Friday, July 05, 2013

Travel Tips for Migraine Patients: 3 Ideas

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Old South Church, Boston
Planning ahead is the most important thing I do to prepare myself for a trip like the one I recently took to Boston for the International Headache Congress. Knowing Migraine disease is unpredictable, I try not to leave anything to chance that I can arrange in advance.

For me this includes:
  • Making extensive lists.

  • Packing a little bit at a time.

  • Keeping specific items with me at all times during the entire trip.

Making Lists

Some people might find my list making to be overkill, but I find it essential for two reasons. (1) I can't remember anything. My short-term memory is horrible. (2) I need many specific things, particularly for medical purposes, and will be in a real bind if I forget any of them.

I keep a master packing list in Evernote. I copy it into a new note each time I have a trip coming up and tweak it to suit the requirements of the upcoming trip. I plan my outfits in advance and usually include an extra one just in case something goes wrong. Not needing to remember every single toiletry item is helpful, and things I always take like jewelry and makeup are already on the list, too.

I use the strikethrough function to cross out each item as it is packed. Then the night before I bold anything that needs to be packed at the last minute. It may sound over the top, but if you can't trust your memory, you do what you have to do.

Packing a Little at a Time

I choose a corner of the bedroom or living room the week before a long trip and start a pile of things I know I'll be taking with me. This doesn't work for anything I need to use during that time, of course, but for things that I mainly use for travel or special ocassions, this technique allows me to do things slowly, at my own pace. And as I'm always saying, pacing is key.

Keeping Necessities With Me At All Times

During a trip it life can easily become hectic, causing us to leave something essential behind in the hotel room for the day. This is especially problematic when it's medications you use to treat or cope with your Migraine attacks.

To deal with this strategically, once I arrive at my destination and get to the hotel room, I clear all of the travel stuff out of my main bag and set it aside. This includes things like cords and power strips that I carry with me while traveling, but need only in the room.

Then I make sure I have all my treatment medications, even those I more rarely use. Just in case. I make sure I have foam earplugs, sunglasses, aromatherapy items, a gallon size (or larger) plastic zipper bag, tissues, a drink and other regular essentials like my phone, wallet and camera.

Being able to grab that one bag and head out the door knowing I have anything I might need from then until bedtime gives me a great deal of peace of mind and minimizes stress. For this Boston trip we stayed at a hotel connected to the convention center, but were so busy we didn't make it back to the room each day until the evening. On our family vacation in South Dakota we spent every day a couple hours away from our base in Rapid City to see the different sites. Both times it helped a lot to know I had what I needed during such a busy time.

What travel tips help you most as a Migraineur? Please share your thoughts or questions in the comments.

Content by Diana E. Lee

DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.