment easier if the medical team know exactly what your medical condition is; what medication and dosage you are taking. Contact details for your specialists may also prove helpful. Hopefully, the list will never be required but ‘be prepared'. My list is typed as handwriting is not universally legible. This may prove very important in a non-English speaking country.

Travel insurance:

Check  that your travel insurance is up to date and familiarise yourself with what is covered; we are all aware that MS is unpredictable and forces plans to be changed or cancelled at short notice. Are you covered if MS throws a tantrum and forces you to cancel? Are you covered for medical treatment abroad if the need arises? Is a companion covered to stay with you? Are you covered for the journey home if special arrangements are needed? Being aware of your cover and having all the information with you will leave less to worry about if things do go awry.

The Airport:

Inform your airline or travel agent of your needs. Airports have assistance facilities for people with visible and invisible illnesses  so make sure you use them. It makes travelling through the airports, especially the larger ones, much easier. Some carriers use an air-bridge and some use truck lifts; I personally find the truck lifts a bit demeaning and in bad weather, they are downright uncomfortable but they make boarding possible and less stressful.

 Be aware of seating and toilet location and how far from the door to your seat and how far from the seat to the toilet and by the way I cannot believe the brass neck of the airlines to have a wheelchair accessible symbol l on the door of the toilets – it is difficult for some able-bodied people to  access.

The most important thing is to enjoy your holiday

Do you have any travelling  tips or advice?

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