9 minutes, 44 seconds
Are you planning a holiday? Have you ever thought about making a travel plan?
My grandma always used to say that travel broadens the mind – and that’s still true, even in the connected world we live in today. This thought stayed with me even when I couldn’t travel at all. For a long time, all the preparations and the holiday itself were just a source of stress for me, until I eventually realised what was important: setting priorities, writing lists and planning.
I’ll never forget my first holiday with MS: I had to work out how to manage my condition and medication and I ended up totally overstretching myself. All of a sudden, I had become a person who needed to carry ice packs and take more frequent breaks; I spent nights in hotels that didn’t do me any good.
My psychologist was the person who managed to put it all in perspective for me: She said “If you make a plan, you’ll get a holiday”. So I started planning how to get my favourite time of year back in a way that worked for me. If you have a holiday plan, you’re (figuratively, if not literally) halfway to your destination. It creates structure, enables you to react positively to unforeseen challenges, and allows you to reclaim what we are all ultimately seeking: A better quality of life.
Roads were made for destinations, not journeys
No, I’m not getting mixed up – when it comes to holiday planning, this pearl of wisdom from philosopher Confucius is most fitting when it’s reversed. In our case, the destination determines the journey. Where do you want to go? This is the question that will enable you to work out exactly what plans you need to put in place.
Make a list of your most important wishes and needs:
So you’ve got your destination – what now?
Make a list of everything that’s important to you. Set priorities for your packing list and activities you’d like to do and plan when you’ll need to get certain things done by to achieve your goals. You don’t need to pack at the last minute: You can get lots of things ready well in advance, including toiletries, books, sun cream and sports equipment.
When it comes to hotels and hotel beds, no one type of sleeping arrangement can possibly suit every individual. While some people might want to camp, others prefer upmarket hotels with a full range of services and an accessible room. Listen to what your MS is telling you – your body will help you decide what type of accommodation to go for and how to structure your entire trip. You might want to think about the following considerations:
Luggage – everything but the kitchen sink?
You might think that deciding what to take is a typically female dilemma. But things aren’t always that straightforward. Many MS sufferers often have problems with their clothing. Something that fits perfectly on one day might feel scratchy and uncomfortable the next, so it’s important to work out which mix of clothing options will work best for you.
A tip to help you decide: Every garment that you place in your case must go with at least three other garments/pairs of shoes. It’s also a good idea to take a closer look at the hotel: What does it look like and is there any kind of dress code? My general rule is to pack things that are a little more dressy for the evening and stick to casual, light and comfortable clothing the rest of the time.
In your hand luggage – in addition to the medication you need for travel and all of your essential travel documents and money – you should also pack well a small snack, water, a book, laptop or e-reader, a scarf or jacket in case you feel cold and socks and a change of underwear.
Medication for travel
If you’re travelling with MS, you’ll usually need to take medication with you.
Other things you should think about include:
Practical arrangements aside, one of the most important questions you can ask yourself is this: Will you be able to have fun at your destination, even with your MS? MS is something that always travels with me, but I compensate by planning every aspect of the trip well in advance – which has the knock-on effect of reducing pre-holiday stress and making me look forward to it even more!
Have you been on lots of trips? Tell us about your experiences by tagging us @ The World vs.MS
Date of approval: July 2019
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