SAA’s Helpful Hints: Community Wisdom – Summer Travel Edition

By Spondylitis Association of America

Monday, June 24, 2019

Helpful Hints is a recurring feature, aimed at sharing our community’s knowledge and experiences. The weather is warm, and school is out. Summer has officially begun, and so – Vacation Season is upon us! In this installment, we asked our online community to share their helpful tips to help avoid flare up of symptoms, and care for their well-being while away from home. We share a sample of responses with our thanks. Have your own to share? Email them to us at!

I always plan ahead and make time for rest. If I need to stay back, the rest of the family has plenty to do or we do activities like swimming.
~ @JodiEbazenat
Tip: I travel with uveitis drops, just in case.
~ @RichAHoward
Lots of drugs.
~ @sfdegraff
I have learned throughout the years that it's okay if you don't get to doing everything on your activity list as long as you are having fun and enjoying the trip. The whole purpose of a vacation is to relax and when I find myself anxiously speeding through my written down plan, that is when I have to stop and remind myself that it is not the end of the world if I don't get to all of it.
~ Kristine C.
I am on Humira, so therefore I make sure to rub sunscreen on my exposed skin. And make sure to drink plenty of water.
~ Luis L.
Things that help me: keeping bedtime routines as much like home as possible, ensuring some time for movement or exercise, and continuing to choose healthy food options. Thermacare patches, anti-inflammatories, and yoga are great vacation/travel therapies for me.
~ Diana W.
Just listen to your body. I have yet to find a perfect solution but the more I listen to what my body is saying, the better things go.
~ kicksomeas
Schedule any strenuous activities (sightseeing in caves, hiking, even long walks on the beach) for a time when medication has taken the edge off pain, but not too late in the day. Don't schedule too many activities for the same day. VACATION = relaxation; take some time to rest. If traveling with a group, opt out of one or two excursions/activities to allow yourself a chance to rest so that you will have enough energy to fully commit to something you HAVE to do!”
~ Laura
It may take longer but I prefer driving over flying. I do use the gel cushion, squishy pillow for my back, heat, and do exercises when we stop.
~ Marci
I use my seat warmers on long drives it helps keep the muscles lose and prevent them from tensing up.
~ Norma
Thermacare heat wraps for my back are the best things I've found so far. They last a long time too! It's like a heating pad without the cord.
~ Chelsea
I always travel with is a list of my doctors and their assistants, both direct numbers and email addresses.... and I also travel with my meds counted out for each dose in a small zip lock packet. It's easier to grab that days meds and go. I have never had any problems with customs in any country.
~ Bryan Peeler

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