Tips for Traveling While Sick

by Sarah Ruhlman
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Last year I saw a wonderful film called The Fundamentals of Caring. It’s about a man who becomes the carer for a teenager who is wheelchair-bound and would love to see the world but fears leaving the house. In the end, the experience is transformative for the pair, even if the humor is perhaps a little extreme and exaggerated. The point is that it got me thinking about chronic illness and how it shouldn’t be a deterrent for people who want to get out there and see things just like anyone else.

Perhaps you suffer from a lifelong illness and you’ve always dreamed of traveling, but you’ve either doubted your abilities or you didn’t know how to get started. Still, if you’re strong enough to do what you do every day, then you’re more than strong enough to travel and do the things you’ve always dreamed of doing. Here’s a guide for those of you with lifelong illnesses who want some tips when it comes to traveling.

Talk to a doctor first.

You likely already know how important it is to talk with doctors about your chronic pain condition on a frequent basis in order to look after your health, as discussed over on Of course, this becomes of paramount importance when you’re traveling, as so many new variables come into play. Everybody experiences a little shock to the system when they first visit a new place and are surrounded by new people; along with eating new types of food and drinking different water, depending on where you go.

You should discuss with a health professional, before you travel, anything that you might need to know before you go. They’ll give you advice as to what you should be doing to keep your lifestyle healthy and avoid any flare-ups with regards to your illness or pain, whatever it may be. Better yet, they’ll be able to help your mental health by offering you all the advice and support you may need to keep you level and calm on your travels. The simple fact that they’ll be giving you to go-ahead should be enough to put your mind at ease.

Stay safe.

This runs on from the last point, but it extends beyond the basics of keeping a healthy eating schedule. You need to be prepared with extra medication (and extra everything, really, as that’s good advice for any traveller). You might want to find an English-speaking doctor, just in case you have any problems whilst you’re traveling to a certain place. You could also look into sites such as if you’re looking for a safety net in the event that you require immediate medical attention.

Whilst you likely don’t want to think about such grim possibilities whilst you’re traveling and trying to soak up as many enjoyable memories as you can from your journey, it’s best to have a plan B in place just to put your mind at rest if you ever were caught out, as suggested over at Traveling with friends and family could be helpful, as you won’t have to think about as much, but I completely understand if you want this to be a solo, independent journey. It all depends on your specific situation.

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