9 Essentials to Keeping Your Spoons when Traveling with Chronic Illness

Taveling, Chronic Illness, Essentials

Traveling when you have chronic illness can be tricky.

My family and I recently traveled to Nashville, TN. We don’t travel often because it’s expensive and traveling with a chronic illness is often times, not easy or fun.

This trip we did things a little differently. Our family is in the season of sending kids to college. That means we are checking out colleges, comparing programs and discussing financial aide. We live in a college town, so we already know some of the ropes and attended Winter Preview a few months before.

Local college travel I can handle. But 6 hours away? It’s doable, but still hard. We started planning our trip to Nashville 6 months before we actually went. The college had a programmed day for visitors and we needed to make sure we arrived at a certain time.

We did not know what the college schedule entailed, so as time gets closer I get more nervous. Driving alone takes most of my spoons.

How in the world would I function once I got there?

Thankfully the whole family attended so that means my husband drove and allowed me to save my spoons for other things. Uncertain of what our travel days looked like and wondering where we would stay, I messaged a good friend from my youth group days.

Without hesitation she agreed to let us stay with her and I promised farm fresh eggs and a tea towel to show our appreciation! Now that our travel arrangements had been made I felt a bit better (Thank you Susan!).

But other questions clouded my mind. What if I couldn’t keep up with the college schedule? What if I had to get up earlier than what my body allowed? How in the world could I last all day touring a college campus with only one break for lunch?

When you live with chronic illness these are legitimate questions.

I knew these things would take my spoons and take them fast.

So I came up with 9 traveling essentials to help me function.

  1. Maintain my daily routine. Going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time every day will trick your body into thinking you’re at home. If you are to enjoy your vacation, staying up late is not wise.
  2. Take all medicines and vitamins as scheduled. Set an alarm on your phone if you have to. Even one missed dose could cause havoc.
  3. Pack snacks for the long days. I carried water and snacks and ate and drank every two hours on the day of the college tour.
  4. Rest when you can. If we were outside and the group tour stalled, I’d find a place to sit and rest my body.
  5. Maintain your diet. It’s okay to splurge, but make sure you compensate with good healthy food as well. I splurged twice on this trip. Donuts for breakfast one day and Jennis ice cream the next.
  6. Build in an extra day or two. This one is important. We knew our college tour was on Friday. Traveling on Friday was out of the question. We left early Thursday morning. This allowed me to rest Thursday afternoon and night. We toured Nashville on Saturday and headed home that afternoon. Building in an extra day can really make a difference in how many spoons you can replenish when traveling.
  7. Take your own pillow. If you can’t have your own bed, your own pillow might make all the difference. It’s familiar and your body will thank you for it.
  8. Stop Frequently. If you’re like us when traveling to your destination you want to hurry up and get there! So you drink little water and go as long as you can without stopping. Don’t do this. Your body is losing spoons at a fast rate. Stop the car. Take a potty break and stretch your legs, back and arms. Believe me, it helps.
  9. Pick and Choose. There will be more to see than what you can realistically do. Plan ahead and determine what are must sees and what are not. It’s always better to leave room in your schedule. If you’re doing great you can always add another site seeing adventure in along the way.

These are a few ways I managed to save some spoons on our trip to Nashville. We didn’t see anybody famous, but we checked colleges, visited with good friends and leisurely toured the downtown areas.

Next time you’re traveling remember these 9 essential ways to keep your spoons!

How do you keep from running out of spoons when traveling with chronic illness?

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About Nichole Hall

Nichole is a writer, a wife and a mom. She strives to stay positive and productive in the midst of chronic illness. When she isn't writing or taking care of her family she is working on her small homestead. She lives in Arkansas with her husband, two daughters and fourteen chickens.
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