Living with an invisible disability is challenging no matter where you are in the world. Traveling with an invisible disability can be even more stressful. Different cultural expectations, unfamiliar environments, and new triggers can jump at you during your adventure.
This doesn’t mean you can’t explore the world like anyone else, though! Take a few extra precautions.
Learn your destination’s drug laws before boarding the plane if you take medication
Different countries can have very different drug laws. So if you travel with pain medication like narcotics or psychoactive medications, such as anti-anxiety sedatives, keep an eye on drug laws. Penalties for suspected drug trafficking are extreme compared to back home. And if you have an invisible disability, you may have the extra burden of proving your drugs are for personal medical use.
As a rule of thumb, always bring your medication in its original packaging and have a signed prescription from your doctor.
Take enough medication with you
Avoid buying medication abroad. It may not meet the quality standards of the drugs you buy back home. And language barriers can create misunderstandings. You don’t want wrong, sub-standard, or fake medication! So make sure you bring plenty of your own medication from home.
They might tempt you to buy pharmaceutical drugs abroad because many countries have significantly lower drug prices compared to the United States. This is because many countries have stricter drug price regulations. However, crossing the border with prescription drugs when you get home can be tricky.
Online international and Canadian pharmacy referral services like Canada Med Pharmacy may be a better option. Canada Med Pharmacy only sources its drugs from licensed pharmacies, so you can worry less about safety. You can also get medicine shipped straight to your doorstep.
Bring medical ID written in the local language
This is a good tip if you plan on traveling alone. A medical ID can help locals find you appropriate help. You also want local health-care professionals to know things like your disability, medications, blood type, and other relevant information. This will help you get treated effectively and safely.
Purchase travel insurance
Traveling is fun, but it’s also risky. While insurance may seem like a big purchase, emergency treatment abroad can be expensive without it. Get the peace of mind by buying travel insurance. This can cover other things like lost luggage and natural disaster evacuation, too.
Make time for self-care
If your condition requires regular care, make sure you schedule time for physical therapy, meditation, or whatever it is you need. As tempting as it can be to jam-pack your schedule full of activities, there’s no point if you’ll be miserable doing them.
You can schedule self-care in the mornings before breakfast or at night as a wind-down before bed. You can also schedule self-care during peak hours at attractions so you have something to do when you’re avoiding the crowds.
Learn a few words in the local language that explain your condition
Invisible disabilities are hard to explain. You don’t have to learn the local translation for “fibromyalgia,” but learn simple expressions for back pain or a bad stomach. This can help you avoid misunderstandings. For example, if someone wants your seat on the bus because you seem like a young, fit person, you can let them know about your disability and why you need the seat. You should also learn simple sentences like “Where is the hospital?”
Visit a travel clinic before the trip
This is especially important if you plan to go to a part of the world with dangerous diseases, such as tropical and sub-tropical areas. Get protection from nasty diseases like malaria and yellow fever by getting vaccinated. As a person with disabilities, you don’t want the added stress of another disease. You may also be more vulnerable to infection because of your disability, so make sure you let travel clinic staff know all your health conditions and medications.
Enjoy Your Trip
No matter your condition, you deserve a good time. Traveling may even take your mind off your disability and lessen its symptoms, so what are you waiting for? Get packing and get out there!