Getting sick is part of life and dealing with a chronic illness provides its own set of issues to take into account. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t still see the world.
Prevention and management are better than any cure, so do your best to eat healthily and sleep adequately, but if you do find yourself laid up, then here are a few tips for managing a chronic illness abroad.
Ask the Doc
If you are planning an extensive trip then talk to your local bulk billing doctor a month or so out from your departure to discuss a management plan or what you might need to prepare and take with you. Ask them about what medication you might be on and how those can affect your immune system – something you need in top form while traveling.
Give Yourself a Break
Even though you might be traveling on a holiday and find yourself sick, it’s important to allow your body to rest if you need to. If you had planned on booking tours, shows and nights out on the town, it’s best not to push yourself into doing all those things because you will most likely just make yourself worse. It’s better to cancel set plans than to make yourself seriously ill. Nothing is a waste if it benefits your overall health.
Brief Your Travel Companions
Whether you’re traveling with your spouse, partner or a group of friends, it’s important that you give them a thorough run down, and perhaps even write down, steps to take in case of an emergency regarding your illness. This is also a good chance to then talk to your travel companions about limitations you might have on the trip such as dealing with hikes, climbs, or extended periods away from the accommodation.
Speaking of accommodation, avoid the temptation to skimp on places to stay. Others in your group might be up for staying in a backpackers hostel, but if you are to enjoy your travels as much as possible then it’s important to ensure you have an adequate sleep each night and place to rest if you need some time off to rest and recover. Even getting a serviced apartment so you can do your own cooking is a good idea.
It’s a good idea for every traveler to have some sort of travel cover, but if you’re dealing with a chronic illness then it’s a must-have. It might cost you a bit more, but depending where you are going, it’s worth the peace of mind that if you did land in trouble you would be covered from everything to an emergency evacuation.
Plan Days With No Plans
Don’t try to squeeze too much into your trip at the expense of your health. Plan some days off into your schedule to rest and enjoy the simple pleasure of your immediate surroundings. Don’t feel guilty about spending a whole day inside or by the pool, or immersed in a book, these days are all part of the travel experience and will help you have a more enjoyable time.
The bottom line is to listen to your body and listen to it. Don’t push yourself, enjoy yourself, and don’t feel guilty about wanting to rest if that’s what you need. A chronic illness can be hard to deal with, but if you manage it correctly you can still experience all that your heart desires.