5 Travel Tips When You’re on the Go with PD

Summer is upon us which means traveling with family for many of us. It also is a time to get away from the heat and head to cooler climates. You may feel like traveling is a hassle because of packing alone - God knows I dread packing these days! It takes me longer to sort out my medications than my wardrobe.

Although it takes much more planning than it once did, I still look forward to traveling even with Parkinson's.

Here a few tricks I have found which make traveling a bit easier - even though my bags have grown in size just to carry everything I now need to bring with me.

1. Packing medications

I have found that if you make a list of all the medications you have to take it makes it a bit easier to go down the list. Plus, if you buy travel packaging - which you can label - you won’t get confused as what you are taking. An added bonus with doing that is it'll be less likely to spill and get mixed up if you tend to drop things like I have done many times (or worse, opening my pill box in the plane looking for Azilect and forgetting which compartment was in while staring at a bunch of other little white pills!). You can purchase these pill pouch bags on Amazon, Walmart, and Overstock just to name a few places.

You could also use a pill packing service, which will pack all of your medications in convenient packs with times stamped on them as well as to what medications they are.

When you are finally away, make sure to always keep your medications with you. That's one piece of luggage you cannot afford to do without - trust me I know! Traveling in a car makes it more convenient, though, because you have easy access to your medications at all times.

2. What to pack?

Things to consider when packing and traveling:

What is the climate of your destination? Is this a long or short trip? Are there accessible stores if you forget something? Do you have to carry everything or do you have help? Will you need to walk a lot? Don't underestimate the importance of a good travel companion, especially if venturing out of your comfort zone or internationally. A good friend or companion can make all the difference in the world between having a blast or not. Because I know myself and my illness, I typically do not venture alone too far from home unless I know that where I am going I have everything I need should an emergency arise.

3. Leave your ego at home

Don't try to be superman or wonder woman. If you need assistive walking devices even if only use from time to time is always best to have on hand just in case. It never fails that when I am most tired, hurting and shuffling that I have to walk the furthest at the airport. So be prepared and avoid falls.

4. Travel in comfort and with ease

When I was young and healthy, I always chose style over comfort, but now my priority is comfort and mobility. For instance, if you know that you have to go to the bathroom a hundred times like I do, then wear disposable undergarments since getting to and from the bathroom may be a challenge in general or you might have difficulty maneuvering fast enough if you're in an airplane. Don’t do like I did last time I spoke at a conference. I did not change into my speaking outfit before I got to the airport then got stuck trying to change my clothes in a small stall because no handicap bathrooms were available nearby. I was trying to balance myself on one leg trying to avoid falling into the toilet. I had fallen earlier so I could not bear weight on my left leg, my suitcase was in the way, and on top of everything else, my shirt got stuck halfway up which only got increasingly more difficult to take off as sweat started to run down. I swear I would have gone out like that had it not been for suitcase impeding my exit.

5. Pace yourself & listen to your body.

You know it better than anyone else. Try to keep a routine with taking medication at the same time each day - if traveling abroad, stay with the new time zone in keeping with medicine intake. Also, keep in mind time changes and how long you'll be traveling because you might need an extra dose to compensate for those schedule changes. Choose activities wisely and allow for downtime. Allowing yourself to acclimate to the new time zone is crucial - don’t hit the floor running or else there may be hell to pay later. Pace yourself and consider your options. For instance, if planning on climbing Machu Picchu maybe think about scheduling it at the end of the trip so you can recover at home or on the plane rather than pushing yourself throughout the whole trip and not be able to make it back safely or without major exacerbation. Rest before during and after!

Finally, have fun! You got this.

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