Traveling

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When you have an autoimmune disease like lupus and others, you need to be travel savvy when taking trips. How do I know this? Well, I like to travel and find that proper planning and rest can make the world of difference to a lupus body.

I have found that when planning a trip, first consider how you are traveling. If by car, then the rules are different than from airplane. So, in an attempt to help others, I thought I would share some of my “tips” for traveling with an autoimmune disease like lupus.

FIRST RULE

No matter your mode of travel, the first rule is always the same, get plenty of rest before you go anywhere. Take your time when planning your trip and be sure to include this rule.

SECOND RULE

Do not “wing it”. Properly planning your trip and itinerary can make the most ambitious trip more manageable. I start by listing what I plan to take with me, as in clothing and accessories, and from that branch out into what I want to do while on my trip and places and/or people I want to see. This helps because by breaking it down to smaller components, you do not get overwhelmed and overdo it. It is important to do this, otherwise, you could be setting yourself up to a disasterous trip and full on flare! Simply taking it in bite size pieces before you leave can make all the difference in the world.

THIRD RULE

Rest. Plan rest stops for you and your body so you can do all the things you really want to do. For example, when I travel by car, I always plan on taking a day off the next day to let my body rest. If I push myself, then I get into a world of hurt. It is vitally important that we rest often and take our time. If traveling by plane, you can rest on the plane, especially if it is a long flight.

FOURTH RULE

No matter how you travel, make sure you stretch your legs at regular intervals, and as often as you need to. This will prevent not only blood clots from forming in your legs, but also allow for your muscles to not cramp and for proper blood flow and joint movement. When you sit too long in one position, your joints tend to stiffen up and become painful. When by car, I try to stop once every two hours, no longer than that, and get out and walk a bit. It truly does help. In a plane, you can walk up the aisle and back down as you go to the restroom or to the snack area. If you are on a long flight it is important to do this for the reasons mentioned above.

FIFTH RULE

Keep your meds close to you. If traveling by car, keep them in the interior of the car if possible and if by plane, keep them in your carry on luggage. This insures that you will not get separated from your vital medications. I never put my meds in checked baggage, ever! I always try to keep a small bag in the interior of the car to so that if I need something, it is in easy reach and not buried under a mound of luggage in the trunk of the car.

I hope you have found this to be helpful. I have learned these things by trial and error. I love to travel. I love to see new things. These hints have helped me to maintain a semblance of less pain as I see and learn new things in my travels.

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