A while ago, one of my readers got in touch to ask me how I cope with chronic pain and traveling – particularly when I’m going out of the UK. I’ve finally got round to answering this as I prep for a long weekend away in Amsterdam. Which, by the way, I’m bloomin’ excited about! I’ve never been to Amsterdam and I absolutely cannot wait – it was on my list of five cities I’d love to visit.
Traveling is always tricky for people with disabilities or pain conditions, but I’m sure it’s just a difficult for people with children or the elderly. In fact, when is traveling ever easy? I always used to be the person with too many bags or I’d packed the wrong clothes or I’d left liquids in my suitcase (UK airports get really mad at that one) or I bought too much in Duty Free… the list goes on.
#1 – The four wheel suitcase
This aint rocket science, but it is certainly genius. The four wheel suitcase makes it much easier to easily breeze around the airport with your carry-on, rather than having to pay to check your luggage or – more often – dragging your carry-on behind you and wishing you’d checked it when you had the chance.
#2 – Layers and more layers
Now is not the time for an array of thick chunky jumpers, four pairs of jeans and a selection of coats and jackets. My long weekends away involve one or two staples that can be worn in a variety of ways over the course of a few days. I’ll take a number of thin jumpers which I can stack on top of each other and one jacket which will keep me snug as a bug in the evenings.
#3 – The essentials
Sure, I look like this when I travel. Sure I do. Okay, I don’t, but I do carry a light-weight shopper with me as it’s the perfect way to keep all my in-flight essentials together. I have a new make up pouch which I use to keep all my health-related goodies in one place. Medication, massage gels, eye spray… you name it, I’ve got it. It goes in my shopper along with water, my kindle and a scarf – because I will inevitably be freezing at some point.
#4 – Comfort
Prioritise the things that keep you comfortable. Flat shoes, hats and scarves, whatever you need. We all want to look awesome all of the time but we’re not all Taylor Swift. This weekend I just want to make sure I can walk around the Dam and avoid pain as much as possible, so I will be oozing comfortable clothing at all times.
#5 – Be organised
I hate that moment when you turn the corner at the airport to see that once again you have to show your passport, and then you reach into your bag feeling cocky because you know exactly where it is… and then it’s not there. And then you’re stopping the queue as you frantically search because you know you had it five minutes ago and it must be here somewhere, and then you find it in your back pocket because you were trying to help your future self.
No. None of this. Passport and boarding pass go in the inside pocket of your shopper AT ALL TIMES. Be organised, avoid stress and keep calm.
Above all else – enjoy it! Traveling is part of the holiday and you don’t want to be stressed and exhausted before you’ve even arrived. I plan on wandering the streets of Amsterdam as the coolest traveler there ever was. Pain? What pain?