If you've followed me online for any length of time, you probably know that I have a rare disease called Relapsing Polychondritis
. It's rather well controlled now, but it has damaged my body and I have to deal with those losses as well as very serious medications every day of my life.
I enjoy traveling because it adds to my quality of life. I do a lot of planning to make my travel as comfortable and healthy for me as possible.
This week I was on vacation in Washington, D.C. and had so much fun!
Visited some museums:
(I'm not big on dinosaur bones)
and generally Monkeyed Around:
Every time I thought about how much fun I was having, I also thought about all of the planning and preparation I do to make the travel reasonably stress-free.
In case travel is difficult for any of you, I decided to share some of my travel tips for those with chronic illnesses.
I made a list of things I have to do, things I wanted to do, and things my husband could do without me if I needed to rest. We accomplished all of the "have to"s (his and mine) and quite a few of the "want to"s. We didn't have to resort to any plans for my husband to do when I was resting, so yay!
On any vacation, there will be more on the to-do list than there is time to do them. I pick and choose. Vacation isn't supposed to wear me out or make me sick!
It was rather warm in Washington, D.C. this week (80*F - 95*F) and much of our time was spent outside in the sun. I take medications that leave me with no resistance to the sun's harmful rays; I burn in mere minutes. Believe it or not, sun exposure can also cause my in-remission disease to flare up. In short, the sun and I aren't friends.
I wear a hat whenever I'm outside. This week I wore a logo hat from my husband's company.
I wear clip-on sunglasses. I don't have to carry a large bag and keep switching my glasses as I change from indoor to outdoor and back again. All. Day. Long. I simply slide the flat sunglasses into a pouch in my small purse when I walk inside and pull them back out when I need them again.
I wear UPF 50 shirts. I wear long-sleeved rash guard shirts when I adventure outdoors. They aren't the coolest tops I could wear and I bake a bit in them, but they allow me to be outside during the day. Thank you Lands' End
I wear UPF 50 pants
. Before I discovered these pants, I had sun-exposure issues when I was in Greenwich/London. Yes, I spent 10 days in the UK without a drop of rain and bright sunshine every day. Who knew this was possible? Anyway, these pants have a key pocket that is perfect for my Metro card and/or Hotel Key, they are super comfy, they pack/launder well, and they protect me from the sun. I won't travel without these pants.
I wear sunscreen. Can you believe this is last on my list? I don't actually wear much sunscreen since not much skin is exposed to the sun. I cover my face, neck, ears, and hands. I'm currently using All Good Reef Friendly Sport Sunscreen. It came in my CAUSEBOX
and I'm loving it!
Foot/Leg Pain and Mobility Issues
I wear Compression Hose. I have a lot of issues with my legs due to past damage and wear compression hose often. Not only do they help my legs, but I've discovered that I no longer get sock blisters during walking vacations when wearing hose.
I wear my sneakers/tennis shoes/trainers with inserts. I've found shoes that, while they don't keep my feet pain-free, do keep me on my feet for 10+ miles a day. That's a HUGE win!
I have a fold-up cane that travels with me in case I have a bad day.
I always carry my smart phone and extra battery. I use the phone for walking maps, bus and subway routes, and to summon an Uber when my body gives out. In addition, I'm able to track my steps/miles with my phone and can brag about the distance I covered each day!
You might think I carry a huge tote bag or backpack on my adventures. I don't. When I'm out and about and touring, I carry a Potato Chip bag
. Anything larger becomes too heavy for me to carry around all day.
I have dietary issues. Sometimes my sugar drops and I need to eat RIGHT NOW. When touring in a city, this isn't a problem. I know the most effective foods to buy at a convenience store/pharmacy to get me back in shape quickly.
I research restaurants before I leave home. I know what I can eat and want to find places I know will work for me. I am happy to grab meals wherever we happen to be at mealtime, but if nothing there works it's great to know where there is a restaurant with fresh fruits and veggies for me.
This trip was made on trains, subways, buses, and on foot. I have different tips for car vacations, airplane vacations, etc., and I'll share those tips during those next vacations.
I hope everyone is able to find happy travels, whether it's an afternoon out or a week touring a city. If something like an illness is stopping you, I hope you can find a way to overcome the obstacles and add a little adventure to your life.