Essential Tips for Traveling with Arthritis

The holidays are coming up and some of you might be traveling. You don’t want to miss the chance to make more memorable moments for any reason — let alone because of your arthritis. Here are some easy tips for making your holiday travel as painless as possible.

Before You Go

Pack Properly. Packing to travel with arthritis takes some extra preparation. Always bring your medication. In fact, bring more than you think you will need in case of any delays or unexpected events. Bring any assistive devices you will need to make the trip as comfortable as possible. Use lightweight, rolling luggage to avoid lifting heavy loads. Finally, always include your emergency contact info or your doctor’s phone number in case of emergency or if you need medical advice while you’re traveling.  

Do a workout before you leave. This is not the time to do a new routine or activity, stick to what you already know or what is part of your normal routine. 

Pay for extra legroom and book an aisle seat. If you are traveling by plane, most airlines offer an option to select a seat with extra legroom for a fee. The extra inches of room will allow you to stretch out more in your seat. Booking an aisle seat gives you the chance to get out of your seat as often as you’d like without having to ask anyone to move or get up.

Traveling with Arthritis on A Plane

Be smart with booking your flight. If you can, choose a flight that is less likely to be completely full and travels with no connecting flights. 

Keep moving. Standing in lines or sitting your seat for an extended period of time can worsen your arthritis pain. Take any chance you get to move your body like bending your knees or walking around the plane. 

Do not be afraid to ask for assistance. If pain is getting the best you, ask for a wheelchair or an escort to help you get around the airport. Save your energy for the actual destination as opposed to wasting it on the way there. 

Drink water and avoid alcohol. No matter where you are going, drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks can cause dehydration. 

Traveling with Arthritis in A Car

Leave early. This will give you more time to make stops and really prepare for the road trip. 

Make stops when you can. Traveling the world by car can be a great experience, especially with family or friends. Take the time to stop and walk around, explore new areas, and get some photos. 

When You Arrive At Your Destination

If you are staying with family or friends, be sure to let them know if you need help or special accommodations. Ask for a room on the first floor or a chair with arms for better support when standing. 

If you’re staying in a hotel, ask about these things before making a reservation:

  • availability of ground-level rooms
  • presence of handrails next to bathtubs and toilets
  • shuttles to and from the airport

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