I know why you’re here. You’re hoping to learn how to pause your illness for the holidays, right?
Sorry, so far it’s not possible.
Does that mean you are inevitably going to be disappointed at some point during your travels then? Well no, not if you prepare well.
Hang on, you thought I was about to list the common travel tips for people with chronic illness, didn’t you? Do we actually need a reminder to pack our medication?
No, our tips don’t go in your suitcase. Check them out below.
Hopefully after reading this, the only disappointment you experience on vacation is that you couldn’t afford to visit Bora Bora. Oh, beautiful Bora Bora, why are you so expensive!?
1. Schedule rest days (extend your trip)
Ok, you’ve decided how many days you want to be away for. You’ve included flying time, know the attractions to visit and you’ve checked your holiday leave and bank account. You’re ready to book flights!
Well no just wait, that’s how healthy people book holidays.
For us with chronic illness and chronic pain to avoid disappointment while on vacation, rest days need to be planned. It’s not good enough that you plan your holiday and then pencil in a few hours longer at the buffet breakfast to rest.
You need to add extra rest days on top of your holiday plans so you don’t miss out on sightseeing and adventure days. The Chronic Pain Couple add one rest morning every 2/3 days starting mid trip. For long vacations, rest mornings become rest days and we try to book accommodation with a comfy bed, bath (if possible) and a nice room or view for those days.
2.Plan adventure… for your partner
You know, it’s not just those who are unwell who might feel disappointed on vacation. Sometimes, we can be so focused on coping with pain that we forget our partner might also have different expectations for their vacation.
Your rest days are the perfect opportunity for your partner to explore new cities further then you are able to, experience adventure and relax without the stress of your physical capabilities and pain.
Your partner’s fun days are just as important as your rest days, so pre-plan activities.
Was it difficult when Johann recently hit the slopes in New Zealand without me? YES! I was really jealous. We enjoyed snowboarding together for years before I became unwell. It was so satisfying though feeling rested and seeing him content after such an adventurous day. If you want your relationship to flourish when one person is chronically ill, you need to encourage the person who is not unwell to continue with activities they enjoy.
3.Don’t be your best self
I’ll get straight to the point. The quickest way to have more energy to explore during a vacation is to shorten your morning routine.
I know most of you plan envy provoking images to post all over facebook while on holidays. I get it, you can’t beat the feeling of uploading a picture of you across the world looking your best and refreshed that your colleagues will scroll over on their lunch break.
But, if you have chronic pain and intend on making the most of your trip, men get used to holiday beards and women, stock up on dry shampoo. Go on, head over to our Instagram account here and I promise you won’t find a picture of me with well styled or curled hair on our last holiday but you will see some beautiful places we got to visit because I saved my energy!
Some ideas to cut down on your morning routine:
Pack daily outfits in individual bags
Head out barefaced, without makeup
Don’t shave your beard/ body everyday
Don’t style your hair everyday, instead, use dry shampoo (not for the entire trip!)
Bring clothes that don’t require ironing or budget for dry cleaning services while away
Finally, you should make a worst-case scenario list. By this I mean, make a list of what you would like to see or do at a minimum incase your health declines while travelling.
Together decide on your top 3 ‘must do’ things on holiday. You might have 20 things you want to do while away but choose what you would regret the most not seeing or doing.
Now, if your holiday doesn’t go to plan, if your pain intensifies, if your illness wreaks havoc or if your husband suffers a head injury while surfing (sigh, that was our worst case scenario!), you already know what activities to prioritise.
Your unremarkable circumstances living with chronic pain doesn’t mean you deserve an unremarkable vacation! Hopefully you are blessed with a restful and exciting next holiday.