Traveling can be a pretty daunting task when you’re healthy. When you’re trying to travel with arthritis it can be frustrating just trying to get the car packed to go the airport – let alone deal with the plane, the shuttle, rental car, hotel, etc.
We’ve asked our community members how they cope with traveling and they’ve told us what they consider the hardest (“red light”) and how they make traveling easier (“green light”). Here’s what they had to say:
Red Light : Driving for long periods of time can get to me. Thank goodness for cruise control! Also, I’ve had to get prescriptions filled in six different states in the last three months.
Green Light : Don’t be in a hurry to get somewhere. If you need to stop and stretch, then do. It’s not worth it to push yourself to hard. ~Michael Noell
Red Light : Driving a long distance, sitting in the position for an extended period.
Green Light : Make frequent stops where you can get out and stretch your joints. If it is possible, get someone to help carry those heavy bags. ~Bob Scott
Red Light : Keeping Enbrel cold.
Green Light :
When packing – put the accessories you plan to wear with a certain outfit in a plastic zip lock bag. Tuck in a note saying “red dress” or “blue pantsuit”. Using a clip type clothes pin or an extra large paper clip “clip” the plastic bag right to the garment.
Try to color coordinate (mix and Match) as many of your outfits as you can. This will give you more flexability in what to wear with fewer pieces of clothing.
Make a travel kit. In it have sample size – toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo, hair spray, q-tips, hand lotion, spot remover toweletes, individually packaged hand cleaning toweletes, a pack of emery boards, polish remover, your favorite polish, and a clear polish. Also include a sewing kit (some threaded needles in a plastic film canister) folding sissors, and a couple of safety pins. Another bag in your travel kit should include first aid items. Take some bandaids, a roll of guaze, adhesive tape, triple antibiotic cream, tweezers, a bottle of saline solution, antacid tablets, anti-diarrhea pills and some pain reliever/fever reducer tablets.You may never need these items but if you do you’ll be very glad to have them. Diabetics should have a roll of Life Savers, a few packets of sugar, or a doctor recomended sugar supply them along with their insulin and glucose testing equipment. ~Diane 2
Red Light : …asking for help, not being able to move freely, hotel bath fixtures… ~Belinda
Red Light : The unknown….not knowing how I will feel the next day and if I will be able to get around in a strange environment. ~Dagny
Red Light : Getting stiff and achey after sitting for more than 60-90 minutes in an auto/plane. Staying in a motel that does not have safety bars or non-skid bottoms in the bath tub.
Green Light : I try to stop at least every hobur and get out to walk around and relieve the stiffness. I always ask for an aisle seat on the plane. That way I can move my legs more freely and it also gives me a chance to get up and walk without bothering others. I also make sure I take my cane so I will have it for walking while on vacation. I may not always need it,but it is there. ~Donna M.
Red Light : Being in the car or plane and not moving for hours. And then trying to walk when I have sat too long. Also finding bathrooms with handicapped toilets that are higher as I cannot get up or down on the low toilets even though I get glares from people for using the handicapped stalls because I am not in a wheelchair yet. I also get glares because I have a handicapped sticker. I don’t walk so go when I first get out of car, but after about ten minutes, I walk normally again and people do not understand, they think I am faking my slow gate and then it gets normal.
Green Light : Try and stop in the car every hour and stretch your legs. When on a plane get an aisle seat so you can get up several times during the flight to stretch your legs. ~Kathleen
Red Light : Walking for a long period of time. I’m having a lot of problems with my feet, especially my toes.
Green Light : My biggest help is getting a steroid injection (IM) before leaving. It gives me energy and helps my joints. ~Donna F.
Red Light : Being on diuretics has really become a hassle while traveling. I have had to make adjustments in my medications when I travel..Also making sure I have enough leg to stretch my legs…
Green Light : If you are on diuretics, try to travel in the early part of the day and take your diuretic once you reach your destination. Also, if flying, request the front seat, or at the very least, an aisle seat so that you can stretch your legs..I find for road travel, vans are very comfortable. ~Faye