Whether it’s on road or in a flight, traveling can be a task for those suffering from arthritis. We say it doesn’t have to be! Send your pain and discomfort packing with these savvy travel tips.
Before You Go
If you haven’t traveled much after being diagnosed with arthritis, discuss your trip plan with your physician, who will help you determine which travel vaccines you should be taking and which to avoid.
Another thing to keep in mind is the accessibility arrangement at the hotel of your stay. Whether you are in a wheelchair or not, ask for any special equipment or needs you may have before you book.
Also, remember to carry these three things:
- Assistant Devices: Carry canes, walkers, heating pads and extra pillows or cushions.
- Medication: Always carry more than you need to account for any unforeseen circumstances such as delays or sleepovers.
- Emergency Information: It is best to carry your doctor’s phone number along in case you need advice during your trip. Information regarding local doctors and hospitals near your vacation spot can also come handy. An extra copy of your prescription meds can be a lifesaver.
If You’re On The Road
Incorporate the following to ease your travel stress if you’re taking a road trip.
- Ask An Expert: Before you leave, speak to an occupational therapist or driver rehabilitation specialist regarding the right car for you. Rental car companies have special vehicles designed for special needs travelers with swivel seats, spinner knobs and hand controls, which can be useful for you.
- Help Yourself: You can help yourself by making specific changes in your car. Adjust your seat, mirrors and the wheel in a position you are most comfortable in. Seating should be adjusted in such a way that your foot is completely depressed on the pedal.
- Frequent Breaks: Leave early for your destination so that you are not on a tight schedule. This gives you an opportunity to take breaks and get out of the car more often. Sitting for longer periods can stiffen your muscles and joints and cause pain. Get out of the car, stretch and move around. Take advantage of roadside attractions and rest stops.
- Ask For Help: If traveling with someone, take turns driving to split the distance. When not driving, push the passenger seat back and stretch to stay comfortable.
- Use Swivel Seats: Getting in and out of the car can be a huge pain, especially if you have arthritis. Cut out the strain by pulling your seat back and swinging your legs around to the front (you can reverse the process while exiting).
If You’re In A Flight
Holiday travel and congestion go hand in hand. With roads leading to the airport jam-packed, long exhausting queues to check-in and airport security, an arthritic knee can only add to the frustration. Try the following tips to avoid pain flare-ups.
- Book Smartly: Airport congestion can be avoided by traveling midweek, as flights tend to be less packed during this time. Also, book direct flights to avoid halts and layovers. Make sure to book a seat with extra leg space or an aisle seat which allows you the comfort to stretch.
- Plan For Pre-Board: Airlines must offer pre-boarding services to special needs passengers. Once you reach the gate, inform the agent that you wish to pre-broad. Take advantage of wheelchairs or motorized escorts through the airport to the gate.
- Ask For Assistance: Request help from flight attendants, travel companions or a fellow passenger with your bag.