Plan An Arthritis-Friendly Vacation

Don’t let arthritis stop you from making plans for your dream vacation. We’ve got tips to help make your travel destination safe, comfortable, and enjoyable.

Whether you are feeling wanderlust or simply need a break from cold weather, it is exciting to make travel plans. Arthritis shouldn’t stop you from fulfilling your vacation dreams. The effects and restrictions of arthritis vary from person to person, but people with arthritis are generally challenged by pain and movement restrictions. Whether your condition is mild or advanced, there’s no reason why you can’t be comfortable at your destination—as long as you do some advance planning. We have some suggestions to help you enjoy familiar comforts in an unfamiliar new setting.

  • Schedule necessary medical appointments before you leave. Your doctor can help you schedule any medication injections you need so that you take them before and after your trip. Even if you have to skip a dose during your trip, this can be a lot easier than explaining injection medication to TSA officials. You’ll also want to take copies of your doctor’s prescriptions with you in case your medications are lost or misplaced. If you aren’t comfortable carrying prescriptions, you could leave them with a friend who could fax them to you if needed.
  • Discuss recommended vaccinations with your doctor. Some countries require or recommend vaccinations, but certain vaccines are contra-indicated with arthritis medications. It’s important to talk with your doctor before you schedule your shots.
  • Review your health insurance. Some policies don’t cover medical care overseas, and you may need supplemental insurance even for cross-country travel. Cancellation insurance is a good idea in case a health problem forces you to cancel your trip.
  • Choose your hotel with care. If mobility is a challenge, you’ll be more comfortable in a location where there aren’t a lot of steps or steep hills to climb. Make sure your hotel is wheelchair accessible if you will need a wheelchair. If you are staying within the hotel grounds, confirm that pools, courtyards, or other outdoor facilities are close by and easy to access. If excursions are on the agenda, make sure touring vehicles have any lifts or ramps you will need.
  • Room amenities matter. If you use prescription drugs that require refrigeration, you’ll want to have a refrigerator in your room.
  • Pack for the climate. If you are on your way to a sunny resort, take light, loose clothing that shields your arms and legs, and toss a wide-brimmed hat into your suitcase. Sunscreen is essential. Some arthritis medications make you more susceptible to sunburn.
  • Bring the support you need. From familiar walking shoes to a cane or brace, pack the assistive devices you find helpful—even if you think you may not need them. You can also buy travel items like attachable bathroom grab bars for your hotel.

With a bit of advance thought and preparation, you’ll be ready to enjoy your dream destination. Don’t forget to give yourself a few days to unpack, rest up, and savor the memories you’ve made after you return.

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