Four Ways to Travel With a Chronic Illness

This month I went on holiday with my two best friends.

We went to beautiful Nice, visiting Cannes and Monaco. And we packed a lot into our short trip, with just three full days.

I’ve been on long weekends with the girls before, to London and Edinburgh. But this was my first time going away with friends abroad. And even though my friends are amazing, I was still a little nervous.

My health fluctuates a lot, just like my energy levels.

When on holiday I always feel pressure to make the most of my time in place and make sure that I don’t stop anyone else from doing things.

I had an amazing time and would definitely recommend visiting the South of France. While I was there I managed to do all the things I wanted to, was only grumpy the once (hanger got the better of me) and we all really enjoyed the trip.

I did a few things before I travelled and used a few techniques while I was there to get the most out of the trip. Mainly from lessons learned from previous trips travelling with my family.

Here are my four top tips for getting through a holiday with a chronic illness.

  • Prepare your friends – don’t be afraid to let your friends know that holidays, while really exciting, can also cause you stress. Explain that you might be nervous on the plain, or you might want to plan restaurants in advance or that you might need a lie in on a morning while they go and explore. If you talk before the trip, everyone knows what to expect. And if your friends are anything like mine, they’ll want to support you and to help you make the most of your holiday.
  • Know your location – is it going to be more difficult to get food that makes your dietary requirements? is the weather going to be challenging? are there a lot of hills so walking will me more difficult?
    Knowing your location won’t remove these worries, but you can plan in advance. Seek out good public transport, make sure you travel with a bottle of water, wear comfy trainers. There will be ways you can help yourself, but you have to know what you’re dealing with!
  • Live in the moment – illness can lend itself to worrying about the next problem. But you’re on holiday and you have the right to enjoy it like everyone else. Practice mindfulness before you go so that if you feel the panic setting in you can take a few deep breaths and remind yourself to be present and thankful for being where you are.
  • Don’t be afraid of alone time – on one of the mornings while I was away, the girls were heading to the beach for a walk on the morning before we went to Cannes. I knew that if I went on that walk, I could potentially spoil the time in Cannes because I’d be exhausted. Therefore I settled myself in a cafe with my book and a Diet Coke and the girls got time to enjoy the beach, while I got time to rest up so we could make the most of our trip to Cannes.

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