Summer Travels With AS

Last updated: August 2022

Summer time for me always comes with a lot of traveling. Day trips, extended weekends trip, or a quick flight somewhere.

Over the years living with AS, I have learned to adapt my traveling style to make things easier, to avoid flares and simply to enjoy my vacation. It hasn’t always been smooth, but it has made me understand my triggers and needs in a better way. Now I can really look forward to my trips!

Preparation

This can take many forms. For example, as food is an integral part of my AS pain management, I want to make sure I know what’s coming when I’m traveling. I will pack snacks for the trip (airports/train stations just don’t really have good options when following an anti-inflammatory diet). I will also look up some restaurants at my destination so I have options ready if needed.

Finally, I will go to the store to buy additional snacks or breakfast options that work for me. Another example is the preparation of what I bring on the trip, putting the focus on my comfort and well-being. Comfortable clothes and shoes, medication, or any other tool needed.

Communication

One key to a smooth flow while traveling with others is communication. While traveling in groups, or even with just one other person, there can be different expectations when it comes to the plans, the schedule, what to eat and so forth. I always make sure to tell others about my needs, and to actually tell them how I feel throughout the day. It’s also ok to not do everything.

For example, if I feel like I need to rest a bit, and others want to visit another location, I might stay back at the hotel until I meet them later. For food, I will look to offer suggestions which work for all dietary wishes. My main goal is for others to be mindful and aware of how I feel, while I also look to make arrangements so most of the plans can be done together.

Take it slow

One important aspect of traveling when living with a chronic condition is to allow enough time to rest. Of course discovering a new city can be very exciting, there are so many places to explore that the day can quickly become fully planned. However, I will always take intentional breaks throughout the day. Some down time at a cafe or in a park or a short nap back at the hotel. I really try to listen to how my body feels in the moment. As soon as I start feeling some fatigue (physical or mental), I will take a break. I have found this proactive approach to be very beneficial in preventing onset of flare symptoms.

Traveling shouldn't feel like an additional stress, but rather something to look forward to, to disconnect and recharge. As with most lifestyle changes, it takes experiments, learnings and patience to find what works best for you.

What are some of your traveling tips?

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