Travel Tips For PD Patients
I love to travel! Exploring new cities, discovering unique architecture, historic sites, bucolic power spots and new restaurants are adventures that l really treasure. Doing the touristy stuff can be very enjoyable, but going where the locals go can be even more fun and insightful.
When you throw the unpredictability of your symptoms and Parkinson’s with the stress of travel, predicting medicine efficacy can be difficult. So much is up in the air: rushing through security, time changes, crowds, traffic, long walks, changes in diet and routine are but a few of the factors that have major impact on getting to where you need to be.
Here are some travel tips to consider for the next time you are running out of town or taking planes, trains, ships, automobiles, or rickshaws.
Keeping on your schedule
Drastic changes in your daily schedule may take a little getting used to, at first. Try to not overdo it until you are acclimated to your new venue and have recovered from the trip. Keep your stress down by taking long deep breathes and practicing your meditation. Focus on your breath.
Ask for help
Asking for help, when you need it, can make for a smoother trip for you and those traveling with you. If you need more time to board the plane, ask for it. The stress and anxiety that comes with travel can be greatly reduced when you don’t feel rushed and put on the spot.
Only the essentials
Pack what you need. Don’t pack your phone book collection or your coin collection, if you don’t need it! Think essentials and multi-use items that serve more than one helpful service. The less you pack, the less you have to lug around and the less you have to lose.
Pick the right luggage
Rolling bags make for smooth travel and can make moving heavy gear easy to move with the least amount of worry. Make sure that unless your luggage is completely unique, you need to customize your bag in some way to make it distinguishable for easy identification. I bought a bag at a large retailer several years ago, and sure enough, someone took my bag home but the party who took my bag ended up calling me, because I had left my phone number inside the bag–just in case. Most bags look alike. Add a custom tag or a some element to your bag to make it easy to identify.
I usually travel with my pill bottles, to prove my meds to security if they have questions about my pills. I always know where my pill box is and make sure that I have at least 2 to 3 extra days of medicine, just in case I may have to extend my vacation or I miss a flight, etc. Make sure you keep your pills in your carry-on luggage.
Beware of time zone changes
Time changes, when going cross-country, or across the world, time can mess with your internal clock. I try to keep on my home medication schedule until the next day and I have made it to my destination. Once I am acclimated to my new surroundings, I can start the home medication schedule all over again. Try to stay true to the clock so your body can stay familiar with the pattern.
Nutrition, hydration, and sleep
Keep in mind how important diet, hydration, and sleep are to staying healthy when you travel. Don’t neglect any of the three or you may find yourself dragging more and not feeling as well as you want. If you are on vacation and you monitor just these three factors of travel, it could make the difference between a memorable trip or one to forget.
Traveling with Parkinson’s may take a little more planning, organization, and patience. Give yourself and your traveling companions some flexibility and remember that you should try to enjoy the experience as much as the destination. Giving yourself extra time and planning the journey ahead will lower the pressure of feeling rushed.